Good Perspective

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by ShortBridge, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I'm not a Karate guy, but a click-hole led me to this guy's YouTube channel and I enjoyed his perspective in this video. Maybe some of you will too.


     
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  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Bollocks.

    There is still no case made in that video that karate does what it says it does.

    There is also no case made that just because a karate trains for self defense it has to be deficient in personal development or sporting competition.
     
  3. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Does the Australian crawl style of swimming work.

    Well you have to look at the back story of herpaderpaderp........

    No.


     
  4. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Wait what about sport? Completely different objectives.
     
  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    My only comment is on his description of the Japanese Karate as a do, a martial “way”. Perhaps I misunderstand him, but to me his description implies that functionality of this type of Karate is unimportant, perhaps to the point that it simply does not matter if the Karate does not work, is ineffectual. I don’t buy that.

    I am no expert on Karate, nor on Japanese culture. I can’t even claim hobbyist status. But I suspect that Karate can exist within Japanese culture as a martial “way”, while maintaining the expectation and the reality of being an effective combative method. I believe that Japanese Karate is meant to be combat effective, and is so.
     
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  7. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I also don't know anything to speak of about Karate, but I kind of back up his thinking more broadly.

    In parallel Chinese systems, modern wusu has a different purpose than it's kung fu ancestor. It's not necessarily what you do, so much as how and why you do it...at least in part.
     
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  8. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree. I believe that in some sense, Japanese karate is an attempt to codify and understand Okinawan karate; to systemize it and make it fit into a society that requires things to fit. Some think of it as fetishistic; some think of it more as a way to encapsulate and fully grasp the entirety of a practice. This is a society which is very different from most western societies, and even Okinawan culture can be alien to Japanese culture. This is just my basic thought on the matter, I could be wrong.

    I don't know if I'm an 'expert' or not. I'm not Japanese or Okinawan, but I spent a year living in Okinawa as a young man in the Marines. I am not a high-ranking karateka, but I've been studying for awhile now and have managed to reach 3rd Dan in a traditional Okinawan style under a highly-respected Sensei. All I can offer is my opinion.

    This ties back to my statements about karate being kata and kata being karate. The style I study is Okinawan. By tradition, according to Mr. Encamp, this would mean it is a 'first kind' of karate, interested in self-defense and not in self-perfection. However, I am indeed interested in karate as a 'do' or 'way' and this, according to Mr. Encamp, is more of the mainland Japanese 'second kind' of karate.

    However, what he does not mention is that cross-pollination has and continues to occur. He correctly noted that the dogi and belt systems were taken from Judo and are thus Japanese. However, belts and gi are worn in Okinawa, by karateka who practice traditional Okinawan karate. This is because it was adopted back to Okinawa from Japan. Cross-pollination.

    The style of karate I study is known for its sharp, fast, and somewhat brutal methods. It is not pretty to watch and is indeed intended for self-defense as the 'first kind' of karate. But the bunkai itself contains (as Mr. Encamp correctly states) many techniques for every movement; they're buried and require study, time, and practice to unlock and rediscover. And this leads some (including, I hope, myself) to a deeper introspective examination of not just the way of karate but the way of life and the way of character and how all things are interrelated. My bunkai does not just inform my karate, it informs my path through life. I'm not claiming I do it well, just that I do it.
     
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  9. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    In Japan, a 'do' is a 'way' and it can be broadly understood as a way of life and not just a method to perform some function. There are many 'do' in Japan.

    Sado - The Way of Tea Making
    Shodo - The Way of Writing (Calligraphy)
    Kado - The Way of Flower Arranging
    Kyudo - The Way of Archery

    There are many more. Believe me, the Japanese Tea Ceremony is not about making tea. I mean, tea is involved, but if that's all you want, Lipton has your answer.

    Karate, in my opinion, was absorbed, 'Japanified' and absorbed into the culture, making it into a do. This was then imported, along with the belt system and dogi, back to Okinawa, where it was absorbed to a greater or lesser extent, by the original karate ryus from whence it came. Cross-pollination.
     
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  10. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    I recommend to any serious martial artist a series of books by Dave Lowry, who addresses these various "ways" and links them to warrior way of bushido. He has skill in karate, judo, kendo, iai-jutsu, kobudo, as well as tea ceremony and ikebana flower arranging, as well as being fluent in Japanese. His credentials are impeccable, especially in the sword arts. I envy his experience.

    Most definitely there are aspects shared by all three of Jesse's karate types. Proper timing, physicality, mental spirit, balance, and ceremony are present in all of them. It's a matter of how these are used and for what purpose. Lowry relates 3 types of Japanese archery: 1. Pull the bow and keep shooting arrows till you kill something. If it gets the job done, it works. 2. Use a systematic approach with practice and training for consistency in hitting the target like a professional warrior. 3. Practice the way of Kyudo, where the target does not even matter.

    The depth of the martial arts is more than I can scarcely scratch, much less explain. Mr. Lowry has a gift with words that can take you into the meaning and rewards of the journey thru the martial arts. If I sound like a fan, I was just introduced to his work and spent last week reading 5 of his books.
     
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  11. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    Itosu and Funakoshi adopted Gi, Belts, toned down some of the moves, and even changed the kanji for "Karate" to get rid of the Chinese reference - all to make it more palatable to the Japanese sensibilities. They were practical men and were successful in their mission. While Japan embraced karate as it's own, I'm glad the Okinawan masters resisted their unique ryu from being swallowed up in the process.
     
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  12. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Are we doing this AGAIN? Okay, we're doing this again. I could quibble at the details of Jesse's taxonomy, but there's a core point which you don't seem to accept. Karate can have a lot of different purposes, and people can train in it for a lot of different reasons from a lot of different demographics and backgrounds, and so you need to define WHICH "what it says it does" and WHICH style of karate training before you can say "it doesn't do what it says it does."

    In my experience:
    People can train in point karate because they enjoy competing in point karate, and prefer that sort of competition to other combat sports.
    People can train in knockdown karate because they enjoy competing in knockdown karate, and prefer that sort of competition to other combat sports.
    People can train in karate because they enjoy competing in performance-oriented kata competitions like WKF kata competition.
    People can train in traditional Japanese karate because they enjoy perfecting kata as a meditative ritual, similar to the art of tea-making as a meditative ritual (cha-do).
    People can train in karate because they're younger kids and their parents want them to learn coordination, self-confidence, and discipline.
    People can train in karate because they're older office workers and they want to do some athletic activity and enjoy karate.
    People can train in karate because they like padwork and light-contact sparring but don't want to be banging around with people getting ready for fighting to knockout.
    And many others. Etc.

    And people can train in karate because they fit into two or three or four of these categories above.

    When you say "karate doesn't do what it says it does," you're clearly not talking about ALL of these categories. Knowing your posting history, I suspect you're talking specifically about people who train primarily on bunkai-focused kata training, primarily for the purpose of street self-defense. I'm not re-opening that can of worms here, but that's just one specific subset of karate practitioners and one specific subset of karate training styles.

    I'm a middle-aged office worker who needs to get back into shape, and karate is really helping with that. I enjoy point-sparring competition and forms competition and compete multiple times per year. I really enjoy practicing and training forms from a precision and performance perspective. My sons train at the same school and are learning self-confidence, mental resiliency, and discipline. I love padwork and light sparring but I have no desire to fight to knockout due to health and work reasons. For me, karate is doing exactly what I wanted it to do.

    That's where I actually disagree with Jesse's strict three-category taxonomy. It's a severe oversimplification to say that Okinawan karate is just about self-defense, Japanese karate is just about meditative ritual or self-improvement, and sport karate is just about sport. People can train in Goju-Ryu (an Okinawan style) and have any of those three emphases, or a couple of those emphases, and training is likely to involve all three (or at least two of the three) components. People can train in Shotokan (a Japanese style) and the same can be true.

    The bigger picture--that karate is a jack-of-all-trades hobby that can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people--is true. And like other jack-of-all-trades things, it is less focused than something that is really focused. MMA is laser focused. It's a hobby/sport/discipline aimed specifically at one competitive rule-set and for similar outside-of-rules combat like barfighting, and its training methodology is oriented at people in their teens, twenties, and thirties who are already starting with a higher athletic base line. For people of that demographic who want that primary emphasis, it's great. That's you. Good for you. But not everyone is you. For people who aren't, MMA may not the right fit and you don't need to spend time worrying about that.

    I'm an office worker closing in on forty years old. I'm working on getting back into shape. I like light-contact sparring but I'm not willing or interested to fight to knockout, and I have a job (civil litigation) where coming into work with visible facial bruising the next day is considered unprofessional and unacceptable workplace behavior. I also really like that I train at the same school as my two sons. It gives me something in common with them and improves my family life. My younger son, who has had some physical development struggles/delays, is really taking to karate which he started at eight years old, and learning self-confidence, discipline, mental resiliency, and athletics. There's no way I'd send an eight-year-old son with physical development delays to an MMA gym. I respect MMA just as much as I respect karate. But karate is a better fit for me and my family than MMA is. And I really wish that martial arts forums didn't have this monthly repeating thing where somebody has to say something along the lines of "karate sucks and MMA is better and everyone in karate should just train MMA." It's pointless, unproductive, and not very pleasant to keep running into.
     
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  13. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    @Mitlov

    I didn't mean to stoke up an old debate and I'm ignorant to Karate lineage squabbles, though we certainly have our own in my world.

    I think that the guy in the video I posted was making very similar points to the ones you were making above though. His view resonated with me and I can related it to my own experiences, though not in Japanese/Okinawan arts. It seemed like a balanced viewpoint to me and I didn't pick up on judgement in his explanation. But, it's possible I'm missing some underlying debate.

    At any rate, I promise that i wasn't trying to stir anything up. I posted this in a "General" forum rather than a "Karate" forum because I thought the perspective was transversal.
     
  14. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    So we come back to the martial argument of works as a vague non committal marketing term.

    Not works, define what you mean by works and then show results of working. As you would do with anything that matters.

    See if my martial arts does work in a clearly defined evidence driven way. And that can be any martial arts. Why would I not set myself above martial arts that work provided the definition of works covers things like gives people a good time?

    And the sad thing is there is Karate that does work. That don't have to twist them selves up in rationalisations about when they say work they really mean something else. So they can try to be something they are not.
     
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  15. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    The "are we doing this again" frustration was not directed at your original post, but instead specifically the comment "there is no case to be made that karate does what it says it does."
     
  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is not a style issue.

    It is an integrity issue.
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I already gave many examples of what I meant when I talk want karate accomplishing what people want from doing it.

    You are coming from a narrow worldview where "work" means "forms a basis for competition under MMA rules." I've been training in various combat sports since 1995, from fencing to taekwondo to Chun kuk do. My objective is not to compete under the MMA rule set. Not everyone wants the same thing from their hobby. You need to learn that that's okay.
     
  18. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    And this argument isn't true. It gets thrown around with the rationalisations a bit.

    And rather than get upset or try to change a bunch of definitions around I can show a karate school that does train with integrity. That demonstrably you can take your kids to.

    Facebook
     
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  19. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I've been very open about what I'm looking for from my martial arts training, and what my kids get from theirs. If you think I lack integrity because I'm not looking for full contact competition, you are closed minded and belligerent and you don't understand what integrity means.
     
  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Which is fine but when you build an argument you need to support it with something.

    MMA is easy to build an argument off because it is easy to see and judge competency.

    If you don't want to base an argument of MMA that is fine but you don't get to base it of fairy dust.

    You still need something to support your case with something.
     

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