Four Major Styles of Okinawan Karate.

TimoS

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arnisador said:
All Karate is One! I hear that more often about Japanese Jujutsu.

I wouldn't agree--uech-ryu especially is too different. Throw it out and I'd be more sympathetic to the idea.

Well, I don't know. If we consider only the outside form, sure they're all different, but maybe what is inside is not so different. The principles are the same in all: kata is a key element, kicks, blocks and punches play a major part in all and so on
 
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arnisador

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TimoS said:
The fifth might be Isshin ryu
Only at a very gross level. I think it's earned the right to be called its own art, even though it does have a significant historical debt.

The vertical punch, and modified angles of the fist on the blocks...the more forward-facing stance...tatsuo Shimabuku's imprint is on it.
 
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arnisador

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TimoS said:
Well, I don't know. If we consider only the outside form, sure they're all different, but maybe what is inside is not so different. The principles are the same in all: kata is a key element, kicks, blocks and punches play a major part in all and so on
I can agree to an extent...Karate is clearly correctly grouped together, taxonomically speaking; it is one general system. But each art is different. Compare Goju-ryu to Uechi-ryu. They look very different in many important ways, even if they do look more similar to one anotehr than either does to Silat.
 

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arnisador said:
Only at a very gross level. I think it's earned the right to be called its own art, even though it does have a significant historical debt..

I've never seen Isshin ryu, so my viewpoint was mainly it's lineage. But from my limited understanding I think you're right, and that's why I said that it might be considered a Shorin system. Then again, I guess it could be considered to be an off-shoot of Goju also
 
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arnisador

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Yeah, my recollection is that both sides influenced it. But, it's been a looooong time since I studied it!
 

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I would like to see Isshin ryu, actually, but it's not to be found here in Finland. The thing that intrigues me about it is that it combines Shorin and Goju traditions and I think it was last summer during one seminar that a Finnish Goju instructor told us that you don't often see someone who is good at Shorin kata and who is also good at Goju kata, because they're like two different car engines. That was, of course, only his opinion, but I guess he has a point
 

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My base art was called Ryukai Kenpo and was very light on kata. The history I was told was that it was a fusion between Te and Shaolin martial arts.

I was not introduced to full kata until I had spent 5 years in the system. Learning the first kata was part of finishing the Seigansha (petitioning student) stage of training.

Subsequent research on my part has led me to believe that it is a hybrid of Kojo-ryu (or something similar, since a few of the animal styles referenced in training are not used in any other Okinawan art) and jujutsu. My teacher's teach was Japanese and not Okinawan, so this seems plausible.

After quite a bit of reading I think that Okinawa had at least two unarmed and one armed martial arts with little or no kata: Te, Tegumi and Okinawan weapon techniques. Very few threads of these arts remain; modern Tegumi is now called "Okinawan sumo" despite the fact that it isn't much like Japanese sumo. Tegumi matches were central to my own training. Patrick McCarthy believes that early Thai and Indochinese arts may have informed te training, and demonstrations of krabi krabong and muay boran do look somewhat technically familiar to me.

In my personal view, form-oriented Chinese martial arts really took root some time in the 18th century and were combined with te in a haphazard fashion. It looks like early to-te masters cherry-picked kata that fit their te-informed fighting methodologies. It also looks like the central point of karate transmission through the Meiji period was through people with close ties to the Japanese administration, while te was left to wither on the vine. Nowadays, I'd say that pure te died with Seikichi Uehara. This is a pity, because the te/tegumi elements I've seen in my own training, in articles and elsewhere are radically different from contemporary karate: far more relaxed, little emphasis on kata and in terms of custom, somewhat more informal.
 

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TimoS said:
The fifth might be Isshin ryu
If it were not for the heavy Goju influence I might agree. It is still a blend like many other styles.
 

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