Toyama Kanken and Shudokan Karate

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Michael89, May 27, 2014.

  1. Michael89

    Michael89 Orange Belt

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    does anyone know about them? if so what are your views on them?
     
  2. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    It seems there is very little information on the internet compared to other old masters from Japan, in English anyways.

    By all accounts he was one of the most skillful and respected karate masters that moved from Okinawa to mainland Japan. He was a schoolteacher, and built a dojo onto the side of his house in the Meguro district of Tokyo. I've tried to find his old house but it looks like it's long since gone. However, there are reports that after his death in the 1960s, his students were still allowed to have access to his dojo! It was called the "Toyama Kanken Memorial Dojo" at that time. He'd ride his bike between his various classes and teaching assignments to the university, to his home, and around Tokyo.

    However, he didn't believe in any styles of Karate, and also did not leave his school to an officially appointed successor. His books are all in Japanese and I can't find very many translations. After his death, his students carried on his legacy of "no-style" by basically founding their own schools. By and large, the name "Shudokan" dissapeared, although some students continued to use the name Shudokan in their own style name.

    He taught many Koreans at a time when they were marginalized as second class citizens in Japan. I think he was very open minded and not afraid to stir up controversy. There seem to be few stories and anecdotes of his life. If anybody has any stories or anecdotes from around the web, could you post them here for reference?

    Here are some starters:
    Kanken T?yama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Including a translation of his register of students

    Karate Styles : KOWAKAN DOJO His essay on Karate styles that appeared in Japanese in his textbook
     
  3. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I don't have much to add other than Toyama Sensei had a diverse martial background. He studied from a handful of greats including Itosu, Chibana, Aragaki, and Higaonna. Wow, that's quite a list there even before you talk about his studies in Chinese systems while living in Taipei. Toyama was supposed to be a master in swordsmanship too.

    Toyama along with Funakoshi was a formally recognized disciple of Itosu.

    As for his karate, yes it's not very famous/widespread as a distinct disseminated system which is appropriate considering his feelings about 'styles'. I'll pass along my impressions from meeting some Shudokan practitioners from the Pacific NW part of the US. They didn't look too different from most groups (higher stances than Shotokan, not too much Naha flavor despite the Higaonna link, not as choppy as Matsumura Shorin-ryi) using a variation of the Pinan forms, but it's almost like what they consider the heart of the 'style' (heh) is in the super secret forms and training sets that aren't shown much when there are outsiders around. My general thought when I was shown a couple of their kokyu kata and exercises was that you could get a decent approximation with more structured pedagogy by practicing something like Iwama aikido in conjunction with a solid Japanese karate system.
     
  4. Michael89

    Michael89 Orange Belt

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    I was just asking because I was looking up on my grandmaster's master in Karate about Kye Byoung Yoon who learned it from Toyama Kanken.
     
  5. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    Michael89,
    you are so lucky - this is really rare. I've never met anybody connected this close in the Korean MA world to Master Yoon!
    In the Tang Soo Do world, in north America, most people think that the Kwans were all merged and that this lineage has died out. Great to know that it hasn't!

    Cant wait to hear more about you and your school.
     
  6. Michael89

    Michael89 Orange Belt

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    I guess I am. well, My grandmaster have 9th dan black belt in Kukki-Taekwondo as well in Jido Kwan. I know he hold belt in Hapkido just not sure how far he is in hapkido. he started Taekwondo in 1955 when he was 14 years old (hes 73 now) under Chang Moo Do then sometime switched to Jido Kwan. 4th dan black belt in Shudokan Karate which he learned during his time in Japan. Which is why I learned some of katas (basics) Naihanchi and Bo kata and just learning about Sai Kata now. his name is Yun Sun Ko. Also I do know little bit of Kyokushin thanks to one of my friend. i borrowed that part of training for my taekwondo/hapkido.
     
  7. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    You previously said that your teacher spent time at a "Yo Yo Ki" dojo in Japan.

    Was it the Yoyogi Shudokan branch dojo, as mentioned on this Wikipedia entry on Toyama-sensei's students?
    The head instructor there is listed as Arakaki Ryusho Shihan
    Kanken T?yama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If so, that's very amazing. Did you teacher stay in contact with Young, Kwei-Byung, his teacher?
    If so, what ever happened to Young, Kwei-Byung?
     
  8. Michael89

    Michael89 Orange Belt

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    I always wonder about "Yo Yo Ki' dojo. i understand there is some langange that G often sounds like K. I don't think he is in touch with Young Kwei Byung. I always thought hes dead. so no. he never talked about him though.
     
  9. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    Yeah, the transliteration between Japanese, Korean and Chinese can get very tricky. However, the more you stare at it and the more you study the easier it gets. I find that in Korean text and martial arts based documents, especially those that come from a Korean author source often will transliterate to their language. Then, in order to understand the original meaning, you need to convert back to Chinese or Japanese. Japanese is not too hard, but because of the number of different ways of expression Chinese and the two major dialects (Cantonese and Mandarin) it gets crazy difficult unless you have studied all three languages and are fluent!

    Yes, I too have found out that he might have died, after 2000 or so I believe. I've even heard a rumor that he spent the last 20 years of his life living as a hermit on a mountain. I'm just curious as he seems to pop up everywhere in photos, but like Toyama-sensei he keeps a low profile and not much is written about him and his life.
     
  10. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master Black Belt

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    Mystery solved.
    Byung In Yun... and the Korean War.
     
  11. Shudokanbrock

    Shudokanbrock White Belt

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    I take Shudokan under
    Elida Wagner 6th degree. She study under morris mack and I can tell you I love it
     
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  12. WingChunChick

    WingChunChick Yellow Belt

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    Toyamas teachings are awesome. Sadly the liniege was stolen after walter tods death
     
  13. WingChunChick

    WingChunChick Yellow Belt

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    I hate to tell you. Elida is a hack, and so is morris mack.

    I used to study under them. But I've been told multiple lies and blatant mistruths about shudokan and karate as a whole. As well as that her combat and self defense techniques are useless.

    She's nothing more than a McDojo and I hope you are wary of her.

    P.S this isn't anything against you, I just want you to be careful as their entire dojo system is based on lies.

    P.P.S Toyama was awesome and you should look further into his authentic teaching
     
  14. Guthrie

    Guthrie Blue Belt

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    I am curious, did you train at the Yakima dojo or the Eugene Or. location?

    I am also wondering about your comment concerning the lineage being stolen after Walter Todds death.

    Basically, the story behind it. I ask because I first met Walter at Morris Macks dojo....in 86-87 when I trained at the Yakima dojo.
     
  15. WingChunChick

    WingChunChick Yellow Belt

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    I trained for years at the eugene dojo. I joined before they split, but kept with elida as I grew up.

    As for what I mean by stolen. Mac comes from a different style, and from what I know at the time of tods death he became the styles head only because he held an honorary rank higher than the other black belts and not because he had an actual shudokan rank.

    As for Elida dear god I don't have enough words to go through everything wrong.

    If you get the chance just ask her how the kata were created(particularly each one at a tine) and she will give you made up stories which can easily be debunked with recorded karate history.

    Plus her self defense techniques and combat skills are worthless. I think an untrained person would have a higher survival ability
     
  16. Guthrie

    Guthrie Blue Belt

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    Ah I see. I think that it is just a matter of misunderstanding. Walter and Mac, were trained in Doshinkan, which is basically Shudokan with a different name. This is because Shudokan was a place of training, not a style. Two brothers trained with Toyama and then, after his death, opened a school and called it Doshinkan. As, stated Todd actually trained with these two and Mack trained with Todd.

    They left Doshinkan due to the fact that there is no sparring, nor is there tournament activity allowed. Because of this Todd met with Toyama's son and was given a higher rank, I think an 8th dan. It was during this time that the style Shudokan was actually born. This was done under Toyama's son from what I understand. I am not really sure why this was done....but my belief is it took place basically so they could compete in tournaments and establish(as did other systems) a codified organization. But of course this never really works as these old time instructors have had many students.

    Both Todd and Macks ranking were pretty much honorary.

    As for the kata...just about every system has their own stories and in reality, Only maybe ten or 12 forms were original, to the Shudokan school (actually pretty much any school descended from the Itosu line). It is pretty obvious that a majority of advanced forms past black belt, are a mixture of those 10-12 Kata. Toyama Kanken did train in several different systems including Kung Fu systems and I am sure added some to his own school.

    Not that I am making excuses, as I myself left, after this took place (I didn't want to train in a tournament competition style) and over the years I have realized that I made the right choice. Even though the Shodukan organization grew in the U.S. I could see the decline in the original way it was practiced. It took me several years to find a Kanken line that hadn't gone soft.

    The self defense moves, unfortunately were heavily modified for the sport aspect (mostly for the group demos), even the applications to the forms and the way it used to be practiced was modified. I know this because I have gone to just about every tournament in Yakima and literally seen the changes. But, I do not really take that into account, because the katas themselves have changed, even the 5 pinans. And this is rampant in just about every system in the Itosu line.

    As for Elida, it is unfortunate that she was overly trusting of the stories. But, I remember when we were both told that Karate was a peasant style, when we first started, when in reality it never was and was developed in the courts of kings. Elida and I started Karate together at 14 and I trained for about 3yrs with them before the changes, before they changed from Doshinkan...hell if I dig deep enough in my boxed belongings, I could probably pull out an old certification that says Doshinkan on it.

    My opinion is that Shudokan is a tournament art, like Shotokan and I think it is important that people know the evolution of what ever art they train in. A lot of damage was done to Karate in the 80's and 90's due to competition and we are starting to see the effects of those changes now. People think Karate is ineffective, but what they do not understand is that Sport Karate (in the mainstream) replaced real Karate for the sake of money and entertainment. As, you still see today, every system must go through the gauntlet of sport and the damage that sport causes on real fighting systems. Whether or not they will truly survive, depends on the individuals that train.
     
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  17. WingChunChick

    WingChunChick Yellow Belt

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    Truly well said. Good to have some more background information on why the style has gone so downhill. Particularly how it became so sport oriented.

    I have so many friends who have left the style due to its ineffectiveness. Even a few who were hurt because they were tricked into believing their techniques would keep them safe.

    I still practice karate myself and am looking to eventually teach it effectively as well as kung fu.
     
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  18. Guthrie

    Guthrie Blue Belt

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    I do want to point out that, Elida's line, is a legitimate Kanken line and that the Shudokan organization here in the PNW was recognized by Kanken's son. As far as I am aware! On a personal side, Elida was a major influence in my life, she is a kind and understanding person that means well. But, I could really never get her to understand the difference between sport and reality, but a lot of people still deny the difference between the two.

    It was great to talk too a former practitioner, thank you WingChunGirl
     

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