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Thread: Gigo's mystery kata

  1. #1
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    Default Gigo's mystery kata

    I've read in a few sources of the elder Funakoshi's efforts to broaden the scope of the Shotokan syllabus by permitting his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) to cross-train in other dojo and with other teachers. In one story Gigo meets an old man on Okinawa who teaches him a kata in secrecy. The mysterious teacher allegedly tells young Funakoshi that he has only taught the kata in a modified (diluted) form to others and is giving Gigo the real deal.

    So, here's my question - if the story is true what kata did Gigo learn, could it be one of the weird (compared to Shorin-ryu) Shotokan variations of a shorin kata such as Meikyo or even Sochin? OR, is this story just a cover for the "Shotokanization" of Okinawan kata - essentially allowing the JKA to save face for monkeying around with kata that the Okinawans knew well?

    Both of these are provocative positions - the first rubs Okinawan karateka the wrong way by suggesting that one of their kata is an inaccurate version - that in fact the Japanese karateka may know a bit of their karate heritage they don't know themselves. The second question provokes Shotokan karateka by resurrecting the old saw that the Shotokan method simply simplified Okinawan karate.

    So let's argue it out since it's all speculation anyway. Thoughts?

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    Other possibilities:
    *Yoshitaka never taught the kata to anyone else or he taught it to only a select few, who didn't pass it on to their students.
    *It is one of those "rare" kata that never made it into the mainstream Shotokan/Shotokai curriculm. (For an example of "rare", think of Hyakuhachiho, a version of Suparinpei)
    *It fell into disuse during the war and the post-war organisations were unable to reconstruct it.
    *The unnamed Okinawan master fed the same story to everyone he taught the kata to.

    Geoff, I've often wondered about this too, and am glad you brought up the topic.
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Since our discussions has already gone that direction, allow me to provide some videoclips to aid our further correspondence.

    Here are several varations of the Kata UNSU, the favorite tournament Kata

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi8rHWmzZ9c

    Shotokan version of Unsu by Kanazawa shihan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLrqgGPKelA

    Wado version of Unsu by Ajari sensei

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDtCZQN60Xc

    Shito-ryu version by Rose sensei

    Unsu were created by Aragaki Seisho, and it is said that both Funakoshi and Mabuni Kenwa learned from him, and Otsuka (founder of Wado) learned under both men.

    The three different versions of Unsu might be useful to illustrate the variations thereof, and as a way to gauge how much adjustments and alterations could have been done to a Kata.
    Ben Haryo (This guy has low IQ and uses a dialect which vaguely resembles Bad English).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    I've read in a few sources of the elder Funakoshi's efforts to broaden the scope of the Shotokan syllabus by permitting his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) to cross-train in other dojo and with other teachers. In one story Gigo meets an old man on Okinawa who teaches him a kata in secrecy. The mysterious teacher allegedly tells young Funakoshi that he has only taught the kata in a modified (diluted) form to others and is giving Gigo the real deal.

    So, here's my question - if the story is true what kata did Gigo learn, could it be one of the weird (compared to Shorin-ryu) Shotokan variations of a shorin kata such as Meikyo or even Sochin? OR, is this story just a cover for the "Shotokanization" of Okinawan kata - essentially allowing the JKA to save face for monkeying around with kata that the Okinawans knew well?

    Both of these are provocative positions - the first rubs Okinawan karateka the wrong way by suggesting that one of their kata is an inaccurate version - that in fact the Japanese karateka may know a bit of their karate heritage they don't know themselves. The second question provokes Shotokan karateka by resurrecting the old saw that the Shotokan method simply simplified Okinawan karate.

    So let's argue it out since it's all speculation anyway. Thoughts?
    I have read this passage from Funakoshi's autobiography as well. I guess my main thinking has been.

    1) It was a variation of a known kata and just didn't fit in with the rest of the curriculum.

    2) This is the one I lean more towards. He was probably an elderly gentleman and was proud of what he had learned, but the kata wasn't worth anything to pass on. Respect was paid to have it shown and that was the end of it.

    I lean more towards number 2 because, if you REALLY were trying to spread your art, what better way than talking about secret katas. Also, there is NO other mention of it anywhere by anyone. It seems that SOMEONE would have claimed to have learned this kata and tried to cash in on it as some point.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

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    Do you suppose there is an off-chance that the kata in question was kobudo and not empty handed? That might explain some of Yoshitaka's weapons work (think Matsukaze, which is believed to be Yoshitaka's creation)
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    I didnt know Matsukaze was taught within Shotokan. I thought it was a Shito Ryu Kata, & known in many Okinawan systems as Wankan?

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers View Post
    I didnt know Matsukaze was taught within Shotokan.
    David
    Matsukaze in Shotokai/Shotokan is a Bo kata. It's not the same as the empty hand kata.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIDJ9bBQnfQ

    Scot
    Scot Mertz
    www.ryuhoryu.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers View Post
    I didnt know Matsukaze was taught within Shotokan. I thought it was a Shito Ryu Kata, & known in many Okinawan systems as Wankan?
    It also exists in Shotokan as wankan.
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    I think Shorin Ryu's version of Wankan is different, you can see Nagamine Sensei doing it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS4IaowOn0o

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    Default Sochin?

    Could it be Sochin or Nijushiho Sho?
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Keegan View Post
    Could it be Sochin or Nijushiho Sho?
    The sochin theory is up for discussion.

    I think you mean Gojushiho Sho (as there is only one Nijushiho).
    Incidently, in the SKIF, the Dai and Sho versions of Gojushiho are reversed from the JKA order.

    Does any suppose the mystery kata was taught to Funakoshi's very early students (Obata, Gima etc)?
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Default Nijushiho

    I've definitely heard of a Nijushiho Sho (there's quite a few hits in Google for it as well).

    I think I first heard of it in Dennis Wilton's book.

    I have only been taught one version myself though.

    According to the now defunct 24 Fighting Chickens website, the order of Gojushiho was reversed when a JKA master anounced the wrong kata in a competition and everybody played along so he'd save face.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    I wonder why also the kata was not shown to Mabuni. He had MANY more of the okinawan kata and it seems he would have been knowledgable about the more effective ones.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

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    Simon

    The 24 fighting chickens site is up and running.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
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    Default chickens

    I mean the original 24 Fighting Chickens which had seemingly thousands of articles - the current one is much scaled down
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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