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Thread: Old G.Funakoshi video ?

  1. #1
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    Default Old G.Funakoshi video ?

    Hello E-Budo !


    This’s my first post here, so let me introduce myself, briefly. -
    I’m a Swede currently living in China. I used to do Shotokan Karate(JKA), did it for about ten years. Then learning Chinese martial arts began to dominate my practice regime, but I still feel a closeness to Shotokan and ever now and then go through some katas in the midst of exercising my Taiji, Xingyi and Tongbeiquan stuff.
    Anyway, here’s something I wonder about. Some days ago I found a video on one of the Chinese tubes, it shows the Kata Empi, and says in the text at the beginning - 1928, and Gichin Funakoshi.
    The video is blurry, so the face of the man performing is not clear but he seem to be kind of long limbed, wich I think Gichin Funakoshi wasn’t ?
    The Kata is just beautifully done with a nice “flow”and no excessive kime. The big open stances/postures looks clearly Shotokan.
    So my two simple questions on this video(if anyone figured out which my poor description try to describe) is firstly - Is it Gichin Funakoshi performing ? And, is it really filmed in 1928 ?
    If it’s that old I’m surprised how Shotokan’ish Funakoshi’s Karate looked already back then.
    Empi was one of my competition Katas, and when I saw this video it inspired me to pull of a couple of Empis here in my living room, even the jump was manageable




    Tryggve Rick


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    Welcome to e-budo Rick.

    Can you post a link to the video? It may stimulate some discussion.

    I'd be interested in seeing it, but would probably not have any meaningful opinion, as I'm a Goju guy.

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    Thanks Chunmonchek !


    I’m sorry, I was too hasty when I wrote my OP. It does not say 1928 at the beginning of the video but says 1924 in the webpage where I found the video. But in the beginning it say Empi and Funakoshi Gichin.
    Now I’ll see if I can manage to put the video on here.

    00:45


    Tryggve Rick

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    I’ll do as this, I paste the whole page of vids, it’s the 7th video https://i.youku.com/i/UMTYzNDgyOTcwN..._vid=186919158

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    Default Mistaken Identity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trick View Post
    I’ll do as this, I paste the whole page of vids, it’s the 7th video https://i.youku.com/i/UMTYzNDgyOTcwN..._vid=186919158
    The film is very blurry, but this looks to be a younger man with dark hair. Also, the stances are very low and wide, with forward lunges. It is my understanding that Funakoshi Gichin uses the closer upright stances of Okinawa-te, and the deeper lunging stances were the innovation of his son, Funakoshi Gigo.

    Could this be the son, not the father?

    Ellis Amdur

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    Yes, I will be a little surprised if it turns out it is Gichin Funakoshi in the video(as it says), as you say because of the deeper/wider stances. And the claimed year of 1924 also seem too early for such “Shotokan” postures ?, I think it was not even named “Shotokan” yet back then......
    So it’s probably a younger than 1924 video, but still during Gichin Funakoshis time ? Yes, it could be his son.




    Tryggve Rick





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    Hello,

    Unfortunately I am not able to watch the video in your link. However, I guess you are referring to this clip:



    If so, the performer is a direct student of G. Funakoshi (1868–1957) from the karate club of the Keiō University. It is also not his son.

    As for the actual date of the film, it was produced in August 1932 during a three week long “practice in the [summer] heat” (sho-geiko) of Keiō University’s Karate club.

    You can watch a performance of the kata Meikyō, which was called Rōhai at that time, done by G. Funakoshi from the same film:



    Please note the rather “long” and “deep” stances and the “flow” of G. Funakoshi’s movements in this kata. The subject of “long” and “deep” stances in the Funakoshi line of karate is more complex, i. e. it is not possible to simply say that Yoshitaka (1906–1945), G. Funakoshi’s third son, kind of “introduced” them into the karate of this line.

    Regards,

    Henning Wittwer

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    Hello Gibukai ! Thanks for that interesting info. Yes I’m aware of the “general” notion that it was Yoshitaka that was main responsible for the changes to deeper/wider/bigger stances and postures.
    But I’ve never been so sure about that. I recall seeing some pictures of Gichin Funakoshi performing posture of the Tekki katas(probably just Tekki shodan) in wider stances.
    And as you also post a video where Meikyo/Rohai is performed by Funakoshi the elder in more “Shotokan’ish” postures(I have to take your word for it, I can’t open YouTube here)
    My far fetched unprofessional and unpredictable gut feeling say that “older/original” Shurite was at least lower and probably bigger postures, based on perhaps Chinese MA from the more northern hemisphere? And that’s what was passed on by Anko Itosu. But later Nahate had some influence on Karate generally practiced on Okinawa(yes the Shiko-dachi can be pretty deep and wide, but maybe not in early Nahate?)...
    Another theory i have/had was the characteristic Shotokan postures was a result that came by by some of G.Funakoshis senior students who had spent time in China during Japan’s occupation, inspired by what they saw and maybe learned a bit in Manchuria and Shandong province for example ?
    But for that theory to hold, a film from (what I thought)1924 showing big/deep
    postures should not be around. And now we know the film is from 1932, which is still too “early”.




    But high or low stances could of course be a result of how extensive one had a go with the Makiwara ? I recall reading that Gichin Funakoshi advocated to not hit it “too hard”, maybe meaning to not emphasize that practice too much?


    As i said, my own unprofessional(and probably unlogically)reasoning


    Tryggve Rick












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    Hello,

    As for A. Itosu (1831–1915), immediately after his death an article series was published in an Okinawa newspaper wherein he is described as sixty percent Naha and forty percent Shuri. This refers to his personal style of karate and is supported by the fact that his main teacher Nagahama actually has been a senior adept of Naha-te. It was A. Asato (1928–1906) who was most of all a Shuri-te adept, because his main teacher was S. Matsumura.

    Both of them, A. Asato and S. Matsumura, were also adepts of a Japanese fighting tradition by the name of “Ko Jigen-ryū”, a split-off of Jigen-ryū which was compiled at the end of Japan’s Warring States period. I mention this because when I actually saw modern day adepts of the mother tradition perform their kata, they used rather high stances, however, at times went down into lower and wider stances which resembled the karate of the historic Shōtōkan era (1938–1945). For me this was a revelation. There were without a doubt Chines influences, yet, usually people don’t know about or downplay the Japanese influences on early karate. In the case of Jigen-ryū it was practised in Ryūkyū in the middle of the Seventeenth Century already. Therefore it had a huge impact on the bodies and the thinking of Ryūkyūan fighting artists who practised both, Jigen-ryū or Ko Jigen-ryū as well as karate (which was not necessarily known by that name in earlier times).

    Unfortunately until today many misunderstandings prevail in the karate world because of a lack of real research into Japanese, Chinese and Okinawa primary sources. Therefore even in more scholarly publications the subject of karate is often poorly represented. Some time ago here in this forum I asked if there will be a republication of a great encyclopaedia with the hope to be able to improve the karate/Okinawa sections, yet, there was no answer.

    Regards,

    Henning Wittwer

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    Hi !




    Thanks for that interesting additional info on Itosu.
    Yes the Jigen-ryu influence on Asato/Itosu’s Karate I guess one see clearly in Funakoshi’s Shotokan especially in the spirit of one strike one “kill” ? And yes it would seem some (older)Japanese sword schools also make use of lower stances. There’s an 16th century Chinese sword manual supposedly based on Japanese fencing depicting practitioners in low stances. And just for fun, look at the stances of early day modern Olympic fencing.
    Jigen-ryu has its own “Makiwara” practice which might make stances higher if one “specialize” in that kind of practice, as I also theorized on Karate.
    But if practice is focused on sparring or even just the notion of that(trying to handle an moving body) understanding of stances might change ?
    And also if look at certain Chinese schools of boxing, physical recruitment in some exercises “force” the body to go lower. This might have been the way also in some (early)schools of Okinawan karate ?




    Yes fully creditable info on the history of the Okinawan and also Chinese hand to hand combat is hard to get hold on, much where passed on by word and not much documented.
    That’s why I found it so interesting to find a video as I mentioned in my OP. Not much or maybe nothing as such exists on the Chinese MA traditions. It would had been great if so old films of for example Yang Chengfu, Wang Xiangzhai and so on would surface.




    Tryggve Rick


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