Korean Karate?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Kong Soo Do, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. TwentyThree

    TwentyThree Green Belt

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    I started martial arts at a school in Mississippi, learning PaSaRyu TKD. The building had (and still has in a new building) a big, lighted sign saying "Karate". When I asked the master why this was, he replied "It was a cheaper sign than Tae Kwon Do".
     
  2. Spookey

    Spookey Purple Belt

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    Here are a few good reasons for the continued use of the term...

    1. The word "Karate" is a universally recognized martial arts terms among both martial artists and non martial artists so it get's the point across quickly'
    2. Most dojangs will have a sign out side, most sign companies charge either per letter or sign dimensions, either way Karate is more cost efficient.
    3. New students are born everyday, and few care what style they study...the just "wanna learn karate"
    4. The instructor can use the sign both to draw attention, then to spread knowledge of the difference...

    Unfortunately, in the United States there are still an extreme number of people who think all Asians are Chinese and all Hispanics are Mexican...that is the world of laziness we live in. People refuse to educate themselves, that is why they depend on us...the TEACHERS!
     
  3. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do belong in the Karate family IMO. They share the Basics-Forms-Sparring training methodology and, even though these elements have no pedagogical link, this is something distinct to arts in the karate family.


    Branches on a tree...
     
  4. rlobrecht

    rlobrecht Brown Belt

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    Ignoring the cost per letter aspect, I wonder if Martial Arts would be as effective to the average prospective customer as Karate?
     
  5. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I is an all encompasing term. It should do nicely.

    How about Korean Karate (TKD, TSD etc) that use Japanese and/or Okinwan kata rather that Korean forms? Or, how about Korean Karate using Japanese and/or Okinawan terminolgy?
     
  6. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    How about just karate? Why do we need to nod toward nationality at all?
     
  7. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    "Karate" itself is Japanese. I think the term without nationality would be "martial arts".
     
  8. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Whilst I agree that "martial arts" would be the most generic term, I think "karate" nods toward a particular lineage that really does fit the bill. Karate pedagogy has a particular structure that is repeated throughout it's Korean antecedents. As far as non-nationality based families of martial arts are concerned, karate fits.

    BTW - karate isn't Korean, or Japanese or even Okinawan...it means China Hand. Who can argue that these martial arts do not ultimately relate back to China?
     
  9. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    What i love here, is that i was referring to the whole statement. Not the context :D I was saying, "Doesnt Taekwondo Translate To Karate?" - But since we now have a whole other topic... Taekwon-Do, at least how ive learnt it, is about being Effective. It was developed for the Korean Military. Karate, in many of its forms, was designed to be Effective. It was developed for the Japanese Military (Not originally, i know. It dates RIGHT back. I mean more Recent Karate). Pugilism, in its early forms, was a Combat Art even used by the US Marines in WW1, and as such, was adapted BY the Military. My conclusion is, that they were all designed to be Practical and Effective. And came to many of the same Conclusions on how exactly to attain that.
     
  10. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I was talking to someone once who was of high rank in 3 different martial arts and had done martial arts full time his whole life. He said to me that the longer he studied the 3 arts the more he realised how similar all martial arts are. He said we only have 2 arms and 2 legs, there are only so many ways you can use them and by the time you have studied several arts for 30 years or more and get into the really advanced stuff he said they all really just become the same thing.
     
  11. SahBumNimRush

    SahBumNimRush Master of Arts

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    Arriving a little late to this party, but for more than 30 years our Kwan Jang Nim had "Korean Karate" hanging outside his doors. Only recently did he change it to S.H. Kang's Tae Kwon Do. In my particular case, it fits, since we practice adaptations of Karate Kata (Kicho Hyungs, Pyung Ahn Hyungs, Bassai, Naihanchi, Jin Do, Kang Son Kun, etc.) I personally don't see a problem with the nomenclature.

    The modern TKD curriculum has little resemblance to classical Karate Do, so I can see how it could be misleading in that sense. However, there could be an argument that modern Karate has little resemblance to classical Karate Do.. .


    As ol' Billy Shakespeare said: ".. .a rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet.. ."
     
  12. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    Well yes and no, IMO. Although the roots of karate are in Chinese arts, karate has evolved to it's own specific, originally Okinawan art. We have some knowledge about what e.g. Higaonna and Uechi studied, but nobody really knows the roots of Shorin schools. Furthest we can reliably trace those roots back to is Sakugawa (or Matsumura, depending on if the stories of who Matsumura learned from are true).
     
  13. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    Actually that is not entirely true. While in the beginning it was written as China Hand, Gichin Funakoshi changed the kanji that represented China to say Empty. The purpose being to separate its roots and make it something that was distinguishably Japanese/Okiawan. It has since evolved into just that. This is no different that what Taekwondo did from its Karate roots. They separated for the most part and evolved into something that was distinguishably Korean.

    Terms are terms...Korean Karate....Japanese Kung Fu. It all serves the same purpose.
     
  14. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    This is a popular misconception. While Funakoshi helped popularize the new name, he most certainly did not originate it. First of all, the "empty hand" characters were used in written form already in 1905 (or somewhere around that year, I'm writing on my mobile and can't check, so I'm relying on memory) in a book by Hanashiro Chomo. Then the name change was done "officially" in 1935 meeting of masters, and Funakoshi wasn't among those invited.
     
  15. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Karate was changed from 'China hand' to 'empty hand' as a result of Japanese Imperialism and their desire to weed out any connection to Chinese influences. Basically, their attempt at a history rewrite if we wish to get down to brass tacks. Many of the Okinawan masters resisted this move. Funakoshi was a force in the movement for it however as is evident from changing Pinan to Heian. It was a case of 'to get along you have to go along'. This is why we have the Dan/Kyu system, Gi's etc as well. He wasn't at the 'meeting of the masters' (which I'm thinking was 1924 but could be mistaken and thinking of something else), but he did have a direct connection with the Japanese Ministry as well as getting it into the Japanese school system (as his Master Itosu had done in Okinawa previously).
     
  16. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    1936
     
  17. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    Thank you. I was going off of his book "My Way" which he mentioned that he changed the kanji. However, it still goes to the point that Karate no longer meant "China Hand". :)
     
  18. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    True. I don't think anyone in Japan or Okinawa currently uses the kanji for China. I think Tang Soo Do is just about the only one to use those kanji
     
  19. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I'm not arguing for who changed it, but Funakoshi doesn't seem to take credit for changing it in his book Karate-do - My Way of Life:

    "So should our martial art be written with the characters that mean, “Empty hand(s)” or with those that mean “Chinese hand(s)”? Here again we are in the shadowy realm of conjecture, but I believed I am safe in saying that before I came to Tokyo from Okinawa in the early 1920s, it was customary to use the character for “Chinese” rather than that for “empty” to write karate, but this certainly does not mean that the use of the “Chinese” kara was necessarily correct.

    True, in Okinawa we used the word karate, but more often we call the art merely Te or bushi no te, “warrior’s hand(s).” Thus, we might speak of a man as having studied Te or as having had experience in bushi no te. As to when te first became karate I Okinawa usage, I must refrain from offering even a conjecture, since there is no written material in existence that would provide us with the vaguest hint, much less tell us whether the character used was that for “Chinese” or that for “empty.” Most probably, because Okinawa had long been under Chinese influence and because whatever was imported from China was considered to be both excellent and fashionable, it was the “Chinese” kara rather then the “empty” kara, but this, as I say, can only be the merest guesswork. "
     
  20. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    Funakoshi then goes on to say (should have posted this all in one):

    Actually, the two kinds of Te taught and practice in Okinawa might more correctly have been called Shurite and Nawate, after the two different schools of karate on the island. But the character for “Chinese hand(s)” seems to have become the most popular, and, perhaps as a result, people came to believe that karate was actually a form of Chinese boxing art. Even today there are those who hold that opinion, but in fact karate as practiced today is very different indeed from the ancient Chinese art of boxing.


    Largely for that reason, I found it difficult to believe that “Chinese hand(s)” was the correct term to describe Okinawan karate as it has evolved over the centuries. Then, a few year after I came to Tokyo, I had an opportunity to express my disagreement with this traditional way of writing. It came about when Keio University formed a karate research group, and I was able then to suggest that the art be renamed Dai Nippon Kempo Karate-dõ (“Great Japan Fist-Method Empty-Hands Way”), making use of the character for “empty” rather than that fro “Chinese.”

    My suggestion initially elicited violent outbursts of criticism in both Tokyo and Okinawa, but I had confidence in the change and have adhered to it over the years. Since then, it has in fact gained such wide acceptance that the world karate would look strange to all of us now if it were written with the “Chinese” kara character.
    The kara that means “empty” is definitely the more appropriate. For one thing, it symbolizes the obvious fact that this art of self-defense make use of no weapon, only bare feet and empty hands. Further, students of Karate-dõ aim not only toward perfecting their chosen art but also toward emptying heart and mind of all earthly desire and vanity. Reading Buddhist scriptures, we come across such statements as “Shiki- soku-ze-ku” and “Ku-soku-zeshiki,” which literally means, “matter is void” and “all is vanity.” The character ku, which appears in both admonitions and may also be pronounced kara, is in itself truth.

    Thus, although the martial arts are many and include such diverse forms as judo, fencing, archery, spear fighting and stick fighting, the ultimate objective of all of them is the same as that of karate. Believing with the Buddhists that it is emptiness, the void, that lies at the heart of all matter and indeed of all creation, I have steadfastly persisted in the use of that particular character in my naming of the material art to which I have given my life. Indeed, I have much more to say on the use of kara meaning “empty,” but as space is limited and this philosophical problems have little place here, I shall refrain from going in to the problem any more deeply. And the subject is dealt with in greater detail in another of my books, Karate-dõ Kyõhan: The Master Text.

    Once I realized that I was destined to succeed in popularizing the change from “Chinese” hands to “empty” hands, I embarked upon others tasks of revision and simplification. Hoping to see karate included in the universal physical education taught in our public schools. I set about revising the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The karate that high school students practice today is not the same karate that was practiced even as recently as ten year ago, and it is a long way indeed from the karate that I learned when I was a child in Okinawa.

    Just thought this might be of interest to someone/those following the conversation.123
     

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