Criticisms of Karate

F

Field Cricket

Guest
Hello everybody!

I've recently had my interest in martial arts revived, and have spent a lot of time reading up on various arts.

One derogatory comment about karate that appears quite frequently, usually in texts on Chinese martial arts, is that it is only good for teaching to children or similar.

In the past I practised Shotokan karate for several years, so I am aware of some of its shortcomings; however, I don't think these warrant the kind of remarks mentioned above.

What do other people think? Have I just looked at the wrong books? Is it just a few people's bias against non-Chinese (non-internal ?) martial arts? Or is there some kernel of truth hidden away there?


Field Cricket
 
Basically, the people making these rather stupid remarks are ignorant of karate. I'm willing to bet money that the people making those kinds of comments have never studied a form of karate for any appreciable length of time. They're merely trying to criticize other systems because it's the only way they can make they're system look good.

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
Basically, the people making these rather stupid remarks are ignorant of karate.

Certainly they've never met Mr. Dillman.

Yes, karate has enough for a lifetime of study--has enough for several lifetimes of study--though I find the Okinawan styles somewhat richer in this regard than the Japanese styles.
 
Any time knuckles meet flesh with bad intentions...that's karate. Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Boxing, it's all about bad intentions on someone's part.

Those who spend too much time making fun of something else should be spending their time worrying about it.

Unless it's the dirtrollers, you can't trust any of them.
:fart:
 
Unfortunately there is a modicum of truth to th theory of "KARATE" being for children. When Funakoshi introduced it to Japanese school children, he made a few changes to certain strikes, in an endeavour to make it less lethal. One of these changes was the position of the fist when a punch had been completed. Originally in the Okinawan systems, from whence most modern karate stems, the punch would finish in the 3/4 position, ie. with the first knuckle uppermost. Funakoshi changed this to the horizontal position for a number of reasons. One reason is that the 3/4 position is perfect for pressure point strikes. The horizontal position, doesn't fit well into the point cavaties. Another reason is that the 3/4 punch can apply more pressure, thereby doing more damage than the horizontal punch. Due to these facts some less subtle martial artists may call a style that finishes in the horizontal position "childrens karate".
Some good reference material can be found in books by Mr. Dillman, and Kyoshi Patrick McCarthy.
Hope this helps.
--Dave :asian:
 
I have always seen the chinese criticism of karate as a cultural thing.
Japanese people traditionaly view china as a land of old knowledge but much decadence.
Chinese traditionaly view japan as a watered down version of china.

The japanese are vey minimalistic, and strive to make much from little. And karate compared to many styles of Kungfu/wushu is very minimalistic and conservative in its movements, whereas wushu i filled with large beautiful movements.

Ever seen a wushu form and then compared it with a karate form?

So the chinese sees karate as a shadow of kungfu, stripped of much in a effort to simplify it, and thus making it fit only for children.
The japanese naturaly regard it as taking a decadente chinese art and remove away all the unwanted decorations, striping it down to what is actualy useful.
Ad a bit of national pride and a hint of racism, and neither side will admit that the other side might have something useful.
 
Originally posted by Martin h

Ad a bit of national pride and a hint of racism, and neither side will admit that the other side might have something useful.

Then add the Korean arts and their very direct relationship to Japanese and, in many cases, Chinese arts into the mix!
 
Originally posted by D.Cobb

... Another reason is that the 3/4 punch can apply more pressure, thereby doing more damage than the horizontal punch. Due to these facts some less subtle martial artists may call a style that finishes in the horizontal position "childrens karate".
Some good reference material can be found in books by Mr. Dillman, and Kyoshi Patrick McCarthy.
--Dave :asian:

Thankyou for that. I've recently come across these books and I was impressed by what they had to say. However, there is one question that springs to mind concerning the different fist shape where the index finger is straight.

I've been experimenting with this during the past week, and I can't really feel any difference or see an advantage to this straight finger form. In fact, having studied shotokan karate for five years, the unnaturalness of this grip is a distinct disadvantage.

So the question is, what is the advantage, if any?
 
Originally posted by Field Cricket

However, there is one question that springs to mind concerning the different fist shape where the index finger is straight.

I've been experimenting with this during the past week, and I can't really feel any difference or see an advantage to this straight finger form. In fact, having studied shotokan karate for five years, the unnaturalness of this grip is a distinct disadvantage.

I started with Isshin-ryu and still make a fist with my thumb on the top if I'm not careful.

I find the straight index finger fist feels like it gives me a "flatter" striking surface that is better aligned along my entire arm, but it feels very uncomfortable to me.
 
Originally posted by Field Cricket

So the question is, what is the advantage, if any?


If the question is, "what is the advantage of the 3/4 fist punch?", the answer can be found in Grays Anatomy. The book tells of the membrane that connects the two bones in the fore arm. If your fist is flat or horizontal when you punch, then the membrane is in fact slack, and not engaged, which under extreme pressure, like you would find at the point of contact in a full power punch, will allow the fore arm bones to bow or flex. It is even possible that they might break.

If you punch using the 3/4 fist, then the positioning of the fore arm causes the membrane to become tight and it will, in fact, act as reinforcement and allow you to hit with greater force and far less likelyhood of injuring yourself.

I think this is what you were asking about.

--Dave



:asian:
 
I'm a little confused with the terminology, by 3/4 punch, are you talking about a Tate (veritcal) seiken (fore fist strike)? Meaning the the fist is just like a normal punch, only that it's rotated so that the thumb is on top? (First finger on top like what was mentioned in an above post.) Or does the first finger actually stick out or something (like not bending at the first joint, coming up from the arm, and bending at the other two)? (impression I got from other posts).
Anyway, Tate strikes are cool because the elbow is straight downward, making a better line for the transfer of force, while with normal horizontal strikes the forearm has to twist to make the elbow face downward (which is cool too, but alittle harder).
 
Most karate systems use a horizontal punch (palm down, thumb sideways). Isshin-ryu uses a vertical punch (palm sideways, thumb up). Ryukyu kempo uses a 3/4 punch, tilted roughly half-way between horizontal and vertical. My understanding from Mr. Dillman's seminars is that the principle reasons are more natural alignment of your arm and, perhaps more importantly, how the punch fits nicely into the solar plexus or on the ribs (back of the fist aligning along the bottom edge of the rib cage). He also explains that when hitting the ribs this isolates one rib as opposed to several, increasing the odds of a fracture or break.
 
Originally posted by D.Cobb


If the question is, "what is the advantage of the 3/4 fist punch?", the answer can be found in Grays Anatomy. The book tells of the membrane that connects the two bones in the fore arm. If your fist is flat or horizontal when you punch, then the membrane is in fact slack, and not engaged, which under extreme pressure, like you would find at the point of contact in a full power punch, will allow the fore arm bones to bow or flex. It is even possible that they might break.

If you punch using the 3/4 fist, then the positioning of the fore arm causes the membrane to become tight and it will, in fact, act as reinforcement and allow you to hit with greater force and far less likelyhood of injuring yourself.

I appreciate the reason for not twisting the fist until it is horizontal. A quick bit of experimentation and comparison with what is done in Chinese martial arts was enough to convice me. However it is the clenching of the fist that I'm asking about.

In shotokan karate as taught today, and in Funakoshi's beginner's book (Nyumon if I remember correctly), you are taught to roll all four of your fingers into the palm and then cover the index finger and the longest finger with the thumb.

However, in his earlier works (Karate Jutsu and Kyohan (sp?)) the fist is formed by having all the fingers except the index finger curled in towards the palm as before. The index finger is only half curled (bent at the first two joints and not the one nearest the fingertip) and the thumb only covers the index finger.

As far as I can tell there is no change in shape to the striking area, and I find it considerably more difficult to form at speed than the more conventional one. Hence the question: is there actually any benefit in adopting this more awkward (as I see it) fist?

FC
 
Originally posted by D.Cobb

Unfortunately there is a modicum of truth to th theory of "KARATE" being for children. When Funakoshi introduced it to Japanese school children, he made a few changes to certain strikes, in an endeavour to make it less lethal. One of these changes was the position of the fist when a punch had been completed.

Firstly, Funakoshi didn't teach school children in Japan. He had a Karate club at Keio University but he never taught Karate in the Japanese Elementary school. In fact he was only a school teacher in Okinawa, he was originally a grounds keeper on his arrival to Japan.

as for the changes in strikes..........that was Itosu that changed some of the more lethal techniques. Rumor has it he invented the Pinan Katas for just such a purpose.



Originally posted by D.Cobb

Originally in the Okinawan systems, from whence most modern karate stems, the punch would finish in the 3/4 position, ie. with the first knuckle uppermost.

All Karate comes from Okinawa.......
Some punches finish in the 3/4 position, some in the vertical position, and some in the horizontal.



Originally posted by D.Cobb
Funakoshi changed this to the horizontal position for a number of reasons.

Who told you that?
All 3 kinds of punches I mentioned were around long before Funakoshi came on the seen.



Originally posted by D.Cobb
Some good reference material can be found in books by Mr. Dillman, and Kyoshi Patrick McCarthy.


I have read both their books.
McCarthy's has some good historical material, however Dillman's Books leave a lot to be desired.
 
Originally posted by RyuShiKan


All Karate comes from Okinawa.......
Some punches finish in the 3/4 position, some in the vertical position, and some in the horizontal.

In modern styles however it seems as though only one choice is represented per style: Isshin-ryu uses the vertical punch (almost) exclusively, while most other systems use the horizontal fist (almost) exclusively, and Ryukyu kempo uses the 3/4 fist almost always (or so it seems to me). Japanese systems use the horizontal fist; there may be other punches technically within the system but they are not emphasized.
 
Originally posted by RyuShiKan


I have read both their books.
McCarthy's has some good historical material, however Dillman's Books leave a lot to be desired.

I agree that Dillman's books are clearly as content free as can be got away with so that you're forced to buy several books where one would do. However, are you also implying that what is stated in the books is inaccurate in some way?

I'm only asking from curiosity, since I'm nowhere near competent to comment on these particular matters.

FC
 
Several of the kata in the shorin-ryu system was designed for the younger set. Fukigata I&II for school children; and Pinnan I-IV for high school students: Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
 
Originally posted by Chiduce

Pinnan I-IV for high school students: Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!


Can you tell me where you got this idea from?

--------------------


Field Cricket,

I am not sure which person/book you are asking me to comment on.
 

Field Cricket,

I am not sure which person/book you are asking me to comment on.

Sorry - I meant the Dillman books. Is your criticism regarding the books themselves or the technique contained in them?

FC
 
Dillman's book is a little too "color by numbers kyusho" for me.
 

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