Shorin Ryu styles, various

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Gaucho, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Gaucho

    Gaucho Yellow Belt

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    I found a thread on some old forum which discussed the various flavours of Shorin Ryu. One rather long post in particular went on about Marsubayashi somewhat critically, and that caught my interest. I am going to paste the post here and hope that someone weighs in on the subject. Of course, the poster may be a member here!
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    """Shobayashi and Kobayashi (divided into Shidokan and Shorinkan) are very similar and the most like Matsumura's original methods out of the 2 Itosu-Ha (or factions). Matsubayshi is based on the teachings of Chotoku Kyan (who influenced Shobayashi also), Koseku Matsumora (no relation to Sokon Matsumura) and
    Chokki Motobu (famous tough guy, bad-***). It is the most Japanese and the furthest from original intent.

    Matsumura Seito (or Orthodox) is the original Shorin (Shuri/Tomari Te) as taught to Hohan Soken, great grand nephew of Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura. The crane fist or "tsuruken" techniques were only taught to family members, and even great modern karate pioneers like Anko Itosu or Gichin Funakoshi, were not taught
    these "advanced" fighting principles. Shorin Ryu is a true Half-Hard, Half-Soft style. The practitioner starts off with extreme mental and physical rigidity, that eventually becomes yin/yang, then eventually, at the highest levels, almost completely "internal" or a soft style.

    Kobayashi (especially Shorinkan) and Shobayashi (Seibukan in particular) as well as Matsumura Seito are very good combat sciences that deal with standing and ground fighting as well as the esoteric aspects such as Chinese acupuncture/medicine, and philosophy.

    Matsubayashi Ryu is often singled out on Okinawa as a "school-boy" system. Although this statement is true, even of Kobayashi/Shobayashi, many use Shoshin Nagamine's Matsubayashi as a term to describe karate that is "waki-waki" or not up to par. If a style is whack many Okinawan senseis will call it Matsubayashi
    Ryu. That sounds harsh, but that's the truth. Still it is better than 98% of Japanese and Korean karate, as many soft principles still remain.

    If you wanted to take ShuriTe for a lifetime it is best to start off in Matsumura Seito (also called Sukunai Hayashi by some organizations), so as to not develop bad "modern" sport habits. If Matsumura Orthodox is not available, Shorinkan (Kobayashi) or Seibukan Shobayashi are great fighting styles also. Shorinkan
    teaches every kick imaginable, high or low, and many tuite and other Okinawan "Jujutsu" concepts. Shorin Ryu is especially known for its punches and other hand techs, but many Southern and Northern Chinese kicking techs are taught (especially in Kobayashi).

    There are many Shorin sites on the web. Check out some histories, and see what you like the best. There are quite a few Matsumura Orthodox sites, but watch out because many of its senseis are also "waki-waki". Then again many are very skilled and knowledgeable.

    If Matsubayashi Ryu is all that they have in your area try it out and see how you like it. It is a good introductory style to real Shorin. Uechi Ryu is also a very good system, with many Southern Chinese principles in its repertoire, but some Okinawans criticize it for being a little unnatural, with too much emphasis on Iron Body
    training. Still it is a unique, and awesome fighting style.

    I have trained in all branches of Shorin (except Shobayashi) in the Philippines, on Okinawa and now stateside. I am a Yudansha (black belt) in Kobayashi Shorinkan and Matsumura Seito. Both systems have their merits, but Matsumura Orthodox is closer to the original combat intent. Some of the best instructors in
    the world are here and have left Asia. Shorin is often lumped together with all karate, but trust me it is real and effective.

    Good luck, and I hope your journey to Shaolin (Shorin) is educational and fulfilling. I train Shorin and BJJ and can say the former allowed me to fully grasp the latter. Combat is combat. Shorin is REAL fighting karate. Tru' dat.... Later 4 a lonnnnnnng time....
     
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  2. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Interesting.

    We have a lot of friends in Phoenix that we compete against that train in Matsumara Seito.
     
  3. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    As a member of the Shorinkan, with friends in every branch of Shorin-Ryu, I find this to be an interesting evaluation. The official Shorinkan curriculum is actually very limited--19 kata and 28 yakusoku, and then you can teach whatever else you want, essentially--so there is a very broad variance between schools in the organization. There are people in the organization who can barely do a basic armbar, never do groundwork, and don't know how to throw a spinning kick of any kind. On the other hand, of course, there are people doing full arrays of tuidi-waza, do MMA-style sparring with groundwork, and play with as many kicks at TKD people. I find that generalizations aren't as useful with Okinawan styles as with Japanese styles, because the Okinawans aren't as big into super-strict micromanagement of curriculum as the Japanese are, although even in Japanese arts you will find some variance.

    As for Matsubayashi, specifically, it is no secret that Nagamine didn't really have any interest in the combative aspects of the art. Even so, I don't see it as being any worse than any of the other branches of Shorin-Ryu, but you have to find an instructor who teaches the aspects you want to learn, which is true of ALL of the branches. I've seen some Matsumura Seito kata applications that are just as terrible as the famous JKA bunkai mess, Shorinkan folks who teach blocking a front kick with a crane beak strike to the top of the foot, and Shobayashi people who do nothing but point fighting and don't know anything about the close-range aspects of their art.
     
  4. Gaucho

    Gaucho Yellow Belt

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    That's interesting too.

    Here is a video of Shoshin Nagamine and students in 1960, training. (The first 1:55 is intro and images of vegetation.) I think that they look pretty energetic. Some older video is surprisingly disappointing, methinks.

     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have heard that on Okinawa, Isshinryu is now considered a subset of Shorinryu. Which branch, I do not know.
     

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