Okinawan Karate, what style do you train in and what differences do you see

Discussion in 'Karate' started by chinto, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    OK, So what style of Okinawan Karate do you train in? What differences do you see in your style verses say a Japanese style, or even other Okinawan style? and does your style teach Kobudo/Kobujitsu??
     
  2. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I train Okinawan Goju Ryu as taught at the Jundokan. As to kobudo or kobujutsu it depends on definition. If you are referring to weapons, no. If you are referring to 'do' and 'jutsu' as 'way' or 'martial', then ours is more kobujutsu.

    In my case, having been Goju Kai (Japanese form of Goju) or derivative for most of my martial arts journey there are vast differences. Goju means 'hard' and 'soft'. The soft doesn't exist in the Japanese system, as I was taught, but it is emphasised constantly in the Okinawan.

    The Japanese version has much longer stances, possibly influenced by Shotokan. For example, deep lunging stance or zenkutsu dachi is considerably longer than the Okinawan version. As a result it is difficult to move quickly from that stance so the Japanese introduced 'hanzenkutsu dachi' (half deep lunging stance). This is the same stance as the Okinawan zenkutsu.

    Another major difference stems from the Japanese focus on competition. As a result there is great emphasis on kihon forms of kumite and bunkai. There are a lot of sparring drills and prearranged bunkai but all of these were based on fighting distance of about 2 metres. The Okinawan version is all at grappling range. As a result the Okinawan Goju has far more emphasis on throws and locks and holds.

    But perhaps the biggest difference is the approach to kata. In the Japanese system, kata is for competition. In the Okinawan Goju it is taught as a fighting system. If I look at someone like Morio Higaonna, his kata is identical to the Jundokan Goju kata, but if you look at Goju Kai kata there are many changes.

    That's not to say that the Japanese schools don't teach grappling, throws, holds etc. but if they do it is likely to be what the instructor has added more than the style we were taught 30 or 40 years ago.

    To qualify my post I must emphasise that there are numerous forms of Okinawan Goju that may vary slightly due to the emphasis of their different masters, but from my observations, Goju Kai kata differ significantly to the Okinawan kata.

    :asian:
     
  3. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Goju as well (see above post its better then anything i would post) Just started Judo last week also not Okinawan but after I do it for a bit I could point to some differences. Right now some of the terminology is different for the same things is all ive noticed.
     
  4. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Jundokan Goju-ryu is my primary base in karate, but we also practice some sets formulated by Toguchi Sensei (Shoreikan) and a few kata from Shorin-ryu too. We do study kobudo/kobujutsu and pay special attention to the bo and tonfa.

    My observations echo K-Man's though I hesitate to make too much of it from my perspective as I have seen personally that karate is very much an individualized thing. There are plenty of Japanese stylists who are fluid and indeed there are an ample number of rigid Okinawan karateka too. I see the differences as more a result of the path and stage the sensei was on when he imparted his knowledge.

    But to give a few broad observations... in observing the practice of my friends in Shotokan for example, we seem to practice a lot more in pairs, while they thrive on line drills and spar a lot. The Okinawan karate emphasis on body conditioning is also a difference.
     
  5. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    I would say that this is pretty much the case with Shorin ryu Seibukan also. Before Seibukan, I was in Shorinji ryu Renshinkan (and later one of it's offshoots), which is largely based on Seibukan and the difference to the approach to especially kata is enormous. To me, Renshinkan is pretty much focused on competition and the kata applications seemed to be just about non-existing.
    As for kobudo, not really. We have one bo kata, Tokumine no kon. However, I and many others are practicing Jinbukan kobudo





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    "Look. Listen. Sweat." - Morio Higaonna

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  6. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    kobudo/kobujitsu is referring to the weapons art of Okinawa. commonly taught by karateka in the past and now on Okinawa. But some do not I understand teach it. soo.. I am finding this very interesting. please continue to chime in with comments and all!!
     
  7. Jayo S

    Jayo S White Belt

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    I'm currently in Kyokushinkai which many of it's forms are based on Shotokan and Goju Ryu.

    Almost a decade back, I was into Shotokan but left when I reached orange belt.

    One thing, many of the stances in Shotokan are lower compared to Kyokushin. The later is also more towards full contact who punches in the head is forbidden when it comes to sparring or even in matches.
     
  8. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    I currently train in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu (Kobayashi) as part of the Shorinkan. Since the only other style I have personally trained in is Shuri-Ryu, that's really the only one I feel (somewhat) qualified to compare it to.

    In Shorin-Ryu we focus on speed and evasiveness, utilizing higher, more natural stances and employing softer deflections to set up our counters, we constantly explore kata application and we incorporate a lot of torite/tuidi into our training. My instructor is also very open to other systems and we have people from other styles come and train with us fairly regularly, and he goes to train at other schools regularly as well and brings what he learns back to class.

    When I was training in Shuri-Ryu, we focused on power and directness, utilizing lower, longer stances (much like Shotokan) and employing hard-style blocks to set up our counters, we did entirely first level kata application and did not incorporate much torite/tuidi at all--for the most part if you couldn't find the kata application in Trias' book, The Pinnacle of Karate, then it wasn't done, at least at the mudansha level. To be fair, we also had judo techniques incorporated into our training, and here or there would be techniques from various systems, so grappling techniques were still present in the curriculum, it just wasn't really a holistic approach to karate (IMO).

    I will also mention that the way the systems are taught is very different, but that could simply be a difference of approach by the instructors. In Shuri-Ryu, the curriculum was strictly broken down and taught in a specific order, and you were not ever taught anything above your rank requirements, whereas in Shorin-Ryu the curriculum is very fluid and the skill and knowledge levels between individuals (even of the same rank) can vary greatly based on when they have been to class and what questions they have been asking.
     
  9. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I like this approach myself. Although I maintain an official list of requirements for each belt, I have no problems feeding students additional information and material as it comes up. Students usually don't 'get' concepts right away. It can take years, so I see teaching or even just showing them a technique or an idea as a cultivation process.
     
  10. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    My first art was Pangainoon (Uechi Ryu) and it still holds an influence on me today. I've also studied Shuri Te with a fellow Deputy I went to the academy with. In contrast, I see Okinawan arts as more serious than say Korean arts in the context of being viable self-defense platforms. And I see more 'pure' histories as well. Okinawan kata seems to be taken more seriously than Korean forms and seen as a vehicle to understanding the art in a deeper, more meaningful way rather than just something to get done for the next belt test. I don't want this to be seen as strictly negative towards Korean arts, and there are Korean arts that are just as serious and 'pure' in application. I just see this as a norm for Okinawan arts and an exception for Korean arts.
     
  11. TheArtofDave

    TheArtofDave Green Belt

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    I'm studying Shorin-Ryu. I'm a beginner but I'm excited to progress and grow in my training.

    I have to say from what I've seen its better than tkd and some of the other arts I've seen.
     
  12. Gaucho

    Gaucho White Belt

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    Long ago and far away, Shorin-Ryu was the style in which both Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace began their karate training.
     
  13. pdg

    pdg Master Black Belt

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    What about it makes it 'better' in your opinion?
     
  14. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    Which branch of the Shorin tree? By that I mean which lineage? Does your Shorin ryu trace it’s lineage to Kyan, Chibana or someone else?
    Personally I’ve been doing Kyan’s karate for 17 or 18 years, first a Japanese version before switching to Seibukan. I still consider myself a beginner :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  15. shoko

    shoko White Belt

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    Okinava te old karate style for real fight in life.
    I am learning now goju ryu okinawa karate style . Really traditionally karate style. I am learning it via books which wrote by Morio Higaonna. One ofthe really karate figther.

    I ask there for help to me to find the book ( traditional karate-do okinawa goju ryu vol 2 Morio Higaonna ). Maybe some one know how to find and download pdf djvu version this books.
     
  16. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i have the book. Higaonna's books are always wanted by people. do you have Youtube on the internet? its nice to have the books but i think the internet is better. to actually watch kata done is much better then reading and looking at pictures.
     
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