Jigen Ryu, Bushi Matsumura, and Shuri Ryu Connections

exile

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I sent a note to my colleage Judith earlier this morning about that German passage; should hear from her at one point this afternoon. Will let you all know when she replies.
 

exile

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And here we go!

Jigen Ryu Ryu Jujutsu beinhaltet Harada Senseis Erfahrungen aus den Stilrichtungen Kodokan Judo, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu und Takuma Ryu Jujutsu. Der st瓣rkste Einfluss ist aber sicher dem Hakko Ryu Jujutsu zuzuschreiben, in welchem Harada Sensei als direkter Sch羹ler des Gr羹nders Okuyama Yoshiji (Ryuho) die h繹chste Lehrlizenz erreicht hatte. Okuyamas Koho Igaku Shiatsu bildet auch die Grundlage f羹r das Jigen Ryu Shiatsu. Kennzeichnend f羹r das Jigen Ryu Jujutsu ist vor allem die zwingende Wirkung der Techniken, bei gleichzeitigem v繹lligen Verzicht auf die Anwendung von Muskelkraft zur berwindung der vom Gegner eingesetzten Kraft.


JRRJ contains HS's experiences from the styles KJ, DRA and TRJ. But the strongest influence surely comes from the HRJ, in which HS had achieved, as a direct student of the founder OY (R), the highest teaching qualification. Okuyama's KIS is also the foundation for JRS. A distinct property of JRJ is mainly that the techniques are forcefully/definitely in effect [I would probably be able to give a better translation here if I knew what they are talking about] while at the same time there is a complete dispensation with using muscle power to conquer the power used by the opponent.


Mit Kampfk羹nsten wie Schwertziehen (Iaido oder Iaijutsu - die beiden Begriffe werden in unserer Schule synonym verwendet) und Bogenschieen (Kyudo) hatte sich Harada Sensei urspr羹nglich haupts瓣chlich besch瓣ftigt, um daraus Erkenntnisse f羹r sein Jujutsu zu gewinnen. Vor allem K繹rperhaltung und Atmung (beim Kyudo), ebenso wie das Greifen des Schwerts beim Halten und besonders beim Schneiden, sowie die Konzentration der Energie auf die Schwertspitze beim Iaido beeinflussten Harada Senseis Jujutsu.

Originally, HS had mainly concerned himself with martial arts like "pulling a sword"? (Schwertziehen) (Iaido or Iaijutsu -- the two notions are synonyms in our school) and shooting with bow and arrows (Kyudo) to gain experiences for his Jujutsu. Body posture and breathing (in Kyudo) as well as the grabbing of the sword when holding it and cutting, as well as the concentration of the energy on the tip of the sword in Iaido influenced Harada Sensei's Jujutsu.

Original text in italics, translation in red, Judith's editorial comments in green. :)
 
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Makalakumu

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It sounds like Harada Sensei has a lot of experience in other JMA, but that he's attempted to preserve Jigen Ryu. I think this connection is pretty solid evidence of a connection between Shuri-Ryu and aikijutsu and jujutsu. What do you think the implications of this would be?
 

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just to help complete the translation


Okuyamas Koho Igaku Shiatsu bildet auch die Grundlage f羹r das Jigen Ryu Shiatsu. Kennzeichnend f羹r das Jigen Ryu Jujutsu ist vor allem die zwingende Wirkung der Techniken, bei gleichzeitigem v繹lligen Verzicht auf die Anwendung von Muskelkraft zur berwindung der vom Gegner eingesetzten Kraft.

Okuyamas Koho Igaku Shiatsu also forms the basis for the jigen ryu shiatsu. Jigen Ryu is characterized by the forcefull effect of its techniques while at the same time completely refraining from the use of muscular power.
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TimoS

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Sorry, I have to be the sceptic in this discussion, but I really would like to see what are concrete influences of Jigen ryu on Shorin ryu? Or, as the soke seems to imply, maybe the influence was the other way round and Matsumura's te influenced Jigen ryu somehow (and I would still like to see how). As I see it, Matsumura's legacy is best seen in these two kata: Seisan and Gojushiho and I have a hard time imaging any influence on those from sword work, especially Jigen ryu's "crazy granny" style kenjutsu. BTW, Shuri ryu is something totally different and has nothing whatsoever to do with Bushi Matsumura and his teachings.
 
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Makalakumu

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Sorry, I have to be the sceptic in this discussion, but I really would like to see what are concrete influences of Jigen ryu on Shorin ryu? Or, as the soke seems to imply, maybe the influence was the other way round and Matsumura's te influenced Jigen ryu somehow (and I would still like to see how). As I see it, Matsumura's legacy is best seen in these two kata: Seisan and Gojushiho and I have a hard time imaging any influence on those from sword work, especially Jigen ryu's "crazy granny" style kenjutsu. BTW, Shuri ryu is something totally different and has nothing whatsoever to do with Bushi Matsumura and his teachings.

Shuri and Shorin may be completely different now, but they both drew on the teachings of Matsumura in some way. I would say that their empty hand lists would help you understand some of the tuite you find in the various kata. Also, some of the throwing and lifting seem to look as if they are mimicked in aikijutsu and jujutsu. I've been looking for videos of these, but haven't been very successful. I do, however, have some background in Takada Ryu and Danzan Ryu and I can see some similarities in my own training. Anyway, what exactly would you be looking for? You aren't going to see people in Jigen Ryu performing karate kata...

BTW - the training video that gets laughed at so often, as it was explained to me, the exercise is something meant to build strength and fighting spirit.
 

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Shuri and Shorin may be completely different now, but they both drew on the teachings of Matsumura in some way

No, what I meant is that what is now known as Shuri ryu has nothing whatsoever to do with Matsumura. "Shuri-te" (a term that is somewhat misleading) evolved into Shorin ryu. Historically speaking there never was a "Shuri ryu" back in the days of Bushi Matsumura, as the concept of ryu in karate (or ti back in those days) just wasn't there. There was e.g. the ti of Bushi Matsumura or the ti of Chan Migwa aka Chotoku Kyan. The whole concept of named ryu came later. Shuri ryu is something put together by Robert Trias.

Also, some of the throwing and lifting seem to look as if they are mimicked in aikijutsu and jujutsu

Well, the thing about karate kata is, you will find stuff that looks more or less the same in just about any martial art. Hell, I've seen stuff in Praying mantis and Hung Gar kung-fu that looks similar to the applications of karate kata. Doesn't mean they are related in anyway.

BTW - the training video that gets laughed at so often, as it was explained to me, the exercise is something meant to build strength and fighting spirit.
Yes, I know
 
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Makalakumu

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No, what I meant is that what is now known as Shuri ryu has nothing whatsoever to do with Matsumura. "Shuri-te" (a term that is somewhat misleading) evolved into Shorin ryu. Historically speaking there never was a "Shuri ryu" back in the days of Bushi Matsumura, as the concept of ryu in karate (or ti back in those days) just wasn't there. There was e.g. the ti of Bushi Matsumura or the ti of Chan Migwa aka Chotoku Kyan. The whole concept of named ryu came later. Shuri ryu is something put together by Robert Trias.

Thank you for making that distinction. I suppose the usage of any modern terms is going to be problematic because the origins of the terms are quite nebulous. You make an interesting point in regards to "Matsumura Te" or "Kyan Te" or etc. Am I correct in the assumption that you are saying that back "in those days" karate was very personalized?

Well, the thing about karate kata is, you will find stuff that looks more or less the same in just about any martial art. Hell, I've seen stuff in Praying mantis and Hung Gar kung-fu that looks similar to the applications of karate kata. Doesn't mean they are related in anyway.

True, but the point here is that we've got documented proof that Karate is linked back through people like Matsumura to specific arts who were taught by specific people. Patrick McCarthy does an excellent job, IMO, of showing these connections in his 2008 edition of his translation of the Bubishi.

While karate may resemble other arts like praying mantis or hung gar, it doesn't, as you say, mean that there is a connection. The difference between this and Jigen Ryu or Fukien White Crane or Monk Fist Boxing (as Patrick McCarthy has shown) is that there IS a connection between those arts in karate. The resemblance is NOT circumstantial.

In fact, McCarthy shows in his book how the two forms that you provided above, Seisan and Gojushiho, both have analogues in systems of Quanfa that were imported from China. Please forgive me if this is information that you already know.

My point in this thread is that I believe the connection to Jigen Ryu connects karate to aikijutsu and jujutsu concepts. Jigen Ryu has four empty hand lists that were passed on through a direct lineage. I do not know if the lists that Matsumura would have learned would be the same as what is taught today, but I think it's a safe assumption styles of throwing, locking, unbalancing, and redirecting using body placement and technique that are found in aiki and ju jutsu schools would also be found in karate kata.

This information is very valuable for people who are training in dojos where the applications of the kata have been de-emphasized.

Yes, I know

As to the swordsmanship, I'm not sure what relationship it may have. The first thing that comes to mind, however, is makiwara training. The Jigen Ryu is known for whacking poles against standing targets or targets as were portrayed in the video alone. In some pictures I have seen, students of Jigen Ryu were required to perform cuts on standing poles so many times that over time, the poles were eroded inward on both sides. This every day "sword makiwara" practice would seem to be analogous.

Also, I wish that I were more familiar with kobudo because another point that McCarthy makes is that six foot staff and many other weapons were introduced to the Okinawans by the Shimazu. So much so, that Matsumura and his teacher Sakagawa traveled to Japan and were taught Jigen Ryu and were allowed to bring it back to Okinawan and spread it among the countryside. The belief was that, should Okinawa be invaded from outside, the familiarity with weapons would cause the island to be better defended.

I have not been able to determine if modern Jigen Ryu teaches any other weapons besides sword, however.
 

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Am I correct in the assumption that you are saying that back "in those days" karate was very personalized?

Kind of, yes. Back in Bushi Matsumura's days and those before him, the kata list of the masters was probably much shorter and it is only later on that we begin to see that the masters collected several kata from different instructors. Just as an example let us consider two Shorin ryu greats: Kyan and Itosu, who were probably the two most influential masters in Shorin ryu lineages (although they themselves didn't name their styles). Off the top of my head I cannot remember who were Itosu's teachers, except for Bushi Matsumura, but Kyan studied under Matsumura, his father and maybe also grandfather, Maeda, Oyadomari, Matsumora, Yara and Tokumine. From each of these masters (well except for his father and grandfather) he picked up one or two kata. Itosu, on the other hand, had (at least partially) different instructors, so his kata curriculum looks different. His karate also looks quite different.


True, but the point here is that we've got documented proof that Karate is linked back through people like Matsumura to specific arts who were taught by specific people. Patrick McCarthy does an excellent job, IMO, of showing these connections in his 2008 edition of his translation of the Bubishi.

I may have to get that edition. I have one that is few years old

While karate may resemble other arts like praying mantis or hung gar, it doesn't, as you say, mean that there is a connection. The difference between this and Jigen Ryu or Fukien White Crane or Monk Fist Boxing (as Patrick McCarthy has shown) is that there IS a connection between those arts in karate. The resemblance is NOT circumstantial.

Well, yes, there is a connection between some chinese arts and karate, but so far the connections have been established to the Goju and other more recent "imports". Shorin ryu has roots that go much much further and no-one's been able to satisfactorily show that what are the root styles of Shorin ryu, when, how and by whom they imported to Okinawa

In fact, McCarthy shows in his book how the two forms that you provided above, Seisan and Gojushiho, both have analogues in systems of Quanfa that were imported from China. Please forgive me if this is information that you already know.

Ok, now I really need to get that edition

My point in this thread is that I believe the connection to Jigen Ryu connects karate to aikijutsu and jujutsu concepts. Jigen Ryu has four empty hand lists that were passed on through a direct lineage. I do not know if the lists that Matsumura would have learned would be the same as what is taught today, but I think it's a safe assumption styles of throwing, locking, unbalancing, and redirecting using body placement and technique that are found in aiki and ju jutsu schools would also be found in karate kata.

Here's kind of another problem I have with that: Shorin styles don't have a whole lot of locking techniques and throws in them. Yes, some, but according to Zenpo Shimabukuro, the main emphasis is on kicks, punches and blocks. The "Shuri-te" was after all the art of king of Okinawa's bodyguards and when you're protecting the king, you dispatch the would-be assailants as quickly as possible and if they happen to die in the process, well, that's just too bad. Locks and throws, IMHO, don't fit that well into that.

This information is very valuable for people who are training in dojos where the applications of the kata have been de-emphasized.

Well, yes, again, kind of. On the other hand, if you are missing the applications, why not go back to the roots instead of trying to "reverse engineer" the applications from moves in kata? After all, there are plenty of styles where the applications have never been lost. I understand that that isn't always possible, especially if the kata have been heavily modified for one reason or another.


Also, I wish that I were more familiar with kobudo because another point that McCarthy makes is that six foot staff and many other weapons were introduced to the Okinawans by the Shimazu. So much so, that Matsumura and his teacher Sakagawa traveled to Japan and were taught Jigen Ryu and were allowed to bring it back to Okinawan and spread it among the countryside. The belief was that, should Okinawa be invaded from outside, the familiarity with weapons would cause the island to be better defended.

Now this I find even harder to believe. First of all, the staff is such a basic weapon that most likely every culture has at some point in their history adopted it to be used as a weapon. Also, the staff work that I've seen from mainland Japan is quite different from the Okinawan staff work and also, most japanese staff arts are, to my understanding, more or less geared towards use on the battlefield or at least against a sword wielding assailant. The okinawan stuff looks to me more geared towards e.g. law enforcement usage

I have not been able to determine if modern Jigen Ryu teaches any other weapons besides sword, however.

I've sent a query about that to a friend who knows quite a lot about these things.
 

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Ok, almost forgot to mention this: it is quite possible that Seisan in some form can still be found in chinese martial arts. After all, it is a kata that can be found in (at least) Goju, Uechi and some Shorin schools. Each different, but I believe each derive from the same kata. However, we do not know when the Shorin ryu version was brought to Okinawa. And Gojushiho is a totally different story altogether, so far no-one's been able to find anything like it in China. But I guess I'll have to get the Bubishi and see what McCarthy writes.

Just as an interesting comparison, check here http://www.cyberbudo.com/budosai/2007_video.php and you can see four different versions of Sanchin kata: two okinawan (Morio Higaonna and Shinyu Guchi) and two chinese versions. They're all in highlights part 4.
 
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Makalakumu

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Here's kind of another problem I have with that: Shorin styles don't have a whole lot of locking techniques and throws in them. Yes, some, but according to Zenpo Shimabukuro, the main emphasis is on kicks, punches and blocks. The "Shuri-te" was after all the art of king of Okinawa's bodyguards and when you're protecting the king, you dispatch the would-be assailants as quickly as possible and if they happen to die in the process, well, that's just too bad. Locks and throws, IMHO, don't fit that well into that.

One would think that breaking a joint or bone and/or tossing someone on their head would protect the king as well?

It's interesting when you start to compare the body positioning that happens in certain aikijutsu and jujutsu styles and look for similarities in kata. There are places in kata where you simply aren't where your attack thought you would be so that you either run into a strike or you find yourself completely unbalanced and falling to the ground. Also, there are places in the kata where the grabbing twisting and breaking seem very obvious.

In both cases, when I've learned empty hand lists from aiki or ju arts, I've been amazed at the similarities. For me, coming from an art that has de-emphasized the applications, an art that I don't want to quit, "reverse engineering" is one of the options that I have which goes alongside learning what the original application was. It's not a dirty word in my karate vocabulary.

That said, I find it exciting to see that there may be an actual historical link to some of the other arts that I've trained in and what I'm doing in karate now. I think that some of the throws and locks and other stuff that I learned doing that, really does apply to kata also and may have always been a part of the kata.

I've had a chance to train with several Okinawan practitioners over the years. People from Isshinryu, Ryu Te, Shorin Ryu, and Goju. I've had a chance to learn some of "the real" applications and I see the connections there too.

That said, I also see some major differences. I guess my point remains the same, if Matsumura really did combine elements of indigenous Okinawan arts, elements of Quanfa, and Jigen Ryu into "Matsumura Te" then the similarities that I've noticed shouldn't be surprising. Nor should they be considered coincidental.
 

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