about Funakochi

Manny

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
2,563
Reaction score
125
Location
Veracruz,Mexico
Do you think the creation of Shotokan Karate and the sportization of karate was detrimental to the martial art? yes? no? and why?

Talking with a shito ryu friend of mine told me Shotokan is not karate, it's a good exercise and I asked him why? He told me Funakoshi and then his son and nakayama did softhen a little the okinawan karate to make it more apealing to the japan people this Karate evolved into a sport and step by step the martial art was dying and the sport karate blossom.

With WTF Takwondo hapened the same in one point and now as judo and shotokan karate, people are saying TKD is a contact sport more than a martial art, so now the JKA and the WTF are alike in that respect.

I must say that giving so much effort trying to make the Shotokan and Taekwondo a sport for the mases the martial art iltself suffer a little however it was because Funakoshi's Shotokan, the JKS and the WTF TKD that these martial arts are around the world with hundred of thosuands of practiciones and these martial arts are practiced in more than 200 countries.

Manny
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,313
Reaction score
266
I don't blame the spread of sport for the generally low level of karate in the US. It's the nature of the beast when the bulk of karate practitioners are average people,mostly children, who practice the art for exercise and recreation. Instruction is watered down to suit the audience and then the cycle repeats itself when products of these courses in turn become teachers.

Sport is not bad. I have sparring in my karate class. This itself is an influence from sport as traditional Okinawan karate did not have sparring within it until the likes of Mabuni Sensei popularized it. Yet I believe sparring is an important drill to practice if we are to train seriously for self-defense.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
18,351
Reaction score
5,220
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I consider sparring to be a vital (and fun) part of training. How can you train for self defense if you only practice your techniques on the air, or on a bag?

Sport is not bad. I don't particularly care for the way the sport of Tae Kwon Do has evolved, simply because it requires you to ignore many useful self defense techniques. The solution to that, for me, has been to train in a dojang that doesn't spar with the WTF ruleset.

Unfortunately, the closer your sparring gets to real combat, then the more likely you are to experience injuries. That means we have to find a system of sparring that keeps us within (or not TOO far out of) our comfort zone for the risks involved. Obviously, that comfort zone is going to vary widely from person to person. For me, that means continuous sparring, moderate to heavy contact (although we do try not to hurt our friends), with striking, joint locks, throws... Our YMCA-based program doesn't have a floor suitable for throws, so it's not ideal. But it's pretty good, and we can hope to get something to cover the tile floors.

As Dancingalone points out, classes are structured to appeal to the 'average' student. It's either that, or charge exorbitant prices to make a living from much smaller classes.
 

RobinTKD

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
285
Reaction score
6
Dirty Dog, i agree with what you say about having to find the right balance of contact in the Dojang, but in Kyokushin Karate, they practice full contact without any pads the only rules being no strikes to the face or joints, do you think that this is something possible to do in Taekwon-Do? Me and my instructor occasionally spar like this.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,828
Reaction score
3,030
Location
Michigan
First of all, I do not practice Shotokan style karate (I practice Isshin-Ryu). However, Shotokan karate is *definitely* karate. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of ill-informed person would think otherwise. I respectfully suggest that your friend needs to do some research and correct himself.

It has been noted that strictly speaking, Funakoshi Soke was not the 'first' Okinawan karate practitioner to take his teachings to mainland Japan; but he is remembered as the "Father of Modern Karate" just the same, and I'm fine with that.

We do things a little differently than Shotokan karateka do; our stances are not as deep, we use meat instead of bone blocks, a few other things. But there's a lot more in common than different to my way of thinking.

And I have no problem with sport karate. It's just another way of practicing karate. I hate those kind of arguments anyway. Sport, self-defense, no contact, light contact, full-contact with bogu, without bogu, with padding, without padding, what the heck is the problem here? It's all karate.

I do agree that exposure, in general, is a good thing. If someone gets exposed to karate by watching a sporting event and then goes and gets training, I can't see that as a bad thing.
 

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,790
Reaction score
151
Location
USA
Dirty Dog, i agree with what you say about having to find the right balance of contact in the Dojang, but in Kyokushin Karate, they practice full contact without any pads the only rules being no strikes to the face or joints, do you think that this is something possible to do in Taekwon-Do? Me and my instructor occasionally spar like this.

I grew up sparring "full" contact (controlled contact; i.e. not as hard as you could hit) with no gear, with kicks to the face (no hand techs to the face) and all techs legal to the body. Now, for liability reasons, head gear is mandatory, but no other pads are used (other than groin protectors).
 

Nomad

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
1,206
Reaction score
54
Location
San Diego, CA
It would be interesting to see an alternate world that didn't have Funakoshi popularizing karate in Japan when he did, and whether the void would have been filled with someone else equally successfully or whether most of the world would have never heard of karate at all.

While you can disagree with some of the changes he made, you have to concede that without Gichin Funakoshi, karate would look very very different today, if it was around at all. He first adopted the belt system (following the lead of Kano in Judo), he (and Itosu before him) adapted the practice of karate to be practiced by groups through introducing it to the schools instead of completely personalized 1 on 1 instruction as was the way before. He even changed the kanji for karate to mean "open hand" rather than "china hand" (partly as a way of selling it to the Japanese).

He also saw the need to change the context karate was studied following the Japanese defeat in WWII; before that it was seen as a militaristic training tool to create warriors for the empire; after it became much more about improving your character through practicing karate (once militarism and nationalism fell out of favor).

Shotokan was one of the first styles taught to outsiders (eg American servicemen for instance), and the JKA was founded to systematically export karate to other countries around the world.

Based on his contributions I think it's difficult to think karate would have been "better off" without Funakoshi, though it's certainly possible to disagree with some of the choices he made along the way.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
18,351
Reaction score
5,220
Location
Pueblo West, CO
Dirty Dog, i agree with what you say about having to find the right balance of contact in the Dojang, but in Kyokushin Karate, they practice full contact without any pads the only rules being no strikes to the face or joints, do you think that this is something possible to do in Taekwon-Do? Me and my instructor occasionally spar like this.

Possible? Certainly. But then the liability kicks in, which is (I think) why you don't see it more. We wear gloves and foot/shin pads. A few people wear headgear. Lots wear a mouth guard. And for the upper belts, it's generally what people describe as full contact; we're hitting hard, but not trying to break anything. We don't generally target the face, but strikes there do happen.
At home with my family, we add joint locks, takedowns, etc.

I grew up sparring with no pads at all, and concrete floors were not uncommon. You learned from that, but people certainly got hurt too.
 

twendkata71

Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
695
Reaction score
15
Location
Newark,Oh
In a way karate becoming sport was detrimental to true karate do as a martial art, in that, you have generations of people and the general public believing that karate is a sport and not an art of self protection. There are many schools that only teach the sport aspect and have little to do with real karate do. These schools do not do justice to karate. It was beneficial in the spredding of karate world wide.
Funakoshi himself did not approve of the idea of karate do becoming a sport. That idea was propogated by his son and Nakayama. I don't know if Funakoshi actually softened the karate that he brought from Okinawa. He did take some of the more practical aspects out of karate. I believe his son and Nakayama made more changes to the kata to make them more dynamic and geared towards sport competition. Taking out practical moves, (throws, locks, etc).
Making karate a Budo in Japan meant making the art more of a way of personal development( perfecting character) and less about defeating attackers with killing blows. It happened with Jujitsu-Judo, Kenjutsu-Kendo, and karate jutsu(te)- karate do. Making karate do a sport was essential for the Japanese masters of the time(post WWII) to make it available to still be practiced in the eye's of the US occupational forces. Pre WWII karate do did not have a sport aspect. At that time the training was geared towards making the Japanese better soldiers for the Japanese empire.(at least on the Japanese mainland) Distancing itself from an indigenous Okinawan art(which had obvious Chinese influences) to a Japanese Budo, and thus making it more acceptable to the Japanese public as well as taking out the more Chinese influences that Okinawan karate has(the Japanese were not fond of the Chinese or anything Chinese),and spredding it across Japan and later around the world. I think that the early masters(post WWII) also realized that making karate a sport would make the US service men want to learn more about karate,(US being a sports driven culture in many aspects).
I don't know I would ever consider Shotokan karate a soft style or less hard style than Okinawan Karate do. The other 3 main styles of karate do have more soft influences than Shotokan. Shotokan is more rigid than Shito ryu, Goju ryu or Wado ryu. They did make karate less jerky than the Okinawan karate. More asthetic. More of an art form and not just a jutsu. Now I am sure that the Okinawans are less than thrilled with what Japan has done to their karate(not that they could do much about it) being that the Japanese ruled Okinawa and the Okinawan had to live by the rules of the Japanese government, but in a way they have to be pleased that karate do has been spread across the world further propogating the art and keeping it alive. The ends somewhat justifying the means.
As far as Taekwondo is concerned it was created as their national sport,deviating somewhat from the original Taekkyon art. I am sure it did not thrill the original Taekkyon masters that their art was being mixed with the Japanese karate and developed into what it is today, primarily a sport. Now, there are still Taekwondo schools that teach it in a more original and self defense oriented art, but for the most part it is a sport in majority. I personally know Korean Taekwondo masters that do not teach any Sport aspect to their art. In fact Korea has a longer history with the martial arts than Japan,Okinawa and even China. According to historians and archiologist, the oldest painting depections on walls are about 5,000 years old from Korea, predating anything by the Chinese,Okinawans or Japanese by about 1,000 years! Most historians believe that the original martial arts were first developed in India,Korea and Egypt,between 5-6 thousand years ago. Now the actual art of Taekwondo being a relatively new art, not actually being called Taekwondo until the 1950's.

Do you think the creation of Shotokan Karate and the sportization of karate was detrimental to the martial art? yes? no? and why?

Talking with a shito ryu friend of mine told me Shotokan is not karate, it's a good exercise and I asked him why? He told me Funakoshi and then his son and nakayama did softhen a little the okinawan karate to make it more apealing to the japan people this Karate evolved into a sport and step by step the martial art was dying and the sport karate blossom.

With WTF Takwondo hapened the same in one point and now as judo and shotokan karate, people are saying TKD is a contact sport more than a martial art, so now the JKA and the WTF are alike in that respect.

I must say that giving so much effort trying to make the Shotokan and Taekwondo a sport for the mases the martial art iltself suffer a little however it was because Funakoshi's Shotokan, the JKS and the WTF TKD that these martial arts are around the world with hundred of thosuands of practiciones and these martial arts are practiced in more than 200 countries.

Manny
 

Victor Smith

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
254
Reaction score
22
Location
New Hampshire, USA
Karate is really just karate, it's not self defense, sport or health practices, which might be an aspect of the whole.

Funakoshi Ginchin was a major contributor of the export of Karate in the first export wave. Following his background in education and his instructor Itosu's lead that karate was best served for the education of the young, he worked and established University karate training programs. It is incorrect to call that school karate.

From his original writings he didn't really exclude anything, but the developing JKA (really Shotokan was just a nickname he didn't agree with) was as shaped by the premise you had 4 years to train part time university students who were then going to move on in life. And Funakoshi was kept moving between those programs not just teaching at one school. WWII intervened and loss of many students and training time left Funakoshi in his 80's after the war and Shotokan's development to those who were able to re-construct karate from their previous training, and the founder was more a figurehead. Students drive a program and at that time the university students wanted sparring and sport more than anything else. Many times they had to be 'forced' to show up for classes with the founder.

The reality was things changed in time, that is the lesson of all karate groups. And having shorter term students means much of the depth of karate is set aside in any system, for you are what you practice.

The development of the JKA was a group effort. Some did steer things a bit, but many always disagreed and just left to found other programs.

On the other hand Itosu's vision was breathtaking, the idea karate could be used for more that just battery, unfortunately it requires a very different understanding than just how does a technique break someone.

That there is no unity in vision is understanding, originally there were just instructors not styles, most of the trappings associated with karate were just added to make things more palatable in Japanese society. Instructors were not bound by the past, and following the true Okinawan standard Funakoshi Sensei was an instructor.

Spending too much time worrying about the past leads to obsession. It's where things go in the end that matters.

Karate is not one size fit's all. It has many flavors each unique and interesting. If you object to something then move on and make your own practice more positive for you.

But real karate cannot be defined, it just is.
 

twendkata71

Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
695
Reaction score
15
Location
Newark,Oh
Great Post.


Karate is really just karate, it's not self defense, sport or health practices, which might be an aspect of the whole.

Funakoshi Ginchin was a major contributor of the export of Karate in the first export wave. Following his background in education and his instructor Itosu's lead that karate was best served for the education of the young, he worked and established University karate training programs. It is incorrect to call that school karate.

From his original writings he didn't really exclude anything, but the developing JKA (really Shotokan was just a nickname he didn't agree with) was as shaped by the premise you had 4 years to train part time university students who were then going to move on in life. And Funakoshi was kept moving between those programs not just teaching at one school. WWII intervened and loss of many students and training time left Funakoshi in his 80's after the war and Shotokan's development to those who were able to re-construct karate from their previous training, and the founder was more a figurehead. Students drive a program and at that time the university students wanted sparring and sport more than anything else. Many times they had to be 'forced' to show up for classes with the founder.

The reality was things changed in time, that is the lesson of all karate groups. And having shorter term students means much of the depth of karate is set aside in any system, for you are what you practice.

The development of the JKA was a group effort. Some did steer things a bit, but many always disagreed and just left to found other programs.

On the other hand Itosu's vision was breathtaking, the idea karate could be used for more that just battery, unfortunately it requires a very different understanding than just how does a technique break someone.

That there is no unity in vision is understanding, originally there were just instructors not styles, most of the trappings associated with karate were just added to make things more palatable in Japanese society. Instructors were not bound by the past, and following the true Okinawan standard Funakoshi Sensei was an instructor.

Spending too much time worrying about the past leads to obsession. It's where things go in the end that matters.

Karate is not one size fit's all. It has many flavors each unique and interesting. If you object to something then move on and make your own practice more positive for you.

But real karate cannot be defined, it just is.
 

lma

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
39
Reaction score
0
Real karate just is . I likeit, great post I agree
 

iTz BoT

White Belt
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
9
Reaction score
1
Shotokan is karate. Shotokan can be practiced in many ways. Take a look at these two videos, both are Shotokan karate but have a different approach.

And remember that Karate is not only a way of fighting.

Gichin did change his karate slightly so the Japanese would accept it. But he did this by changing the names of the katas from a Chinese name to a Japanese name. Karate was also influenced by the Japanese arts, thats why Shotokan has the longer stances.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

twendkata71

Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
695
Reaction score
15
Location
Newark,Oh
Funakoshi and his student changed karate more than slightly. And the kata changed more than just the names. Many of the Shotokan kata are extremely different from the original Okinawan karate kata they originated from. The blocks, stances, kicks and many of the techniques in the kata.



Real karate just is . I likeit, great post I agree

Shotokan is karate. Shotokan can be practiced in many ways. Take a look at these two videos, both are Shotokan karate but have a different approach.

And remember that Karate is not only a way of fighting.

Gichin did change his karate slightly so the Japanese would accept it. But he did this by changing the names of the katas from a Chinese name to a Japanese name. Karate was also influenced by the Japanese arts, thats why Shotokan has the longer stances.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top