Japanese View of Karate.

arnisador

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When explaining the difference between Okinawan and Japanese karate to a non-martial artist I will point out that karate developed in Okinawa when it was still (at least technically) a separate kingdom, under the shifting influence of China and Japan. I use this analogy: Saying that karate is originally from Japan is like saying that the hula dance or luau are American traditions. Yes, Hawaii is part of America now, but we would say that those are Hawaiian traditions, not American ones, even if you might find a luau in other parts of the U.S. now. I say that Karate is Japanese in that sense, and it's truly Okinawan--except that we now recognize Japanese styles as well due to how they were modified once brought to Japan.

My question is: How do the Japanese view karate as far as being part of their culture/tradition? They viewed the Ryukyus as part of Japan to a greater extent and for a longer time than the U.S. viewed Hawaii as something that should be part of the U.S., and Japan and the Ryukyus shared a language (the Ryukyuans might disagree with this). Do the Japanese--and I mean non-Okinawans here--think of karate as something they invented, or as something from a foreign culture (like the luau) that they've adopted? Is the Hawaiian analogy I'm using something that would ring false to a knowledgeable (about the history of Hawaii and of Okinawa) Japanese person who is not necessarily a karateka? How does their view of karate contrast with their view of judo in this regard (as Judo is clearly their own art)?
 

kenmpoka

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Good question arnisador. Prior to WWII,
Karate was taught in japan as an Okinawan art (Tode, Ryukyu Kenpo). after the war, Karate went under some refinements. Tranditions, philosophies and movements of kenjutsu schools were incorporated in Japanese systems of Karate. Shito ryu adopted longer and lower stances. Wado ryu
was born out of "Tode" and "Yoshin Jujutsu". Shotokan went under major changes in kata, movements and teaching style. Japanese school of Goju was also established under Yamaguchi Sensei. MAS Oyamas established Kyokushin Kaikan, and incorporated movements from Korean Kenpo, Mui Tai(sp?), Tode (Funakoshi Karate), and Japanese Goju.

Organizations were formed, rules for Shiai (competition) were devised, Dan ranking system were estalished based on Kano's Kodokan Judo/Jujutsu. Karate clubs were established at the universities. So overall, Karate became a "Budo" and national sport.

I can go on and on but I will let others to continue...

:asian:
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by arnisador



My question is: How do the Japanese view karate as far as being part of their culture/tradition? They viewed the Ryukyus as part of Japan to a greater extent and for a longer time than the U.S. viewed Hawaii as something that should be part of the U.S., and Japan and the Ryukyus shared a language (the Ryukyuans might disagree with this). Do the Japanese--and I mean non-Okinawans here--think of karate as something they invented, or as something from a foreign culture (like the luau) that they've adopted? Is the Hawaiian analogy I'm using something that would ring false to a knowledgeable (about the history of Hawaii and of Okinawa) Japanese person who is not necessarily a karateka? How does their view of karate contrast with their view of judo in this regard (as Judo is clearly their own art)?


Most Japanese think Karate is "Japanese" and don't know any of the history or politics behind all of it. Most Japanese MA I have met are pretty damn arrogant about their "Japanese Martial Art of Karate".
Hell most younger Japanese think Okinawa has always been a part of Japan and when I mention that it was not they think I am talking about the brief 20+ years America had control over it after W.W.II.

Some people know that karate is not really Japanese but won't admit to it readily. You kind of have to let them know that you know it isn't and then they are like "oh you know that?! Wow , you know a lot about Japan bla,bla,bla"
Okinawans have always and even to this day are treated like 2nd class citizens.

For the most part people in Japan have a strange reaction to karate. It has often been associated with Yakuza or other unsavory characters and is not looked upon in the same light as say Judo or kendo. Whenever someone has asked if I do some MA in Japan and I reply that I do Karate the always say "Oh kawai" (oh scary). After hearing this and getting rather tired of it I started saying I did Judo the next time someone asked just see what they did. Every time I said I did Judo people just said oh really and let it pass but when I said karate I got the "Oh kawai" reaction. Judo is considered the "Gentleman's Art".

If someone says they do karate in Okinawa it is like saying "I play golf" in America.........no big deal or childish reactions
 

Matt Stone

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Humorously enough, I have to agree with RyuShiKan's experiences...

When I first got here, and people asked what I studied, I replied "kung fu." They got this awe-struck look on their face, and treated me with respect and admiration...

When I started teaching a small Taijiquan class (Taikyokuken in Japanese), and people would ask what I studied, when I replied "Taikyokuken," they were even more amazed than with the "kung fu" answer. When they found out I was teaching Taiji, they got really impressed...

When I met some Karate guys, the folks that were around us that knew of our mutual martial arts interests, simply shook their heads and poo-poo'd our studies... I was lumped in with them, and they were treated like common ruffians and hoodlums...

When I started training in Modern Arnis, and would tell folks that I studied "firupin no budo" (Filipino martial arts), they would nod knowingly to cover their complete lack of knowledge about FMA...

When I finally started studying Karate for real, they began with the whole "scary" thing, because apparently seeing my kung fu training (with the pain and real contact involved) and hearing about FMA doing sinawali full speed and full power with double sticks did little to bring any thought of physical injury... The Karate connection seems to carry a bit of baggage, not the least of which is a reputation for pain.

Go figure. Japan is weird.
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by Yiliquan1

.......... The Karate connection seems to carry a bit of baggage, not the least of which is a reputation for pain.

Go figure. Japan is weird.

Yes Japan is very weird.

Matt,

Have you also noticed that (outside of my dojo) there is basically only one other style (Kyokushin) that actually even makes contact......... since 99.99% of the Karate you will see in Japan is "tippy-tap crap" where the Japanese get the whole "scary" & "pain" thing is beyond me.
 
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chufeng

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RyuShiKan,

I know a lot of Americans who think that most people in Japan and China KNOW some type of martial art...I guess they watch too many grade B movies...

I was aware that most Japanese know little to nothing about martial arts but was a little surprised to read that they shunned karate...

Likewise, the higher ranking sensei in the Japanese karate systems that I have met, in this country, actually seem to enjoy pain...dishing it out and receiving it...so I am even more surprised that the majority of systems there play "tag."

America has often been dubbed the land of the green belt sensei (for good reason, I might add)...but it sounds like the martial arts over there are following suit...so now I have a question, Are you seeing a proliferation of McDojos in Japan, like we have here in the USA?

:asian:
chufeng
 
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arnisador

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Is it still the case that most boys will get some exposure to judo and/or kendo while in school? I believe this used to be the case, some decades ago.
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by chufeng

RyuShiKan,

I know a lot of Americans who think that most people in Japan and China KNOW some type of martial art...I guess they watch too many grade B movies...

Oh it's true.....everyone over here is a black belt didn't you know that...........just kidding. ;)

Originally posted by chufeng

I was aware that most Japanese know little to nothing about martial arts but was a little surprised to read that they shunned karate...

Likewise, the higher ranking sensei in the Japanese karate systems that I have met, in this country, actually seem to enjoy pain...dishing it out and receiving it...so I am even more surprised that the majority of systems there play "tag."

The J.K.F., which is Japan's biggest Karate Organization, has only non-contact tournaments.

If you go to almost any Japanese Jr. or Sr. High School you can find either a Judo or Kendo club (many companies have one or the other as well). You will very rarely see a Karate club in one of the schools on the Japanese mainland. Japanese Universities will usually have some sort of karate club due to the fact they have almost any kind of club.
The Japanese Police are required to study either Kendo or Judo as part of their job. Judo is an obvious need for Police work but what in the hell they study Kendo for is beyond me. As far as I have seen Karate is not a required art for Police training.




Originally posted by chufeng

America has often been dubbed the land of the green belt sensei (for good reason, I might add)...but it sounds like the martial arts over there are following suit...so now I have a question, Are you seeing a proliferation of McDojos in Japan, like we have here in the USA?
:asian:
chufeng


Actually I think America is the land of the Green belt Soke isn't it.............
A good friend of mine on Yokosuka Naval Base told me yesterday that he met one of the people running one of the Martial arts clubs on base down there. He said it was a 22 year old "Soke" that claims to have taken a whole 2 years to develop his art.
Either he is the greasiest thing since the wheel or I am a real retard because I have studied for around 25 years and don't think I have the skill or knowledge base to develop my own style. The crowd of American people that were in the class seemed to think he was "the real deal".


As for McDojo.........they were invented here.
Pound for pound Japan has more McDojo than the US. I have seen more crap self-defense techniques/scenarios here than anywhere, as well as more BS.
I used to teach at a public Budokan in Kawasaki. One day after my class was done 2 other groups came in. One was a Shorinji Kempo group and the other was a JKA Karate group. I started talking to the 6th dan JKA Instructor and asked him about what kind of self-defense applications they did, he said : "We don't teach self-defense, Karate is for attacking. The Shorinji guys over there teach self-defense, why don't you ask them".
I would have been shocked at the reply I received but I had heard similar things from Instructors from other styles before as well! That is actually one of the more un-eventfull encounters i have had with a Japanese stylist too.

90% of the students I have had previously studied a "Japanese" style in Japan and are amazaed at how different Okinawan and Japanese styles are.
 
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arnisador

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These are fascinating anecdotes. Please, keep them coming!

I had heard that at least the Tokyo police studied (Yoshinkai?) Aikido?
 
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RyuShiKan

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On the subject of the Jr/Sr High School Judo and Kendo clubs. Most school will have one or the other or both, however it should be noted that by and large these clubs have few members. The majority of boys are in either in the baseball or soccer clubs.
At the schools I taught at while I was a teacher most Judo/Kendo clubs had maybe 4 or 5 members and were the least popular of any of the clubs. Hell the "Nature Club" had more members in it!
 

kenmpoka

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Since I am fairly new to this forum, would you please tell me the style of Okinawan Karate you teach and study.

Respectfully,

:asian:
 
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fissure

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Ryushikan, I often visit another message board of which the main moderator practised and tought in Japan.His views are about the same as yours, namely Karate is not widely practiced or respected in that country.Kind of bursts that whole Karateka homeland thing doesn't it.:wah: :)
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by kenmpoka

Since I am fairly new to this forum, would you please tell me the style of Okinawan Karate you teach and study.

Respectfully,

:asian:


My teacher is Taika Oyata
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by fissure

Ryushikan, I often visit another message board of which the main moderator practised and tought in Japan.His views are about the same as yours, namely Karate is not widely practiced or respected in that country.Kind of bursts that whole Karateka homeland thing doesn't it.:wah: :)


In Japan I would say that is true. Japanese have always treated Okinawans and things from Okinawa as sort of second class.......that is unless you are a young female singer from Okinawa that shakes her *** in tight fitting clothing while she sings.

In Okinawa it is the opposite, they don't have a problem with karate. It is their National Cultural Art so it gets respect.
You can pretty much throw a stick in the air and it will land on a dojo in Okinawa.
 

Matt Stone

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Question #1 - If you were to walk down the street in Okinawa, how many folks would be even half-way approving or impressed that a person practiced karate? Would they even care?

Question #2 - who is this young female singer of whom you speak? Gotta love J-Pop!!!
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by Yiliquan1

Question #1 - If you were to walk down the street in Okinawa, how many folks would be even half-way approving or impressed that a person practiced karate? Would they even care?


I doubt they would be surprised or really care since most "round eye" in Okinawa are either their for the Military and study karate or are just their to study.

Originally posted by Yiliquan1

Question #2 - who is this young female singer of whom you speak? Gotta love J-Pop!!!


Amuro Namie or any ex-member of the group SPEED
 
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fissure

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Ryushikan, is your training in Oyata sensei's ryu te ( I hope this is the correct name). I think I remember two differnt arts connected with Mr. Oyata?
 
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RyuShiKan

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Originally posted by fissure

Ryushikan, is your training in Oyata sensei's ryu te ( I hope this is the correct name). I think I remember two differnt arts connected with Mr. Oyata?


Yes.
 
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