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Thread: Uechi Ryu, is it Karate?

  1. #31
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    Default well...

    Considering you have experience in this area, please tell me if ed parker's karate is a legitimate karate style, then? I interjected it because I always assumed so, but you pointed out that i made a mistake with bruce lee's art so i mentioned that i have never seen ed parker's karate in person so i could be politically correct. Neither of the arts were the focus of my discusssion however. The point of what I was saying is about the categorization of martial arts and what karate actually is. Since you seem so upset about it, please verify that i am correct about ed parker's karate, as you so eloquently put it you have had experience with it.
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    Ok, so what do you think it is about Uechi Ryu that makes it not Karate? Obviously Chinese styles and Karate share alot of principles and techniques, so what makes Uechi Ryu more kungfu than say Goju or Shorin ryu?

    Is it just the amount it has allegedly been altered from the source that makes a style what it is?
    Zachariah Zinn

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    Default well..

    Yes, my original thinking was that if it is a style of kung fu and it really hasn't been altered, then it is kung fu. Other styles of karate have been mixed with okinawan tradition, training methods, and their own fighting methods, developing to their own way in their stances and techniques, which were altered to the basis of understanding used there. There is emphasis on deep breathing in naha te (modernly Goju Ryu), which supposedly Uechi ryu is listed under, yet it doesn't emphasize this. It has light breathing, but I don't think that they practice it in the same way as in Goju ryu. In Goju Ryu they will have classes where practitioners do a special kind of breathing supposed to enhace your ki, this can last for long periods of time in their practice. If I teach western boxing in china it doesn't make it kung fu, however if I combine it with kicking and wresting I can call it shootfighting. So, If Uechi Ryu was just kung fu taught in okinawa, not modified as the others were, it is still kung fu. Unless you are of the belief that all karate is just kung fu, which so many argue that all martial arts come from kung fu, which has been a point of argument for dynaties. Let's not argue that point, though, it will be one that has no bearing here and will never finish.
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  4. #34
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    Hmm, I personally doubt that Uechi Ryu is so unchanged as all that, I don't know though as I don't train it.

    Anyone have opinions on how similar it is to whatever it came from, anyone truly in the know on this?

    Anyway, the arguments about ibuki style breathing aren't persuasive, hard style breathing methods aren't unknown to Chinese MA in the least. You could argue that the hard style Ibuki used in Goju is uniquely Okinawan i don't know, but it seems like a semantic argument.

    Basically I still don't see any persuasive evidence that Uechi should not be called Karate, whether it was changed less or not is really a moot point, martial arts are changing all the time, if this is what you base their naming on then no one has a right to claim [i]any[/i[ lineage to a style.

    I'm willing to bet that Uechi like every other style underwent at lesat some change in content and training methods from it's Chinese predecssors, who in turn probably went through plenty of changes from their parent styles and so on.

    Until pretty recently people didn't call their styles Karate or Kungfu anyway.
    Zachariah Zinn

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    Lightbulb So, maybe we're asking the wrong questions, here...

    The methods of breathing in okinawa are different, in my understanding, from those in mainland china, although this point is of course arguable. The okinawan techniques inserted into karate are the difference mainly between karate and kung fu. However, maybe you're right about one thing and we're asking the wrong questions here. Maybae we should be asking, "how is uechi ryu different from Pangai Noon kung Fu?" Does anybody here practice Pangai Noon or have they seen it in action?
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendan V Lanza View Post
    ...please tell me if ed parker's karate is a legitimate karate style, then? ...The point of what I was saying is about the categorization of martial arts and what karate actually is. Since you seem so upset about it, please verify that i am correct about ed parker's karate...
    First, I'm not upset at all. I wonder what gave you that impression. You've asked for information and opinions, and we're providing it.

    Okay; what about Ed Parker's Kempo -- is it Karatedo?

    Ed Parker's first book was titled Secrets of Chinese Karate, and he adopted a Karate-style dogi (although in black, not white) and a Karate-style belt ranking system, so maybe he thought of it as a style of Karatedo rather than Chuan Fa.

    It seems to meet your definition of Karate: "it is not okinawa that makes karate, it's the kinds of techniques..."

    However, to me, it is Okinawa that makes something Karatedo.

    Technique-wise, many external Chinese styles and most Korean styles are very similar to Karatedo, and yet I wouldn't call them such because of what they do not have in common: as you said, "the cultural background used."

    Regardless of the foundational origins of an art, to me it's the culture in which an art was formalized, codified, and nurtured through a growing student body that determines what it is.

    Thus, to me, Ed Parker's Kempo is Ed Parker's Kempo and nothing more or less. It's an ecclectic American martial art.

    Jun Fan Gun Fu / Jeet Kun Do is Gung Fu, albeit an ecclectic form, because of its firm foundation in Chinese martial arts and philosophy.

    Shotokan is Karatedo because it came to Japan from Okinawa. (Incidentally, Funakoshi considered Shotokan (Shoto's Hall) to be a place, not a style.)

    Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, Wado Ryu, etc. are Karatedo, because their lineages lead to Okinawan teachers as the wellsprings.

    So...

    To me, it's not just technique that matters, but culture, language, pedagogical approach, etc.

    By those standards, Uechi Ryu is Karatedo.

    (But please, don't ask me about Ron Van Clief's Chinese Goju. That one makes my head hurt.)
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Mr. Owens,
    Nice job. Best explanation yet.
    Tony Urena

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    Default Actually...

    "To me, it's not just technique that matters, but culture, language, pedagogical approach, etc."

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Mr. Owens, you are absolutely right. You have me 100% convinced on this point. Your explanation has definately been the best so far. However, under this logic Uechi ryu has an okinawa teacher, so it probably has some okinawan culture, but we still don't know if the technique conforms to the other forms of karate i any way. I have never seen pangai noon nor have any idea of whether or not uechi has changed or if it is just pangai noon with okinawan culture. So, still under this definition, it might not be karate. we know it has the culture, but not the technique. I can teach sumo in okinawa as well, but it wouldn't be karate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachZinn View Post
    Hmm, I personally doubt that Uechi Ryu is so unchanged as all that, I don't know though as I don't train it.

    Anyone have opinions on how similar it is to whatever it came from, anyone truly in the know on this?
    I study Uechi-ryu and while I'm no expert on Southern Shaolin, I can tell you that Uechi-ryu looks much more like Goju then Fujian White Crane or Hung Gar, both Shaolin styles that would/could have been similar to the style Kanbun Uechi originally learned in Fujian.

    As you know, Kanbun Uechi studied a style of Gung Fu called Pangainoon from a martial artist known as "Shashiwa" in Japanese but who's name is probably Chou Tsu Ho. Shashiwa's style was said to be a combination of Tiger, Crane, and Dragon styles. While no one has ever found a practitioner of Pangainoon Gung Fu in China, it is quite possible that the art died out, that it was absorbed, or that the right people simply haven't been found. As someone else mentioned earlier, many of the Southern styles tend to be rather secretive.

    But it is still possible to see the routes of Uechi-ryu (and most every other style of karate) in Southern Gung Fu, especially in certain Tiger and Crane forms.

    Below is a video of a Fujian White Crane form that bears many remarkable resemblances to Sanchin kata, especially the open handed version practiced in Uechi-ryu.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZtLgfru5PjM
    Regards,

    Jeffrey Luz-Alterman

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    Default Well, then...

    Since you do study Uechi ryu, do you know about any text or source where we could read about the development of the art? I think that that would be instrumental in clearing this up for sure.
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  11. #41
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    Default Actually, what about this...

    Have you seen other styles in tournament? I'm curious to know how different they are, if they are very similar in their application it will be very good evidence that the style did change quite a bit. I heard that there are alot of animal movements in uechi that are commonly found in kung fu that are not as apparent in the othe styles of karate, like the dragon.
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  12. #42
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    Since you do study Uechi ryu, do you know about any text or source where we could read about the development of the art? I think that that would be instrumental in clearing this up for sure.
    There are two books George Mattson wrote but I think they are both out of print. The first one is more about the tradition and history. That's also the one I don't have, sadly. The one your looking for is called, The Way of Karate.

    Then there's the Uechi-ryu Kyohon that Kanei Uechi wrote. But that's only printed in Japanese (which I don't speak) and costs some $2000 dollars on Ebay.

    Have you seen other styles in tournament?
    Yes, through tournaments (although I really don't do that anymore), demonstrations, and videos.

    I'm curious to know how different they are, if they are very similar in their application it will be very good evidence that the style did change quite a bit.
    There are quite a few differences. To me, Goju actually uses footwork that looks more like Gong Fu then does Uechi. There are also differences in upper body movements. Uechi-ryu is unique in that everything works out of Sanchin. Kanei Uechi used to say that everything in Uechi-ryu is an extension of Sanchin kata. So, in Uechi-ryu the techniques are often similar with very little use of hip rotation and a focus on sanchin body positioning. This means the arms are almost always in a position that is derived in some way from the arm position in Sanchin. While Goju-ryu does this to, it is, in my view, done to a far greater extent in Uechi-ryu.

    I heard that there are alot of animal movements in uechi that are commonly found in kung fu that are not as apparent in the othe styles of karate, like the dragon.
    This is true. Pangainoon, the Gong Fu that Kanbun Uechi learned in China, was a small style derived from Shaolin tiger, crane, and dragon styles. Uechi-ryu is fairly unique among the traditional schools of Okinawan Karate because of its use of dragons style techniques. Most Karate is a combination of tiger and crane techniques.

    If you have the opportunity and are interested, Uechi-ryu's Seichin and Seirui kata have an emphasis on dragon style techniques. Both of these kata can be viewed on YouTube.

    Here is a video of Seirui kata:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=8JgzoSuk0Jk

    Watch for the four consecutive dragon techniques starting roughly ten seconds in.
    Regards,

    Jeffrey Luz-Alterman

  13. #43
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    Default Excellent Information

    That helps a lot, actually, thank you, Drosera. So, it is similar in some ways, but different in others. I guess finding kanbun uechi's original writings on the subject is increably expensive. I am very recently, through videos on youtube, finding how much my own style of karate is rooted in kung fu, actually. I had always set them apart, especially because of how thay always make them fly in the movies and perform positions that are very far removed from the horse stance practiced in many karate dojos. But I have been watching real kung fu recently, not theatrical kung fu. There was a moment reminiscent of the matrix when keanu reeves looked up for a moment and said, "I know Kung Fu." I saw Forbidden kingdom today and noticed some quite similar basics, including the horse stance. I can see how one might argue how Karate is simply Okinawan Kung Fu, with an okinawan twist in technique and with an Okinawan Budo culture. Under such a definition, I would most wholeheartedly agree that Uechi Ryu is Karate, which is a form of Kung Fu as well (Karate, that is, not specifically only Uechi Ryu). So, I concede
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachZinn View Post
    Mods: this guy is spamming MA boards with these generic posts, not sure why but he's doing at fightingarts.com as well. Just a heads up.
    He'll probably come back and edit the posts with some outrageous or illegal on these forums, info.

    Unless, he's banned of course.

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    I don't know if this will help or hurt..... I just throw it out FWIW.

    Many years back I had a brush with UECHI-RYU out in Boston and found the art to be challenging and rewarding, though not altogether what I was looking for at the time. I'll leave that for a different thread.

    I mention this only because, at that time (circa 1977) there were two very different views in the community. One view was that people were practicing UECHI-RYU Karate and looked to UECHI Kanai as the head of their art. If I recall there were only three kata used to embody the curriculum. At about that time or maybe a little before other kata were introduced raising the number to five. The sense that I had was that folks who continued to advocate for only the original three kata viewed themselves as learning the "orthodox" art and tending to invoke more connection with Chinese traditions, using the term "PANGAINOON. I think this was the sort of position I saw reflected in Mattson's later book (see: "Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do"). By comparison, the other group of folks tended to hold with the five forms, and viewed what they practiced as being far more Okinawan. At the time there was considerable press about the KYOKUSHIN Karate people and their full-contact approach and my guess is that this struck a chord with the UECHI-RYU Karate people and their conditioning approaches. I now understand that the UECHI-RYU community has splintered significantly along many lines.

    Anyhow. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Bruce W Sims
    www.midwesthapkido.com

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