Style Differences.

Babook

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If someone can clarify this, I would be very appreciative.
What is a distinct feature of each Japanese/Okinawan style that separates it from the pack.
Linear punches vs circular punches, low kicks vs high kicks, stances, etc.

I used to think that all karate styles yell a lot, punch from the ribs, kick low and do kata. With the help of youtube, I see that it's not true.
I still have hard time figuring out what style is known for what.

Any help is appreciated.
 

Omar B

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What is a distinct feature of each Japanese/Okinawan style that separates it from the pack.

There are quite a lot of style both Japanese and Okinawan, you have to narrow this down. But all of them being under the umbrella of karate does point to them being more similar than different.

Linear punches vs circular punches, low kicks vs high kicks, stances, etc.

Again, some are linear (like Kyokushin) some are more circular (like Goju), you gotta be more specific when looking for differences though. Asking the difference between styles of karate is like asking the difference between cells in mamals, cell walls, nucleous, all pretty similar, gotta narrow down the range.

I still have hard time figuring out what style is known for what.

How about pointing out what you are looking for and we'll start there.
 

stone_dragone

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Lets see if I can do this any justice...

Historically speaking, Karate is an umbrella term for Empty handed fighting arts developed on and around Okinawa between the 18th and 19th centuries. Many share the same basic backstory - much of it apocryphal - regarding Bodhidharma traveling to the Shaolin temple and monks eventually going to Okinawa, etc...

On 19th century Okinawa there eventually developed two distinct systems - Nahate and Shurite. Nahate systems carry techniques and characteristics from Fukien White Crane and eventually spawned Goju ryu and Uechi Ryu (and their off-shoots). Shurite systems developed around Matsumura and Itosu's teachings based on their experience as bodyguards to the Okinawan royal family and produced Shotokan and it's off-shoots.

The Itosu-ha forms of Karate and their off shoots can be seen to develop their power from linear acceleration of the striking surface and longer/deeper stances. they teach using the Heian series, the 2 Bassai kata, the 2 Kanku kata, 3 Tekki forms and some other forms that focus on such technique.

Nahate systems tend to have more upright stances that focus more on rooting and body conditioning. They begin with the Gekasai forms and teach forms that can be traced back to White crane influence - Saifa, sepai, and heavy usage of Sanchin kata. Their techniques will include more specialized nerve strikes and subtle grappling than their Itosu-ha counterparts.

Again, this is possibly a gross oversimplification of the answer, due to various levels of understanding and experience, your mileage may vary.
 
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Babook

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What is a distinct feature of each Japanese/Okinawan style that separates it from the pack.

There are quite a lot of style both Japanese and Okinawan, you have to narrow this down. But all of them being under the umbrella of karate does point to them being more similar than different.

Linear punches vs circular punches, low kicks vs high kicks, stances, etc.

Again, some are linear (like Kyokushin) some are more circular (like Goju), you gotta be more specific when looking for differences though. Asking the difference between styles of karate is like asking the difference between cells in mamals, cell walls, nucleous, all pretty similar, gotta narrow down the range.

I still have hard time figuring out what style is known for what.

How about pointing out what you are looking for and we'll start there.
Thank you for your anwer.

Let me say it this way. Is there a special technique or stance that one style has, and others don't?
I trained primarily in American Free Style and TKD with MT and MMA mixed in.
Now I am older and somewhat attracted to traditional styles, yet I don't know what to pick.

I hope this clarify my question.

Thanks.
 
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Babook

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Lets see if I can do this any justice...

Historically speaking, Karate is an umbrella term for Empty handed fighting arts developed on and around Okinawa between the 18th and 19th centuries. Many share the same basic backstory - much of it apocryphal - regarding Bodhidharma traveling to the Shaolin temple and monks eventually going to Okinawa, etc...

On 19th century Okinawa there eventually developed two distinct systems - Nahate and Shurite. Nahate systems carry techniques and characteristics from Fukien White Crane and eventually spawned Goju ryu and Uechi Ryu (and their off-shoots). Shurite systems developed around Matsumura and Itosu's teachings based on their experience as bodyguards to the Okinawan royal family and produced Shotokan and it's off-shoots.

The Itosu-ha forms of Karate and their off shoots can be seen to develop their power from linear acceleration of the striking surface and longer/deeper stances. they teach using the Heian series, the 2 Bassai kata, the 2 Kanku kata, 3 Tekki forms and some other forms that focus on such technique.

Nahate systems tend to have more upright stances that focus more on rooting and body conditioning. They begin with the Gekasai forms and teach forms that can be traced back to White crane influence - Saifa, sepai, and heavy usage of Sanchin kata. Their techniques will include more specialized nerve strikes and subtle grappling than their Itosu-ha counterparts.

Again, this is possibly a gross oversimplification of the answer, due to various levels of understanding and experience, your mileage may vary.

Thank you. For my level of understanding it's good information.

So in other words. You have Japanese/Okinawan styles divide into two groups.
One uses circular movements and high stances.
The other straight movements and low stances.
What is a good example of circular movement?

Thanks :)
 

arnisador

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Nahate systems carry techniques and characteristics from Fukien White Crane and eventually spawned Goju ryu and Uechi Ryu (and their off-shoots).

Uechi Ryu is its own special case. It was barely modified Southern Chinese Kung Fu of the early 1900s, which was then given more of an Okinawan flavoring after the first Uechi's death.
 

Grenadier

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Thank you for your anwer.

Let me say it this way. Is there a special technique or stance that one style has, and others don't?

Not really. Each system is going to have its usual punches, backfists, knife hand, ridge hand, front kick, side kick, round kick, etc. There are only so many ways that a human body can correctly execute these techniques. Some systems will favor certain techniques over others.

Now I am older and somewhat attracted to traditional styles, yet I don't know what to pick.

I hope this clarify my question.

What are you seeking in particular? Do you favor hard, linear techniques? Do you want a softer system of Karate? It may be easier to tell us what you want, and what styles in are in your area.
 

Omar B

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Thank you. For my level of understanding it's good information.
So in other words. You have Japanese/Okinawan styles divide into two groups.
One uses circular movements and high stances.
The other straight movements and low stances.
What is a good example of circular movement?
Thanks :)

No, it's not a hard and fast rule of one using circular and one using linear. That's what we are trying to say to you, tell us what you are looking for it would be easier. Even linear styles have circular moments in the curriculum and vice versa. As I pointed out, karate is karate (that's why they are all called karate, because if they were different they would have a different name), differences between the styles are small and are there mostly because of what one founder or school prefered or what they thought was more important or fight philosophy.
 

Hyper_Shadow

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Karate is Karate. The only thing I've seen to seperate schools is what kata they apply to their syllabus and how diligently they question and research what they do; also combat approach and martial ethic. The little things like stance difference and technique preference in my opinion are perfunctory in classing one particular school.
 
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Babook

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The problem is I don't know exactly what I am looking for.
Ok let me pick 4 styles and ask what is the difference between them.
This is what I got off google, tell me if I am right.
Wado ryu is heavy on sparring.
Shotokan allows punching to the face and mostly hard linear punches and high kicks.
Goju Ryu uses open blocks and linear punches, mostly low kicks.
Shindo Ryu focuses on speed and staying relaxed, mostly low kicks.

To me it's like there are 20 kind of cakes on the table and I don't know what's inside each one. I can't try 20 cakes.
All I am aking is what inside each one.

Thanks guys. :)
 

Omar B

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Yeah, but the thing is when a person says "Shotokan allows punching to the face" does not mean other styles don't. There's that misconception, Shotokan allows punches to the face, but it's because they use headgear in class. All styles punch to the face, even the one that people love to throw about saying they don't punch to the face (Kyokushin). They don't punch to the face in class sparring and in tournament because they do not use headgear but they do practice it in class and on punching bags and self defence drills.

As pointed out before, karate is karate. It's all the same, we all learn the same stances, strikes, kata. Some styles throw in a couple unique kata to their organization, some styles focus more on fighting while others more on kihon, some on more self defence but at the end of the day we all learn the same stuff.

Think of it this way. Most people see boxing as one style (and just like karate it is) though one can argue that there are several smaller styles within. The Ali/Jones Jr North East fast, big on movment style. There's the Tyson/Foreman/Jack Johnson Phily bruizer style. Get where I'm going here?
 

Tez3

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I wouldn't say Wado is heavy on sparring and it allows punches to the face as well, it depends on the instructor though as with all styles, it does however contain a fair bit of juijitsu in it.

Before picking a style it would be better to see whats available around your way, having a look at the instructors and how they teach as well as what they teach and see if it's for you.

You could have five clubs all teaching the same style but they will all be as different as their instrcutors, some might concentrate just on kata, little sparring, some might do all sparring, others concentrate on SD work yet they all come under the same banner.
 

dwaynekrieger

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Hi I am New here, but I would like to take a stab at the differences in style.

Pretty much all karate is the same. Each style is just a differnt personalized way to deliver the same technique. What I mean is that Funakoshi developed shotokan to apeal to the pre war natioanlist Japanese collegiate individual. So Shotokan is very structured and linear so that it can train large groups in an efficient manner.

Matsumora Seito Shorin-ryu is really the same lineage as Shotokan but was passed from individual teacher to individual student. Hence the techniques are more refined to the individual defensive needs rather than to the needs of the group at large.

For example shotokan has very simplified foot and stance work where as Mstsumora Seito has vearious type of stepping and varying stance depth depending on the application of the technique.

Also in saying that this is a generality at the higher levels of each system the training is more indepth and the defferences between style can become blurred and at that point karate is just karate. Thanks for your time in listening.
 

zepedawingchun

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System = the martial art that you study, Wing Chun, Shotokan, Preying Mantis, Tae Kwon Do, Gojo Ryu, Moo Duk Kwan, etc.

Style = the way that you express or display the art when you use it.
 

Eubrontes

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I'll take a stab at this.
In Shotokan, you are going to be practicing basic techniques a great deal. The good news is you will have solid basics, strong stances, and a punch that can go through walls. You will do a lot of one step, two step type of sparring: opponent comes in, you block and counter, etc. You most likely will NOT be doing a great deal of joint locks and self defense type techniques. You also most likely will have no exposure to weapons.
In Goju-ryu, you will be doing basics and kata, as well as some unique conditioning exercises, and a ton of joint locks/self defense applications that come out of the kata. You also will be doing a good deal of Sanchin - ibuki breathing kata that some feel give you a power no amount of weight lifting ever will.
In Shorin-ryu, you will have more upright stances than in Shotokan, though the kata are quite similar (Shotokan came from Shorin-ryu). You will also most likely at some point be exposed to weaponry. It might depend on exactly which school of Shorin-ryu you study, but I think it's safe to say you will have less joint locks/applications taught than in Goju-ryu (I feel safe to say that about Mastubayashi-ryu, I can not be certain as to other Shorin schools).

The good news is all traditional schools are beautiful and worthy of a lifetime of study. And they all work. Good luck to you.
 

Grenadier

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In Shotokan, you are going to be practicing basic techniques a great deal. The good news is you will have solid basics, strong stances, and a punch that can go through walls. You will do a lot of one step, two step type of sparring: opponent comes in, you block and counter, etc.

Excellent summary so far, although the walls had better be nothing more than sheetrock.

You most likely will NOT be doing a great deal of joint locks and self defense type techniques.

True, for the vast majority of the students. However, in many a Shotokan dojo, you'll see that they teach the "softer" side of the martial arts once the students reach the more advanced yudansha ranks.

You also most likely will have no exposure to weapons.

Depends on the school. Based on what I've seen throughout the years, close to half of the schools do kobudo training. While there's no one particular preference, as to how kobudo is taught, at least there is some training available.

Right now, most Shotokan schools that do teach kobudo will either adapt Okinawan weapons to their empty hand training, or will teach a separate system. Those who teach separate systems, tend to use either Mateyoshi Kobudo, Ryu Kyu Kobduo, or Yamanni Chinen Ryu Kobudo.

Some may even use both methods.

Schools that adapt weapons to their empty hand training, may take various empty hand kata, and adapt such kata for weapons use. Kotaka Sensei, from the Kotaka-ha Shito Ryu system, has done this with bojutsu, creating a kata that was built around the empty hand kata Rohai Shodan. It's actually a fairly popular kata at various tournaments, and shows quite well.

I've also seen some schools trying to adapt sai techniques to the kata Empi / Wanshu, or even the Gojushiho series.

Other schools will teach kobudo separately, making sure that the students realize, that it is a separate martial arts system, and that what you do in the kobudo class should stay there until your empty hand fundamentals are solidly rooted (and that you won't get confused).

Even if a particular Karate system is significantly different from the kobudo system, it can still work just fine.

Which way is better? Whatever way you prefer, of course, but I will say that my personal preference is learning the kobudo as a separate art, so that you can essentially learn by immersion.
 
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