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Thread: Shotokan Kata Discrepancy

  1. #1
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    Default Shotokan Kata Discrepancy

    Hello,

    Does anyone have any idea (guess, research, facts or heresay will do) why the kata in Shotokan have so many discrepancies and/or deviations from the original Shorin-ryu/Shuri-te kata from whence they came?

    I am referring to such things as reduced number of techniques/shortened kata (did someone forget the moves over time?), starting off on the wrong foot (no pun intended!), having only a vague resemblence to their older proto-kata and others having not much in common at all.

    Cheers,
    Paul Steadman

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    Um, change is inevitable?

    Stagnate and die?

    We are hurtling through space as the universe expands and that's what gravity is?

    Human memory is faulty?

    Men are men and why would one want to develop his own form with somebody else's kata in it?

    Also, from my own sensei, frequently (and this is in the present, mind you), when an organization splits or an old sensei disagrees with another old sensei, one of the senseis changes the kata to be identifiable as his own. JKA/iskf prime example. I don't know why but the katas my sensei teaches me exactly the same way that okazaki sensei taught him 40 years ago, are different from the ones I see at iskf karate camp run by okazaki. Go figure.
    Dawn Tirschel

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    Default kata

    I think the answer is in Bunkai-Oyo. Techniques originally looked quite abstract but the application could have been a lock or a throw. Over time as applications became taught less, the kata were changed so that everything looked like it could be a punch, a kick or a block.

    But what is interesting (to me at least) is when you have two students of roughly the same age and grade who trained with the same teachers, performing kata differently - for example Keinosuke Enoeda and Hirokazu Kanazawa. Both trained under Masatoshi Nakayama and occasionally with Gichin Funakoshi. Both competed in Kumite and Kata (often against each other) and both were usually of an equivalent grade. But look at their Karate. Kanazawa slid his feet in a more graceful arc where Enoeda seemed to stamp more and they performed their kata very differently. If that's possible with two contemporaries, think how much things could change over generations.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Paul

    Tough question with a lot of possible answers...some of which have already been mentioned.

    Another thing that might play a role is that back in the day kata seems to have been much more individualized with the same teacher passing the same kata down to different students in a form which best suited the student....more personalized if you will.....more aimed at the specific strengths and weaknesses of a given student....at least so goes the story.

    If you look there are sorts of diffferences between the kata of pretty much everyone that studied under the same master----lot of variations in the extent Shorin, Goju, etc groups.

    GF son seems to have been a dynamic student and he seems to have tended (as some of the pics show) toward deeper stances...so perhaps that "stuck" with many of the new students.

    I'm not sure that we can really know exactly what happned from such a distance........not sure that it really matters either.
    Interesting historical question, but not sure that it matters otherwise.
    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
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Beer

    I think the most obvious answer lies in the reason for the development of Shotokan.

    Funakoshi was tasked with creating soemthing for the Japanese school system. Okinawa, not always part of Japan, was less ordered and militaristic than Japan. He took the forms he knew from his early days and modified them for the Japanese mindset of the time. Some of the angles of the Pinan/Heian series were removed and it became important to finish in the same spot you started. He also "changed" the name to the Japanes pronoounciation of the kanji.
    With respect,

    Mitch Saret

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Keegan View Post
    I think the answer is in Bunkai-Oyo. Techniques originally looked quite abstract but the application could have been a lock or a throw. Over time as applications became taught less, the kata were changed so that everything looked like it could be a punch, a kick or a block.

    But what is interesting (to me at least) is when you have two students of roughly the same age and grade who trained with the same teachers, performing kata differently - for example Keinosuke Enoeda and Hirokazu Kanazawa. Both trained under Masatoshi Nakayama and occasionally with Gichin Funakoshi. Both competed in Kumite and Kata (often against each other) and both were usually of an equivalent grade. But look at their Karate. Kanazawa slid his feet in a more graceful arc where Enoeda seemed to stamp more and they performed their kata very differently. If that's possible with two contemporaries, think how much things could change over generations.
    I do see a difference bewteen east coast and west coast but it's really only slight.
    Kevin S. Allen
    Newport News, Va.
    www.shotokanvirginia.com

    The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.

    Ulysses S. Grant

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    Are there any books are articles on this topic? Any recommendations?
    "Hero shows you how to solve the problem - yourself. " -- Jet Li
    http://riposte.org

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    Default Harry Cook's Book

    Go check out Harry Cook's book on history of shotokan:

    http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Shotok...es/Shohome.htm

    I think a combination of deliberate decision and lack of knowledge led to loss of kata applications. It's hard to know the exact mix. A number of things to consider between introduction into Japan in the 20s and founding of JKA in the 1950s: explosion of karate students in Japanese universities, few teachers with knowledge of Okinawan curriculum in Japan, near complete destruction of Okinawa in WWII.
    (\__/)
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    I believe also aesthetic's may have a part here as mentioned before with regards to dachi,uke,uchi,zuki and of course keri waza.It has been said that much of the Karate developing in Japan opted for success and popularity over content and depth.The emphasis towards free fighting and the Karate tournament also played a huge role.

    Regards,TH
    Tim Herlihy

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