Contributions to Karate.

Discussion in 'Karate' started by arnisador, Jan 28, 2002.

  1. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yet another thing I've heard said that I'd like to hear others' opinions on is this: Okinawan karate is about 40% traditional Okinawan martial arts, 40% southern Chinese kung fu, and 20% other influences (Japanese because of the obvious reasons and Indonesian, Filipino, etc. due to the seafaring nature of the Ryukyuans).

    I can see where each 40% is represented in Okinawan karate--I might say more than 40% is Chinese in origin, myself--but I can't think of a technique or exercise I'd associate with something Indonesian, Indochinese, Thai, etc.; I'm also not sure any of the grappling techniques are clearly Japanese in origin (from jujitsu). For Japanese karate I could see it of course (e.g. Wado-ryu). Can anyone suggest what might have come from a non-Chinese source?
     
  2. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Senior Master

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    Well, Okinawan karate and FMA both use the sai (tjbang...that's an ODD word) and nunchaku (tabok-tayok...or is it tayok-tabok...bah). However, I don't think there are common techniques, as in forms. There will be common techniques from plain ol' common sense, though.

    Maybe some base-destabilizing movments from sikaran? These could also come from chi gerk like exercises, though.

    Hell, I've got no bloody clue. Someone get hold of Patrick McCarthy and ask him :)

    Cthulhu
     
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, convergent evolution because they developed similar farm implements and somewhat similar techniques for using them due to the geometry of the weapon.
     
  4. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Senior Master

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    Except nowadays, the sai is not considered to have originally been a farming implement. Over the years, I've heard two origins of the sai as a farm implement:

    1) Pitchfork like tool. Nope. Hay isn't grown on Okinawa like it is in the West and rice is usually harvested by hand.

    2) Retaining pin for wagon wheels. Nope. Why waste such a precious resource (metal) on a mere wheel when a wooden retaining pin would work just as well and probably even stay in place better than a metal pin?

    I tend to believe that the sai has always been a weapon on Okinawa that was introduced by the Chinese and/or a Southeast Asian nation. Perhaps there, it was originally a farming implement, but I doubt it ever was on Okinawa.

    For the nunchaku, I've also heard two uses as farming tools:

    1) Flail used somehow in harvesting grain. I kind of don't see how this would be useful. I don't have intimate knowledge of rice harvesting in Okinawa, but I see no reason to beat the grain.

    2) Control tool for farm animals. The wood is placed on either side of the animal's muzzle and squeezed, just like applying a choke with the nunchaku on a person. The animal is then led around in this manner. I found this one very interesting. Have seen no other mention of this theory, however.

    Cthulhu
     
  5. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm prepared to agree on the sai--the notion that it was meant to be a weapon seems more plausible than the notion that it was meant to be an implement. The nunchaku is so versatile I can see it being meant to herd animals--more likely by lightly hitting them with a swing than using a chokehold--or as a weapon. I know some people like to jog with them to use to drive away dogs.

    As an aside, I have always found some of the creative grappling nunchaku techniques in the martial arts to be, well, just that--creative but unlikely to be applied as opposed to swinging. At short range I think I'd rather double it up and use it as though it was a (single) club.
     
  6. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Senior Master

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    The grip I described was similar to a chokehold, but it wasn't a choke, since it was done on the animal's muzzle. More of a pain compliance type thing.

    I think nunchaku grappling is fairly unrealistic, myself. Another one of those 'only in ideal situations' issues. I like practicing with nunchaku, but I wouldn't jog/carry them. I have an ASP baton that would work so much better :)

    Cthulhu

    PS - not that I'd want to hit a dog. I love dogs. I'd hit the dog's owner, first.
     
  7. Martin h

    Martin h Green Belt

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    A note on sai origins.
    I have often heard a theory that it was originaly the detatched head of tridents used in fishing.
    Now this makes some sense, exept that I dont know if tridents are used much in asia, and that I dont know why anyone would detatch the head of a perfectly good trident/spear to use as a... well..sai.
    The latter _might_ however be explained by the fabled and much overhyped weapon restiction on okinawa.
     
  8. Chiduce

    Chiduce Guest

    From my understanding the Hakutsuru or White Crane System Kata of okinawan karate or Shorin Ryu in particular contains elements of the Shaolin system of Chinese Kenpo. Since the temple housed monks from other countries and trained international exchange students, it would be safe to assume that senior students and monks of other origins which were assigned teaching positions at the temple added their respective individual approaches in teaching okinawan students, philosophy, concepts & methods of empty hand and weapons form applications. This could also shed some light on the grappling within the okinawan system because the Shaolin White Crane Chinese Kenpo System stressed heavily the application of Chin Na seizing. Just as Da Mo introduced the Yi Jin Jing and Sui Jin Jing execise concepts, methods and applications to the weary temple monks. I would like to experience other's insight here also! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce
     
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    People are always interested in the Hakutsuru (White Crane) system. It's treated as the Sinanju of Okinawna Karate by some people!
     
  10. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    Where to start? If you look at the Ha Say Fu branch of Hung Gar you will notice that they have a weapon called the Gin. It is the predecessor of the Sai. It has never been used as a farming implement, it has always been a weapon. The nunchaku started out as a bridle and bit for herd animals. If caught in a pinch the farmer could use it as a bludgeon. The influence of non-Chinese MA's to the Okinawan MA's depends on the exposure of the masters of old. Most likely the reasoning for this is that some Okinawan styles teach the use of double stick, low kicks, and other techniques that are not style specific.

    The fascination with the White Crane system is due to the Southern Chinese influence on Okinawan MA's. Since the Ryukyu Islands are so close to S.C. it is only logical that they would share martial knowledge. The influence fro the Japanese is from their occupation of the Ryukyu Islands by the Satsuma Samurai clan. I would guess that the Okinawans familiarized themselves with the technique sof the Japanese and added the ones they thought useful to each style.

    Influence comes from all directions. Thank you for letting me ramble.
     
  11. Shorin Ryuu

    Shorin Ryuu Orange Belt

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    I have seen this explanation in various places. If you look at a lot of the "older" nunchaku, they much more represent horse bridles than anything else. I have seen excellent and practical nunchaku grappling...only much of the time it isn't held in the exact same way as most people hold them.


    As far as the sai being tridents...there is the nuntebo, which looks like a manji sai (one tine up, one tine down) on the end of a bo. Useful for fisherman and other people who employed boats all over Okinawa. But it isn't the source of the sai...I strongly believe it was always a weapon on Okinawa imported from China.

    I think the Japanese influence on Okinawan arts was far more recent. It had much more to do with the early decades of the 1900s as the Okinawans tried to gain acceptance on the mainland or tried to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the Butokukai. Certainly there was some japanese influence because of the Satsuma presence, but I don't think it was as prevalent in their martial arts.
     
  12. jujutsu_indonesia

    jujutsu_indonesia Black Belt

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    From what I know as an Indonesian, the many styles of Kuntao in Indonesia came from South China. These Kuntao styles would later influence many Silat styles which came later. Knowing that many styles of Okinawan Karate were also influenced by the South China styles, I am sure the similarities between Kuntao-South China styles and Okinawan Karate are simply a result of similar parentage.
     
  13. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    Older sai and nunchaku do not look like they could have ever been anything but weapons. Older sais are forked tuncheons and spikes, pure and simple -- some with weaighted striking tips. Older nuchaku look more like European flails.

    See: http://museum.hikari.us/weapons/index.html
     
  14. eyebeams

    eyebeams Purple Belt

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    Influences, eh?

    * Kawashi is a movement that Gichin Funakoshi demonstrated in some of his older work (To-te Jutsu, maybe?). It is a step and pivot very similar to irimi methods in aiki, which themselves come from jujutsu and weaponry systems.

    * The karate thrust kick is very similar to the Thai teep (Chinese styles tend to use snappier low-line kicks and Japanese stomp kicking techniques from jutjutsu styles tend to use less torque). Shin kicks are also not unknown.

    * Properly executed hard recieving techniques are really supposed to be limb attacks. These are used in FMA as well. Some older "blocks" don't use the angle to let the blow slide to one side, but present the forearms horizontally to this end.

    Can't think of much more right this second, but at the same time, I doubt people can easily determine which is a common idea and which comes from genuine transmission.123
     

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