does karate include grappling

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by hoshin1600, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    this topic was started on another thread and i felt it deserved its own. i will repost some of the comments.

    Hoshin wrote:
    i would argue that Tode is not grappling. but you would have to give your definition of grappling first. Chinese and Okinawan fighting has capture/ seize/ control, throw, but to try and correlate that to our current definition of grappling seems to be implying that karate at some imaginary point in time was equal to BJJ, and thats just not the case. no matter how many so called experts profess karate did hold all the secrets, this is nothing more than an insecurity on their part trying to exclaim to the world "hey i know BJJ is popular.. i can be special too" and creating applications (bunkai) that mock wrestling that never existed.
    many will say, as counter point "well what about "Tegumi". well yeah what about it, maybe it was practiced in Okinawa but it would be a separate thing just like Sumo or Bokh. the fact that i wrestled with my friends back in the day of WWF and Hulk Hogan doesnt make it part of a syllabus of the karate i studied. even if i taught my students to jump off the top rope and yell "SUPER FLY". (obscure old school wrestling reference)



    @tigercrane wrote:
    I understand your argument about Tode, the Chinese Hand as not being viewed as grappling. I respectfully disagree. If we are to speak in direct reference and comparison to wrestling, then no, karate cannot be viewed as one, however if we were to look at most Chinese systems from which karate was molded, many if not most are heavily comprised of Chin na, a form of Chinese grappling that renders well to joint manipulation, joint locks, etc. When Miayagi, Higaonna and Uechi studied in China, they brought back with them almost complete systems that included grappling elements. Way before the above mentioned masters were even born, there had been the first 36 families that migrated from China to Ryu Kyu Islands in 1392. Arguably, these families brought with them family styles martial arts that already then included grappling. Many family styles had then become indigenous Okinawan martial arts. One such family is still remembered in Okinawa - the Kojo family which had taught a closed door family style of Tode (karate). Kojo style is so heavily influenced by grappling elements, it is seen in their kata. Later in 19th and 20th century the Kojo family taught their family members their own jujuitsu along with their main curriculum. Kojo family style of karate is almost exinct, that’s another story. In closing, I would answer your question on what I define as grappling. I define grappling as a system comprised of throws, takedowns, joint locks and other special techniques that involve very close and personal combat. In my opinion, wrestling is a form of grappling, however western wrestling simply does not have the depth of Chinese/Okinawan grappling systems. Thank you for for your input on this topic!


    Hoshin wrote:
    Good post and well informed. But its nothing I already didn't know. Thus in my other post I said karate included capture/seize/ control and throw which i could have just as easily said Chin-na but I thought breaking it down to the four categories would be better understood.
    While these classified actions are found in grappling arts as well as Tode I would not go so far as to say that Tode is grappling. You cannot define an art by merely its technique. As an analogy music may contain the pentatonic scale, but no one would confuse Jazz with country or Spanish classical guitar. There is more going on that makes a style a style beyond technique. From that perspective Tode is not a grappling art even with a heavy Chin-na base. I would also point put in China Eagle Claw and those styles that are predominate Chinna based still use the defining word Boxing as a descriptor not Shuai Jiao

     
  2. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i think our only disagreement is semantics.
    i thought about this a bit and i am reconsidering my thinking.

    new thoughts:
    people have an automatic frontal cortex functional habit of categorical thinking. we automatically want to put things in buckets that are already defined. the Greeks defined two categories of combat, wrestling (pale) and boxing (pygmachia). these categories have been passed down in western culture to today.
    when we see combat we automatically use these two as an unconscious axiom.
    i think Asian martial arts most often do not fit into these categories nicely. To define things accurately we need to see things from the Asian perspective rather than try to put a square peg into the round bucket.

    i do not think Chinese arts can be defined so easily. i think they carry elements of both grappling and boxing but at the same time do not contain elements that we find in western arts that would be defining markers.
    One of the defining elements is space or less accurate distance. in western wrestling/ grappling concepts we want to reduce the space between opponents. chest to chest or chest to back. Japanese Jiu also has this concept. however then i think about Aikido which we define as grappling and yet i do not see this concept rather there is an emphasis on proper mai-ai which is more boxing range with movement.
    the light bulb goes off in my head, ahh this is an element of Aiki. Grasp seize and throw with more space not less space like Jiu.
    so now i have three buckets, Striking (sorry for my tired brain, cant think of a proper Japanese term) maybe Ken-Waza, Aiki, and Jiu.
    adding on from there we have many elements in Asian arts. kick, strike, grab, brake, pull/ push/ throw and the list goes on.
    so maybe two basic western categories just wont suffice.
     
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  3. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    yes
     
  4. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    I agree with you @hoshin1600 . I am not as wellversed in karate's history as others, but to me it seems that karate certainly had/has grappling elements, but by no means can be considered a "grappling art".

    To me it's a striking art primarily, and that's OK. Many people I've noticed get really defensive about it and it's quite possible they're rattled due to some grappling art folk insulting the art ("can't handle themselves on the ground"). I don't overly know, but to me it's okay that arts are different, with a different emphasis. Every art doesn't have to BE and HAVE everything. But like you said, we tend to like categorising. I'd just say karate is karate ;).

    I'm sure there are many karate styles that do teach many grappling elements though. I have only seen very little in my relatively limited experience.
     
  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well karate as was,? certainly the karate that im instructed in, is extremly useful at grappling range,, ie when the guy has grabbed you by the coat or the throat, ,

    does that make it grappling if the other guy is grappling with you,? id say so.

    the objective isnt general to end up on the ground yourself though if you do, make sure you land on top, everything is easier from there, but then the objective in judo, isnt generaly to end up on the floor either and most would think that a grappling art, so it seems an indistinct defintion if thats what your calling grappling

    i kbow the bjj boys will disagree strongly, but from my perspective, if we are talkibg sd, then beibg on the floor is the very last place i want to be , as it cuts down your options considerably,

    if the point is would i be out grappeled, bu a wrestler or a bjj boy or a judo man, then yes, most probably ,

    fortunely they are few and far between round here, so not really a concern to me
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Yeah I get what you mean. Some emphasise it more and train it a bit more than others. But to me I'm saying I don't think it's categorically a "grappling art", as in that's primarily what it teaches. But dojo to dojo and style to style it differs in emphasis.
     
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  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    yes, it seems to have been lost from a number of syles, but id say my version was a 50,50 thing, if stand up grappeling counts as grappling by your defintion

    and if it doesnt what is it ?
     
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  8. stanly stud

    stanly stud Blue Belt

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    Not strictly true. Have you heard of Kosen judo?
    The object is to Fight on the floor.
     
  9. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    i did say generally, that leaves room for exceptions, there are a couple of techniques we practice where you take them to the floor, i still dont consider it the best strategy, if you have other options available

    there are people who think you should learn to fight from the most disadvanted position possible, and they may have a point
     
  10. stanly stud

    stanly stud Blue Belt

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    Agree that's why we have wrestlers, Kosen judo, bjj.
    Karate has some throws, foot sweeps & some joint locks especially in goju ryu. Which is great but no where near judo /bjj.
    Remember in Japan there were old ryu of ju jitsu with mainly throws, kito ryu, tenjin shinyo ryu.
    Forming judo. Not much went to karate. Not to a degree that would classify it as a grappling Art.
     
  11. stanly stud

    stanly stud Blue Belt

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    Agree that's why we have wrestlers, Kosen judo, bjj.
    Karate has some throws, foot sweeps & some joint locks especially in goju ryu. Which is great but no where near judo /bjj.
    Remember in Japan there were old ryu of ju jitsu with mainly throws, kito ryu, tenjin shinyo ryu.
    Forming judo. Not much went to karate. Not to a degree that would classify it as a grappling Art.
     
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  12. stanly stud

    stanly stud Blue Belt

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    shorinji Kempo is intresting they have a wider spectrum than karate. even teaching many vital points,massage. resusitation of a person which was tought in old judo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  13. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    The American Karate that I've been training and teaching has a strong grappling component. But only since 92.

    We're still learning, though.
     
  14. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    What's interesting is that Kano and his students were wiping up other JJ schools in challenges. When they went to fight the Kosen dojo, they pretty much flopped guard so they couldn't be thrown. Kano then studied and added the ne-waza into his curriculum (very paraphrased version).
     
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  15. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    There is grappling and then ground grappling.

    Karate taught standup grappling along with takedowns, throws etc. and also how to get up if thrown or on the ground. There was NO ground grappling as found in BJJ, wrestling etc.

    Karate was designed as a civilian self-defense system, which meant it was NOT designed for the battlefield, it was NOT designed against samuari in armor, it was NOT designed for consensual sporting contests.
     
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  16. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    As far as Okinawan karate goes, it is NOT a grappling art in the sense of wrestling or judo, but it can be said to be a grabbing art (or as punisher calls it, standup grappling.) Seizing the attacker's arm, as a counter-grab or after blocking/parrying it, and then pulling (sometimes with a twist) the attacker into your strike.

    The pulling motion opens the opponent up, jerks him off balance and off line, straightens the arm for a joint lock or break, or pulls him head-on into your counter, and often can lead to takedowns/sweeps (or often a combination of the above.)

    This is the integral core of Okinawan karate. In a large part, this concept has been lost over the decades in many Western dojos. I suspect it is because the old sensei did not teach this grabbing element to the military based there in the 50's and 60's, who largely brought karate into the US. The soldiers/marines were content with just banging on each other, and this is what they taught when they opened their own dojos.

    Yes, there are a few judo throws and ju jitsu wrist locks in many karate styles, but I think these are supplementary moves and not part of the style's core (for the most part.) They may have been added later on to compensate for the forgotten seizing art that is part of true Okinawan karate. Old Okinawan sumo style wrestling (tegumi) has no part in karate. Very little is known of this old sport's history.

    So, for the most part, the "grappling" aspect of karate is better called "seizing," the art of grabbing the opponent for the main purpose of striking him or otherwise ending the fight.
     
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  17. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Since when does "grappling" mean only on the ground?

    Let's be clear here... it doesn't. In the early UFC, the commentators had to explain what was going on to explain to people (in the viewing audience) who were unaware of such methodologies, being more familiar with boxing than anything else, and, as the majority of grappling methods were done on the ground (note: not exclusively... there were a few throws, clinches, and takedowns in order to get to the ground in the first place.... another aspect of grappling, bluntly), that image (two people on the ground) became associated with the description "grappling". But, really, it was only because that was the time the term was used (and heard) by the commentators... not because of any strict definition.

    Of course, then the Gracies and other BJJ groups, being grappling systems that focus on ground work, also began to rise to prominence at that point, largely off the back of the UFC (after all, that's what it was for), and, as they (rightfully) described themselves as a grappling system, it further cleaved the association between "grappling" and "ground fighting"... then, many systems sought to combat the idea of BJJ's rising image by adding ground work, and used the, by now, popular term "grappling" to describe it... these systems being striking dominant, with minimalist standing grappling in the first place.

    But the point is simple: "grappling", as a term, refers to "grabbing, seizing, holding"... it has no inference of standing, sitting, lying down, or anything else. So, if the question is whether or not karate includes methods of seizing, grabbing, holding? Yes. Yes, it does. Next?

    Well... no. Kosen Judo is a subset of Kodokan rules that was formulated in the 1910's. What you're referring to is the Fusen Ryu, where a few members of the school employed ground fighting methods to a good degree of success, including the then head of the school (or, at least, a branch of it), Tanabe Mataemon. Contrary to popular belief, though, the Fusen Ryu didn't focus on ground work... in fact, it officially has basically none... but, like Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu and a range of Edo-period jujutsu systems, there was a fair amount of randori employed in many dojo, including the Handa Dojo of Tanabe. This dojo had members from a number of schools, although was mostly made up of Fusen Ryu people, so most ended up employing their own approach to tactics, even outside of the specific school they studied... and Tanabe, being of a smaller stature than others, found that he didn't find success engaging people standing... so developed his approach to focus on ground work on a personal level. He got so good, he ended up being nicknamed "Newaza Tanabe" (ground fighting Tanabe). Of course, the whole "flopped guard" is not the way it happened either... instead, more commonly various sutemi-waza were employed... Tanabe himself being noted for his use of tomoe-nage.

    It's also important to note that the Kodokan wasn't "wiping up other JJ schools in challenges"... the idea of the Kodokan, really, was to be a meeting ground on a relatively level playing field for various practitioners of a range of jujutsu systems to test themselves... it was only later that that Kodokan, and Judo, really started to become its own thing. We can also point out that the Kodokan already had a decent array of newaza techniques, largely taken from Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu, so to say that it was only after the meeting with Tanabe that Kano studied ground work is inaccurate... in fact, he didn't (personally) do much more study of ground work itself... as mentioned, the Kodokan was initially designed as more of a "melting pot" of jujutsu schools, with Kano inviting teachers from a range of schools to teach there, including senior membership of the Sosuishi Ryu (who maintain a strong relationship with the Kodokan to today), Takenouchi Ryu, and more... as well as Tanabe himself, as a guest instructor. It's not a matter of Kano studying ground work, but instead that he brought in a teacher who focused on it.

    Additionally, going on the original idea of the Kodokan, Kano envisioned it as the central place for all Japanese martial arts... focusing on classical ones, naturally, as that was the generation he was from... to the point that he intended all senior members to also be well versed in classical weapon arts, with the idea of Kendo, Iaido, Jodo, Kenjutsu, Bojutsu, Kyudo, Naginata, and more all being encompassed in the walls of the Kodokan itself. The was began in the late 1920's, when a few senior teachers of small sword school from the countryside of Chiba were invited to teach for a few years to a select number of senior members... these teachers were from the Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu, and the students included Mochizuki Minoru and Sugino Yoshio. He also intended to have all Yondan and above study Shinto Muso Ryu Jo, but that never took off.
     
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  18. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    No. It has throws and takedowns, but nothing like grappling you’d see from wrestling, Judo, Bjj, Catch, etc.
     
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  19. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    And what, precisely, are "throws and takedowns" if not grappling?

    Oh, and you might be surprised as to just how familiar much of it is to judo, various jujutsu systems, and so on....
     
  20. stanly stud

    stanly stud Blue Belt

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    Nothing against karate but i agree the karate guys are no where near judo, bjj. Even wing chun or as we say wing tsun has added direct grappling now. They knew they had to complete on the ground too. It's as simple as that.
    Saying we grapple standing is not enough to back up their Argument.123
     

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