Okinawan karate is practiced like Japanese Karate says Patrick McCarthy

Makalakumu

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In this video, Patrick McCarthy says, "I'm 100% convinced that the way Karate is practiced in Okinawa today is largely due to a reverse influence due to its development on the mainland of Japan."

How true is this?

How had Okinawan karate changed over time? How much influence does Japanese Karate have on Okinawan Karate? How would this influence be demonstrated if it did exist?
 

punisher73

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I think he is very correct in his analysis. Karate used to be a "family" type training and was more informal. To promote it to the japanese they created the rank structure and more "military" type training we see and think of today. They also introduced the sport aspect of karate and started to create drills to support this and make it for school children.

Gichin Funakoshi didn't show many grappling aspects of karate to differentiate it from Judo. He highlighted only the punching and kicking aspects and how it was different from what the japanese already knew.
 

JWLuiza

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The regurgitation of Japanese changes back to Okinawa makes sense to me, and his experience seems to support this assertion. I wish I had the resources to discover it for myself!
 

terryl965

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Where did he get all the information at or is it an opinion. Sorry could not get the link here at the school.
 

dancingalone

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I haven't had the privilege of training in Okinawa (yet), but I understand the level of karate across the world is very, very good now with the emigration of sensei from Okinawa to the US and to Europe. You can definitely find teachers with the goods in the West, some more readily than others as they are professional karate teachers. The problem is the issue of paying your dues until you do get fed the good stuff from them.
 

arnisador

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Well, the reverse influence is as much from modernity as anything else--Japan is modernizing like every other country is and it's affecting all of Japan.
 
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Makalakumu

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I've personally always wondered why the training methods of Okinawan Karate looked so much like Shotokan. One would think that there would be more of a difference considering the emphasis on application.
 

JWLuiza

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I've personally always wondered why the training methods of Okinawan Karate looked so much like Shotokan. One would think that there would be more of a difference considering the emphasis on application.


I think it might've been a "Keeping up with the Jones" type of thing. Especially with the back and forth of 2nd generation Japanese Karateka to Okinawa.
 

dancingalone

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I've personally always wondered why the training methods of Okinawan Karate looked so much like Shotokan. One would think that there would be more of a difference considering the emphasis on application.

Do they? My teacher, albeit a goju guy, rarely uses line training. Could you explain on what similarities you have observed?
 
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Makalakumu

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Do they? My teacher, albeit a goju guy, rarely uses line training. Could you explain on what similarities you have observed?

I think a lot of it comes from the ippon kumite practice. Sometimes the distances seem way too far apart, exactly as you would see in Shotokan. I feel reluctant to comment on this because my experience is so limited. Also, I've experienced Okinawan Karate that was so completely different then what I practiced in Shotokan, that it should have been surprising that it was related. So, I'm wondering what Patrick McCarthy is seeing.
 

seasoned

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It is no different there, then it is here. Small pockets of dedicated practitioners trying to keep alive a way of life, that has perhaps over stayed its time. Thanks for the work that Mr. McCarthy is doing. :asian:


 

TimoS

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Checked the video and while he may have a point about the influences of japanese karate into okinawan karate, you have to remember that to him this is also a sales gimmick: basically, what he's saying that everyone else is doing it wrong and he's the only one with the authentic methods. And I must say that is just :BSmeter: It all comes down to how you train and what your instructors can teach you.

Just as an example, here's a demo of Seibukan karate a few weeks back in here in Helsinki
 
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Brandon Fisher

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Checked the video and while he may have a point about the influences of japanese karate into okinawan karate, you have to remember that to him this is also a sales gimmick: basically, what he's saying that everyone else is doing it wrong and he's the only one with the authentic methods. And I must say that is just :BSmeter: It all comes down to how you train and what your instructors can teach you.

Just as an example, here's a demo of Seibukan karate a few weeks back in here in Helsinki
Great example of true okinawa karate. This is more of how I practice and teach Shorin Ryu I don't teach sport karate because I feel as though this video is where its at.
 
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thetruth

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I am def not a fan of Patrick McCarthy. When I used to train karate we had Patrick in a lot for seminars. One day we were doing a drill and a few moves just felt wrong, like they didn't belong. I questioned my instructor who agreed and later in private asked Patrick about them and Patrick admitted that he was missing some bits from the 'ancient' drills he was teaching so he made them up. He isn't thought of too highly in Okinawa anyway so his opinion holds no water with me.

Interesting thought though.

Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

arnisador

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I'm a fan of his books because they're thought-provoking. That doesn't mean I always agree, but they're always interesting reading.
 

Andrew Green

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I'm a fan of his books because they're thought-provoking. That doesn't mean I always agree, but they're always interesting reading.


To be perfectly honest, his "translations" always feel odd to me, they seem more like interpretations then straight translations with a fair bit of his own ideas merged in.

I have no problem with authors offering interpretations of the work they are translating, given that they have done more research and understand the language it was written in it can definitely be of benefit. But McCarthy's blur it all together...
 

elder999

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I have no problem with authors offering interpretations of the work they are translating, given that they have done more research and understand the language it was written in it can definitely be of benefit. But McCarthy's blur it all together...

This makes a very good point-what McCarthy does is quite unlike what say, Coleman Barks does with Rumi-being a poet himself, he renders Rumi into poetic english, and quite well. The same could be said for Giles's translations of Sun Tzu as opposed to Thomas Cleary's-while Cleary did very well with the poetry, Giles's for years maintained the standard for what Sun Tzu actually meant, in that he had a military background in addition to his grasp of the language. In fact, he's only been surpassed in the last two decades, even though his translation is nearly a century old.

I sometimes have wondered about McCarthy's grasp of dialect and older idiom, but I'm also grateful for his work; I enjoyed his translation of Bubishi. Some of his observations on the current state of martial arts do leave me with bigger questions, though-but they're from his experiences, and those are experiences that I lack.
 
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Makalakumu

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Good points above. The culture is very important. On the other hand, the guy has had an incredible wealth of experience. It's not something to be taken lightly.
 
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Makalakumu

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One day we were doing a drill and a few moves just felt wrong, like they didn't belong. I questioned my instructor who agreed and later in private asked Patrick about them and Patrick admitted that he was missing some bits from the 'ancient' drills he was teaching so he made them up.

I think it just goes to show that certain things ARE just lost. In a way, we all are working form interprettations.

He isn't thought of too highly in Okinawa anyway so his opinion holds no water with me.

Could you share more about this? I'd be curious to hear some more details.
 

searcher

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To be perfectly honest, his "translations" always feel odd to me, they seem more like interpretations then straight translations with a fair bit of his own ideas merged in.

I have no problem with authors offering interpretations of the work they are translating, given that they have done more research and understand the language it was written in it can definitely be of benefit. But McCarthy's blur it all together...


I have to agree with you whole-heartedly on the not feeling right with his translations. Andmost of his forms are not truly Okinawan, they are a washed down version that seem very similar in nature to Richard Kim and Don Warrener's version of kata.

I respect his views on things, but I don't take what he says as Gospel. I try to listen to people like Uezu, Dometrich, Foster, Higashi, Mattson, and other great masters that are more versed in Okinawan traditions and training methods.
 
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