Wado Ryu Questions

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Curmudgeon, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon White Belt

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    Hello,

    I've recently started at a dojo with Wado Karate. I chose my school for a variety of reasons, and in my brief reading on Wado I frequently read about Wado being, roughly, a combination of jujutsu and karate. I recall reading one quote attributed to Hironori Ohtsuka Meijin - "If Wado Karate was a soup, then the Karate part of Wado would just be like a pinch of salt!".

    I'm curious if this sort of description rings true as a norm for dojos with Wado, how much focus is on the Karate aspect, how much on other elements, and in particular how much of the curriculum is or is derived from Jujutsu. I ask because I'm starting to realize that the dojo I joined seems almost entirely Karate with the jujutsu elements being the "pinch of salt" in the curriculum. From my inquiries, it seems as though it is taught occasionally and is not part of the belt requirements at all (instead it is an enormous focus on katas). There is no grappling done whatsoever in adult classes. Is this within normal parameters for a Wado school or have I found a dojo that is more of an outlier?

    Thank you
     
  2. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    In Wado Ryu jujutsu is not taught as a separate part, it is incorporated into the whole. There is no grappling as you would find in a jujutsu class.
    Wado Ryu is a karate style, you will find the jujutsu being used in the kata and the Ohyogumite as well as the Kihons.
    A very good book to have a look at is Shingo Ohgami's 'Introduction To Karate'
     
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  3. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon White Belt

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    thank you for your reply and book recommendation.
     
  4. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    You're welcome. Wado Ryu is a brilliant karate style, very much worth learning. It is deep and rich in techniques and knowledge, as you progress you will see the jujutsu in there as well as pragmatic self defence techniques. If you would also like to grapple I'd say take a BJJ or Judo class as well.
     
  5. Jacky Zuki

    Jacky Zuki Yellow Belt

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    True but many people coming into Wado from other Karate styles are sometimes surprised at how much throwing and locking is involved. The club I train with do actually go into the grappling a bit more than some but every Wado school I have entered has done some ground-fighting and more Ju Jutsu style stuff like mounts and leg locks. Break-falling is an integral part of Wado in my experience, I spent three years training in Shotokan and never once hit the floor, let alone had to tap out from a side mount. Usual disclaimers apply as to the variety of tastes and priorities of individual clubs.
     
  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, of course you are correct but as I said it's not taught, as the OP expected, in a different class. You don't do grappling in one session and stand up striking in another. It is integral, as I said in, Wado Ryu.
     
  7. Manny

    Manny Senior Master

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    I think wado ryu must be a very nice style of karate, sadly in my country there is not mucha baout it.

    El Manny
     
  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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  9. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    Hello Curmudgeon,

    Apologies for arriving late to the chat, but if you are still reading this I'll give you my take on it.

    The "pinch of salt" quote is difficult to fully appreciate. On the surface, most people read this as meaning the core ingredients of Wado-ryu are more Japanese Jujutsu in origin than Okinawan and whilst this may be true - it's a bit more complicated than that.

    For starters, what most people have in their minds eye as Jujutsu, is probably very unlike the "Koryu" Jujutsu which make up the DNA of Wado.

    Once you get your head round that, you can appreciate that the pedagogy of Wado-ryu is different also as a result.

    If you are new to the system, then most of this is probably going to go over your head and to an extent, it doesn't matter, but It doesn't surprise me that you feel that what you are learning at the moment is all karate (and no jujutsu), because to a certain extent the first 3 or 4 years of study are seeming quite homogenous karate techniques - kicking, punch and kata etc.

    In fact they are not homogenous karate techniques, they are techniques done in such a manner that is setting you up to start to move in a wado way and to use Wado principles.

    The "jujutsu" has already really started in this respect, but as I say, its not what most think of as jujutsu.

    Latter in your career you will learn Kihon Kumite then after that maybe some Kumite Gata and Idori etc. All of these have their parentage in Koryu.

    Just enjoy your training in the knowledge that Wado is very expansive - and its path a very enjoyable one to follow.

    Sojobo
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
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  10. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon White Belt

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    Thank you for the detailed reply. I'll keep an open mind. In my own estimation of things it seems as though the focus is hugely on kata with what I would regard as an almost perfectionist focus on correct technique (foot is 10 degrees too far left, arm is a few inches too high here, your foot didn't quite land at the same time as the punch was executed, there was slightly too much pause between the simultaneous block & kick and the subsequent knife hand block, etc.). There's a small amount of sparring.

    I've started to feel more uncomfortable because I have doubts as to whether this is the art I want to study. If that's the case then I'd like to make a decision to turn elsewhere sooner than later, before I've invested too much time in something that I don't like. The kata seem to be more like a theatrical performance of sorts, and I've had one senior instructor acknowledge that much of the technique details would virtually never be executed in those ways during real world self defense or in sparring. At first I had some relief in hearing that, but then I started to realize that I don't have the same enthusiasm for something that is aimed more towards these kata performances in and of themselves if there isn't a strong overlap and application to actual self defense, or even sparring for that matter.
     
  11. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon White Belt

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    Ok now this and some of what Tez3 said are starting to get under my skin. Now I feel like I'm missing out on something that to one degree or another would traditionally be present.

    For your school and others, is the grappling, throws, locks, etc. part of the belt requirements?
     
  12. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    It sounds as if it's the instruction or the school that isn't delivering what you want rather than the style. There shouldn't be any emphasis on kata as a 'performance' not in any style let alone Wado. Have you watched the founder Ohtsuka Sensei doing the katas on video, there's no sense of performance. Kata's should be about techniques. Sometimes it's easier for instructors to teach kata and just that sadly. Have you seen any of Iain Abernethy's work, his original style was Wado ( he's also a Judoka) and his Bunkai work is based on Wado.
    Without seeing what you are learning or your instructors work it's very hard for anyone to evaluate whether what they are doing is 'proper' Wado or just a watered down version.
     
  13. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    Hi Curmudgeon,

    It's important to know what you want from your martial arts training and the sooner you realise this, the quicker you can get on the road that best suits you.

    Obviously, without being there, no one can judge whether your instructor is doing a good job or not, but I would say having a perfectionist view about kata is probably a good thing - the devil really is in the detail when it comes to learning these things properly. Correct form in basics and kata are the bedrock of good technical ability which will resonate throughout your Wado for years to come.

    Wado-ryu is a carefully honed system. It is layered in its pedagogy and function and if learning how to defend yourself is an urgent requirement, then it probably isn't this system for you.

    Like your instructor, I have often told students that techniques done it kata can not necessarily be applied combatively - and indeed they are not necessarily supposed to be.

    This probably harks back to the "pinch of salt".

    The way Wado is designed to be taught is similar to that of a koryu jujutsu rather than an Okinawan karate. Even the way the Kanji for Kata is written is different - and that's no mistake. In Wado we have Kata which is written as 形 (Gyo) instead of 型 (Kei) used in the Okinawan experience.

    In nutshell "形 (Gyo)" means shape, form or mould. Whereas "型 (Kei)" means template or prototype.

    It's difficult to get your head around, but Wado kata (gyo) is about practicing the form in order to train the body as a solo exercise, as opposed to Okinawan Kata (kei) which is more concerned with developing the techniques found within the kata (usually this takes the form of Bunkai with an opponent, so the techniques can be realised).

    As a result, most Wado groups don't typically tend to utilise the process of "Bunkai" as part of their kata study, but instead use the body strengthening, and conditioning developed as a result of practicing solo kata and then apply this to the various paired kata found within the Wado-ryu.

    Typically, most students aren't ready to be exposed to paired kata like kihon kumite, kumite gata and idori etc., until they have been studying for 2-3 years and then it takes many years after that before you start to understand how the paired kata work.

    Practice Wado in its fullness and you have a system that covers multiple aspect of combat from striking to locks, holds, throws and ground techniques.

    Unfortunately there is no quick fix. It’s a process and a system that takes time and most Wado-ka will tell you the journey is what it’s actually all about.

    You have to decide if that is for you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
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  14. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    Hi Tez,

    Just to be clear. Mr Abernethy utilises Kata that he learnt from his time in Wado.

    However his "Bunkai" work is NOT based on Wado for the reasons I have detailed above.

    Rather than derail this thread, I can PM you some more details on where this subject went since we last wrote about it.


    .
     
  15. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sojobo, I asked him and he said it is based on Wado because that is his style, it has expanded to cover other styles and techniques since.
     
  16. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    As Jacky Zuki says tastes and priorities of individual clubs vary, but in my experience, the typical Wado club doesn't spend too much time practicing ukemi or ne-waza. That's something that is perhaps unique to that school.

    Here is an example of some paired kata, which is probably more true to Wado-ryu's Nihon koryu jujutsu roots...

    Kihon Kumite



    Kumite Gata



    Idori

     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  17. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmm ... unless I'm misinterpreting, it seems like there are some differing answers from the Wado Ryu practitioners in the thread.

    Just to clarify, can the Wado folks here explicitly spell out on average what percentage of class time you would typically spend on drilling grappling techniques (throws, sweeps, locks, etc) with a partner? Does that change at different belt levels?
     
  18. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    Tez, we have been here before...

    Bunkai is NOT a Wado thing...

    Ill PM you something
     
  19. Sojobo

    Sojobo Green Belt

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    Impossible to answer.

    We do not tend to compartmentalise training in this way.
     
  20. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    To clarify the question, I would count any paired kata or drill or kumite that included a throw, sweep, lock, or other grappling maneuver at some point in the process. The grappling doesn't have to be compartmentalized away from the striking. It just has to be present in some form.

    Solo kata might have grappling techniques hidden in it (depending on whose interpretation you believe), but if you never actually practice those techniques with a partner you will never recognize those hidden movements or be able to use them.

    Time spent punching and kicking pads, bags, or the air is not grappling by any stretch of the imagination.

    Paired kata or one-steps or kumite or other technical drills that do not include any grabbing, locking, choking, sweeping, or throwing are not grappling.

    Paired kata or one-steps or kumite or other technical drills with a partner that do include some form of grabbing, locking, choking, sweeping, or throwing are counted as grappling in this context for the purpose of this question.

    So my question is, if a student at your dojo trained for 1000 hours over a the course of a few years, how much of that time would be spent doing paired kata or one-steps or kumite or other technical drills with a partner that do include some form of grabbing, locking, choking, sweeping, or throwing?

    (Obviously I'm just asking for a general sense. I don't expect anyone to be able to say "precisely 21.7% of class time is spent on grappling.")123
     

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