Why is karate different from kung fu?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by arnisador, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I mentioned in this thread that I had heard it said that karate is 40% Chinese in origin, 40% native Okinawan systems, and 20% unspecified "other". I believe that the Chinese influence is greater than that, and in an article in "Martial Arts Presents...Masters of Karate" (May 2002) noted historian of the Okinawan arts Patrick McCarthy states that, in his opinion, karate is almost entirely Southern Chinese kung fu--that prior to Chinese influences, most notably in the 1800s, there was relatively little unarmed martial arts knowledge in the Ryukyus, and that in any event what survives today is almost all inherited from China. he lists very specific examples of well-known karateka studying in China or with Chinese living in the Ryukyus, and discusses the Ryukyuan experts practicing the kung fu.

    But I can look at someone doing kung fu and someone doing karate and 10 times out of 10 I will correctly identify the kung fu practitioner as such and the karateka as a karateka. I can't always correctly tell an Okinawan karate form from a Japanese karate form, or a Korean TKD/TSD form from a Japanese form (without the uniforms, which differ) but I wouldn't mistake even Five Ancestors Fist kung fu for karate despite the great similarities, nor Southern praying mantis kung fu for the similar Uechi-ryu.

    Karate is different from kung fu, but if Mr. McCarthy is right then in the 1800s karate was kung fu and there was relatively little native Okinawan martial knowledge to mix with it. Why is Okinawan karate so clearly different from kung fu then?



    (* Corrected Link to include /forum/ RP *)
     
  2. Chiduce

    Chiduce Guest

    Actually, their is no difference within the okinawan system of karate. It all lies within the Jiyu or (No Form/Formless) Freestyle application of the system in street fighting. At the higher levels of skills, abilities, application and execution of self-defensive combative striking, kicking, punching, kneeing and elbowing, etc, lies the similarities. The basic applications and executions of forms and katas differ. Yet, upon reaching the dan ranking and progressing within this hierarchy reveals the true secrets of the martial way. The way reveals the formlessness of progression, execution and applications in the combative environment. Thus, martial styles merge into infinite methodological conceptualities of expressive physical formless motion which hold in it's applications the law's of scientific principles. Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
     
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    But what did the Okinawans add or change that made it possible for me to reliably distinguish between the karate and kung fu--as I certainly feel I can!--and where did that knowledge come from? And, really--why did they change it? It sounds as if they originally practiced literal kung fu.
     
  4. Chiduce

    Chiduce Guest

    Right now i do not have much time to post. Yet from what i understand the okinawans combined the martial skills of the minamoto bujutsu (both weapons and empty hand), the martial skills of the jigen ryu, and the martial arts skills of the chinese with their bushi te, torite/toide to form a very formidable fighting style of martial arts. I will comment further in the next post. Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
     
  5. GojuBujin

    GojuBujin Guest

    Its hard to say about percents...The percentage you gave may apply to Shuri-te Systems. But I know in Goju and Uechi, they are newer to the island of Okinawa than the Shuri systems.

    Goju I would say is about (my school anyway) 80% Chinese, 20% Okinawan. I've come to this from studying in 3 schools of Goju and my study of various White Crane systems which share mini similarities to Goju.

    I know Sanchin has been modified first by closing the fists by Kanryo Higaonna to make it easier to adapt to the Okinwans because of the long practice of the cork screw punch, and then Miyagi Sensei adding backward movement and taking out the turn.

    Gekisai Kata are Okinawan, drawing their inspiration from Kungfu, they were created by Miyagi.

    Tensho was crated by Miyagi, from inspiration of the Chinese Kata Rokkishu

    The other 8 kata are supposed to be somewhat true to form from their arrival in Okinawa.

    Uechi-Ryu (Pangai Noon), may be around 85-95$ Chinese and the rest Okinawan.

    I'd like to know the similarties of Toon-Ryu to Goju and I'd know more truth, its founder Kyoda was a student of Kanryo Higaonna along with Miyagi!

    Michael
    http://www.inigmasoft.com/goyukai
     
  6. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I didn't know this!

    Yes, this is virtually unadulterated kung fu.

    I don't know about this system!
     
  7. GojuBujin

    GojuBujin Guest

    I wish I knew more about Toon-Ryu myself. It does not seem to be widely practiced. I only know of its relation to Goju. One of my old Sensei's was a practitioner of Shuri-Itsu, just one of many old Shuri Systems, He's the only one I've met of the style, maybe one of the few left, he maybe the only one left.

    Michael
    http://www.inigmasoft.com/goyukai
     
  8. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I must say, I find this a fascinating, even romantic, situation--to be the last practitioner of a rare art. Silly, I suppose.
     
  9. Baoquan

    Baoquan Blue Belt

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    i studied Uiechi-ryu for a few years when i was younger, and i had no idea of the extent of kungfu influence - ie that Uichi-Ryu

    :
    I mean, i knew of the chinese origins etc etc, but not that it was so directly related.

    Could anyone post more on the heritage of Uiechi-Ryu? Finding myself fascinated......

    Bao
     
  10. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I studied it for about a year--fascinating stuff.

    There's a wealth of info. on it on the web. For starters, try:
    http://www.uechi-ryu.org/about/uechi/index.htm (History.)
    http://www.uechi-ryu.com (THE Uechi-ryu cite.)
    http://www.uechi-ryu-karate.com/ (Video clips here.)

    In short: The founder, Kanbun Uechi, studied a style (probably) called Pangainoon ("hard and soft") in China. It was essentially a tiger/dragon/crane style with an emphasis on the phoenix-eye fist. The system contained three forms (Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiru). When Kanbun Uechi returned to Okinawa he reluctantly agreed to teach it, eventually adding five additional kata that he largely created himself in order to make the style more approachable. It was renamed from Pangainoon to Uechi-ryu after his death in memory of him. he taught literal Southern Chinese kung fu at first, then added his own new kata and perhaps made some other changes.
     
  11. Chiduce

    Chiduce Guest

    Here is a good one. Let's have a two man attack, with one attacker committing about 10 seconds before the next attacker. The 1st attacker throws a left thurst with a knife to the face. You block with a left high block and trap the knife hand while stepping away from the attack with your left leg, and immediately circle in with the right leg with a high right stomp to the attacker's left knee while simultaneously breaking the trapped arm's elbow with a right palm heel strike, dislodging the knife in a safe neutral area on the deck. As the 2nd attacker starts his attack from behind you, you catapult the high right inward stomp to a high right outward stomp to the 2nd attackers lead knee breaking it and bending him slightly forward at the waist, while lifting your left leg in the high toe facing downard position as you expand you left and right arms violently; right arm palm up and left arm palm down, as the right arm connects to the 2nd attackers throat as an inverted palm up ridgehand strike; finishing the 2nd guy off. The 1st guy has a broken knee and elbow on the same side and the second guy has been finished off with a broken knee and vicious strangling trechea damaging ridge hand thumb strike to the throat. You are left with both attacker's down and standing on you right leg with your left leg up, to pointing down and both arms spread. What defense was used, karate, or kung fu. This is a great example of karate becoming kung fu. The multiple attack defense started with the karate block, trapand break on the first attacker and ended with 2 distinct kung fu forms to finish the 2nd attacker off and end the attack for the defender to escape. These two form endings are enterpreted as " Great Rock Speads It's Wings" form from kung fu or the more traditional "White Crane Spread It's Wings" Form variation from tai chi ch'uan! Thus, there was no difference between systems for this multiple attack senerio and the same defense omitting the outward stomp kick could have been used for just 1 attacker! Practical, efficient, and very effective martial combative defensives for any practitioner whom train's in the martial way. Therefore without the kata and with the kata/(form) they (karate and kung fu) have become one! :asian: Ami Tou Fou! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
     
  12. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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  13. Baoquan

    Baoquan Blue Belt

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    Thanks Arnisador - appreciate the links.

    I spent the weekend reading about the history and development of many different styles of kungfu, and its great feeling to see where my own studies connect, even in a very tangential sense.

    thanks again.

    Bao :asian:
     
  14. yentao

    yentao Guest

    Five Ancestor Fists is strictly kung fu
     
  15. yentao

    yentao Guest

    Only some movements are the same but mostly are all different. Especially in combat....
     
  16. Pyros

    Pyros Guest

  17. yentao

    yentao Guest

    Yeah I saw it but is it actually the same? Yeah they got comparison but that is all it. How about looking at the hand techniques section page 46-70 can you see all this moves in karate?
     
  18. Pyros

    Pyros Guest

    The comparison is there because the Okinawan forms are based on Chinese forms. Some forms like Hakutsuru are exact same forms as their Chinese versions, others (like Sanchin - "The Tension Form" already mentioned) have been modified.

    Sanchin was a Chinese kata, but one master on Okinawa clenched the open palms into fists, changed the movements and turns, and voi'la people don't recognize it as Chinese any more even the movements are all same, and mostly in same order too.

    A lot of the look of karate was influenced by Okinawan Te, and it is understandable how some stuff no longer resemble kungfu. But anyone who does Okinawan karate for some years (as opposed to Japanese karate) will see the obvious similarities in kata, in basic techniques and in application. Compared to the Japanese styles, Okinawan styles are very fluid, flowing, soft, circular and so on - i.e. very Chinese compared to the Japanese styles.
     
  19. yentao

    yentao Guest

    Yes they have comparison and yes karate came from Kung Fu but does it the same in applications and principles?
     
  20. Pyros

    Pyros Guest

    Many people cite Bubishi as "The Bible of Karate". Well, guess what, Bubishi is actually a book on White Crane Kungfu, just imported to Okinawa by some karateka. Now we see it as a karate manual, when the karate masters saw it as a kungfu manual! "The rose by any other name..."123
     

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