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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himokiri Karate wrote:
A popular YouTuber of Karate genre made a video in regards to karate stealing their kicks from savate.


I'm curious here as to when this exposure would have taken place?
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Meiji government, after the restoration, and the tumultuous period that followed saw the Japanese Government invite European, including French, Military Advisors to Japan to modernise the Government's new, standing army. A trend begun by the political powers of Japan during the Bakamatsu period (1853-1867) among the Clans and the Shogunate. The Army under the Meiji Government took on a largely French Character, and embraced many of its methods. Indeed, Yabu Kentus, is famously credited with helping make Okinawan karate training more militaristic. If we look at the manner in which Okinawan karate training was being conducted during the early 20th century, we can see a striking resemblance to French Savate drill training.

Savate was codified during the latter part of the 19th Century, and was a part of French Military training by the end of said century, as filmed and written records attest. Indeed, there were over 100,000 practitioners of Boxe Francoise as it is better known in its native country by the turn of the 20th Century. It was also internationally known, being taught in London at Barton-Wright's short lived but influential Bartitsu Club, and there were a number of inter-disciplinary international bouts between English Boxers and French Tireurs over the 19th century and the early 20th century with the Jerry Driscoll versus Charles Charlemont being the best recorded and well known.

The so called Merican Bouts were also popular in Japan during the early 20th century. Often between Wrestling and Jujutsu, with Kodokan Judo being the regular representative school, but often featuring other systems. Motobu Choki famously knocked out a foreign, often cited as Russian, Pugilist which became a wide spread story about the effectiveness of Karate in Japan. To think French Tireurs would have been absent from these sort of contests is unlikely, given the amount of French trade passing through Japan prior to the First World War.

Then there are the films and books about the sport created at the turn of the century that made there way across the world, and to Japan, with the boom of the international media trade.

Anyway, it is entirely plausible that Funakoshi Yoshitaka and other karateka of the time had exposure to the Savate, and frankly, I suspect it unlikely that they did not.

The masters of Karate have always some what been metaphorical Magpie, embracing and adapting methods they encountered and making them part of their own approach. Sakugawa with Kusanku Kata, Matsumura with Chinto Kata and the Tsuken Bo tradition, Kyan with Ananku kata, Mabuni with various kata and methods of kumite, Miyagi with training tools such as the Kongoken, and Funakoshi with the Karategi and KyuDan system.

I could see Funakoshi Yoshitaka, and other pioneers, being influenced by exposure to Savate as we know they were by Boxing, Judo, and Koryu Bujutsu. My main point of contention with Mr Enkamp's assessment is the excess of inductive reasoning, and over-estimation of the evidence he presented. The idea that Karate "stole" its kicks explicitly from Savate is not a demonstrable conclusion with the evidence available. The reasons I presented in my prior post, I feel offers more suitable explanations for why Shotokai-Ryu, and Nihon Karate Do in general, developed high kicks. Which is that the manner of Jiyu-Kumite as it was being practiced, and the group method of teaching which led to striking becoming over represented, led to the sport of karate being incredibly similar to Savate due to the resulting sport being incredibly similar.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the explanation. I like to see history time-lined out like that.

For what it's worth, I tend to agree with you as far as Karate's development of high kicks.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic gave solid history and facts, this is to be for sure!! Quite depending, Yin/Yang is in everything, Karate as well. How it's applied, how it's lived, how it's interpreted, and how it's understood vary as the wind. However, the core of Yin/Yang remains nonetheless.

I believe that every MA style have Yin/Yang universally tenets past, present, future within them. While one might not want to acknowledge it or not, their methodology' as well as ideology depend on Yin/Yang, and not one is without nor is it owned.

How we move have the Yin/Moon and the Yang/Sun. Depending on the situation, I will move with the precept that my effectiveness can't be acceptive until proven effective or ineffective. I might deflect with Yin, and counter with Yang, or vice versa; not every target has to be addressed with only Yin or only Yang.

Shindokan is both Yin/Yang in everything that we do; only the situation dictates that which of the two we must apply. I subscribe that Yin/Yang is within every single MA one way or another; otherwise, nothing exists that's effective.

Which side of the hill one stands one means a lot for that moment. Can't stand in both places at one time, either the sun hits you directly on the Yang side or it doesn't on the Yin side, the sun still shines...somewhere.

Any Yin, soft/negative/etc in Karate? Yes; undoubtfully...every Karate. The practitioner determines it's own Yin, time and time again, but for cause. Sure, some Karate styles claims to Yin and not Yang, however, no MA can't have the Yin without the Yang; virtually impossible.

Imho.



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Miick 11
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Orthodox Okinawan karate, in terms of application and ideas of fighting, is fairly homogeneous. Use uke-waza (receiving techniques) to deflect, stop momentum, gain superior position, or limb-control (or all of prior mentioned). Use percussive techniques, take-downs, and throws to knock-down and end the threat. Sometimes in the order given, sometimes not.

There are some heterodox Okinawan traditions that could be described as leaning into Ju, or Yin, in principle. The Haku Tsuru tradition as contained in Kingai-Ryu comes directly from the Bi H Qun as taught by Go Kenki. It also contains an older Tora Tsuru kata, or Tiger Crane, which is a Hard-Soft form. Motobu Udundi, the family art of the Motobu family, as inherited by Motobu Choyu and now Motobu Chosei, has famously been compared to Aikijutsu: though in the context of of Tuide (grappling arts) and its practice of kumigata called sōtai-dōsa.

Overall, it is better to review the kata in terms of Go and Ju, Hard and Soft, and you will find examples of both in every system of Okinawan Karate. A lot of the blocks, catches, twists, and turns in the kata demonstrate "soft" techniques which can be lost in the explosive performance of kata.

The truth is you use explosive power even in soft arts: Aiki is to bring balance. Ai, or ju, is to create space for the technique to be performed, and ki is to express your energy and complete the technique. To move out of the way of the initial attack, to gain superior angle, to punch them in the head to disrupt their posture is a soft action in principle, because it is not using strength to meet strength. The idea of using an opponents strength against them is a simplification of a lot of ideas involving distancing, timing, intervals of movement, and posture. It comes down to creating space for your attacker to move into, and then pushing them into the space created from a place of positional advantage.

Karate is a pragmatic, self-defence art, at its heart. As shown through much research on combatives and combat sports: the use of explosive power, and the need to go strength to strength, especially under pressure and in the chaos of real violence makes leaning on soft techniques an unwise training paradigm for self-defence. They exist in karate, but balanced with the hard techniques in a relative harmony, if you know how and where to look.

Speaking of Nihon Karate Do: it is a different beast. It was transformed into a form of Japanese Pugilism comparable to Boxing or Savate during the 1930s, and the post-war environment which saw the rise of shobu kumite completed the transformation. The atemi-waza became the bread and butter at the expense of the rest of the techniques present in karate. Kata were modified to fit the idea of performance, and to fit the rules of competition (see Shotokan's version of Chinte for the worst offender), and the Shitei kata and the guidelines there in as produced by the WKF created a homogeneous idea about kata being a balance of grace and dynamic movement.

With the above said: Wado-Ryu has a significant canon of kumigata innovated by Ohtsuka Meijin or inherited from Shindo Yoshin-Ryu which contain a broad repertoire of jujutsu "soft" techniques. Shi'to-Ryu and Shindo Jinen-Ryu both contain the Seiryu/Aoyagi kata which was designed expressly for women's self-defence, and contains many techniques designed to be used against bigger, stronger, attackers from a disadvantageous position: it contains techniques inspired by Aikido, Shindo Fudo-Ryu, and Nanban Satto-Ryu, and is grounded in the use of "softness". Yashuhiro Konishi included Yakusoku Kumite based on Aikido techniques in his Shindo Jinen-Ryu. Similarly, Mabuni Kenwa created a number of Kumigata based on his knowledge of Shindo Fudo-Ryu, and experiences training with Ueno Takashi and Fujita Seiko, for his Shi'to-Ryu though these excercises are no longer widely taught. Ineou Motokatsu, better known to some as Gonsho, was also influenced by Aikido and Fujita Seiko, and included many "Soft" techniques in the kumite of Yuishinkai Karate. Even the hardest of hard styles, Kyokushinkai, has exercises inherited from Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu based on the idea of using softness against hardness (Though they are rarely taught anymore).

Point being, as with Okinawan Karate, it is again a case of knowing where to look. You can find the Yin to the Yang as it were.

I will say, even the softest of Chinese systems, Tai Chi Chuan, is a powerful, explosive style when applied properly. It is fundamentally a wrestling style designed to knock people to the floor.

Hard and Soft are quite an inaccurate way to talk about martial arts, and I think much is lost in translation from the original premise as formed in China. It is a rather retroactive manner of looking at traditional martial arts. It largely comes down to the basic idea of cultivation and characteristic techniques. Hard generally refers to the use of dynamic, powerful movements improved, and cultivated through physical conditioning via weights and impact tools. Soft to the use of techniques designed to connect and control cultivated through the exercise of movement, and sensitivity training. However, all traditional martial arts have a mixture of both, and organising into hard or soft is for the sake of convenience, not a thorough understanding.

Mr Miyagi, though practicing Hollywood Karate, is a fairly straight forward example of the ideas of Orthodox Okinawan karate. Use movement and deflection to gain position, bridge the limbs, strike to the places you yourself are most afraid to have struck, and put them on the floor as quickly as possible to finish the fight: to either give them a booting, or run away.


Excellent post W.H. !

I am specifically interested in this part :

" . The Haku Tsuru tradition as contained in Kingai-Ryu comes directly from the Bi H Qun as taught by Go Kenki. It also contains an older Tora Tsuru kata, or Tiger Crane, which is a Hard-Soft form. "

I practice Matsamura Seito Shorin ryu in the tradition of Kosei Nishihira . We have a 'hakatsuru' kata which i have been trying to place the origins of . I have only seen one form of it on an old youtube, but they do it a bit different , seems based on what we do though .

I know there are numerous forms of it , but ours does not seem to have a specific name . I have seen 'Hakatsuru Mei ' but that isnt it ., nor Hakatsuru Dai or Sho nor a host of others, including the one of Hohan Soken on youtube . .... how many are there !
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that Hakutsuru became a generic name that teachers used to refer to a specific kata they got from the White Crane tradition, or made up based on techniques that come from White Crane.

As far as my research shows, there does not seem to be a historical Hakutsuru kata prior to the 19th century, suggesting it is a later edition to the Okinawan canon. Matayoshi-Ryu and Kojo-Ryu were codified in the 19th century, and all the well known White Crane Kata can as easily come from the influence of Go Kenki as being of historical origin.

Apparently, the Hakutsuru kata of Soken Hohan was a secret tradition passed on only to immediately family in the Matsumura family. Which, to an extent, explains why it is absent in other Matsumura lines. After all, it has been said Matsumura was not in fact particularly fond of Itosu Anko. Similarly, if it was secret why it is absent in the teachings passed down by his other students.

I fear the truth may be lost to history, and there is no single Hakutsuru kata. What I will say is, I imagine Mabuni Kenwa had a reason for calling the particular form he passed down as Hakutsuru: maybe it bears a resemblance to what he knew as Hakutsuru kata. That, however, is pure speculation. Yet, as the leading Kata expert of his day, often called a living encyclopaedia by his peers, if Mabuni Kenwa did not know what Okinawan Hakutsuru kata was meant to look like then I suspect very few or no one did.

Edit: I wished to do some research and confirm dates, and certain statements about the Hakutsuru kata of Soken Hohan before I applied a critical eye. Admittedly, the story raises my eye brows because of a number of problems.

Matsumura Nabe had one lone student which was his nephew, Sokan Hohan, who he taught the family art. However, Chitose Tsuyoshi, a maternal grandson of Matsumura Sokon and a celebrated karateka in his own right who lived in a similar time period, was taught nothing by the martial arts patriarch of the family. Hohan Soken was a maternal nephew, so it has nothing to do with patriarchal lineage. Furthermore, our only witness to the teachings of Matsumura Nabe is Hohan Soken.

There are examples of family arts in Okinawa that were guarded jealously as family arts: Matayoshi-Ryu, Kojo-Ryu, Ryuei-Ryu, and Motobu-Ryu all come to mind. However, they were never so guarded as to one inheritor (Exempting perhaps the example of Motobu), and usually involved being of sufficient relation to the main-line to study. Which is how these arts survived the decades: they never rested on one survivor.

This is not to say Hohan Soken's account was not true, but if it is, it is exceptional and it carries the problematic reality that we have to accept his witness as sufficient evidence. The lone single student to the mysterious master has often been used to protect an exaggerated lineage behind the veil of artificial scarcity. That the evidence is hard to find because it was secret. It is hard to discern where absence, and where omission begins.

The idea of Matsumura Soken also having secret teachings does not fit with what we know of his character either. He passed on his knowledge of Jigen-Ryu to several of his students. He codified and passed on his knowledge of Chinto, which according to folklore came from the teachings of a man that fought Matsumura to a draw. He also, otherwise, taught all of his known students essentially the same array of teachings in terms of Kata, showing no favouritism as far as the records show. Bar, perhaps a supposed dislike of Itosu Anko, except Itosu seems to have learnt a similar canon of Kata to Ankō Asato, Motobu Chōyū, Kentsu Yabu, and Chōtoku Kyan.

From what I have seen of the Matsumura Seito version of Hakutsuru as well, it bears a resemblance to a lot of "White Crane" as exists in Karate. Which is it has shapes from white crane but lacks whipping/shaking (or Ming He) which is the characteristic of White Crane. It is not unique, and seems akin to the homogeneous Okinawan approach to Kata.

White Crane was not codified until the late 17th century, early 18th century, and seems to have been brought to Okinawan in the 19th Century by the Matayoshi and Kojo (Koshiro) families, and Go Kenki. Matsumura Nabe was contemporary to this period, and Hohan Soken himself contemporary to Go Kenki.

Matsumura Soken was also the first notable bushi of his family name, and seems to have primarily learnt off of Sakugawa Kanga with no documentation of a family tradition. The question thus becomes where he got his White Crane from: he did visit China to train, and perhaps learnt some White Crane which became the kata passed down. However, why did he teach it as a secret art, and more importantly leave no clues as to its lineage, such as the name of his teacher and style, if it was that important.

Hohan Soken also taught a fairly orthodox set of Shuri-Te or Shorin-Ryu kata. Which he did not, in theory, have had to have learnt from a unique source.

No offence intended when I say this, but my two working hypothesis are thus:

1. Hohan Soken engaged in the age old tradition of embellishment to make his Hakutsuru form seem unique, when in fact he learnt it from a similar source as many of his contemporaries: Go Kenki. Which would explain its similarity to other Okinawan versions of White Crane.

2. It was a family tradition, but one that began with Matsumura Nabe who learnt it from someone that brought it from China to Okinawa, and only learnt the shape hence it lacking subtleties relating to the parent art. Thus, it is not a particularly ancient, secret tradition that has anything to do with the famous Matsumura Soken.

Now, it could in theory be a kata that was named Hakutsuru from the romantic sound of the name, White Crane, and an illusion to the crane like stance. However, why would it bear the resemblances it does to other Hakutsuru traditions in Okinawa, that we know come from Fujian White Crane, if it was an independent development.

It being a later innovation of Matsumura Nabe is the best fitting hypothesis in my mind if we want to accept Hohan Soken's assertion it is a family tradition as truth.
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Miick 11
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you !

Over the years of inquiry this is the best answer I have yet .

Yes, there seems many forms and as I said before , the Hohan Soken Hakatsuru shown on youtube is different . I believe the version I am practicing came down via Theodroe Lange ( a listed student of Hohan Soken in the Wiki article on him ) - Ted was the head of MSSR in Australia until a few months back when he sadly passed on . Ted ( and my instructor and myself ) accepted Kosei Nishihira as the head after Soken passed , so its not impossible it came to him via Nishihira . Ted was also able to show me some bunkai related to some of the more obscure moves that others did not understand , so I assume it came down through him .

It is said to be an 'old form' and includes moves that represent grabbing and removing the hair comb of the other and stabbing it back in their throat , three 'whip kicks' in sequence to 3 different directions , a sequence where it is like you are holding a ball (as in tai chi ) while in horse stance, and flinging the arms out to the side and back to the same position , 3 times , a cross step in horse stance and doing this again.

But then comes a sequence of familiar moves that are in other kata ; first a cross arms then fling open so they are in a crane posture, with a whip kick, followed by a hook stance and arm movement as in Rohai, a kick and punch simultaneously from that hook stance as in Chinto, then a turn with a rolling palm and fingers strike as in gojoshioo. (And the forms we do of these kata are different as well.)

So unless the other kata where extensions taken from these moves ( ... nah ) , it seems like a mix up of some crane moves and some 'samples' from other kata . ie . someone put it together 'recently' . Even so, I wonder where the other moves come from that are more crane like and not in other kata ?
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick McCarthy did publish his Matsuyama Theory. To tell it in brief, he postulates that most of the kata passed down were functionally formulated in Matsuyama park during the 19th century when it was a popular destination for Kempo and Tode enthusiasts to gather and exchange techniques and knowledge.

We know there is an age old, and respected tradition, of Okinawan Martial Artists taking techniques and drills from elsewhere and formulating them into kata.

If we follow my Matsumura Nabe hypothesis, I would argue that potentially he picked up techniques from these exchanges, and he put them into a kata called White Crane because of the poses or because he was told they were White Crane techniques.

Now, Okinawan Masters do change the kata. I have visited once, and learnt the kata one way, and visited again and significant changes have occurred. Sometimes this is because Okinawan Karate uses a progressive model of teaching: one way is right for the beginner, but is no longer absolutely correct for the more capable student. Sometimes it is because the instructor felt like changing the kata.

My guess is that the above is a possible explanation as to why different students of Hohan Soken teach different versions. It would have come down to how much time they spent learning, and how far along he took them. He may have also made many changes over the years, and some learnt one way and kept it and others kept moving with him.

One would want to think the video recording shows us the Hakutruru kata that Hohan Soken intended to pass on is the correct version. However, if he did consider it a family secret, that had to be earned, he may have shown the "shell" of the kata with a few deliberate errors and omissions that only students would recognise, but still allowed him to leave a record of the Kata.

Most teachers go through three phases:

20s-30s: The Youthful stage with all the positives and negatives that carries. A potential passion for competition which shapes their approach, and so what students learn off them is very energetic, physical, and goal orientated.

30s-40s/50s: Still have much vigour and energy left but the impetuousness and ease of youth is fading. Still teach a very physical approach, but a more introspective approach emerges as the teacher begins to reflect on their experiences, and derive ideas and concepts from them. May also start considering their legacy and their teacher's legacy, and start on figuring out what is valuable to preserve, while also creating their own path.

60s onward: A concern for their legacy and the preservation of their art. Having difficulty showing how a person with the strength and vigour of youth should be performing the art. Making adaptations that accommodate them, but also drawing from a vast amount of experience based on their early years.

Depending on when you train with a teacher, and how long you stay with them, you may learn a completely different art to others but under the same name from the same teacher.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Most teachers go through three phases:

20s-30s: The Youthful stage with all the positives and negatives that carries. A potential passion for competition which shapes their approach, and so what students learn off them is very energetic, physical, and goal orientated.

30s-40s/50s: Still have much vigour and energy left but the impetuousness and ease of youth is fading. Still teach a very physical approach, but a more introspective approach emerges as the teacher begins to reflect on their experiences, and derive ideas and concepts from them. May also start considering their legacy and their teacher's legacy, and start on figuring out what is valuable to preserve, while also creating their own path.

60s onward: A concern for their legacy and the preservation of their art. Having difficulty showing how a person with the strength and vigour of youth should be performing the art. Making adaptations that accommodate them, but also drawing from a vast amount of experience based on their early years.

Depending on when you train with a teacher, and how long you stay with them, you may learn a completely different art to others but under the same name from the same teacher.


I think this is spot on, and is a good hypothesis on why things change in styles. What and how you learn is all dependent on where you fall on the instructor's timeline.

I think styles like TKD, especially the larger organizations, have actively worked to remove this phenomenon from training, in an attempt to standardize everything. I'm not so sure it is the way to go, but I do understand why.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this will make the coming weekend interesting . I will add it to the mix .

Since 'the boss' passed on there was a meeting of seniors and other instructors and it appears that some have not retained this kata nor the weapons forms , except my instructor and myself ( and 2 others in our club , but nowadays they are mostly absent ) . So this weekend we are traveling to do a seminar to address and teach this .

The reason I find it interesting is last week I had to show my instructor how to do our hakatsuru ( and sort out some weapons kata ), not the first time either - but , hey - we are all getting a lot older . In the above categories , I am in the 'over 60' one .

[ Aside ; a few months back I had my own ' Grandpa Simpson moment ' ; went to Saturday morning in the park training . Not one of the slackers showed up ! So I did it alone . Went and had coffee afterwards ; 'it seems really quiet today ? ' I commented about that to the check out at the supermarket .... ' Even the butcher is shut .' I got a strange look ' " Well, it is Sunday."]

I will add a bit of karate history to it with help from the above posts .
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