Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 42

Thread: Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    276
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

    I have been reading through the forum trying to determine the differences that exist between Okinawan karate and Japanese karate. From the various threads I have read Okinawan karate has less focus placed on a rigid training atmosphere while still maintaining appropriate relationships and formality, while Japanese karate is very rigid. Specifically I have read this regarding time, structure and content. I have also seen that Okinawan karate places a focus on kata and functionality while Japanese karate places and emphaisis on sparring and the sporting aspect of karate, however, these are all generalities.

    I see some similiarity between the nature of a traditional Okinawan dojo and that of a Japanese koryu dojo. Of those of you who have trained in both do you see similarities in either the structure of the class or system of instruction utilized.

    Any thoughts?
    Jeff
    Jeff Brown

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Gardena
    Posts
    2,842
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by morpheus
    I have been reading through the forum trying to determine the differences that exist between Okinawan karate and Japanese karate. From the various threads I have read Okinawan karate has less focus placed on a rigid training atmosphere while still maintaining appropriate relationships and formality, while Japanese karate is very rigid. Specifically I have read this regarding time, structure and content. I have also seen that Okinawan karate places a focus on kata and functionality while Japanese karate places and emphaisis on sparring and the sporting aspect of karate, however, these are all generalities.

    I see some similiarity between the nature of a traditional Okinawan dojo and that of a Japanese koryu dojo. Of those of you who have trained in both do you see similarities in either the structure of the class or system of instruction utilized.

    Any thoughts?
    Jeff

    Having trained in both Japanese and Okinawan Systems, All I could for what little I know is the obvious differences in the Kata and its interpretations of the bunkai section. The kumite aspect is really a matter of dojo interpretations. I have seen Shotokan stylist fights like Shorin Ryu stylist or vice versa. In my own opinion at least.
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lake Placid, FL
    Posts
    510
    Likes (received)
    32

    Default

    Okinawans are short and wide.

    Japanese are just short.

    DustyMars

    The main difference is that is that the mainland Japanese borrowed karate from the Okinawans.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Maine, USA
    Posts
    214
    Likes (received)
    5

    Default

    I've sometimes asked myself the same question Morpheus poses. Although my experience is mainly in Japanese and Korean-Japanese karate I've tried to read as widely as a I can on the subject. My conclusion (really more of a semi-educated guess) is that Japanese koryu training and old-style Okinawan training were similar in that they were both oriented toward combative application rather than shiai. However, I suspect that were I to step through time and space (and suddenly develop language fluency, too) I'd notice a distinct difference in the training. Koryu arts were most often taught (at least in the mid to late Tokugawa) by professional instructors who were contracted to deliver a certain kind of knowledge to their clients or were transmitted through strictly class-based senior-junior relationships. Look at "Legacies of the Sword" for an expansion of this. While Okinawan MA seemed to follow a more Sinocized pattern in which students applied through various means to be accepted by teachers who largely freelanced and had complete discretion over who and what they taught (unlike a Japanese sensei who might have been hired to teach a specific curriculum to any number of sons, nephews or vassals of a daimyo). Also, as in Chinese MA, Okinawan sensei were likely to have knowledge of many related disciplines such as medicine, strategy, politics, dance, etc. Since these teachers were not hired to instruct just one curriculum and had selected their own students they felt free to expand their pedagogy to include elements of related arts. Funakoshi, for example, expalins in his autobiography how his Okinawan teacher Azato Anko would instruct him in politics, etiquette and even the Chinese classics in addition to karate. I have not read of many Japanese sensei who were given as much freedom to develop the personal characteristics of their students.

    Just my $.02, anyway.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    399
    Likes (received)
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    I've sometimes asked myself the same question Morpheus poses. Although my experience is mainly in Japanese and Korean-Japanese karate I've tried to read as widely as a I can on the subject. My conclusion (really more of a semi-educated guess) is that Japanese koryu training and old-style Okinawan training were similar in that they were both oriented toward combative application rather than shiai.....etc
    \


    Hmmm good food for thought, i'd never thought about it like this, thanks.

    It's always seemed to me koryu arts had a very "rigid" (don't mean that negatively) curriculum in terms of teaching order, etc. compared to Okinawan karate, I wonder if this is also related to what you describe.
    Zachariah Zinn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Marietta, Ga. USA
    Posts
    348
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

    If you look at both cultures you will obviously see why they differ so much. The Japanese consider themselves "above" the Uchinaguchu because they meshed and inter-breeded with the Chinese. The Japanese hate anything Chinese, and the Okinawans treasured anything To(Chinese). IMO that is why the Japanese got "Karate" and not Tode no KoDo. Too bad ne? LOL
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    6
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    I'm sensing some bias here. To say that in times of the Tokugawa, that Japanese were not well studied outside their Combative Art/s, which I'm guessing would have been Jujutsu or something as a companion to the Sword, Yari, Naginata etc just doesn't ring true to me. As far as I know, the Bushi were obliged to be well-learned outside their specialized area. Being a hierarchical society this would have entailed a good knowledge of Politics, the Arts and Chinese History/Strategy etc. But I am speaking from a Swordsmanship background and I know nothing of Karate or it's History. AFAIK Karate didn't exist until recent times (Meiji?), so I am more or less talking about Pre-Meiji Samurai, who as I understand, their training transmissions were very rigid and disciplined but well educated in other areas of the student's own undertaking outside the Dojo. AFAIK, this is why Shugyo was so popular and accepted, it was a time for the Kenshi to test/hone his combative skills and to study/see more "worldly" things for himself. What I'm saying, in long form, is that I don't believe that the Samurai were generally restricted to only their specialized fighting Art/s but in fact were (for the most part) well learned and Cultured in Strategy and the Arts also.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Marietta, Ga. USA
    Posts
    348
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

    Not bias, just stating facts. The Japanese learned from Tzu's premis and battlefield experience, but not by "instructional example". Okinawans how ever, learned directly from the Chinese the art of warfare and the hand to hand experience of such. The Japanese saw things 1 dimensional, whereas the Okinawans saw 3 dimensionally. The Okinawans learned from the Japanese also, but by way of how the Japanese tried to deal with them. The only reason Japan conquered Okinawa is because of sheer numbers. IMO, if the Okinawans would have had the same "force of numbers" the Japanese would have lost every effort they made.
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    6
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Irwin
    The only reason Japan conquered Okinawa is because of sheer numbers. IMO, if the Okinawans would have had the same "force of numbers" the Japanese would have lost every effort they made.
    I don't know, I wasn't there. But there is clear evidence of the merit of other pursuits besides Combative Arts of the Samurai around that time. Does the term Bun-Bu ring a bell? It is still rooted deeply in Japanese culture nowadays. If your post is factual, which I have no need to discern as it doesn't change anything for me personally, I don't know that being told what to think/what strategy to take by "instructional example" is any less 1 dimensional than learning it of one's own accord outside the Dojo. I will read your reply...but I will leave you to it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Marietta, Ga. USA
    Posts
    348
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

    Have you studied any Okinawan Art from one who was instructed by an Okinawan, not a Japanese? My first MA was Wado-ryu under Takazawa Sensei. Didn't take very long and IMO good thing. My impression was they thought the world revolved around them. They are too artsy about what they take and change things into IMO. Bun Bu Ryodo....but, we can agree to disagree. Some things never change. But, following KoDo-ryu in any way, shape or form is for preservation of Heaven utmost. O'Senseis ne Rei...
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lake Placid, FL
    Posts
    510
    Likes (received)
    32

    Default

    Hum, well, er, since you asked sort of opened ended -- yes, at least I have studied under a real Okinawan in Okinawa and also under a real Japanese in Japan proper. I found both cultures a little different and good and a little bad of each. Or at least from my perspective.

    Okinawan-gin were not especially war like people and have a less aggressive attitude, generally speaking; whereas Japanese are more competitive and aggressive people, in general. This is my observation after studying such arts under real Okinawans in Okinawa and real Japanese in Japan.

    My primary interest in MA has always been Judo and IMHO, during my stay there and if given the opportunity, the Okinawan Judoka would have preformed very well in international competition; however, not many could afford a real Judogi much less traveling to other countries to compete.

    Speaking of Okinawa Ti, or “karate: as it evolved into, I had studied shotokan and goju-ryu in Japan under real Japanese karate sensei and also Matsubayashi-ryu and a little goju-ryu in Okinawa under real Okinawan sensei – and will tell you this: what they do in Japan is not karate or Okinawa Ti, it is more like a copy of karate and Okinawa Ti.

    That is my 0.0086 yen worth

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Marietta, Ga. USA
    Posts
    348
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default Okinawan karate, Japanese karate and Koryu

    Jeffsan, I was speaking directly to Andrewsan, but your comments are very much welcome in this conversation.
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lake Placid, FL
    Posts
    510
    Likes (received)
    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Irwin
    Jeffsan, I was speaking directly to Andrewsan, but your comments are very much welcome in this conversation.
    Gomine asai if that is correct spelling?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    399
    Likes (received)
    6

    Default

    Speaking of Okinawa Ti, or “karate: as it evolved into, I had studied shotokan and goju-ryu in Japan under real Japanese karate sensei and also Matsubayashi-ryu and a little goju-ryu in Okinawa under real Okinawan sensei – and will tell you this: what they do in Japan is not karate or Okinawa Ti, it is more like a copy of karate and Okinawa Ti.

    That is my 0.0086 yen worth

    What were the biggest differences you noticed specifically? I know that Japanese Karate historically is more into competition, but i'm curious from your own experiences what you thought were the big differences in training, attitude, etc.
    Zachariah Zinn

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lake Placid, FL
    Posts
    510
    Likes (received)
    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ZachZinn
    What were the biggest differences you noticed specifically? I know that Japanese Karate historically is more into competition, but i'm curious from your own experiences what you thought were the big differences in training, attitude, etc.
    Even if I could remember the differences it would take too long to describe. It has been too many years since I was actually training that stuff over there to speak of differences with any details. Just remember my impressions of the two methods were different. As I review some of the videos of late I see less difference in some of schools, i.e., goju-ryu, Shorin, and so on -- and age has caught up with me, so my memory may be playing tricks.

    When at the SAC-ARDC classes at the Kodokan Nishiyama sensei came in to teach us shotokan and he would discuss with us Oki-GI's some history of the karate arts. He would describe differences to us as we would demonstrate our methods to him. He was a nice dude, as was the other senior sensei, that taught in the classes. No pretence, just curiosity on their part.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •