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Thread: Funakoshi's Posse

  1. #16
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    Well, that's the thing, Jaret. Higaonna was around and well-known, but he was excluded from this group. There was also a Chinese martial arts teacher in either Naha or Tomari (I'm not in front of my library right now) who was active in the kenkyukai that Funakoshi later was appointed president and he was excluded, too. So, my question still stands, why only Shuri-te guys and why only certain Shuri-te guys, at that? This was sort of like the "official" Okinawan karate group as far as the government and press was concerned, so why the exclusivity?

  2. #17
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    Tension between China and Japan arose from Japan's control over Okinawa (around 1870) and relations between Japan and China evolved the way we all know (the first Sino–Japanese War was fought in 1894 –1895).
    May-be Naha-te was just too much Chinese influenced and the Shuri guys were, fort hat time, a better political move towards Japan, hence were more acceptable to promote Okinawa art.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
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  3. #18
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    Geoff

    You keep using the term "excluded" and phrasing it as if it were a deliberate, calculated action for specific reasons--as several people have pointed out there are any number of perfectly good reasons for the lack of "naha" based guys in the group

    If you have a case to make then please make it. We can hash it out......respectfully

    I see no evidence of any sort of any form of calculated "exclusion."

    As you, yourself, point out:

    "Why only Shuri-Te guys and only those Shuri-te guys"

    Perhaps because they WERE all "Shuri-te" guys--sharing a similar style would likely have meant that knew each other better--had the same teachers in common and practiced a similar style---which to me would seem to be good reasons to group up.

    Nothing sinister about it.

    Plus the list seems to include most--not all but most-- of the more well-known folks of the period --IMO another pretty reasonable idea. If your going to put a group together then it makes sense to pick the more well known of the "Shuri" set. Again, nothing sinister.

    Interesting question and discussion--just don't see any reason to automatically see it as some sort of deliberate "exclusion" when something as simple as normal tendency of stylists to form cliques can explain it.
    Last edited by cxt; 6th September 2013 at 14:41.
    Chris Thomas

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  4. #19
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    I think you're attributing motives to me that I'm not aware of. People are excluded consciously and unconsciously all the time. I have no agenda other than historical interest. If there is a group and some people join others are, by definition, excluded. If people are lumped into a group through some political or social process (i.e they make the team), others are excluded. As you say, nothing is sinister in that - it just is. Maybe it was just like-minded people getting together, but then again maybe not - especially since A) they took their show on the road in public demos as "the" karateka of Okinawa, and B) there were people in the group who were not great friends (e.g. Funakoshi, Motobu and Kyan) and yet they associated for the purpose of this group. What explains that? Also, if someone "put this group together", who was it and why? I'm curious as to the role and motives of this group, but the available English-language sources are meager. That's what has prompted my initial post.

    I think it's a question worthy inquiry, but not an argument.
    Last edited by Geoff; 6th September 2013 at 15:06.

  5. #20
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    Geoff

    I get it--and I'm not looking for a an e-fight either.

    Its an interesting question/s.....and not that I have any say-so, but I also think its worthy of discussion.

    Did Funakoshi have the clout at that point in time to have been the driving force behind getting the group together---or would it have been more likely to have been one of the older generation?

    Some of them might not have gotten along personally but they (many of them) had teachers in common. Which might have served as enough "common ground" to get them to overlook their personal differences--for a while at least.

    I can also see it being more of an "ad hoc" kinda thing with some of the people sort of inviting themselves along--a sort of "Funakoshi is putting a group together? Cool, sounds like fun" kind of thing. Motobu and Kyan etc. were well-known in their own right it would have been hard to turn them away.

    In my own group there are any number of people that don't really get along, but if someone is going to a meet or doing a demo its not uncommon for people to invite themselves along.....maybe that is not a "new" phenomenon?

    Just think out loud here--like I said interesting question/s.
    Chris Thomas

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    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

  6. #21
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    Itosu and Higaonna passed away around 1915 so obviously they were both not involved in promoting Karate (Tode) after that.

    Miyagi, Higaonna’s best student, as already mentioned, left for China, so he was not in Okinawa.
    I don’t think he was ever excluded though.

    His friend Mabuni (student of Itosu) was introduced by him to Kanryo Higaonna already in 1909.
    Miyagi spent a great deal of his time promoting Naha-te. And as already mentioned he demonstrated before Hirohito in 1921.
    Miyagi was also instrumental in creating a Karate Research Club (together with Motobu and Mabuni) in 1926.
    In 1930 and 1932 he demonstrated in Japan (after an invitation of Kano who had seen him in Okinawa). Later he would go to Hawai.

    And for the real reasons behind the Group gathered around Funakoshi: who will tell, there are no people around who can recall what the motives where, so we can only speculate.
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
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  7. #22
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    I just don't think the time frames really allowed the two branches to do alot of group work at the time in question. Higaonna taught in schools since 1905, but always maintained a strict adherence to what he had learned in China. In fact, before studying in China Kanryo studied Shuri-Te. The same thing with Kanbun Uechi when he started teaching, it was the same method he learned in China and it reflected a more chinese art. Most of the Shuri based styles seem to have taken what they learned and made it their own and has a longer history on Okinawa.

    In Funakoshi's book, he makes the statement that Shuri is made for smaller people and Naha is made for larger people. So, there were some stylistic differences between the two schools. So it wouldn't surprise me that our stuff is better than your stuff type thing going on. But also, most of the time you are going to hang out with those you know and it wasn't until the 1940's that Miyagi and Shoshin came together to create some "generic" kata to be taught in the school systems and try to make a united karate.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

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    Kevin,

    Would the Miyagi/Nagamini system be the forerunner of Shito-ryu or was it more of an introduction to karate for students that did necessarily not develop into it's own lineage?

  9. #24
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    Of course, Funakoshi was also involved in organizations whose goal was to push Okinawa "closer" to mainland Japan (remember the whole topknot issue?). It seems pretty likely that if some of Funakoshi's political contacts were successful in getting royal visits to Okinawa, then Funakoshi and his karate associates would be the ones to demonstrate.
    I'll have to check my local library again. I was flipping through a photographic history of Okinawa, and there was a shot of Funakoshi along with several other people, none of them famous in the karate world - I believe it was one of those political organizations I mentioned in the first paragraph.
    Andrew Smallacombe

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  10. #25
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    Scratch that last question. I found a reasonable and thorough explanation here: http://seinenkai.com/articles/art-fukyu.html

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Kevin,

    Would the Miyagi/Nagamini system be the forerunner of Shito-ryu or was it more of an introduction to karate for students that did necessarily not develop into it's own lineage?
    I believe it was more for introduction to karate for students and having a "set curriculum" type thing that they would learn that was kind of a non-style bias.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin73 View Post
    I just don't think the time frames really allowed the two branches to do alot of group work at the time in question. Higaonna taught in schools since 1905, but always maintained a strict adherence to what he had learned in China. In fact, before studying in China Kanryo studied Shuri-Te. The same thing with Kanbun Uechi when he started teaching, it was the same method he learned in China and it reflected a more chinese art. Most of the Shuri based styles seem to have taken what they learned and made it their own and has a longer history on Okinawa.

    In Funakoshi's book, he makes the statement that Shuri is made for smaller people and Naha is made for larger people. So, there were some stylistic differences between the two schools. So it wouldn't surprise me that our stuff is better than your stuff type thing going on. But also, most of the time you are going to hang out with those you know and it wasn't until the 1940's that Miyagi and Shoshin came together to create some "generic" kata to be taught in the school systems and try to make a united karate.
    Exactly what was this method Higaoshionna learned in China?
    Ed Boyd

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Exactly what was this method Higaoshionna learned in China?
    Both Kanbun Uechi and Kanryo Higaonna taught what they learned in China hard/soft or half-hard/half-soft and the methods were VERY similar until the breathing patterns and hands were closed to fists (some people say that Miyagi made the changes, others say that Higashionna made the changes).

    He learned it in Fuzhou China at the Kojo Dojo, and many believe that it was Fujian White Crane. Higashionna also had training in Monk fist boxing.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

  14. #29
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    I don't know. People who read a lot of books and internet stuff say that stuff a lot.

    I seen a lot of Fukien boxing and A LOT of White Crane and it doesn't look anything like Goju Ryu. I am inclined to take Miyagi Sendai at his word when he wrote the Historical Outline of Karate-Do. (Brought to Okinawa in 1828).

    Something I always found curious was students of Aragaki Shoshin did a demo at a ceremony celebrating the installment of the last Ryukyu King. Higoshionna was a student of Aragaki. This is before Higaoshionna went to China. The names of the kata performed at the demo match names of Goju kata.

    I never understood why a man would go to China during that time and work hard to learn martial arts only to change it completely out of recognition.

    The only way you will Goju in China is if a Goju man took it there. But that is just me.



    Ed Boyd
    Last edited by CEB; 19th September 2013 at 19:55. Reason: Added date I was sure about. Needed to look it up

  15. #30
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    The Chinese connection has always seemed less important to me than some make of it, even if you find the same kata, usually it's not only changed beyond recognition, but the entire method of Nahate, locomotion, striking etc. seems fundamentally different than white crane etc. People like super-secret links and mysterious stuff though.
    Zachariah Zinn

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