The Origin of Modern Karate Kumite is Kendo

Makalakumu

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According to this article, Modern Karate Kumite was created by Yoshitaka Funakoshi, Gichin Funakoshi's son.

Under Gigo's leadership big changes saw the light of day between 1930 and 1935. These were mostly in kumite (combat, free fighting training). Whereas his father placed most of the emphasis on kata, Gigo developed the fighting techniques and training. First of all he created the Gohon Kumite (predetermined sparring with five advancing attacks), a system very much like Kendo, an art that Yoshitaka also practiced and studied under the last Great Master, Hakudo Nakayama, from whom he obtained valuable inspiration for the future karate developments. In 1933 he established the Kihon Ippon Kumite (one step sparring) followed by Jiyu Ippon Kumite, just like Kihon Ippon Kumite but in movement (Yoshitaka was very fond of this form of kumite), they all inspired the kata Ten no Kata. This process ended with free sparring, Jiyu Kumite, in 1935.

This revelation is quite profound because this training method is now ubiquitous in many Karate styles. It has even been exported to Okinawan styles. To see that it was never part of Karate training as Funakoshi Gichin learned it, begs the question, how did they train the applications in kata?

Also, can anyone explain if the connection to kendo would explain the general disconnection that most Ippon, Sanbon, and Jiyu Kumite has from the forms?
 

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To see that it was never part of Karate training as Funakoshi Gichin learned it, begs the question, how did they train the applications in kata?

This is the all-important question, for sure.

We know how at least some of the greatest karateka trained it—both Chotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu are said to have sought out streetfights, the nastier the better. In their youths, both were brawlers who enjoyed 'pressure-testing' their technique on street bullies and rough characters looking for trouble. From the fact that Itosu apparently bounced Motobu from his school, it's pretty clear that this wasn't the accepted method... but Itosu himself, I seem to recall from somewhere, was no saint himself in terms of toe-to-toe fighting. And as I understand it, Bushi Matsumura himself was charged with security and law enforcement responsibilities by the King of Okinawa, in whose service he coordinated close personal protection for members of the royal household, and functioned as something similar to a High Sheriff in mediaeval England. That kind of activity is likely to lead to a certain amount of, um, practical experimentation with the combat implications of particular kata....
 

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To see that it was never part of Karate training as Funakoshi Gichin learned it, begs the question, how did they train the applications in kata?

My own teacher is an Okinawan by way of the Philippines. All I can share with you is my own experiences learning from him. We practice various building blocks as separate movements first, such as a leg check or a basic hip throw. Later, you learn formal bunkai sets that pair you with another student and you practice the obvious punch/block movements from the solo kata together, uke and tori, learning basic concepts like distancing and how to affect someone's posture by penetrating their personal sphere on various axises of rotation. Finally, as an advanced student you are finally taught some of the 'hidden' bunkai within the solo kata, but if you have been paying attention to the prerequisite studies, much of it will be obvious to you. (Some will not be, and that's where you just come home glowing when you pick up a taste.)
 
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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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My own teacher is an Okinawan by way of the Philippines. All I can share with you is my own experiences learning from him. We practice various building blocks as separate movements first, such as a leg check or a basic hip throw. Later, you learn formal bunkai sets that pair you with another student and you practice the obvious punch/block movements from the solo kata together, uke and tori, learning basic concepts like distancing and how to affect someone's posture by penetrating their personal sphere on various axises of rotation. Finally, as an advanced student you are finally taught some of the 'hidden' bunkai within the solo kata, but if you have been paying attention to the prerequisite studies, much of it will be obvious to you. (Some will not be, and that's where you just come home glowing when you pick up a taste.)

What style is this? What lineage?
 

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Goju-ryu. My teacher descends from the Jundokan line under a student of Miyazato Eiichi Sensei. He had also studied and shared training with various scions from the Yagi and Toguchi lines also, and he's 'corrupted' his Naha-te by learning the Pinan forms as well as Bassai and Rohai and Kusanku. He says you're better off following either Higashionna's path or Matsumura's but not both, however he has no regrets about his karate.
 
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