More naihanchi?

I regularly cross train with various styles. In fact I've been spending 1 night a week working specifically on the Naihanchi forms with a Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Nidan Karateka. While the performance of the form varies a little in execution, the applications are nearly identical, and more importantly the theme/principles that are highlighted in the form are identical.
 
There are specific qualities to that movement that are often not visibly obvious, but make the difference between time well spent or a complete waste of time. What you learn from video ends up being a very superficial copy of the true kata. It looks like the same kata and isnt wrong, exactly, but at the same time, none of the movement is actually correct and the whole thing is wrong. But you will never understand that, if you learn it from video and dont have a good instructor to correct the subtleties of the movement and help you understand what is actually going on.
This seems a bit of an odd view to me, because a physical master doesn't have any more insight into your "feeling" than a monitor. He/she is not you. He can only look - just as much as you can only look.

To explain what I mean: I start with the principle that most katas are not artistic forms, but a specific sequence of techniques for achieving something in a confrontation (occasionally the information has degraded during transmission, but overall that's what it is).

In other words, when the kata was born thre was a clear goal and a clear set of subgoals and a recipe binding them together.

So I see a kata as an attempt by someone who has found something that (presumably) works well in a confrontation to remember it, describe it and occasionally pass it on.

Now, the process with which we try to do such things is the same in any field: first, there's the goal: what is that we are trying to achieve? If you're passing on the knowledge to someone, this is fundamental. Second, you let them try a bit, and look at what they do and you may gently correct any gross error. Third, you do it together another few times, then you let them practice. If they have issues, you remind them what the goals is to help them find the relationship between the individual step which is hard and the final goal.

For example, if I show someone my kata for making a omelette I will start with making him one, so he knows what we're after; then I'll show him the procedure several times while he tries to memorize it. At every step, I will physically show him what's the movements or actions required - but since I don't want to use hundreds of eggs, I'll often simply mimic the movement with no egg in my hands, and maybe ask him to do the same. In other words, the kata. Then he will practice making the omelette, and for the same reason he will both practice with some eggs, but also the kata, to remember.

If we look at the kata, there is no "specific quality to the movement" to - say - the breaking of an egg on the table... or better, there is: a certain amount of force, a certain amount of distance from the impact surface, the slight movement with the fingers that seals the now broken shell just enough so you can move it over the bowl). But the only way the someone can learn these things is to practice with an egg in the context of making an omelette.

After an initial phase, having me (a 10th dan of omelette making-ryu) nearby isn't needed all that much.

Rather It is the student who (given his understanding the overall goal, and the goal of the specific step, and how they relate, and having physically tried them in action) brings life to the kata by trying to use it to achieve the goal. And he must also have grit to try and fail to make the omelette many, many times - possibly in an environment where you don't get fired if the omelette doesn't work out.

In short, imho all this can be done by looking at a video just as well as with a physical master. Sure, the initial phase will likely be a bit longer with a video (and require more dedication and attention), but it's not dissimilar than learning from a book as opposite to a teacher.

If you learn what each move of naihanchi is about, looking at a video is just as good a guide as looking at a master. And if you don't, or the master doesn't tell you, both are equally a waste of time.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
 
This seems a bit of an odd view to me, because a physical master doesn't have any more insight into your "feeling" than a monitor. He/she is not you. He can only look - just as much as you can only look.

To explain what I mean: I start with the principle that most katas are not artistic forms, but a specific sequence of techniques for achieving something in a confrontation (occasionally the information has degraded during transmission, but overall that's what it is).

In other words, when the kata was born thre was a clear goal and a clear set of subgoals and a recipe binding them together.

So I see a kata as an attempt by someone who has found something that (presumably) works well in a confrontation to remember it, describe it and occasionally pass it on.

Now, the process with which we try to do such things is the same in any field: first, there's the goal: what is that we are trying to achieve? If you're passing on the knowledge to someone, this is fundamental. Second, you let them try a bit, and look at what they do and you may gently correct any gross error. Third, you do it together another few times, then you let them practice. If they have issues, you remind them what the goals is to help them find the relationship between the individual step which is hard and the final goal.

For example, if I show someone my kata for making a omelette I will start with making him one, so he knows what we're after; then I'll show him the procedure several times while he tries to memorize it. At every step, I will physically show him what's the movements or actions required - but since I don't want to use hundreds of eggs, I'll often simply mimic the movement with no egg in my hands, and maybe ask him to do the same. In other words, the kata. Then he will practice making the omelette, and for the same reason he will both practice with some eggs, but also the kata, to remember.

If we look at the kata, there is no "specific quality to the movement" to - say - the breaking of an egg on the table... or better, there is: a certain amount of force, a certain amount of distance from the impact surface, the slight movement with the fingers that seals the now broken shell just enough so you can move it over the bowl). But the only way the someone can learn these things is to practice with an egg in the context of making an omelette.

After an initial phase, having me (a 10th dan of omelette making-ryu) nearby isn't needed all that much.

Rather It is the student who (given his understanding the overall goal, and the goal of the specific step, and how they relate, and having physically tried them in action) brings life to the kata by trying to use it to achieve the goal. And he must also have grit to try and fail to make the omelette many, many times - possibly in an environment where you don't get fired if the omelette doesn't work out.

In short, imho all this can be done by looking at a video just as well as with a physical master. Sure, the initial phase will likely be a bit longer with a video (and require more dedication and attention), but it's not dissimilar than learning from a book as opposite to a teacher.

If you learn what each move of naihanchi is about, looking at a video is just as good a guide as looking at a master. And if you don't, or the master doesn't tell you, both are equally a waste of time.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
You were doing so well (I was about to give you a resounding "like") - until the part I italicized. Consider these three sequential points:

1. There is less margin of error in fighting (kata application) than in cracking an egg. If you crack it a little softer or harder, it may break just as well. If your elbows are flared out, you can still manage to get the egg in the pan. The precise subtleties are not as critical as in executing combat technique where the line between success and failure is very thin.

2. The next point is the complexity. Cooking an egg does entail some hand and arm movement, but one need not worry about angles, footwork, weight distribution, breathing, having to check active counters to your efforts, and so on. In doing a kata properly, there are many, many macro and micro actions taking place simultaneously.

3. Even if one is capable of discerning all these actions, it is very difficult to monitor oneself and have the body awareness to know if you are getting each position/movement correctly for maximum results and self-protection.

An expert chef may be able to cook a new gourmet dish without being tutored in person. He has years of experience in performing basic techniques, is familiar with the nuances of spices and how different elements combine and how temperature affects different foods and gives different results. The cook at Denny's? Not so much. But he'll probably be able to prepare a scrambled egg for you.
 
This seems a bit of an odd view to me, because a physical master doesn't have any more insight into your "feeling" than a monitor. He/she is not you. He can only look - just as much as you can only look.

To explain what I mean: I start with the principle that most katas are not artistic forms, but a specific sequence of techniques for achieving something in a confrontation (occasionally the information has degraded during transmission, but overall that's what it is).

In other words, when the kata was born thre was a clear goal and a clear set of subgoals and a recipe binding them together.

So I see a kata as an attempt by someone who has found something that (presumably) works well in a confrontation to remember it, describe it and occasionally pass it on.

Now, the process with which we try to do such things is the same in any field: first, there's the goal: what is that we are trying to achieve? If you're passing on the knowledge to someone, this is fundamental. Second, you let them try a bit, and look at what they do and you may gently correct any gross error. Third, you do it together another few times, then you let them practice. If they have issues, you remind them what the goals is to help them find the relationship between the individual step which is hard and the final goal.

For example, if I show someone my kata for making a omelette I will start with making him one, so he knows what we're after; then I'll show him the procedure several times while he tries to memorize it. At every step, I will physically show him what's the movements or actions required - but since I don't want to use hundreds of eggs, I'll often simply mimic the movement with no egg in my hands, and maybe ask him to do the same. In other words, the kata. Then he will practice making the omelette, and for the same reason he will both practice with some eggs, but also the kata, to remember.

If we look at the kata, there is no "specific quality to the movement" to - say - the breaking of an egg on the table... or better, there is: a certain amount of force, a certain amount of distance from the impact surface, the slight movement with the fingers that seals the now broken shell just enough so you can move it over the bowl). But the only way the someone can learn these things is to practice with an egg in the context of making an omelette.

After an initial phase, having me (a 10th dan of omelette making-ryu) nearby isn't needed all that much.

Rather It is the student who (given his understanding the overall goal, and the goal of the specific step, and how they relate, and having physically tried them in action) brings life to the kata by trying to use it to achieve the goal. And he must also have grit to try and fail to make the omelette many, many times - possibly in an environment where you don't get fired if the omelette doesn't work out.

In short, imho all this can be done by looking at a video just as well as with a physical master. Sure, the initial phase will likely be a bit longer with a video (and require more dedication and attention), but it's not dissimilar than learning from a book as opposite to a teacher.

If you learn what each move of naihanchi is about, looking at a video is just as good a guide as looking at a master. And if you don't, or the master doesn't tell you, both are equally a waste of time.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
Ok then. You follow that route if you are convinced it will work. You do you.
 
This seems a bit of an odd view to me, because a physical master doesn't have any more insight into your "feeling" than a monitor. He/she is not you. He can only look - just as much as you can only look.

To explain what I mean: I start with the principle that most katas are not artistic forms, but a specific sequence of techniques for achieving something in a confrontation (occasionally the information has degraded during transmission, but overall that's what it is).

In other words, when the kata was born thre was a clear goal and a clear set of subgoals and a recipe binding them together.

So I see a kata as an attempt by someone who has found something that (presumably) works well in a confrontation to remember it, describe it and occasionally pass it on.

Now, the process with which we try to do such things is the same in any field: first, there's the goal: what is that we are trying to achieve? If you're passing on the knowledge to someone, this is fundamental. Second, you let them try a bit, and look at what they do and you may gently correct any gross error. Third, you do it together another few times, then you let them practice. If they have issues, you remind them what the goals is to help them find the relationship between the individual step which is hard and the final goal.

For example, if I show someone my kata for making a omelette I will start with making him one, so he knows what we're after; then I'll show him the procedure several times while he tries to memorize it. At every step, I will physically show him what's the movements or actions required - but since I don't want to use hundreds of eggs, I'll often simply mimic the movement with no egg in my hands, and maybe ask him to do the same. In other words, the kata. Then he will practice making the omelette, and for the same reason he will both practice with some eggs, but also the kata, to remember.

If we look at the kata, there is no "specific quality to the movement" to - say - the breaking of an egg on the table... or better, there is: a certain amount of force, a certain amount of distance from the impact surface, the slight movement with the fingers that seals the now broken shell just enough so you can move it over the bowl). But the only way the someone can learn these things is to practice with an egg in the context of making an omelette.

After an initial phase, having me (a 10th dan of omelette making-ryu) nearby isn't needed all that much.

Rather It is the student who (given his understanding the overall goal, and the goal of the specific step, and how they relate, and having physically tried them in action) brings life to the kata by trying to use it to achieve the goal. And he must also have grit to try and fail to make the omelette many, many times - possibly in an environment where you don't get fired if the omelette doesn't work out.

In short, imho all this can be done by looking at a video just as well as with a physical master. Sure, the initial phase will likely be a bit longer with a video (and require more dedication and attention), but it's not dissimilar than learning from a book as opposite to a teacher.

If you learn what each move of naihanchi is about, looking at a video is just as good a guide as looking at a master. And if you don't, or the master doesn't tell you, both are equally a waste of time.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
This seems a bit of an odd view to me, because a physical master doesn't have any more insight into your "feeling" than a monitor. He/she is not you. He can only look - just as much as you can only look.

n short, imho all this can be done by looking at a video just as well as with a physical master. Sure, the initial phase will likely be a bit longer with a video (and require more dedication and attention), but it's not dissimilar than learning from a book as opposite to a teacher.

If you learn what each move of naihanchi is about, looking at a video is just as good a guide as looking at a master. And if you don't, or the master doesn't tell you, both are equally a waste of time.
Clearly, clearly, you have Never been under a good instructor. I am not certain you even have the capacity to be trained by one. How can any thinking person believe looking at and learning from a 2D screen is as impactful as learning in a 3D environment with tactile, live feedback?

You completely lost me in the beginning.

Much or what you said in the middle of your comment was accurate, although oddly phrased.

You completely lost me in the ending.
 
Ok then. You follow that route if you are convinced it will work. You do you.
But of course. What else? :)

Not sure what "you follow that route" means, unless you've made some assumptions on what I do or don't.
 
You were doing so well (I was about to give you a resounding "like") - until the part I italicized. Consider these three sequential points:

1. There is less margin of error in fighting (kata application) than in cracking an egg. If you crack it a little softer or harder, it may break just as well. If your elbows are flared out, you can still manage to get the egg in the pan. The precise subtleties are not as critical as in executing combat technique where the line between success and failure is very thin.

2. The next point is the complexity. Cooking an egg does entail some hand and arm movement, but one need not worry about angles, footwork, weight distribution, breathing, having to check active counters to your efforts, and so on. In doing a kata properly, there are many, many macro and micro actions taking place simultaneously.

3. Even if one is capable of discerning all these actions, it is very difficult to monitor oneself and have the body awareness to know if you are getting each position/movement correctly for maximum results and self-protection.

An expert chef may be able to cook a new gourmet dish without being tutored in person. He has years of experience in performing basic techniques, is familiar with the nuances of spices and how different elements combine and how temperature affects different foods and gives different results. The cook at Denny's? Not so much. But he'll probably be able to prepare a scrambled egg for you.
Thank you for a proper reply. For being a "friendly forum" made of supposedly composed martial artists to boot - I gotta say that people seem to be awfully easy to upset. :D But well, it's the Internet in general, and I may be interpreting too much from written text myself. However, manners matter and I appreciate yours. Disagreement is never a problem, just an interesting starting point for an amicable and mutually respectful exchange of ideas.

For the matter at hand: I may well agree with your points. Yeah, making a proper omelette is probably less complex than a fight (tough I don't know if you have tried... trivial it is not!) and for most people it may have has less margin of error (except if you're a sous chef at 3 Michelin stars restaurant, I suspect - and yes, they do make omelettes :D). I would not underestimate, however, the everyday marvels of the human body and the fine control required in activities which we think trivial and common simply because everybody incessantly trains since birth to do them, like walking, controlling your fingers or catching a ball in the air, or for what matters, modulating air to talk. In short, mine was just an analogy.

The point I was trying to get across is that if you understand the meaning of a technique - of whatever type - finding the "special quality" of it is a function of practice and feedback from the result. The starting point is always some guidance on how to go about it, and certainly a coach can help (most often because he can see something that it's hard to see oneself.. but hey, nowadays we have amazing videocameras in our pockets), but knowledge is knowledge. It is transmissible insofar it is, and it's not mystical, and the "special quality" resides often beyond what is transmissible in whatever way. Nobody can feel it for you.

Since ancient Okinawan times, we have gained general literacy, the printing press, the general and cheap production of paper, photographic cameras first on film and now digital, motion pictures, television and nowadays videos. They all contribute to the role that once was solely of the individual teacher - the transmission of knowledge insofar it can be transmitted. In martial arts, but also in anything else worth doing. And unless one thinks that for some reason martial arts are a unique field of human endeavor, where rules that work in most others are suddenly null and void, it seems slightly odd to me to dismiss all of these tools so summarily as the post I replied did.

I am not of course saying that a master is useless - on the contrary, a good master or coach can speed you up incredibly. Just that one, if he's already familiar with the basics as the OP seemed to be, can do learn quite a bit of Naihanchi by learning how it goes, trying to understand what each move is supposed to do and then trying to actually achieve that, again and again - with partners, dummies, and even - Chki Motobu style - getting out and rough and see what happens (not that I recommend it, of course - it's a joke). Is it gonna be perfect? Probably not. But is it gonna be necessarily shitty? Don't think so.

On a different angle, the main issue with martial arts is that in this time and age is not so easy to actually get that feedback cycle in the amounts it's needed, unless perhaps you are in law enforcement, active military or in questionable circles. You can grab a guitar and practice for hours, or pick up a car, go to the track and check your lap times, but you can't really practice knee-kicking people all that much.

So perhaps the sad reality is that - master or not master - it's very hard for most people nowadays to know if they really have that "special quality" or not in all of their Naihanchi. They may feel they do but that's doesn't mean much.
 
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Clearly, clearly, you have Never been under a good instructor. I am not certain you even have the capacity to be trained by one. How can any thinking person believe looking at and learning from a 2D screen is as impactful as learning in a 3D environment with tactile, live feedback?

You completely lost me in the beginning.

Much or what you said in the middle of your comment was accurate, although oddly phrased.

You completely lost me in the ending.
I find it amazing how much clarity someone can extract from a few lines by a random person on the internet. :D
I will tell my teacher that you think he's not a good instructor, but somehow I don't think he will be much upset.

On the rest, the fault in losing you is absolutely mine. I'll try better next time :D
 
the point I was trying to get across is that if you understand the meaning of a technique - of whatever type - finding the "special quality" of it is a function of practice...........the "special quality" resides often beyond what is transmissible in whatever way. Nobody can feel it for you.
This is something an instructor can only give limited guidance, and a video or book hardly any at all. Countless hours, years, and even decades of dedicated practice are normally required to develop that "special quality" of stepping, punching, linking moves together, body motion, etc. Just like any feeling, it resides solely within the experiencer and is very difficult to explain. But when you get it, you know it. I think on this main point we are in agreement.
 
Thank you for a proper reply. For being a "friendly forum" made of supposedly composed martial artists to boot - I gotta say that people seem to be awfully easy to upset. :D But well, it's the Internet in general, and I may be interpreting too much from written text myself. However, manners matter and I appreciate yours. Disagreement is never a problem, just an interesting starting point for an amicable and mutually respectful exchange of ideas.

For the matter at hand: I may well agree with your points. Yeah, making a proper omelette is probably less complex than a fight (tough I don't know if you have tried... trivial it is not!) and for most people it may have has less margin of error (except if you're a sous chef at 3 Michelin stars restaurant, I suspect - and yes, they do make omelettes :D). I would not underestimate, however, the everyday marvels of the human body and the fine control required in activities which we think trivial and common simply because everybody incessantly trains since birth to do them, like walking, controlling your fingers or catching a ball in the air, or for what matters, modulating air to talk. In short, mine was just an analogy.

The point I was trying to get across is that if you understand the meaning of a technique - of whatever type - finding the "special quality" of it is a function of practice and feedback from the result. The starting point is always some guidance on how to go about it, and certainly a coach can help (most often because he can see something that it's hard to see oneself.. but hey, nowadays we have amazing videocameras in our pockets), but knowledge is knowledge. It is transmissible insofar it is, and it's not mystical, and the "special quality" resides often beyond what is transmissible in whatever way. Nobody can feel it for you.

Since ancient Okinawan times, we have gained general literacy, the printing press, the general and cheap production of paper, photographic cameras first on film and now digital, motion pictures, television and nowadays videos. They all contribute to the role that once was solely of the individual teacher - the transmission of knowledge insofar it can be transmitted. In martial arts, but also in anything else worth doing. And unless one thinks that for some reason martial arts are a unique field of human endeavor, where rules that work in most others are suddenly null and void, it seems slightly odd to me to dismiss all of these tools so summarily as the post I replied did.

I am not of course saying that a master is useless - on the contrary, a good master or coach can speed you up incredibly. Just that one, if he's already familiar with the basics as the OP seemed to be, can do learn quite a bit of Naihanchi by learning how it goes, trying to understand what each move is supposed to do and then trying to actually achieve that, again and again - with partners, dummies, and even - Chki Motobu style - getting out and rough and see what happens (not that I recommend it, of course - it's a joke). Is it gonna be perfect? Probably not. But is it gonna be necessarily shitty? Don't think so.

On a different angle, the main issue with martial arts is that in this time and age is not so easy to actually get that feedback cycle in the amounts it's needed, unless perhaps you are in law enforcement, active military or in questionable circles. You can grab a guitar and practice for hours, or pick up a car, go to the track and check your lap times, but you can't really practice knee-kicking people all that much.

So perhaps the sad reality is that - master or not master - it's very hard for most people nowadays to know if they really have that "special quality" or not in all of their Naihanchi. They may feel they do but that's doesn't mean much.
This post was Much more concise and to the point. Why all the 'omelet' cloak and dagger? Just say what you want to say.

It does come down to a numbers game to me. Nowadays, there are exponentially more people training now by several factors. Many who could care less about any 'special quality' in movements. The result? People who become black belts and instructors who never learned (physically or mentally) the deep meanings to some techniques. Or they have substituted the 'special quality' in some way.
Let's face it, things are changed over time and better, more efficient ways are learned to train and do some things. This is usually due to social/external influences of the time. Less combat threat and more sport in your martial art? The practices will be changed to better fit the ruleset.
Society is still trying very hard to level the playing field in all aspects. In typical fashion, this is even getting skewed with what is right and wrong (aka morality). A very dangerous numbing effect where social conditioning is extremely dangerous.
Add to the the "I want it and I want it now" mindset of society today, it is getting harder and harder to find people willing to invest their time into deep training.
 
This is something an instructor can only give limited guidance, and a video or book hardly any at all. Countless hours, years, and even decades of dedicated practice are normally required to develop that "special quality" of stepping, punching, linking moves together, body motion, etc. Just like any feeling, it resides solely within the experiencer and is very difficult to explain. But when you get it, you know it. I think on this main point we are in agreement.
Indeed. :)
 
This post was Much more concise and to the point. Why all the 'omelet' cloak and dagger? Just say what you want to say.
Eh, but I do. I quite like the analogy and there may be more depth to it than you think, if you only stop a second and look. Or maybe not :) But it's a forum, and we all write what and how we want, don't we?

It does come down to a numbers game to me. Nowadays, there are exponentially more people training now by several factors. Many who could care less about any 'special quality' in movements. The result? People who become black belts and instructors who never learned (physically or mentally) the deep meanings to some techniques. Or they have substituted the 'special quality' in some way.

Yeah, I feel with you. I personally cannot care less about belts but of course to many it's a goal, and therefore to others it's a business.
That "special quality" (which I read as "effectiveness and meaningfulness", not sure of course of exactly what you think of) is all that I care for.

But then, 95% of karate worldwide is the japanized version (and even more the "japanized competition" version), which comes directly from the "okinawan version changed heavily to avoid that schoolchildren hurt each other"). In these, they have reinvented the meaning, distance, angles, hands attitude and objective of many moves, katas are mostly flashy entertrainment and how hard you shout the kata name seem to matter (!).. not sure how many special qualities (in my sense) there are there (mind me: nothing to say about the competitors, which perform incredible athletic feats and have speed and stamina much higher than the average, and all respect to them).
Let's face it, things are changed over time and better, more efficient ways are learned to train and do some things. This is usually due to social/external influences of the time. Less combat threat and more sport in your martial art? The practices will be changed to better fit the ruleset.
Society is still trying very hard to level the playing field in all aspects. In typical fashion, this is even getting skewed with what is right and wrong (aka morality). A very dangerous numbing effect where social conditioning is extremely dangerous.
Add to the the "I want it and I want it now" mindset of society today, it is getting harder and harder to find people willing to invest their time into deep training.

I am not entirely sure what you're referring to, but I guess it's the fact that more and more people has access to information via Youtube&c?

Perhaps I am simply an optimist, but I think you may be painting too many people with the same brush. The democratization of knowledge which started with the printing press and now reached YouTube has some shortcoming, yes. But overall, it gives a helluva lot of more of the people who care access to information that otherwise they wouldn't have ever seen.

Sure, you will always have the phoneys and superficial. But that's humanity for you - there's always some, regardless the era. :)

For all that can be said about Itosu and Funakoshi, if they hadn't changed and promoted karate as a safe, health-inducing , character-building and discipline-molding activity (as opposite to a bone-breaking one) we probably wouldn't be talking of it right now.
 
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Eh, but I do. I quite like the analogy and there may be more depth to it than you think, if you only stop a second and look. Or maybe not :) But it's a forum, and we all write what and how we want, don't we?



Yeah, I feel with you. I personally cannot care less about belts but of course to many it's a goal, and therefore to others it's a business.
That "special quality" (which I read as "effectiveness and meaningfulness", not sure of course of exactly what you think of) is all that I care for.

But then, 95% of karate worldwide is the japanized version (and even more the "japanized competition" version), which comes directly from the "okinawan version changed heavily to avoid that schoolchildren hurt each other"). In these, they have reinvented the meaning, distance, angles, hands attitude and objective of many moves, katas are mostly flashy entertrainment and how hard you shout the kata name seem to matter (!).. not sure how many special qualities (in my sense) there are there (mind me: nothing to say about the competitors, which perform incredible athletic feats and have speed and stamina much higher than the average, and all respect to them).


I am not entirely sure what you're referring to, but I guess it's the fact that more and more people has access to information via Youtube&c?

Perhaps I am simply an optimist, but I think you may be painting too many people with the same brush. The democratization of knowledge which started with the printing press and now reached YouTube has some shortcoming, yes. But overall, it gives a helluva lot of more of the people who care access to information that otherwise they wouldn't have ever seen.

Sure, you will always have the phoneys and superficial. But that's humanity for you - there's always some, regardless the era. :)

For all that can be said about Itosu and Funakoshi, if they hadn't changed and promoted karate as a safe, health-inducing , character-building and discipline-molding activity (as opposite to a bone-breaking one) we probably wouldn't be talking of it right now.
If we use Youtbue alone as the example, how is an uniformed person to know whether the video they are watching is correct or not? There is just as much misinformation as there is correct information out there. My hard rule for Youtube is to watch 8-10 videos of the same thing and then try to determine what is 'correct', but this is still very subjective analysis.
 
If we use Youtbue alone as the example, how is a uniformed person to know whether the video they are watching is correct or not? There is just as much misinformation as there is correct information out there. My hard rule for Youtube is to watch 8-10 videos of the same thing and then try to determine what is 'correct', but this is still very subjective analysis.
In addition, using video puts the responsibility on the student to identify and correct his own errors. This is entirely unrealistic.

There are subtleties in the movement that can mean the difference between success and failure in the practice of kata. It takes a skilled instructor to help a student understand and grasp and execute those subtleties, and it takes repeated corrections over a long time, before a student begins to internalize the correct way of doing things. Without that level of understanding, it becomes a shallow mimicry of movement. It looks correct, sort of, in the same way that a corvette looks good, but if there is no engine under the hood it does not matter how good it looks. It wont go anywhere.

Too many people have no engine under the hood. Their kata has become performance art.
 
If we use Youtbue alone as the example, how is an uniformed person to know whether the video they are watching is correct or not? There is just as much misinformation as there is correct information out there. My hard rule for Youtube is to watch 8-10 videos of the same thing and then try to determine what is 'correct', but this is still very subjective analysis.
A good question, which can (and should) be posed for absolutely everything we are told, regardless where it comes from, video, famous karateka, your local sensei or a wizened old asian-looking master.

The short answer, to me, is: by first using their head first to see if it makes sense; and then - for karate specifically - by trying it in action with a resisting partner. The long answer qualifies the above a lot but it's too boring to write now. :)

We all are uninformed of something before learning it, but "uninformed" does not necessarily mean "clueless". As I read it, the OP had already some experience of basics and perhaps kumite, so I got he had a basis to exclude the most blatant bullshido.

For the rest... the random videos of Naihanchi I find are mostly by your well-intentioned run-of-the-mill karate sensei, the same people you may find teaching at your local dojo, and so are most karate books. What difference would it make to go to just one of these dojos and accept that sensei's version as wisdom?
 
A good question, which can (and should) be posed for absolutely everything we are told, regardless where it comes from, video, famous karateka, your local sensei or a wizened old asian-looking master.

The short answer, to me, is: by first using their head first to see if it makes sense; and then - for karate specifically - by trying it in action with a resisting partner. The long answer qualifies the above a lot but it's too boring to write now. :)

We all are uninformed of something before learning it, but "uninformed" does not necessarily mean "clueless". As I read it, the OP had already some experience of basics and perhaps kumite, so I got he had a basis to exclude the most blatant bullshido.

For the rest... the random videos of Naihanchi I find are mostly by your well-intentioned run-of-the-mill karate sensei, the same people you may find teaching at your local dojo, and so are most karate books. What difference would it make to go to just one of these dojos and accept that sensei's version as wisdom?
Yes, there is a law of averages that says you may likely encounter a lesser qualified instructor, but there is no way to get to the quality sensei's without time, education/knowledge and adversity. No shortcuts. No work arounds. If there was, do you really think we would even be having this conversation.
 
Motobu thought is represented an entire system of close combat,
The same can be said of any kata (not counting the "basic" kata created by and after Itosu, such as Pinan/Heian, Fukyugata, etc) like Passai, Rohai, Chinto, etc.

Reportedly, Kanga Tode Sakugawa (1733 1815) only taught the kata Kusanku. Motobu wrote in one of his books about the "styles of Rohai and Passai". The idea of "styles" the way we think of them now are the product of 3 things: 1) the influence/direction of the Dai Nippon Butokukai in the 1930s (requiring instructors to have names for their "styles", a specific uniform, etc.), 2) the commercialization of karate after WW2 (though to be fair, it started with the introduction of tuudii to group classes in Japanese universities), and 3) the devolution of te into a hobby and a game (sport). Rather than pre-Itosu tuudii being practiced in small groups (2 to 5 or 6) in someone's garden (yard), it's now a "way to make a living" with fees and contracts, plastic baubles strewn about the dojo, etc.
 
Reportedly, Kanga Tode Sakugawa (1733 1815) only taught the kata Kusanku. Motobu wrote in one of his books about the "styles of Rohai and Passai". The idea of "styles" the way we think of them now are the product of 3 things: 1) the influence/direction of the Dai Nippon Butokukai in the 1930s (requiring instructors to have names for their "styles",
You forgot to mention that the advent of particular styles allowed for an artistic collection of cool identifying patches. In fact, giving those patches a place to be sewn on and displayed may have been the reason for karate adopting the gi. But let's keep that theory just between us.

But you did mention the concept of each of the old forms representing a style of fighting (which is almost as important :D ). The idea of Shuri-te and Naha-te being the two first basic "styles" have some physical basis. But in another sense, since various practitioners from each studied some of the same kata, they can be said to have studied the same style. The whole idea of karate styles is, IMO, a little overblown.

I think the very act of naming various styles changed their nature. Now, a uniqueness, a distinct personality and way of expressing techniques had to be more or less codified to give each their own identity. Plus, each style had to have its own master and organization which led to splinter groups and a whole lot of mess.

Okinawan styles share like 95%-98% the same fundamental DNA. Their Japanese and Korean cousins, 90%. True, a few % pts. can give a distinct phenotypical look, but in terms of their genetic makeup, they share many more similarities. No traditional style is inherently better than another anymore than red headed humans are better than blond ones. I especially like redheads, but married a brunette and am reasonably happy with her. I'm sure she's as good a wife as a redhead or blonde would have been. So it is in most cases with styles.
 

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