Karate

Bob Hubbard

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From the rec.martialarts FAQ

(Contributors: Howard S. High - GODZILLA@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu,
Avron Boretz - aab2@cornell.edu,
Izar Tarandach - izar@cs.huji.ac.il,
Richard Parry - parry_r@kosmos.wcc.govt.nz)

Intro:

Somewhat generic term used for Japanese and Okinawan fighting arts.

Origin: Okinawa

History:

Karate is a term that either means "Chinese hand" or "Empty hand"
depending on which Japanese or Chinese characters you use to write it.
The Okinawan Karates could be said to have started in the 1600s when
Chinese practitioners of various Gongfu styles mixed and trained with
local adherents of an art called "te" (meaning "hand") which was a
very rough, very simple fighting style similar to Western boxing.
These arts generally developed into close- range, hard, external
styles.

In the late 19th century Gichin Funakoshi trained under several of the
great Okinawan Karate masters (Itosu, Azato) as well as working with
Jigoro Kano (see Judo) and Japanese Kendo masters (see Kendo).
Influenced by these elements, he created a new style of Karate. This
he introduced into Japan in the first decade of the 20th century and
thus to the world. The Japanese Karates (or what most people refer to
when they say "karate") are of this branch.

Description:

Okinawan Karate styles tend to be hard and external. In defense they
tend to be circular, and in offense linear. Okinawan karate styles
tend to place more emphasis on rigorous physical conditioning than the
Japanese styles. Japanese styles tend to have longer, more stylistic
movements and to be higher commitment. They also tend to be linear in
movement, offense, and defense.

Both tend to be high commitment, and tend to emphasize kicks and
punches, and a strong offense as a good defense.

Training:

This differs widely but most of the Karate styles emphasize a fairly
equal measure of basic technique training (repitition of a particular
technique), sparring, and forms. Forms, or kata, as they are called,
are stylized patterns of attacks and defenses done in sequence for
training purposes.

Sub-Styles: (Okinawan): Uechi-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu
(Japanese): Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu

Here is a more complete list (complements of Howard High) in which
Okinawan and Japanese styles are mixed:

Ashihara, Chinto-Ryu, Chito-Ryu, Doshinkan, Gohaku-Kai, Goju-Ryu
(Kanzen), Goju-Ryu (Okinawan), Goju-Ryu (Meibukan), Gosoku-Ryu,
Isshin-Ryu, Kenseido, Koei-Kan, Kosho-Ryu Kenpo, Kyokushinkai, Kyu
Shin Ryu, Motobu-Ryu, Okinawan Kempo, Okinawa Te, Ryokukai, Ryuken,
Ryukyu Kempo, Sanzyu-Ryu , Seido, Seidokan, Seishin-Ryu, Shindo
Jinen-Ryu, Shinjimasu, Shinko-Ryu, Shito-Ryu (Itosu-Kai), Shito-Ryu
(Seishinkai), Shito-Ryu (Kofukan), Shito-Ryu (Kuniba Ha) , Shito-Ryu
(Motobu Ha), Shorin-Ryu (Kobayashi), Shorin-Ryu (Matsubayashi),
Shorin-Ryu (Shobayashi), Shorin-Ryu (Matsumura), Shorinji Kempo,
Shorinji-Ryu, Shoshin-Ryu, Shotokai, Shotokan, Shotoshinkai, Shudokai,
Shuri-Ryu, Shuri-Te, Uechi-Ryu , Wado-Kai, Wado-Ryu, Washin-Ryu,
Yoseikan, Yoshukai, Yuishinkan.

Sub-Style Descriptions:

Wado-Ryu was founded by Hironori Ohtsuka around the 1920s. Ohtsuka
studied Jujutsu for many years before becoming a student of Gichin
Funakoshi. Considered by some to be Funakoshi's most brilliant
student, Ohtsuka combined the movements of Jujutsu with the striking
techniques of Okinawan Karate. After the death of Ohtsuka in the early
1980s, the style split into two factions: Wado Kai, headed by
Ohtsuka's senior students; and Wado Ryu, headed by Ohtsuka's son,
Jiro. Both factions continue to preserve most of the basic elements of
the style.

Uechi-ryu Karate, although it has become one of the main Okinawan
martial arts and absorbed many of the traditional Okinawan karate
training methods and approaches, is historically, and to some extent
technically quite separate. The "Uechi" of Uechi-ryu commemorates
Uechi Kanbun, an Okinawan who went to Fuzhou, the capital city of
Fujian province in China in 1897 to avoid being drafted into the
Japanese army. There he studied under master Zhou Zihe for ten years,
finally opening his own school, one of the few non-Chinese who
ventured to do so at the time. The man responisble for bringing
Uechi-ryu to the US is George Mattson.

Uechi-ryu, unlike the other forms of Okinawan and Japanese karate
mentioned in the FAQ, is only a few decades removed from its Chinese
origins. Although it has absorbed quite a bit of Okinawan influence
and evolved closer to such styles as Okinawan Goju-ryu over those
decades, it still retains its original Chinese flavor, both in its
technique and in the culture of the dojo. It is a "half-hard,
half-soft" style very similar to such southern Chinese styles as
Fukienese Crane (as still practiced in the Chinese communities of
Malaysia), Taiwanese Golden Eagle, and even Wing Chun. Conditioning
the body for both attack and defense is a common characteristic of
both Okinawan karate and southern Shaolin "street" styles, and as such
is an important part of Uechi training. There is a strong internal
component to the practice, including focused breathing and tensioning
exercises similar to Chinese Qigong. Uechi, following its Chinese
Crane heritage, emphasizes circular blocks, low snap kicks, infighting
(coordinating footwork with grabs, locks, throws, and sweeps), and
short, rapid hand traps and attacks (not unlike Wing Chun).
 
D

DWright

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I studied a form of Karate for 16 years, but once my sensei went to Japan I haven't seen it practiced again.

I studied Keet Suit Karate. Roughly translated it means "combined arts". Has anyone else heard of it, or know anyone who has or is studying the Art?
 

Cthulhu

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I've never heard of that style of karate, or anything remotely similar to it. That name doesn't look Japanese or Okinawan at all. Is it perhaps an eclectic style of karate, blending techniques and forms from multiple styles of Japanese and Okinawan karate?

Cthulhu
 
D

DWright

Guest
You are correct that it is an eclectic style. I told my Sensei many times that I thought that the Masters where at one time pirates.

If a technique worked well it was given a new name and called ours.

I know when I started classes we had hundreds of students, and our style was even taught at our local colleges.

I met many high ranking black belts in our system who stated that they had been training in it for well over 30 years, but when my instructor moved back to Japan I have never seen it again.
 

Cthulhu

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I know the feeling. My instructor was the only one teaching the style on the east coast of the U.S. When I first met him in '91, there were only two dozen black belts in the style, worldwide, and it had been taught in the U.S. since 1957. Now that he's gone back to California, I think I'm the only one actively practicing the style on the east coast.

Cthulhu
 
D

DWright

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I am not aware of anyone still practicing this art. I have been contacting former students, and many still practice some Martial Art, but not my style.

I will continue my investigation, and teach my students. Maybe some day I will revive the art.
 

Cthulhu

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I know I find it weird being the only practitioner of a style in your area. In the little university club I'm in, when people ask each other their styles, you hear the usual: TKD, such-n-such kung fu, Tang Soo Do...and they usually know what each other is talking about. I say 'Okinawa-te' and get blank stares.

Actually, I think it's interesting that people ask what style I study *after* having sparred with me :)

At any rate, if you were happy practicing that style, and you love doing it, then by all means, keep practicing and keep teaching.

Cthulhu
 

arnisador

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Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
Chito-Ryu

Named after its founder, I imagine, though they claim otherwise (see bottom of page).


Goju-Ryu
(Kanzen), Goju-Ryu (Okinawan), Goju-Ryu (Meibukan)

There are many other Goju sub-styles.

Shito-Ryu
(Seishinkai), Shito-Ryu (Kofukan), Shito-Ryu (Kuniba Ha) , Shito-Ryu
(Motobu Ha)

On the otehr hand, I didn't realize that there were this many Shito-ryu sub-styles.

Washin-Ryu

Mr. Ochiai's web page seems to imply but doesn't quite state that he learned this style in Japan rather than creating it here. I believe that he is the creator of this style--is that so?

The National Headquarters of this system is very close to where my wife grew up and I have been by it often while visiting her family.
 

arnisador

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Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
Shito-Ryu (Itosu-Kai), Shito-Ryu
(Seishinkai), Shito-Ryu (Kofukan), Shito-Ryu (Kuniba Ha) , Shito-Ryu
(Motobu Ha)

Fumio Demura is associated with the former I believe:
Interview.
Shito-Ryu is one of the four main styles of Japanese karate. Itosu-Kai is one organization within that style. Mr. Mabuni passed away in 1952. The style split four or five ways. Right now, we have Shito-Kai, which is the main root, led by Mr. Mabuni's son. We have Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai, which was led by Ryusho Sakagami. Shito-Ryu Shukokai is led by Mr. Tani. Mr. Kuniba started the Seishin-kai which is today, Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu.
Mr. Hayashi created Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu. Another group was created by Mr. Abe.

Web site.
Biography.

It is claimed that this is one of the four major styles of Japanese karate.
 
R

RyuShiKan

Guest
Originally posted by DWright
I studied a form of Karate for 16 years, but once my sensei went to Japan I haven't seen it practiced again.

I studied Keet Suit Karate. Roughly translated it means "combined arts". Has anyone else heard of it, or know anyone who has or is studying the Art?


Keet Suit Karate???

What language does Keet Suit come from?
 
R

RyuShiKan

Guest
Originally posted by DWright

I met many high ranking black belts in our system who stated that they had been training in it for well over 30 years, but when my instructor moved back to Japan I have never seen it again.


Was your teacher Japanese?
What was his name?
 
R

RyuShiKan

Guest
From this website: http://www.chito-ryu.com/history.htm
“His original birth name was Chinen (Gochoku) Masuo. His father Chinen (Masuo) Chiyoyu, married into his wife's last name, and was not a practitioner of karate. Chitose Sensei changed his name to Tsuyoshi Chitose for personal reasons after he moved to Tokyo in 1922 to attend medical college.”


It’s not odd that many Okinawans that moved to the Main Island of Japan changed their names to sound more Japanese than Okinawan.
Funakoshi did this as well. He changed the kanji used for his last name to a different set that looked more “Japanese” but had the same sound as “Funakoshi”.
The reason why most did this was to avoid or lessen the amount of discrimination against themselves for being Okinawans which were considered to be second class citizens at that time.
 
R

RyuShiKan

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RyuShiKan

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Another photo from that same site:


Left to Right: Nakamura, Uehara, Higa, O-Sensei early 1960's.

Notice the trophy in Mr. Nakamura's hand.........
 

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RyuShiKan

Guest
It would seem that there was a tournament on that day which may explain why all those teachers are in the same place at the same time.


Notice that same trophy in my teachers hand.........
 

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S

SRyuFighter

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Cool. I study Seibukan Shorin Ryu Karate and that wasn't on the list. Unless I missed something.
 
Y

yilisifu

Guest
That's a GREAT photo of Master Oyata!!!!! Thanks for putting it on the board!
 
R

RyuShiKan

Guest
If I am not mistaken that is a photo of Mr. Oyata after he won the All Japan full contact tournament in the 1960’s.
I was told by my seniors that trained with him at that time he was a rather “intense” individual.
 
Y

yilisifu

Guest
Intense.

Yes, that would be a good way to describe him. He's still that way, too.

He's a wonderful teacher; a piece of karate history that's still walking around.
 
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