The difference

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Eric Damon Rapier, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    The "sanitization" of Okinawan karate for public schools leading to Japanese Shotokan lasted for more than a snapshot - more like 70 years or more. It wasn't just Shotokan that lost many of the original moves by design - Okinawan styles did too, though maybe not as much, as their katas retained more of their original design containing the combat bunkai. Obviously you don't want school kids learning breaks and dislocates. Okinawans kept their kata unchanged pretty much, though did not teach the true applications to the Americans who brought karate back to the USA. So even though Okinawan katas had those moves, few American people knew it!



    No doubt, each dojo is unique in what and how it teaches. Every individual is different. But looking at the styles as a whole and the way the katas are performed, assuming the style is contained in the katas, a very noticeable difference can be seen between the two, as the video clips supplied by Mitlov show.
     
  2. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I think you're equating "lack of joint locks" with "sanitized." There's no doubt that Shotokan has fewer jiu-jitsu-like elements than Goju does. But that doesn't mean the katas are sanitized. Elbow smashes and knees are just as much "combat" as wrist locks and armbars are.

    One of the most popular bunkai guys in the Shotokan scene explaining some of the bunkai of that kata you just classified as sanitized. It's very much combat-oriented, not at all "sanitized" at all in my mind, but it's still that Shotokan-y feel of "charge them and smash things" instead of jiu-jitsu-ish.

     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Circular can mean different things in different systems. So I guess understanding what it means in goju would be a good place to start. I don’t have an answer for that.
     
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  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Somebody just had to go there didn't they!!:)
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    The first video has circular elements, but not nearly as much as say a Kung Fu form. The Shotokan form, not so much.
     
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  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Some say... both styles have linear and circular techniques (with each emphasizing one moreso), but that it moreso applies to strategy and overall approach in application (that perhaps linear means more directness, force, here to there; circular meaning more redirection and utilising body movement around your opponent).

    But potentially off topic territory!

    Even a straight reverse punch is a series many many circles/spirals acting together in order to direct the linear force of a punch (circles at hips/waist, shoulder, elbow, wrist pronation).

    Again, off topic, disregard as you wish![​IMG]
     
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  7. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    That's what I saw too. Some things have to be done in circular motion because that's the most efficient way to produce results. For me circular would be more optional for example a punch can be linear or circular but both are still efficient punches.

    Circular movements consists of redirects and continuation of energy flow that can then be used to strike or grab.. Linear movements consist of starting at one point, stopping and then going to the next point. The closer the movement gets to a 360 degree circle and the number of techniques within the system that do this, then the more I would be willing to call that system "Circular". Circular systems tend to build their fighting philosophy on circular movement. Linear systems tend to build their fighting philosophy on linear movement.

    The first video had circular elements but I would still call it a linear form. If most of the forms are similar then I would call it a linear system with circular elements.
     
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  8. Eric Damon Rapier

    Eric Damon Rapier Orange Belt

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    I see the circular emphasis on movement in Goju Ryu. It seems to me that Goju Ryu uses centrifugal force to add extra power behind strikes and blocks. It registers in my head at least that it has similar perspectives as Aikido. I'm gonna research in hopes of broadening my understanding.
     
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  9. Ivan

    Ivan Orange Belt

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    Goju Ryu is a much older karate variant; one of the first. It's influences from kung fu are more provident, as it originated in Okinawa. Styles that originated there, which was then known as the Ryukyu kingdoms, were influenced by the Chinese immigration of the organisation known as the 36 Families from Min. This immigration allowed Okinawans to assimilate Chinese culture, which led to the blending of the Okinawan un-organised martial style called 'Te' (it was very unofficial, and different families had different techniques passed down through generations) with Fujian (or Fukien) White Crane. These influences are evident in the techniques; a good example is the Hourglass Stance (Sanchin Dachi)

    In contrast, Shotokan was one of the first Japanese styles of karate. The official date of it's founding is 1922, and in contrast to the direct roots that Goju Ryu has taken, Shotokan was developed from other styles of karate, namely Shorin-Ryu and Shorei-Ryu. Moreover, Goju Ryu has 12 katas, whereas Shotokan has over double that, an estimate of about 26. Goju Ryu also has a deep concentration of balance, so it has an even distribution of 'soft' and 'hard' techniques, but Shotokan emphasizes more on 'hard' techniques, though it does include some 'soft' ones too.
     
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  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    How is Goju Ryu much older than Shotokan? Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan) and Chojun Miyagi (founder of Goju Ryu) were both alive at the same time and were contemporaries of each other. If you’re arguing Goju’s lineage/roots are much older, that’s not really true either.
     
  11. tigercrane

    tigercrane Yellow Belt

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    Both, Shotokan and Goju-ryu were contemporary style creations for that time. What Ivan probably meant to emphasize was that Miyagi went to China and brought back most of the older system, which he then molded into Goju. By contrast, Funakoshi never went to China to study, but had indeed studied with Itosu and Azato, which of course were the descendants of Matsumura, whose teachings are what we now see as Shorin-ryu or Shuri-te lineage, which was long before Shotokan was even in Funakishi's thoughts. In that sense, Goju-ryu is older than Shotokan in a sense that it is truly Okinawan Naha-te lineage, where as Shotokan is a derivative of Funakishi's original studies.
     
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  12. tigercrane

    tigercrane Yellow Belt

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    I am a Goju-ryu life long student, and being as such, I'd like to point out that no one on this thread mentioned anything about how grounded Goju-ryu is. One important aspect of Goju that never gets mentioned is that Goju practitioner is not supposed to lift feet off the floor while moving. The practitioner slides. That is one of the important differences between Shotokan and Goju. Another remarkable difference is a a presence of two Chinese breathing katas in Goju; Sanchin and Tensho. There is a notable absence of breathing kata in Shotokan.
     
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  13. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Ivan mentioned that Shotokan lacks an hourglass stance and tigercrane mentioned that Shotokan lacks a breathing kata. Neither of these are strictly accurate; Hangetsu is a breathing kata and Hangetsu dachi is an hourglass stance.

    Some Shotokan karateka barely touch Hangetsu--it's not central to the style--but I trained with a guy where that was his favorite kata.

     
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  14. tigercrane

    tigercrane Yellow Belt

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    Interestingly enough, Hagetsu appears to be derived from Seisan kata, and it looks a lot like Seisan. I wonder if it is performed with the same tension as Sanchin? My son trained in Shotokan and I observed his group training many times. During these many sessions I never saw their Sensei ever mention, let alone perform Hangetsu. It is however interesting to learn that some Shotokan schools practice this kata. My hat is off to you for this information!
     
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  15. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    A good explanation of tension in Hangetsu:

    ”Most of the kata's slow moves are executed with atypical tension and isometric contraction. Emphasis is on strong breathing and muscular contraction of the legs, buttocks, and abdominals. Some instructors teach the slow moves with ibuki breathing (hard, forceful breathing accompanied by throat contraction). However, this is not the norm for Shotokan schools and is much more common in styles like Goju-ryu."

    Hangetsu

    I don't recall doing any throat contraction at my old dojo when we did Hangetsu, though I do remember the very slow, audible, forceful breathing with each movement in the slow part of the form.
     
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  16. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Just as a heads-up, ibuki breathing is done differently by many different schools. It gets debated whenever anyone (not really here on MT) brings up how it should be done. Different Goju lineages will do it differently, let alone different schools entirely.
     
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  17. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    From the clip supplied by Mitlov (thank you) this Hangetsu kata is most definitely derived from Seisan - no doubt. But, it has the breathing and tension of Sanchin. It is interesting to note that these two kata are among the oldest kata known, with a long history in Okinawa (this is why many of their styles share these katas) What is more interesting to me is that Seisan is a Shuri-te based kata and Sanchin is a Naha-te based form. To my knowledge, Funakoshi did not have a big Naha-te influence, but his close acquaintance Itosu did. I don't know the history of Hangetsu kata (does anyone out there?) but is it possible this kata is a later addition to Shotokan to recapture some of the old traditional aspects of Okinawan karate that Funakoshi and Itosu removed from the curriculum when teaching the school kids?

    To address another item from Mitlov, Funakoshi's Shotokan was developed in a format suitable for school age children. When teaching 40, 80 or more kids at a time, it was a necessity to simplify and sanitize the curriculum to allow such a group to learn and practice safely. (If you've ever taught a big group of kids, you well understand this) According to Funakoshi's and Itosu's own writings, the main goals for Shotokan was moral and physical development, as well developing spirit in the kids. Disabling and killing opponents were not a priority. This is not to say that a Shotokan expert would not be able to use his techniques to defend himself, just that the style was not developed as a battlefield defense system as were the early Okinawan styles.
     

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