Kendo: the shift in Karate mentality and competition

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Hotora86, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    Didn't know that jiu jitsu is a Brazilian word.

    Didn't know that Brazilians traditionally wore gi.

    Didn't know that osu was a Brazilian word.

    Didn't know that a lot of BJJ techniques were invented in Brazil. I always was under the impression that the bulk of these techniques came from Japan.


    [​IMG]



    The rest of your mumbo jumbo I can't even....

    [​IMG]


    You need to super-punch yourself in the crotch.
     
  2. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    We have tonnes of fables as well in Indian culture - but damn I know a lot of it is BS though - at least now. Before that I was gullible as fuck. So I can see where the Japanese martial arts stories get spread - I just thought when you're an adult you might have more critical reasoning lol.



    The JKA did change a lot of the stuff to long range. But it wasn't Gichin Funakoshi. It was his son Gigo Funakoshi - that instituted most of the major changes in Shotokan from what I've read. Gichin Funakoshi's Karate rarely had kicks above the waist - there also weren't really any foot sweeps either - it was much more basic & self defense orientated.

    I know that Gigo Funakoshi introduced high kicks & more kicks above the waist to shotokan. He also introduced foot sweeps from Judo. He adapted many of the stances so that they'd be more suitable to long range fighting. Apparently he did this because he was heavily influenced by his Kendo instructor & the philosophy of fighting long. I remember reading that he streamlined many of the stances & techniques in line with the body mechanics of Kendo - like for example changes that resulted in better body mechanics & quicker/crisper techniques. I think many of these changes were done to make the style more competition orientated or sports orientated - the way for example Judo developed to allow lifestyle & sport. I think Gigo Funakoshi tried to do the same with shotokan - and make it more suitable to sports competition (long range fighting is ideal for Kendo like karate competitions).

    Apparently descriptions of the time also illustrate that Gigo Funakoshi sparred from long range, would use oi tsuki/gyaku tsuki, foot sweeps, basic throws & versatile kicks. So it sounds like he was the precursor to JKA - and a lot of JKA instructors credit him for being the who modernized it.

    If you want to see want Gigo Funakoshi actually changed - I recommend you read Karate Do Kyohan. I heard that Gigo Funakoshi was instrumental in authoring that book.
     
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  3. superpunch

    superpunch Silver Belt

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    If Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is something the Japanese do then where are all the great Japanese submission grapplers? They don't exist. There is no great Japanese grappling martial art. Judo maybe used to be one but today it's made for TV.

    Japan maybe used to have effective martial arts. They don't anymore. Their judo turned into TV entertainment. Their karate turned into limited contact. They stopped fighting and then they forgot how to fight.
     
  4. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    There's a real concrete explanation by Iain Abernethy about why Funakoshi didn't really teach Bunkai - that is supported by Funakoshi's own words.

    https://iainabernethy.co.uk/comment/12071#comment-12071

    I think it's logical to assume the shift towards competition & free sparring also resulted in an equal but opposite shift away from kata & their applications. Funakoshi like Abernethy also said - says directly that the Karate he studied is very different to the Karate being practiced then but he acknowledged that martial arts will change with time - and he accepted it. It may also explain why there was no effort on his part in trying to expand on bunkai.

    It's a bit like how Kyokushin changed from an art focused only on self defence to an art of knockdown karate. We have a living example of what Iain Abernethy is describing. A lot of the bunkai explanations in Kyokushin, Shotokan, Goju have been coming from Okinawan Karate - where it looks like they did a better job preserving some bunkai applications.


    I think kata is a very excellent transmitter of knowledge. Even now that bunkai wasn't really passed down as well - we're figuring out what they were precisely because we have the kata as a reference. Imagine if we had to rely on an old book or heresay....Sure there are a lot of shitty applications - but they'll get pooped out if they don't work in kumite. Kata is perfectly fine - what was a very bad transmitter of knowledge/skill were people but you have to remember - they were in the midst of great change where socially, politically & even martial arts themselves were undergoing huge changes as the environment started to change.

    I think in an environment where there are multiple great economic depressions, two world wars, great political/technological changes, lots of social upheaval and an exponential increase towards modernization - it's normal for things to be lost in translation during the process especially when the change didn't exclude martial arts - jujitsu being turned to Judo, Kenjutsu to Kendo etc etc.
     
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  5. ShadowoftheSun

    ShadowoftheSun Yellow Belt

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    The Kodokan still does Judo the way they always did. It wasn't the Japanese that turned it into the more TV oriented art that it is now - that was the IJF. Further, judo can be applied very successfully in MMA, but there's a grace period where you have to adjust to the lack of a gi - Khabib, Fedor, Karo, etc.

    Talking about "karate" as a monolithic whole is also incorrect. Some schools might have watered things down, but Kyokushin and arts influenced by it are still very "fighting" oriented and can be adapted to MMA and the like without too much difficulty.
     
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  6. superpunch

    superpunch Silver Belt

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    Is that the karate that people talk up as brutal and crazy that doesn't even allow punches to the head?
     
  7. ShadowoftheSun

    ShadowoftheSun Yellow Belt

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    Sure, but their reasons for doing so aren't illogical (aka: the students kept breaking their hands and had to take time off competition), and there are Kyokushin based styles that do allow punches to the head as well.

    Every martial art that involves any form of competition is informed by the rules of their competition. Complaining about Kyokushin lacking punches to the head is like complaining that boxing doesn't have kicks or that Muay Thai doesn't have headbutts.
     
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  8. shincheckin

    shincheckin Brown Belt

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    you obviously know nothing about kyokushin. Go have a kyokushin fight and get back to me on how "weak" it is. make sure to record it! Bas and Duane are both kyokushinkais as well. Oss



     
  9. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    Come on guys, it's a troll... don't feed him.

    EDIT: Looks like I'm way late. :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  10. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    OK, while we're at it, I might as well post a few quotes.

    Two-weight-class UFC champ George St-Pierre has been very vocal about his love for Karate:

    BB: Has karate affected your personal growth and discipline?

    St. Pierre
    : I’m very happy that I learned karate when I was young. A lot of people told me that it’s useless in fighting, but they’re wrong. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t be at this level today. Karate made me a lot stronger, and it made me flexible and athletic like I am right now. When I’m fighting, I’m not doing kata, but I use a lot of kicks and techniques that I learned from kyokushin.


    (http://forum.mmajunkie.com/forum/threads/gsp-and-the-karate-spirit.33343/)

    And so has MW UFC champ Robert Whittaker:

    What aspect from your traditional martial arts training has helped you most in the cage?

    In the Goju-ryu karate I was doing, we focused a lot on ‘blitzing’ the opponent, using a lot of in-and-out type attacks, and skirmish-style tactics. I’ve managed to incorporate this into Mixed Martial Arts and I think I do it pretty well.

    Karate has made me really light on my feet; my kicks are a lot more powerful and accurate as well. However, I think the biggest thing I took out of karate was discipline. They really drilled that into us. I think it’s made me more disciplined in terms of my training, and outside of the cage as well.

    (...)

    As far as my style goes, I like to think of it as a dirty hybrid of karate, boxing and kickboxing. I think 90 per cent of the fight is mental, and I think in the fights I’ve won I’ve been better in that aspect. My striking is really unorthodox; it’s defensive as well as offensive. It also helps that I hit heavy as well. I would have to say that karate is definitely the foundation of all aspects of my striking game.


    (https://www.blitzmag.net/people/bjj-mma/501-robert-whittaker-karate-is-the-foundation-of-my-striking)

    And as you all know (but @superpunch apparently doesn't) there's *at least* 144 MMA fighters who have taken the time and put in the effort to earn a black belt in Karate - all listed in this thread:
    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/karate-blackbelts-in-mma.3256127/

    And yes, of course they cross-trained. It's MMA, duh.
     
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  11. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    All of this sounds like it makes sense but... why even keep "old" kata if you're not gonna keep the "old" bunkai? Assuming I take the stance "my martial art is changing and that's normal, I can't do anything about it" - then why *keep* the old, unexplained, enigmatic element (kata) in there? So we're changing from short-range to long range - why not drop the short-range kata? Why not create NEW long-range kata with long-range bunkai?

    The way it was done has lead to this mess that we have today, with JKA instructors reportedly "making stuff up" where they didn't know the bunkai, with kicks from a mile away that you're supposed to "block" by stepping *in* wirth gedan barai (instead of stepping back, away, to the side), with bunkai being demonstrated with 4 or more attackers coming from different directions!

    "The meaning of the directions in kata is not well understood, and frequently mistakes are made in the interpretation of kata movements. In extreme cases, it is sometimes heard that "this kata moves in 8 directions so it is designed for fighting 8 opponents" or some such nonsense." - Kenwa Mabuni
    http://seinenkai.com/articles/swift/swift-tidbits1.html

    And so we praise Iain Abernethy for finding these bits of wisdom and re-creating the proper kata applications. But at a time when, as you mention, print was available and a demand for Karate books emerged - why not include proper bunkai in the books? Even "for reference", while the "new" long-range style is formed?
     
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  12. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    I think it's probably because they act as a point of reference for techniques and plus outside of the bunkai - kata are good at introducing techniques & help practitioners get a feel for certain techniques. For example the taikyoku kata's do a great job of introducing stance in combination with technique - it helps build the connection or at the very least helps reinforce it - so you get a feel for example of throwing gyaku tsuki in zenkutsu dachi. I think that's applicable to all kata.

    I think the biggest reason why the old kata were left - imo (I stress) - is probably so that the old bunkai applications don't get completely removed from the art and that there is a reference there if it's ever needed (a bit like the way Kenwa Mabuni - made his kata a reference for the different styles/forms he discovered - even the one's that weren't a part of shorin ryu). I think the focus back in Funakoshi's day had shifted from kata to competition - not necessarily the absolute removal of the old bunkai. Just a shift from one aspect to another. A bit similar to the shift that all the martial arts in Japan went through in the same period.


    But there are a lot of short range techniques in Shotokan - like some of throws that you have to be in short range to apply. Removing all the short range kata makes the art itself fundamentally incomplete.

    To reiterate again - I don't think anyone wanted to remove the old kata or bunkai. There was just a shift of focus during Funakoshi's time - where karateka were more interested in free sparring & competition than kata & their bunkai applications. I think with that shift - a lot of practitioners neglected the bunkai to the point that when asked about it much later - they made stuff up. I think also that it's probably a myriad of other factors as well; a lot of Funakoshi's students and karateka in Okinawa died during the second world war. After the war Japan was very impoverished - that combined with the outlawing of martial arts meant that many weren't training during those times.

    I saw a video of An'ichi Miyagi talking about those years (even though it was on Okinawa & with Chojun Miyagi - it a was pretty damning video on nearly all the goju ryu instructors - and tbh I think Anichi was telling the truth) - he said in that video that after the world wars - he was the only student of Miyagi for many years and that nearly all the senior students had stopped coming to train (along with some of the most senior students passing away during the second world war & after). If that was happening with the founder of Goju ryu - I'd assume it something similar was happening with Funakoshi.


    The reason for this mess is because of the focus on the competition format and the nature of the competition itself. The instructors only have themselves to blame - it would have been better if they had been honest and said we don't know.

    In regards to why bunkai wasn't included in some karate books at the very least. I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine. I agree they should have at least had a reference.

    We do definitely know there was bunkai though because Funakoshi demonstrated kata & applications for Jigoro Kano.
     
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  13. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    Browsing on Karate sites I have found this gem that adds to our discussion. The post itself is about WKF dropping Shitei Kata but the center piece is a 1982 letter from the Okinawa Karate Federation to the JKF about the *shape* of the kata, which they find unsatisfactory.

    http://www.karatebyjesse.com/wkf-shitei-kata-removed-nagamine-jkf-bonus/

    So there was will from the Okinawan side to help maintain the true shape (and meaning) of kata. No such will from the JKF, which only needed kata to "look nice" in competition?
     
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  14. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    Damn - that's very interesting. I didn't know any of that.

    It's very weird though that they kept with the Shitei kata for soo long. Well it's probably for political & financial reasons. It's mind boggling though that they basically excluded Okinawan Karate styles from competing in the kata tournaments by making sure none of their kata were in the Shitei Kata list (even though all the kata in the shitei list originate from Okinawa & Okinawan karate).

    I can understand the anger & frustration of the Okinawan Karate Federation. It's basically like someone taking part of your culture, history and tradition > taking complete control of it (financially, politically & whatever direction it goes in) > while excluding you from all aspects of it. I hate the word cultural appropriation (most things that people say are - aren't) but that's a classic example of it.


    Man - the biggest gem from that was the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. I had no idea about that at all - that's something pretty damn significant to this thread. Thanks for that link - had no idea about it at all.

    That explains a lot about how Karate evolved when it spread to Japan. In order to get it recognized by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai - I'm guessing they had to modify karate so that it was acceptable. That could probably explain a lot - and why Funakoshi might not have made reference to bunkai in any books. That might also explain why Karate shifted to competition from kata during the period & on the build up to the second world war - as well as any changes that it might have undergone to get accepted by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai including the adoption of competition, karate gi, belts etc.

    I've had a good look - there's very little information on the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. I'd love to know more about it.
     
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  15. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    I guess a good way to start is Wikipedia and their website. Barely any mention of Karate tho...
    <{fry}>

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dai_Nippon_Butoku_Kai

    http://www.dnbk.org
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
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  16. ARIZE

    ARIZE Blue Belt

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    If you guys are interested in other martial arts history, evolution, splits, betrayals etc... but in the more "modern" era, taekwon-do has a fun past to read about. It goes along with a nation divided in 2, with an approach from one side to make it more appealing to the masses, and more of a sport (Olympic WTF), vs a side who tries to keep it more of a martial art the way it was intended by his creator (ITF).
    One book I know talking about it is: A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do.
    I don't know how biased it is, but it was an interesting read...

    You can continue your (interesting but nerdy) discussion.
     
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  17. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    Thanks man, I would totally be into reading a thread about TKD's history - why not make a thread about it? Unleash your inner nerd! :D
     
  18. BudoNoah

    BudoNoah Orange Belt

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    An interesting thread, indeed, and it's pretty neat to see that one of my articles is in the OP--thanks for that!

    In talking with Iain, that is exactly what he does. The scripted responses to attacks are the starting point, and the drills give you options to work with as you start adding resistance and a more active attacker. We do the same thing--start with static drills, move on to more dynamic drills, move onto sequential drills that adjust for failure, add resistance, etc., until you reach a sparring method that fits the context of kata applications more appropriately. There are lots of different ways to spar, and they all have pros and cons, but there are some that definitely fit the kata better than others. I'm partial to kakedameshi, myself, as well as more MMA-style sparring.
     
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  19. Hotora86

    Hotora86 Movember Belt

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    Noah Legel is on Sherdog? And he likes my thread??
    *STARSTRUCK*
    <YayKpop>
     
  20. BudoNoah

    BudoNoah Orange Belt

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    Somebody knows who I am on Sherdog!? *GASP*
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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