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Thread: Shotokan's Secret

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy.G.B.
    Thanks Trevor:

    Another question: What happened between the time you decided you were going to hit the person and the time you actually made contact?

    Best,
    Tim Black
    3rd Dan Shorinryu
    Kokusai Shinjinbukan
    Sorry, could you be more specific? I'm not sure what you're talking about here.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    Default Sorry

    Sorry, didn't mean to be obtuse.

    I strikes me that there is a lot that can happen in the space between two people. What kinds of things are you thinking before you strike the person, how do you approach the person, what kind of footwork (we call it tenshin) do you use and what do you switch to when things change etc. And finally, when you finally make contact with the person, are you assuming that you will get to make contact on your terms?

    I find that so much discussion of bunkai starts in a vacuum, meaning the "you do this and I'll do this" kind of bunkai training. But, as you have said, fighting itself is is messy and part of the messiness not factored into bunkai training is the space between you and your opponent and what happens before you actually touch the other person.

    Hope this helps.

    Best,
    Tim Black
    3rd Dan Shorinryu
    Kokusai Shinjinbukan

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy.G.B.
    I strikes me that there is a lot that can happen in the space between two people. What kinds of things are you thinking before you strike the person, how do you approach the person, what kind of footwork (we call it tenshin) do you use and what do you switch to when things change etc. And finally, when you finally make contact with the person, are you assuming that you will get to make contact on your terms?

    I find that so much discussion of bunkai starts in a vacuum, meaning the "you do this and I'll do this" kind of bunkai training. But, as you have said, fighting itself is is messy and part of the messiness not factored into bunkai training is the space between you and your opponent and what happens before you actually touch the other person.
    Yes, this is definitely true. I forget who said that the punch starts when you make contact with the other person, but that's how we train. A lot of what we do is passive reaction skill training, so that you can read your opponent and figure out what he's going to do, or feel his body and react to it as you're both moving. When you see/feel a situation where a technique's usable, you've got to have it ingrained to the point where you recognize it instinctively and go for it without pausing or checking the flow.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

  4. #49
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    For what its worth.

    My own teacher puts more "weight" on value of bunkai in getting a person used to contact and throwing techniques from very short range, the training in seeing what 'else" could be done in a similar situtation. Rather than a if he does "x" I will do "y" kinda thing.

    Not that specifc techniques are not trained just that is not ALL the bunkai is doing.


    Chris Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxt
    For what its worth.

    My own teacher puts more "weight" on value of bunkai in getting a person used to contact and throwing techniques from very short range, the training in seeing what 'else" could be done in a similar situtation. Rather than a if he does "x" I will do "y" kinda thing.

    Not that specifc techniques are not trained just that is not ALL the bunkai is doing.


    Chris Thomas
    That's one of the neat things about doing the bunkai on various people. You realize that instead of one technique, the bunkai leads you into a tree of techniques, or a cloud of them. Which one actually happens depends on your opponent's body, the way they break down, the way that they try to resist, etc, etc, etc. The techniques, imho, happen, you don't necessarily do them, simply because the situation's so chaotic that you're probably going with their flow as much as applying your own guidance. Once you get a good advantage, then you actually "do" a technique.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

  6. #51
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    Trevor

    Excellent way to put it.


    Chris Thomas

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    I find the surprise exhibited by some that grappling techniques exist in the Naihanchi kata as interesting, primarily because I've always tended to view it as an extremely grappling-intensive kata. Of course, most Okinawan kata has a lot of grappling; it is merely up to the practitioner to find it. In some it is more evident than others. At any rate, as I'm sure all you know, the punching and kicking is merely one level of every kata's application.

    I think one of the keys to the naihanchi kata is the transition in the footwork. The act of "locking into place" in a Naihanchi dachi allows the practitioner to create a lot of power within a short amount of space. From my own practice and the teachings of people far, far better than me, I've been able to see how many things from the "basic Naihanchi kata" are present in many of our other more "advanced kata".

    As an interesting sidenote, the North American director of my system has formulated a version of Naihanchi which goes forwards (straight and at angles) rather than side to side. It is very well thought out and aids understanding of the four-dimensional bunkai.

    For a much better read on the Naihanchi kata and other things in general, I'd recommend Arakaki's "The Secrets of Okinawan Karate: Essence and Techniques". It is truly a more scientific study of kata and movement in general. A quite interesting read, regardless of whatever style of karate you practice.
    -John Oberle-
    Personal martial arts site:http://bujutsublogger.blogspot.com/

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Cook
    The Satsuma never really had an army of occupation controlling Okinawa - there were a number of samurai administrators but in general the government was in the hands of the Okinawans, but they were in a form of feudal relationship with the satsuma overlords. It suited the Satsuma to allow the appearance of dual sovereignty - their were trade benefits with China etc.
    Harry Cook

    You couldn't be more correct. Adding to this, great bushi such as Matsumura Sokon were also instructed in the Satsuma Clan's fighting system (Jigen Ryu Kenjutsu which he was a Shihan in), possibly in exchange for lessons in tode. How smart would it be to teach the enemy your style of combat?

    I don't disagree that certain tode masters were of the aristocracy (palace or bodyguards for merchants specifically) this has been recorded, and I don't doubt that many of their empty hand techniques were developed as a result of this duty, but I doubt the premise that kata is bunkai specific. It is a training tool, a general menmonic for the mind-body that gives one options through basic principles and repetition of movements. It may be a salient feature of karate training, but it is just one aspect of the holisitic approach associated with any good MAs instruction.

    Also Matsumura's karate was not hard or linear. Itosu made it that way. That's one of the reasons that Matsumura didn't want to teach Itosu at first. Matsumura's quote "yes you have a powerful punch, but how will you hit what you can't catch" was directed towards Itosu. For this reason originally Itosu was sent to Gusukuma to learn before Matsumura would take him as his student. I guess you can't make a bull a mongoose.

    I don't know about Clayton's conjecture, but I bet it makes for a cool read!

    Bryan Cyr
    Last edited by Tatsu; 29th June 2005 at 22:46.

  9. #54
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    Default "Shotokan's Secret"

    I studied Shotokan up to the level of first-degree brown belt before I found myself drawn into Aikido and sword arts.

    Nonetheless I have a deep fondness for the art.

    Recently, a friend recommended to me the book "Shotokan's Secret" by Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.

    I am immediately struck by the underlying premise of the book, insofar as that many of the bunkai are specific responses to a particular environment and conditions.

    Based on that premise, I see that some of the applications from the kata may indeed be well adapted to the particular circumstances that he describes. While his material is speculative, his arguments are rather compelling, and he posits several specific applications of kata that I look forward to experimenting with in the company of better-trained seniors. Some of them seem to incorporate some basic principles that I am familiar with from my application of Aikido in the breaking of strangleholds, and leverage for throws,

    Has anyone else read this book? What are your impressions?

    I am posting this to General Discussions only because the underlying premise of the book is that an art in its original form may be well suited to a specific context..., As I would suspect many arts are. And this is NOT to argue than an art cannot adapt to the present.

    If this is posted to the wrong forum, please feel free to move this thread . .
    Krzysztof M. Mathews
    http://www.firstgearterritories.com

    Every place around the world it seemed the same
    Can't hear the rhythm for the drums
    Everybody wants to look the other way
    When something wicked this way comes

    "Jeremiah Blues, Part 1"
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  10. #55
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    Let's move it to the Karate Forum. I'm hope Mr. Cook or Mr. McCarthey comments on this book.
    George Kohler

    Genbukan Kusakage dojo
    Dojo-cho

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Kohler
    Let's move it to the Karate Forum. I'm hope Mr. Cook or Mr. McCarthey comments on this book.
    There's already a thread addressing this book somewhere, either here or another board; sorry don't recall. The upshot was that the heavy hitters, at least one of the above posted, dismissed the premise of the book (which i presonally found very compellingly presented. Nice to have an intelligent book WITH REFERENCES about the MA...)
    Don J. Modesto
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  12. #57
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    Default I thought...

    I thought Shotokan's Secret was tartar sauce and pickle relish mixed together...

    Man, another myth busted...
    Glenn R. Manry

    ---Iaijutsu, don't forget the doorman.

  13. #58
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    Threads have been merged.
    George Kohler

    Genbukan Kusakage dojo
    Dojo-cho

  14. #59
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    Kolschey

    I also enjoyed the book.

    He made some interesting points, good food for thought.

    But he also made what I see/feel are serious errors of logic and historical distortion.

    Just a few examples.

    1-His base idea is appraoch the various problems of by "thinking" like a modern Secret Service agent.

    So lets do that.

    You need to protect the King from the "round-eyes' that demand to see the king.

    Would it be more logical to craft an highly involved and intricate series of possible responses to PHYSICALLY fight and kill the round eyes in the throne room itself.

    (an act that would almost certainly result in the use of the overwhelming firepower the ships carried)

    Or since the round eyes have never seen the King, why not just stick the royal gardener or food taster in the Kings robes and present him?
    Much less complex and overall more effective tactic.
    Esp when you consider that the Okinawans--according to the book itself--were under terrible pressure from the Satsuma not to meet with them.
    So a "decoy" King would solve a lot of problems fast.

    If indeed one is "thinking" like a modern Secret Service agent.

    2-Again according to the text, the Satsuma were in total and firm control of the nation.
    Detailed plans to kill samurai, hidden weapons on the property etc would have availed them little.
    The Satsuma beat the ENTIRE country in an armed invasion, all the royal guards and hidden swords would have done was to kick off terrible revenge vs the people.

    That the Satsuma/Japan was utterly in charge is best demonstrated by them being able to demand that the last king and his entire court re-locate to japan proper.

    So there is little point in complex plans to protect the king from them.

    Another problem was that sword work does not seem to be widely practiced, only a few people are even mentioned as being experts.
    And it was NOT passed down in hardly anyones karate training.
    So even if they had "hidden" swords--just how much effect would that really have had vs Satsuma samurai whom presumably WERE trained swordsmen
    And were armed already?

    3-Spurious conclusions--many, but here are just 2.

    -Much is made about men serving food acting as waitresses etc, in the royal court, which sounds telling.
    Except that other period historical info suggests that women were SELDOM used for serving food on Okinawa.
    That in fact, even in their OWN houses, women did not preform that service.
    Which if true changes the entire nature of the event.

    -The whole "night fighting" episode. Its major problem is that "putting your back to the moon"--which I think is pretty close to a quote.
    Problem is that if your in the dark, putting yourself between a major light source and your oppts is a pretty foolish idea.
    See, that would HIGHLIGHT you, makingyou easier to see--AND put your attackers in DEEPER shadow, makeing them harder to see.
    Which is very "not-good" for you.

    These things effect the very foundation for much of the authors conclusions.

    I found the book interesting and in parts I think he makes good sense.

    But overall, I seriously question the basic idea for the text and most of the conclusions.


    Chris Thomas
    Last edited by cxt; 17th February 2006 at 15:36.

  15. #60
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    An awful lot was read in to very little information.
    An interesting read. But very far fetched.

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