Book : Shotokan's secret.

white belt

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Picked up a copy of Bruce D. Clayton's "Shotokan's-Secret" over the weekend. Fascinating read. I have read studies dealing with the links between Chuan Fa, Karate and Taekwondo before but, this book is more revealing than any other I have read. The trail from Mudokwan TKD back to Shotokan Karate back to Fukien White Crane has always, to me, proved elusive in print to any large extent. Mr. Clayton gives some valuable insight on the whys and hows of what came to be commercial Karate and TKD. Commodore Perry of the U.S. Navy even had a role. Kata origins are also discussed. Anyone curious on these subjects would spend $16.95 American for the book which is 287 pages not including appendix. Anyone aware of a book or books that would compliment this study?

Thanks,
white belt
 
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Arnisador,

Quite awhile back you suggested the Ngo Cho Kun book and I picked up a copy ASAP. Really enjoyed it and still do. Thanks! The kata mystery wasn't really focused on very much though. That made me even more curious. I realized, after some study, that the Palgwe patterns I study and teach are, in part, derived from Shotokan kata. The Shotokan kata were derived, in part, from older Okinawan kata. The trail of kata lineage seems to stop there. When looking at Chuan Fa patterns, they just did not resemble most of the Okinawan patterns. The Ngo Cho Kun forms shown in the book were very stationery compared to Shotokan and TKD patterns. I knew something was missing. I now know why due to Mr. Clayton's work.

Commodore Perry was coming ashore to Shuri, Okinawa and making very serious military threats, in person, to then King Sho. Perry was using Okinawa as an example to Japan showing them that they were next if they did not open up their ports to their ships for trade. Japan gave in after getting info on these visits to Shuri, while at the same time saving face somewhat by claiming the new agenda as a decision of their own. This is what helped push the Meiji Restoration into being. Up to that point, for many decades prior, the politicians of Okinawa had to fend off invaders from the West, Japan and China with little to no weaponry due to various weapons bans. In order to insure survival as best they could, the politicians themselves developed some new ways of unarmed combat and distilled some older ones. Perry's presence forced Okinawan and Japanese society to open up somewhat and knowledge was then shared. There were lies painted as true knowledge due to decades / centuries of mistrust. The lies are laid out very well in this book. The truth in no way discredits the value of what we are studying as martial artists. It just gives a different perspective with some new value added. Don't mean to sound cryptic but,the book is some piece of work. I can't really give a review that would do it justice. Bunkai is even discussed. Perry's Marines presence influenced some of the Bunkai! Ironic and full circle to boot.

You fueled my interest in this area of topic Arnisador.
Thanks much,
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arnisador

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I'm glad to hear that my earlier recommendation helped! The topic interests me too. I didn't know of Commodore Perry's visit to Okinawa.

Did you find this book at a bookstore, or must it be ordered?
 
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Through Amazon.com it took about two weeks. While I am at it any contact with any of Harry Cook's books on Karate? I see his name in different periodicals and he seems to be regarded up there with Patrick McCarthy.

Thanks,
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47MartialMan

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Thanks for the heads up...

Have you ever read?:

"Okinawan Karate" by Mark Bishop

"Bubishi-Bible of Karate" by Patrick McCarthy

"Boddhisattva Warriors" by Terrence Dukes
(some contents seem logical, and some are controversial-but great source for references in back)
 
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white belt

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All of those books are some of my favorites. I have all three. The Dukes book is on my headboard for nightime reading. Very interesting perspective he gives on how martial patterns develop the psyche and awareness in general. I feel at times a little of what he describes. The Shotokan book I remarked about gives a good explanation as to why some of the Karate systems strayed more toward raw, efficient killing methods as opposed to most Chuan Fa's gradients of applied force based on compassion toward other living things. It is not enough for me to feel good doing my studies, I need to know why I feel good. Those books, and some choice books on Yoga, are helping me understand how the positions in my forms are affecting my senses. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing those titles.

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Akashiro Tamaya

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white belt said:
Picked up a copy of Bruce D. Clayton's "Shotokan's-Secret" over the weekend. Fascinating read. I have read studies dealing with the links between Chuan Fa, Karate and Taekwondo before but, this book is more revealing than any other I have read. The trail from Mudokwan TKD back to Shotokan Karate back to Fukien White Crane has always, to me, proved elusive in print to any large extent. Mr. Clayton gives some valuable insight on the whys and hows of what came to be commercial Karate and TKD. Commodore Perry of the U.S. Navy even had a role. Kata origins are also discussed. Anyone curious on these subjects would spend $16.95 American for the book which is 287 pages not including appendix. Anyone aware of a book or books that would compliment this study?

Thanks,
white belt

Great book and a great read, I would recommend this book anytime, its closer to the truth far more than any other karate history I have read in a long time !
 

47MartialMan

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white belt said:
All of those books are some of my favorites. I have all three. The Dukes book is on my headboard for nightime reading. Very interesting perspective he gives on how martial patterns develop the psyche and awareness in general. I feel at times a little of what he describes. The Shotokan book I remarked about gives a good explanation as to why some of the Karate systems strayed more toward raw, efficient killing methods as opposed to most Chuan Fa's gradients of applied force based on compassion toward other living things. It is not enough for me to feel good doing my studies, I need to know why I feel good. Those books, and some choice books on Yoga, are helping me understand how the positions in my forms are affecting my senses. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing those titles.

white belt
Would you care to list a couple of others?
 
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47MartialMan said:
Would you care to list a couple of others?
Isshinryu Kusanku Kata Secrets Revealed by Javier Martinez. Mr. Martinez has published several books on kata bunkai history and theory and they seem to compliment the Shotokan's Secret theories. Also, Mantak Chia has published several books on Taoist Yoga that are interesting. He is a little too cryptic / esoteric concerning some of the mechanics sometimes (IMO) but, you see the high horse riding stance and hand positions that look to be a variation of Ngo Cho Kun or Okinawan style Sanchin. Breathing and muscle contraction sequences are given that stimulate the internal organs. I (carefully) plug in some of these theories and practices to my WTF Taekwondo forms and I am quite pleased. Takes time though. I've read stories of people having health problems who try to hurry or force their progress. I'm taking my time. George Dillman's theories DO play into all the studies I've listed. Pre-"No Touch KO" Dillman that is. Chia and several others speak of delusions that crop up if the breathing / yoga is not done carefully. I've warned my wife if I start trying to "No Touch KO" the neighbors cat, from across the street, for pooping on the porch, it's time for some serious counseling.

Sorry for not saying "good night" before packing it in last night.

white belt
 
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Isrephael

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white belt said:
Picked up a copy of Bruce D. Clayton's "Shotokan's-Secret" over the weekend. Fascinating read. I have read studies dealing with the links between Chuan Fa, Karate and Taekwondo before but, this book is more revealing than any other I have read.


Well, damn... I was hoping that Shotokan's Secret was that he liked to "dress pretty" on the weekends and hit the local "alternative" clubs... Or that he was really the illigitimate love-child of Emperor Tokugawa and space aliens! Now THAT would have been an interesting read!

Yes, I do believe we can safely assume that Spring Fever has hit. *sheepish grin*
 

still learning

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Hello, All the comments give great reviews, now I feel I need to get this book?

History is good, but today we must make more history by improving the past knowledge. What was good yesterday may not be good for today. So changes are good and needed.

What will really be interesting, What is the future training be like? Shorter,quicker learning it and more adept to the times? Will kata's be needed to learn? There will be lots of studies how the body and mind operates and someone may discover a new training methods. Look at what Russia and East Germans did in the 50's and 60's with the Olympic's training program for their athletics. (seeing in the mind in a relax state).......Aloha
 

Akashiro Tamaya

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Isrephael said:
Well, damn... I was hoping that Shotokan's Secret was that he liked to "dress pretty" on the weekends and hit the local "alternative" clubs... Or that he was really the illigitimate love-child of Emperor Tokugawa and space aliens! Now THAT would have been an interesting read!

Yes, I do believe we can safely assume that Spring Fever has hit. *sheepish grin*


Well, you need the Shotokan Inquirer for that !
 

The Kai

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It may a bit premature, since I'm only starting the book. Shotokan's secret is a great book-it offers a unique look at the history that might ia a revalation. Since I am not a Shotkan stylist-this book should appeal to anyone intrested in the history
 

The Kai

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Okay I' got a little bit further- the story of kobudo is debunked alittle as is the shaolin temple myth!!!! This book is interesting
 

eyebeams

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The Bodhisattva Warriors is a combination of outright lies and cribs from other books. Terrence Dukes was/is something of a cult leader. Even the photos are largely nicked from other sources.

McCarthy's Bubishi is interesting and well worth checking out, and to my mind its history is closest to the straight dope on karate history, especially since he relies less on tenuous connections than anybody else.
 

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I am currently enjoying this book. I got it night before last and have read half of it so far. Good stuff. I enjoy the section that cleary explains the differences between Naha and Shuri and why they are so different from each other. The idea that Naha-te was a more direct decendant of Chuan Fa and Shuri was a more deliberate invention by royal body guards. Will post further.
 

JasonASmith

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I just finished this book, and am going over it for a second time...
It is an interesting read, however there's something about some of Mr. Clayton's suppositions that is nagging at me...Something's just not right, and I don't know what it is, that's why I'm re-reading it...
Boomer! Have you read this book? What do you think?
 

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