Spreading of Karate

Cthulhu

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Okay, trying to liven this thread up a bit... :)

Who do you think did more to take karate out of Okinawa and share it with the rest of the world: Gichin Funakoshi or Chojun Miyagi?

Please cite reasons for your choices.

Cthulhu
 
Funakoshi would have to be the obvius choice. After all it was he that introduced karate to the Japanese and got it accepted into the schools as a way for the children to keep fit. The rest as they say is history.
--Dave:asian:
 
Do you feel that Funakoshi's changing of some of the kata was detrimental to the art, or provided a better way for him to spread the art?

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
Do you feel that Funakoshi's changing of some of the kata was detrimental to the art, or provided a better way for him to spread the art?

Let me be the first to give the obvious flip answer: Yes.

Yes, I feel it certainly helped by making the art simpler and the applications easier to see, and I feel it hurt by making it simpler and so less attractive to serious students and by making the applications more shifted toward strikes and significantly less toward grappling; the balance shifted too far.

I have studied Isshin, Goju, and Uechi...I much prefer Okinawan systems.
 
I've learned some of the Pinan forms and Jion. However, I haven't learned any of the Uechi/Goju/Isshin Ryu forms. They're totally different in appearance, and I don't know if I'd have a problem learning them.

Maybe I'll eventually run across somebody willing to share a form or two with me.

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
I've learned some of the Pinan forms and Jion. However, I haven't learned any of the Uechi/Goju/Isshin Ryu forms. They're totally different in appearance, and I don't know if I'd have a problem learning them.

The Uechi forms are different in a number of ways though similar in many others. They are indeed very different in appearance from the Japanese styles.

Uechi uses the index knuckle and an off-center punch, and front kicks with the toe knuckles not the ball of the foot. Lots of circular movements.

I no longer practice any of those styles--I was a brown belt in one and a green belt in the other two--so I can't share a form I'm afraid.
 
Could you elaborate more on the off-center punch?

Cthulhu
 
The simplest(is that a word?) way to explain it would be, yes the change is detrimental to the art, because, we no longer look for that "one punch technique". We use these horizontal fist punches, as was taught to Japanese school children, so that they wouldn't hurt each other when practising, instead of the original 3/4 or index knuckle punch. This punch is designed to fit just nicely into just about every nerve point cavity the body has to offer. It also flexes a membrane that adds support to the two bones in the forearm, by not allowing them to bow as they do under extreme pressure when the fist is in the "horizontal punch" position.
As for getting the arts accepted all around the world, then yes he has also done a great thing for karate.
--Dave :asian:
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
Could you elaborate more on the off-center punch?

In many styles of karate it's emphasized that the punch should be to the centerline--to strike the middle of the fact, the solar plexus or sternum, or the groin/bladder. This was my experience in Goju and Isshin (which uses an entirely vertical fist in its basic punch), for example. In Uechi the horizontal index-knuckle punch is used but it's aimed in the kata a few inches off the centerline, roughly in the area of the nipple. Once explanation for the reason is a heart punch or blow to some other vulnerable spot. The system practices a similar palm-down spearhand technique.

I couldn't find a good picture with a quick web search.
 
Thanks for the explanation, arnisador. I'll try to dig something up as well.

Cthulhu
 
From this site:

The Judo practice uniform and belt system eventually spread to many of the other modern martial arts such as aikido and karate which adapted them for their purpose. Karateka in Okinawa didn't use any sort of special uniform at all in the old days. The kyu/dan ranking system, and the modern karategi (modified judogi) were first adopted by Funakoshi in an effort to encourage karate's acceptance by the Japanese. He awarded the first shodan ranks given in karate to Tokuda, Otsuka, Akiba, Shimizu, Hirose, Gima, and Kasuya on April 10, 1924. The adoption of the kyu/dan system and the adoption of a standard uniform based on the judogi were 2 of the 4 conditions which the Dai-Nippon Butokukai required before recognizing karate as a "real" martial art. If you look at photographs of Okinawan karateka training in the early part of this century, you'll see that they were training in their everyday clothes.

The emphasis was added by me. How exaggerated is this?
 
I've seen that the karategi and kyu/dan system were from judo, but I've never seen anything about them being required for recognition of karate.

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
I've seen that the karategi and kyu/dan system were from judo, but I've never seen anything about them being required for recognition of karate.

I concur with respect to the gi and ranking system but I also was surprised by, and am skeptical of, the recognition issue. I do know that Gichin Funakoshi knew the way to acceptance for karate was through Judo but I didn't think that it was this formal.
 
Funakoshi raised some stink when he started to follow Japanese customs and whatnot, for instance, when he cut his topknot off. However, had he not done that, karate probably would not have spread to Japan for another decade or more.

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by D.Cobb

We use these horizontal fist punches, as was taught to Japanese school children, so that they wouldn't hurt each other when practising, instead of the original 3/4 or index knuckle punch. This punch is designed to fit just nicely into just about every nerve point cavity the body has to offer.

Are there arts other than Ryukyu kempo that still practice this punch? I know that Isshin-ryu uses a vertical punch. I also don't recall seeing it in Chinese systems--their punches seem to be either horizontal or vertical too.
 
Originally posted by D.Cobb

Funakoshi would have to be the obvius choice. After all it was he that introduced karate to the Japanese and got it accepted into the schools as a way for the children to keep fit. The rest as they say is history.
--Dave:asian:


Motobu Choki was the first documented person to give a display of Karate techniques.
Funakoshi went after there was already an interest in it.
I have to admit Funakoshi had more students but he did do a grave injustice to the art by watering it down, changing names of kata, changing kata and so on.
 
As much as Funakoshi did himself to popularize karate. I think that his student Nakayama did more to make it go international.
Miyagi did go to Hawaii to teach. As did other Okinawan karate masters. I think that without the efforts of Funakoshi,Mabuni and Motobu. Karate would not have become as internationally wide spread as it is. It probably would have stayed on Okinawa much longer before it would have eventually made its way to Japan. Who nows without their efforts the Japanese might not have ever accepted karate and therefore it would still be an obscure Okinawan system of self defense.
 
I agree with the above post. These men did a great deal to promote karate outside of Okinawa.

As far as Funakoshi and simplifying the kata he made it a little more direct and a little easier to learn however not over simplified in my opinion. Yes I feel a kokutsu dachi is easier to learn and transition from then a neko ashi dachi but both have their benefits.

But getting Karate to Hawaii, Japan and other parts of the world plus having servicemen stationed on Okinawa was a great benefit to karate spreading.
 
I agree with that. My teacher Don Madden was one of those servicemen in the early 50,s that studied karate in Japan and brought what he learned back to the US to teach.
The first American was Robert Trias and there have been so many Americans that have brought their styles back from Okinawa,Japan and Korea that I cannot name them all. As well as all of the Japanese, Okinawan and Korean masters that came to this country to start a new life and teach the arts that they loved. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
 
twendkata71 said:
I agree with that. My teacher Don Madden was one of those servicemen in the early 50,s that studied karate in Japan and brought what he learned back to the US to teach.
The first American was Robert Trias and there have been so many Americans that have brought their styles back from Okinawa,Japan and Korea that I cannot name them all. As well as all of the Japanese, Okinawan and Korean masters that came to this country to start a new life and teach the arts that they loved. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
I agree!! People like Hanshi Madden have paved a path that many can't even imagine laying the first brick on. These Sensei have given us the means to grow on for many years to come.
 

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