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Thread: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

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    differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Anyone care to explain? I know Shotokan is more linear. I think....haha

    I'm interested in taking some karate lessons. I've been in traditional taekwondo for about 13 years(complete with joint locks, takedowns and all that fun stuff). I know some basic grappling, and have some experience in a mix of Tai Chi/Wushu/Aikido from my instructor and a lot of yang tai chi homestudy. So if there is a karate style that combines better with the above, please let me know. I know there is a shotokan and isshin ryu close by, and I THINK a shorin ryu within a reasonable distance. So what are your suggestions?

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    Victor Smith is offline
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    There is no fair way to characterize how a school in a specific style can be run. Yes systems such as Shotokan, Isshinryu and various Shorin Ryu groups have general differences in their technique execution, kata, and others.

    But any style can be studied in infinite different ways. Take Shotokan, there are strong generic descriptions of its potential, but I studied for 10 years with an instructor whose father trained in Japan in the 1930's and his Shotokan potential and practice do not match any of those generic descriptions.

    You have to observe the school, see how the instructor presents their material, talk to actual students after class time and get a feel how they enjoy their studies, and then get down to tacks.

    Your previous experience, while useful, will not make it easier to learn a new system, because any of them are structured differently from what you have studied. The imprint of your studies on your nervous system will make it a constant fight to move into any new system, and if you don't really work the new one and believe in its depth you will not make the requisite progress to get into advanced studies.

    Changing systems is far more work than many understand. I have always accepted those from outside, but the truth is they are a lot more work, and it never ends, trying to overcome their earlier training attributes, that conflict with their current ones.

    I wish there were simple answers to your question. You would have to provide a lot more detail about the programs, location, and other details in order to get a better answer, IMVHO.
    Victor Smith
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    There is no fair way to characterize how a school in a specific style can be run. Yes systems such as Shotokan, Isshinryu and various Shorin Ryu groups have general differences in their technique execution, kata, and others.

    But any style can be studied in infinite different ways. Take Shotokan, there are strong generic descriptions of its potential, but I studied for 10 years with an instructor whose father trained in Japan in the 1930's and his Shotokan potential and practice do not match any of those generic descriptions.

    You have to observe the school, see how the instructor presents their material, talk to actual students after class time and get a feel how they enjoy their studies, and then get down to tacks.

    Your previous experience, while useful, will not make it easier to learn a new system, because any of them are structured differently from what you have studied. The imprint of your studies on your nervous system will make it a constant fight to move into any new system, and if you don't really work the new one and believe in its depth you will not make the requisite progress to get into advanced studies.

    Changing systems is far more work than many understand. I have always accepted those from outside, but the truth is they are a lot more work, and it never ends, trying to overcome their earlier training attributes, that conflict with their current ones.

    I wish there were simple answers to your question. You would have to provide a lot more detail about the programs, location, and other details in order to get a better answer, IMVHO.
    Victor, this is a very interesting and suggestive reply to the OP. I wonder if you could maybe elaborate a little bit on what you've said with some concrete examples of people's ingrained reactions from other systems that conflict with what you're trying to teach them.

    I also notice that you have had personal experience with a good variety of MAs, over a very long period, which suggests to me that you've worked out a way to overcome the problem posed by these ingrained responses. Do you have any advice on how to minimize that problem, based on your own training career?

    I think any light you can shed on these questions might be helpful to bigfootsquatch and anyone else in the same situation he's in.
    Another of the original Four HEROIC Cynical Curmudgeons!

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    Victor Smith is offline
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Hi Exile,

    Glad to make your acquaintence.

    When I teach my Isshinryu, I have my students working towards a specific movement dynamics in their practice that I've developed. I don't spend much time cataloguing what others are doing, perhaps it is similar or perhaps it is different from others in Isshinyu. But step by step our training builds for a specific movement intent that then is layered into our application studies.

    I've had students with 10+ yeras in other arts choose to join our program, because they found what we do of interest. From other Isshinryu, from Goju Ryu, from Uechi Ryu and from combination studies in various arts.

    Even with their desire to 'do it our way', the previous training which becomes overlaid on one's nervous system, keeps cropping up. And even after 15 years they can't break those first habits, they still wnat to do what we do by their previous standards.

    I oppose that with those who have only trained with me. They take far less work in the long run, to fine tune their arts, because they don't have to overlay their abilities.

    BTW, of the various individuals I've trained, I've found those with previous Uechi backgrounds make the cleanest tradition.

    How can one get beyond that? It's not easy but you have to try and treat each new practice as something to be learned perfectly anew. That is harder to do than it sounds.

    We all like to keep things comfortable. So stances shift, or style of moving changes to the first answers.

    On the other end let me relate a very sad tale, one of my former students who died 5 years ago of a very disabling very rare genetic disorder. He essentially lost all ability to control himself. If he stood he might pitch over on his face at any time. He couldn't pick up a glass of milk without spilling it. He trained with me about 12 years in Isshinryu and tai chi.

    His condition was so rare almost the entire Boston MD establishment and the Mayo Clinic were trying to understand his problem. But as he lost normal motor control, with ongoing disfunctionality, he retained the ability to execute his tai chi technique unlike the rest of his abilities (and this is only within the general framework of his body). The Doctor's could not believe someone in his condition could execute tai chi (though he had to stand).

    I came to realize that his tai chi was using his nervous system differently from the way his normal movement was used. So his condition attacked his normal movement, but not the tai chi neural pathways.

    No my opinion isn't scientific, just one experienced.

    But I think this explains the difficulty those with outside training will experience too.

    So one works, chips away, and keeps trying.
    Victor Smith
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    derry, nh, usa

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    Thumbs up Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    Hi Exile,

    Glad to make your acquaintence.

    When I teach my Isshinryu, I have my students working towards a specific movement dynamics in their practice that I've developed. I don't spend much time cataloguing what others are doing, perhaps it is similar or perhaps it is different from others in Isshinyu. But step by step our training builds for a specific movement intent that then is layered into our application studies.
    Right, small differences in movement could have major impact on how kata subsequences or invididual techs are applied.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    I've had students with 10+ yeras in other arts choose to join our program, because they found what we do of interest. From other Isshinryu, from Goju Ryu, from Uechi Ryu and from combination studies in various arts.

    Even with their desire to 'do it our way', the previous training which becomes overlaid on one's nervous system, keeps cropping up. And even after 15 years they can't break those first habits, they still wnat to do what we do by their previous standards.
    By then, I imagine, the movement habits are so ingrained in muscle memory that they don't actually realize what it is they do when they move, so it would be difficult to identify just what it is that needs adjustment. You can't change what you aren't aware of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    I oppose that with those who have only trained with me. They take far less work in the long run, to fine tune their arts, because they don't have to overlay their abilities.
    Sure, they're building the circuit from scratch so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    BTW, of the various individuals I've trained, I've found those with previous Uechi backgrounds make the cleanest tradition.

    How can one get beyond that? It's not easy but you have to try and treat each new practice as something to be learned perfectly anew. That is harder to do than it sounds.

    We all like to keep things comfortable. So stances shift, or style of moving changes to the first answers.
    Absolutely, just because of the deeply subliminal nature of the movements by that point. You revert to what seems like an equilibrium position, so to speak. If people could get themselves recorded on a camcorder, it might be easier for them to see just what it is they're doing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Smith View Post
    On the other end let me relate a very sad tale, one of my former students who died 5 years ago of a very disabling very rare genetic disorder. He essentially lost all ability to control himself. If he stood he might pitch over on his face at any time. He couldn't pick up a glass of milk without spilling it. He trained with me about 12 years in Isshinryu and tai chi.

    His condition was so rare almost the entire Boston MD establishment and the Mayo Clinic were trying to understand his problem. But as he lost normal motor control, with ongoing disfunctionality, he retained the ability to execute his tai chi technique unlike the rest of his abilities (and this is only within the general framework of his body). The Doctor's could not believe someone in his condition could execute tai chi (though he had to stand).

    I came to realize that his tai chi was using his nervous system differently from the way his normal movement was used. So his condition attacked his normal movement, but not the tai chi neural pathways.

    No my opinion isn't scientific, just one experienced.

    But I think this explains the difficulty those with outside training will experience too.

    So one works, chips away, and keeps trying.
    Very, very sad. I think you're right, it does point very possibly to a different level at which muscular learning takes place in these MAs. And the last thing you say is probably the best one can do: gradual replacement of the older pattern by deprogramming and reeducating the neuromuscular responses in the learner. It took a long time for the older patterns to become automatic, so unlearning them and relearning the correct ones to the same degree of automaticity is going to take a long time as well...

    Very interesting, thanks for the amplification, Victor!
    Another of the original Four HEROIC Cynical Curmudgeons!

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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    As far as a style to "go along with" or compliment what you already have...I'm assuming you'd want something unlike the art you study currently. Since most Korean styles are derived from shotokanesque lineage, I would rule that one out.
    Isshin ryu looks good to give you better range, as Korean froms focus mainly on long rang. Isshin ryu is very solid in short and mid range attack and defense.
    However, I don't encourage what I call "style shopping". You have to find a good instructor. THAT is priority #1.

    On a side note...I came here to escape Victor Smith. Now I have to read him in this forum too? Crap.
    Calling yourself "Master" implies that you have slaves...

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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Hi to you too Boomer,

    Perhaps I can help you adjust a few neural pathways too <GRIN> the next time I get down to your area.
    Victor Smith
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    derry, nh, usa

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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Wado-Ryu might be worth checking out. Not my style but I've heard it's very much about yin/yang balance and fluidity of energy. Could be nicely supplemental. Generally the stances are shorter than shotokan. I had a freind who's father taught wado-ryu and he tried to explain it to me.
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    Mushi Mushi Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Smith Sensei:

    I look forward to your input in the forums now. I have read your articles and posts on other sites and found them very informative.

    In the spirit of bushido!

    Rob
    "Everybodys karate is number 1"

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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Shotokan should look very familiar to a TKD player. Long and linear, powerful, relatively deep stances, striking-oriented.

    Isshin is at the other end in some ways--close and compact, slightly more rounded, higher stances, a little more joint work.

    Shorin tends to be more fluid and circular--more reminscent of its kung fu influences. A mix of stances and more open-hand (vice closed fist) techniques than the other two. Often it has a greater variety of weapons.

    I have the most experience with Isshin, which I liked, but some experience with all three. Shotokan will be so much like your TKD that I wonder if you'll gain much from adding it. Isshin is idiosyncratic and may be too different--vertical punch, square, high stance, etc. You might try Shorin--close enough to not conflict, different enough to give you some benefit from studying it.

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    exile's Avatar
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Quote Originally Posted by arnisador View Post
    Shotokan should look very familiar to a TKD player. Long and linear, powerful, relatively deep stances, striking-oriented...Shotokan will be so much like your TKD that I wonder if you'll gain much from adding it. Isshin is idiosyncratic and may be too different--vertical punch, square, high stance, etc. You might try Shorin--close enough to not conflict, different enough to give you some benefit from studying it.
    This makes sense to me. There are dojangs where TKD is really taught pretty much as, literally, Korean Shotokan (my own TKD lineage, Song Moo Kwan, has a web site for one of its descendent schools containing the following comment, which illustrates arnisador's point to a T: `...many refer to [SMK TKD] as "Korean Shotokan"'. George Anderson's website home page observes that

    In the late sixties, Il Joo Kim changed affiliations to coordinate with his friend and newly arrived "brother," Tong Choo Choi, who was affiliated
    with the Song Moo Kwan (Korean Shotokan), whose founder, Ro Byung Jick, was a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi...


    (http://www.lacancha.com/georgeanderson.html)

    And while SMK is probably the most upfront about its origins as a Korean development of Shotokan, there are other dojangs I've heard of which also base their curriculum on the Shotokan origins of TKD). So as Arnisador says, it's hard to see just what the advantage of getting `more of the same' would be. Shorin on the other hand sounds like it genuinely complements TKD. The use of locks and controlling moves is going to be emphasized a lot more, I'd think—the tuite aspect of Okinawan karate that got seriously watered down in the Japanese styles—and could be very helpful in exploring really effective applications of the TKD hyung, many of which are based on recombinations of elements from Shotokan kata and encode moves which involve such tuite elements.
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    So as Arnisador says, it's hard to see just what the advantage of getting `more of the same' would be. Shorin on the other hand sounds like it genuinely complements TKD.
    very good observation. I don't see any reason to study a different art that is very similar to one you already study, unless you simply feel the teacher is better and you otherwise like the method. The only reason to study a second (or third, or fourth) art is to do something different.
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    Re: differences between shotokan, isshin ryu, and shorin ryu

    I would sugest one of the shorin ryu styles such as shobayashi or mastsubayashi or kobayashi. they are both circuler and liner and hard and soft in techniques and movements. isshin ryu is similer in meany ways after all tatsu shimubukuro was a student of master Kyan. either will work well i would think,and shorin ryu styles work medium and close range as does isshin ryu in preference to the longer range that tkd and meany shotokan practioners prefer.

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