Different styles of Karate?

So in Karate alone there are virtually an infinate varity of styles and the number of styles is growing every time a Sensi decides to "improve the Karate" they are teaching?
Depends on how you define "styles." To me, a style has identifiable elements, i.e. the type of techniques and the way they're executed as well as the fighting doctrine, and moves can be integrated together, not using opposing principles. According to these criteria the following are true:
Some are branched from other styles.....combinations, some are due to differences in beliefs or politics.
A guy who wants to be a "master" and "invents" a "style" in name only just so he can promote himself has not created a style. A guy who take a few boxing moves and adds them to his existing style has not created a new style. A guy who doesn't like his organization and starts his own has not created a new style - just a new organization.

Looking at styles thru this prism one can greatly limit their number, as well as giving validity and more accurate definition of "style." I'll pursue this issue further in a new thread after my workout.
 
A guy who wants to be a "master" and "invents" a "style" in name only just so he can promote himself has not created a style. A guy who take a few boxing moves and adds them to his existing style has not created a new style. A guy who doesn't like his organization and starts his own has not created a new style - just a new organization.
Seems to be a lot of that going around
 
Depends on how you define "styles." To me, a style has identifiable elements, i.e. the type of techniques and the way they're executed as well as the fighting doctrine, and moves can be integrated together, not using opposing principles. According to these criteria the following are true:

A guy who wants to be a "master" and "invents" a "style" in name only just so he can promote himself has not created a style. A guy who take a few boxing moves and adds them to his existing style has not created a new style. A guy who doesn't like his organization and starts his own has not created a new style - just a new organization.

Looking at styles thru this prism one can greatly limit their number, as well as giving validity and more accurate definition of "style." I'll pursue this issue further in a new thread after my workout.

I don't disagree with you - but I don't partake in those kinds of discussions. If someone wants to call his whatever-it-is a new thing, I'm fine. Doesn't affect me, and I'm not deeply interested or invested in the purity of the what-have-you. It's all fine by me.
 
I don't disagree with you - but I don't partake in those kinds of discussions. If someone wants to call his whatever-it-is a new thing, I'm fine. Doesn't affect me, and I'm not deeply interested or invested in the purity of the what-have-you. It's all fine by me.
I can't fault you for this view. Many here would agree. What someone else does or calls his art doesn't affect what I do. But I will admit it affects how I feel a little bit. Not on a personal level as a threat to me, but to TMA in general.

When such things occur on a wide level it tends to bleed into the overall culture. When the "abnormal" starts to be considered "normal" it has the potential to lower the bar in a way and warp the original concept. Another way to look at it is putting one's own interests over the art's - a sign of disrespect. Or imposing one's lack of knowledge onto the art and perpetuating poor MA. I can't say these are good things.

I don't lose any sleep over the matter of "styles" and have spent enough time on it here. I know what I know and do what I do. What others do won't change that. It is what it is, but that doesn't mean it has to be "all fine by me." You may think I'm too old fashioned in this, but that is fine by me. :)
 
I don't disagree with you - but I don't partake in those kinds of discussions. If someone wants to call his whatever-it-is a new thing, I'm fine. Doesn't affect me, and I'm not deeply interested or invested in the purity of the what-have-you. It's all fine by me.
It sort of does affect us all, because each new, sham school by association, devalues every other school in the eyes of the populous. Any new multicoloured, silk keikogi-wearing no-touch knockout bergrandmaster is like a shadow cast upon us all, germinating doubt and even ridicule upon authentic schools.
 
It sort of does affect us all, because each new, sham school by association, devalues every other school in the eyes of the populous. Any new multicoloured, silk keikogi-wearing no-touch knockout bergrandmaster is like a shadow cast upon us all, germinating doubt and even ridicule upon authentic schools.
I just can't bring myself to care.
 
I just can't bring myself to care.
Well, theres certainly very little we can do about them other than peacefully confront their ideas at every opportunity, rather like those flat earthers, by those of us with a higher level of consciousness.
 
Well, theres certainly very little we can do about them other than peacefully confront their ideas at every opportunity, rather like those flat earthers, by those of us with a higher level of consciousness.
Such battles cannot be won. This is a lesson I need to apply to more things in my own life, I think. But I am at peace with whomever wants to call themselves whatever. They do not need me to teach them the glorious path of martial arts correctness.

Quite some time ago, I was invited to a martial arts seminar by a semi-famous former actor in a TV show who had embraced the martial arts they formerly acted as if they knew (it involved bright costumes and transforming into other creatures, etc). This person had apparently created their own style and was teaching it. There was a curriculum and online training and certifications, etc. I was a friend of the person who sponsored the seminar, so I went.

Paid my money and brought a bo, as we were requested to do.

The seminar consisted of leaning on the bo and stretching, along with breathing. Breathing. Lots of breathing. And leaning on the bo in a variety of poses.

That was it. Two hours of that. Cost me $30.

At one time, I'd be telling the world about this fraud.

Now, I just don't care. Go and breathe. Lean on your bo. Have a riot.
 
Such battles cannot be won. This is a lesson I need to apply to more things in my own life, I think. But I am at peace with whomever wants to call themselves whatever. They do not need me to teach them the glorious path of martial arts correctness.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Dolly Parton
Quite some time ago, I was invited to a martial arts seminar by a semi-famous former actor in a TV show who had embraced the martial arts they formerly acted as if they knew (it involved bright costumes and transforming into other creatures, etc).
You cant leave it at that!尹
This person had apparently created their own style and was teaching it. There was a curriculum and online training and certifications, etc. I was a friend of the person who sponsored the seminar, so I went.

Paid my money and brought a bo, as we were requested to do.

The seminar consisted of leaning on the bo and stretching, along with breathing. Breathing. Lots of breathing. And leaning on the bo in a variety of poses.

That was it. Two hours of that. Cost me $30.
Ive heard of seminars where a lot less happens!
 
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Dolly Parton
Yes, but that's the thing. This isn't that. It's just common, everyday, nonsense. And I've noticed over the years that fools don't like being disabused of their foolishness. Go, lemmings, go.
You cant leave it at that!尹
The person is no longer alive, so I will leave it at that.
Ive heard of seminars where a lot less happens!
I have no doubt. As I said, I used to go to seminars. The one our estimable @J. Pickard invited me to recently was the first one I'd attended in probably 10 years. It was a real hoot, but I know many of the instructors; all highly skilled and friends.
 
Yes, but that's the thing. This isn't that. It's just common, everyday, nonsense.
If someone had just intervened and suggested to Justin Beiber that accountancy was a good career, then安ell宇he world would be a better place.
And I've noticed over the years that fools don't like being disabused of their foolishness. Go, lemmings, go.
Of course they dont being shown to be fools, but fools they are and they need她h youre right, I cant even be bothered to finish that sentence.
The person is no longer alive, so I will leave it at that.
David Carradine?
 
A guy who wants to be a "master" and "invents" a "style" in name only just so he can promote himself has not created a style. A guy who take a few boxing moves and adds them to his existing style has not created a new style. A guy who doesn't like his organization and starts his own has not created a new style - just a new organization.

I can't fault you for this view. Many here would agree. What someone else does or calls his art doesn't affect what I do. But I will admit it affects how I feel a little bit. Not on a personal level as a threat to me, but to TMA in general.

When such things occur on a wide level it tends to bleed into the overall culture. When the "abnormal" starts to be considered "normal" it has the potential to lower the bar in a way and warp the original concept. Another way to look at it is putting one's own interests over the art's - a sign of disrespect. Or imposing one's lack of knowledge onto the art and perpetuating poor MA. I can't say these are good things.

It sort of does affect us all, because each new, sham school by association, devalues every other school in the eyes of the populous. Any new multicoloured, silk keikogi-wearing no-touch knockout bergrandmaster is like a shadow cast upon us all, germinating doubt and even ridicule upon authentic schools.

There seems to be some conflation here of two separate phenomena:
  • People creating their own "style" based on organizational disputes or personal ego who may or may not have the knowledge/skill of a "master" (whatever that may mean)
  • Low quality, sham schools
One does not necessarily imply the other. Let's look at some examples ...

BJJ (my current primary art) began with Carlos Gracie getting less than two years of Judo instruction (and no rank that we know of). He taught it to his brothers and they (particularly Helio) promoted their instruction with a series of outrageous claims on par with the most ridiculous modern bergrandmaster you can think of. However, they and their offspring and their students also trained their asses off, stole knowledge wherever they could find it, and tested themselves in challenge matches for decades until BJJ became a world-class fighting art.

On the other side of the spectrum ... I don't want to violate forum rules on art bashing or fraudbusting. Let's just say it's not hard to find examples of individuals who achieved legitimate high rank within (sometimes multiple) established martial lineages, developed their own systems based on their personal interpretation of that experience, and then were seduced by the dark side of an overly hierarchical mindset where students are mentally conditioned to throw themselves around based on the body language cues of the instructor.
 
On the other side of the spectrum ... I don't want to violate forum rules on art bashing or fraudbusting. Let's just say it's not hard to find examples of individuals who achieved legitimate high rank within (sometimes multiple) established martial lineages, developed their own systems based on their personal interpretation of that experience, and then were seduced by the dark side of an overly hierarchical mindset where students are mentally conditioned to throw themselves around based on the body language cues of the instructor.
Agreed. But even there, I'm like meh. It's fine. It's all fine.
 
I don't have any sort of issue with people 'creating' their own styles, or editing an existing style. If I learned judo, and then I spent a few years training boxing, why wouldn't I teach that instead of the atemi-waza? And then I have to decide if I will still call that judo, something else, or just say I teach martial arts. Nothing particular sinister, and that's something that happens more and more often as other arts are available, and the pros/cons are easily seen.

On the flip side, even if I only trained one art, if I have a split with my instructor for any reason, I have to decide if I can keep the name of what I teach, or if I have to change it, and alter what I teach as well, for legal reasons.

In my original style, if I were to ever open up a school, they'd require me to franchise, which to my understanding involved paying them a significant sum of money and constant pressure to keep enrollment up and be making money. Obviously not everyone likes that, one group split for that purpose, and got sued for teaching the art. The main argument was that the instructors in the new group were all trained by the founder of my original style, and by changing to teach the new 'style' with the same information, that caused financial harm to the franchise - they won and the new group had to pay 7.7 million along with shutting down. There was no issue with their qualifications, just that they left the organization and started a new one.

Only way to have avoided that would be to learn something significantly different and/or created a new curriculum.
 
Another thing that's makes a difference with regards to the "creation" of new styles is the culture within a system regarding what is considered to be normal, acceptable variation.

If you look at the BJJ I teach and BJJ as taught by my instructors, my peers who reached black belt around the same time I did, and the people I have promoted to black belt ... they're all different. I'd argue that the underlying physical concepts are the same, but there are tons of technical differences in specific techniques as well as the tactical emphasis and the scope of curriculums. Those differences are easily as substantial as the differences between any two randomly selected styles of Karate.

In BJJ, this is no big deal. No one would suggest that my instructor or I or my peers or my students are doing anything wrong or that we are practicing different systems. We're all just passing on our own personal expression of the art based on our own priorities and preferences and experiences.

But in arts with a more centralized, standardized curriculum this doesn't necessarily fly. An instructor who wants to change significant details of fundamental techniques based on their own experience or ideas they collected from another organization may encounter significant push-back. In these cases they might feel the need to rebrand the system they teach, if they are being told that it is no longer "correct" according to the original style.
 
Every style in existence is a derivative of another previous style.
Chojun Miyagi didn't teach louhan Quan. Kanbun Uechi didn't call his art Huzun Quan. Aikido is not Daito ryu. Tae kwon do is not shotokan and shotokan is not Matsumura tode. And so on, and so on. Lineage legitimacy and competency is not really correlated.
 
Six months ago, before I started Karate, I thought there was Karate. I knew that TaeKwonDo was korean and different and Tang soo do and Judo, sometimes called jujuisto, BJJ. In the 60's I was at an Air Force School and we had Thai solders there for training anf I knew they could kick box. That was the world of Martial Arts for me. I also thought that every Karate school taught the same moves. Boy, I can see that I was very ignorant.

At the Dojo I found this list on the wall, Pedigree 1. The style I am studying is on Pedigree 2. The chart is probably out date and there are more styles. Especially when you add that two Dojo's may claim to teach the same style but in reality they are difference from each other. Some difference may be minor, but other may be bigger. I guess if they know there are major differences they call it a new named style.

Since the new changes, additions, corrections are recent they don't have hundreds of years of tradition and application behind them just the new leaders personal ideas of what is an improvement.

So in Karate alone there are virtually an infinate varity of styles and the number of styles is growing every time a Sensi decides to "improve the Karate" they are teaching? Not to mention other martial arts from around the world. I even saw an article on the style of martial art practiced by Batman in the movies!

I really had it wrong. I am learning more and more about less and less. I once met a college professor who was an expert in the first 7 minutes of the renaissance.


So, is the above basically correct?
Well, yes, and no.

Yes because as you say anyone who's been at it long enough (and even some who don't) can make its own school. As applied to kaate, Ryu means "school of thought" insofar I understand (which of japanese, is next to nothing :). Some schools flourish and prosper, some disappear, many stay midway. By all accounts Shotokan is the most successful and practiced school, but there are - as you have discovered - dozens more (and the nomenclature blurs very quickly, as in the many "shorin" school that exist). Think of what happens to language - people share the same language but say things like "we don't speak as they do in that city". Each school put emphasis on certain combat systems (the katas they practice) and may have slight variations in the execution of both katas and basic techniques. Again Shotokan introduced perhaps the biggest changes, intending to "de-weaponize" the combat systems and use them more for their fitness value than their fighting one (and later on, introducing new kicks and of course the sport/competition ideas, which completely changed fighting distance and thus the meaning and value of the various techniques).

No because karate in its essence is the distillation of centuries of discovering the most efficient and effective body mechanics to reach a specific a goal - incapacitate one or more aggressor at close distance, and gain enough time to escape (or to protect the king, as it were). And since the human body is pretty much made in a certain way, the fundamental body mechanics don't change much. This is the same for all martial systems with or without weapons with enough history and rooted in real confrontation, from the Chinese ones to European fighting styles from Rome on (and probably also the ancient Greek ones, and Persian, and Egyptian and so on).

So all karate is karate - it's knowledge on how to deal with a specific situation with the least consumption of energy (because another situation can be around the corner, and if you're out of breath you die) in the quickest way. If it all was forgotten and people had to reinvent it all over because for some reason they don't have guns, you would end up with completely different names but the same techniques.

It is _exactly_ because that type of fighting (no guns, but hands and legs or at most swords and knives) doesn't happen that often anymore (and thank goodness!) that we can see so many styles as deeply different even if the difference is details, and why also the knowledge of which differences are really significant is a bit lost.

Ultimately, there's only karate: the fundamentals are similar to each and the gigantic tree of possible developments that come from applying these fundamentals is so big that each style takes a small subset (which is in itself very effective) and focuses on that.
 

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