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eighthundred
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Joined: 16 Sep 2021
Posts: 13


PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2022 10:35 pm    Post subject: Do you consider Karate Japanese? Reply with quote

First of all, my apologies for the bait-like nature of the question.

The reason I ask is because I somewhat recently saw a clip of a Chinese talent-competition show and one of the contestants was demonstrating her love for TKD. One of the judges was a well-known Chinese action star and he was lecturing this girl on how TKD was really Chinese. To be honest, I disagree, but it got me to start thinking about why I disagree.

So I turn the question to you. But frankly, I am more interested in why you believe the way you do?
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ashworth
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Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on what style of karate we are talking about...

For me as a Shotokan karate-ka the karate I do I consider Japanese because of the Japanese influence to my particular style, I'm sure there are others out their that view their karate differently.

My first karate club I was with as a child had more of a Korean influence and was taught with Korean terminology so I would consider that karate club more Korean...
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LionsDen
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Joined: 06 May 2022
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes karate is japanese.
just because it has influence even a strong influence from china that doesn't change the fact it most certainly is not kung fu.

and not to get political, but tbh under the CCP china and chinese mouth pieces love to claim just about everything under the sun is chinese.
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eighthundred
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashworth wrote:

My first karate club I was with as a child had more of a Korean influence and was taught with Korean terminology so I would consider that karate club more Korean...


So is language and terminology the deciding factor for you?

LionsDen wrote:
yes karate is japanese.
just because it has influence even a strong influence from china that doesn't change the fact it most certainly is not kung fu.

and not to get political, but tbh under the CCP china and chinese mouth pieces love to claim just about everything under the sun is chinese.


What is your barometer in regard to karate? At what point, if any, does it go from being "coming from China" to just Japanese?
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LionsDen
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eighthundred wrote:
ashworth wrote:

My first karate club I was with as a child had more of a Korean influence and was taught with Korean terminology so I would consider that karate club more Korean...


So is language and terminology the deciding factor for you?

LionsDen wrote:
yes karate is japanese.
just because it has influence even a strong influence from china that doesn't change the fact it most certainly is not kung fu.

and not to get political, but tbh under the CCP china and chinese mouth pieces love to claim just about everything under the sun is chinese.


What is your barometer in regard to karate? At what point, if any, does it go from being "coming from China" to just Japanese?


The point where Kung fu is mixed with any other martial art within the territory or what we now call Japan.

In this case thereís been elements of Muay boran, savate, and tegumi were mixed with Kung fu in Okinawa making quite distinctly not Chinese.
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aurik
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Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 269
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a loaded question.

Karate is an umbrella term that covers many different styles and lineages.

For example, Uechi-Ryu has been (relatively) lightly influenced by Japan and still has a very distinct Kung Fu flavor to it, especially as you look at the more advanced techniques. Other styles such as Goju Ryu are fundamentally Okinawan as well. (Remember, Okinawa has "only" been part of Japan since the late 1800's).

As Karate spread to mainland Japan, it evolved to better fit with Japanese culture and ideals. If you look at the more Okinawan styles, their two-person drills tend to focus more on self-defense. You are expected to break your opponent's balance, push/pull him to manipulate the distance, etc. However in several more Japanese styles, you are not expected to touch your opponent in a two-person drill -- you don't want to disrupt their balance or stance.

Finally we get to Tae Kwon Do, which is descended from Shotokan karate, but they added a Korean flair to it. Then we can also talk about American styles of karate, which again have been developed from Japanese styles of Karate.

So I guess the answer is, is Karate Japanese? I would say yes and no. The term Karate was first used in 1920's Okinawa when bringing the art to Japan. All styles of Karate have some level of Japanese influence to them. However, all forms or Karate are not wholly Japanese.

My .02 worth.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me just say that labels strip the core from the style, and the separation of the style's places one over another as far as methodology and ideology is concerned.

I've been training in an Okinawan style for over 5 decades. Yet, I've also crossed trained for over 4 decades because one style doesn't answer every situation.

So, Japanese way or Chinese way or Korean way or Okinawa way or this way or that way have no more meanings for me to embrace. Karate is Karate and to me, it's no longer Japanese or Okinawa. For me, it's a Martial Art and Martial Arts are a plethora of combative arts...combative way of expressing oneself honestly without being combative towards a label in order to define a MA.

Again, I teach an Okinawan style, but I am not handcuffed to it no more than any other MA is handcuffed to me. I no longer want to be confined, yet to be allowed to continue in my MA growth...to increase my MA betterment without any labels.

Am I ashamed of my Okinawan core?? Not at all. I'm very proud of my Okinawan core more and more each day. Albeit I'll not be stapled to it or by it because that limits my growth across the board as a MAis. Karate is Karate; no more and no less.

ďIím not in this world to live up to your expectations and youíre not in this world to live up to mine.Ē
― Bruce Lee

Imho!!



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LionsDen
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Joined: 06 May 2022
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aurik wrote:
That is a loaded question.

Karate is an umbrella term that covers many different styles and lineages.

For example, Uechi-Ryu has been (relatively) lightly influenced by Japan and still has a very distinct Kung Fu flavor to it, especially as you look at the more advanced techniques. Other styles such as Goju Ryu are fundamentally Okinawan as well. (Remember, Okinawa has "only" been part of Japan since the late 1800's).

As Karate spread to mainland Japan, it evolved to better fit with Japanese culture and ideals. If you look at the more Okinawan styles, their two-person drills tend to focus more on self-defense. You are expected to break your opponent's balance, push/pull him to manipulate the distance, etc. However in several more Japanese styles, you are not expected to touch your opponent in a two-person drill -- you don't want to disrupt their balance or stance.

Finally we get to Tae Kwon Do, which is descended from Shotokan karate, but they added a Korean flair to it. Then we can also talk about American styles of karate, which again have been developed from Japanese styles of Karate.

So I guess the answer is, is Karate Japanese? I would say yes and no. The term Karate was first used in 1920's Okinawa when bringing the art to Japan. All styles of Karate have some level of Japanese influence to them. However, all forms or Karate are not wholly Japanese.

My .02 worth.
if youíre going to claim Okinawa and Japan are different because Okinawa hasnít been part of Japan for long, then karate is almost 100% Japanese because the term karate was not used until after okinawans began teaching the Japanese and then the Japanese themselves began changing it and teaching.

Saying Okinawa isnít really part of Japan or Japanese is like saying Texas isnít really part of America or American.
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eighthundred
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Joined: 16 Sep 2021
Posts: 13


PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting responses so far. Let me just say that I respect whatever opinions you have... many of which I may share. I'm bad with tone in real life and it's sometimes reflected in my writing. My intent is not to butt heads with anyone, but to work out topics that have been stuck in my brain.


Quote:
The point where Kung fu is mixed with any other martial art within the territory or what we now call Japan.

In this case thereís been elements of Muay boran, savate, and tegumi were mixed with Kung fu in Okinawa making quite distinctly not Chinese.


So if I were to take Shotokan, move to another country, add breakdancing elements, and call it another name... would it cease to become Shotokan?

Also, Karate having mixed elements of Muay Boran and Savate is pure speculation of which I've only heard come from Jesse Enkamp. I find his stuff entertaining but it's not at all based on hard evidence. Of course, if you have other sources I'd love to see it.


Quote:
That is a loaded question.

Karate is an umbrella term that covers many different styles and lineages.

For example, Uechi-Ryu has been (relatively) lightly influenced by Japan and still has a very distinct Kung Fu flavor to it, especially as you look at the more advanced techniques. Other styles such as Goju Ryu are fundamentally Okinawan as well. (Remember, Okinawa has "only" been part of Japan since the late 1800's).

As Karate spread to mainland Japan, it evolved to better fit with Japanese culture and ideals. If you look at the more Okinawan styles, their two-person drills tend to focus more on self-defense. You are expected to break your opponent's balance, push/pull him to manipulate the distance, etc. However in several more Japanese styles, you are not expected to touch your opponent in a two-person drill -- you don't want to disrupt their balance or stance.

Finally we get to Tae Kwon Do, which is descended from Shotokan karate, but they added a Korean flair to it. Then we can also talk about American styles of karate, which again have been developed from Japanese styles of Karate.

So I guess the answer is, is Karate Japanese? I would say yes and no. The term Karate was first used in 1920's Okinawa when bringing the art to Japan. All styles of Karate have some level of Japanese influence to them. However, all forms or Karate are not wholly Japanese.

My .02 worth.


Thanks for your .02. I did purposely leave the question broad to try and get a diverse set of responses. You bring up some good points I want to follow up on.

First, the point that Okinawa has only been a part of Japan since the late 1800s... I think this is a point that gets glossed over a lot in discussions about karate. Obviously Okinawa, and Ryukyuans in general, were assimilated into Japan but had their own language, culture, etc. of which "karate" would fall under. Is karate than more Japanese than Okinawan? If so, why?

Second, would you say you consider TKD as karate or style of it?

Third, and somewhat related to the second... If we are to follow the logic of styles of karate having a level of Japanese influence, then why aren't all styles of karate considered Quanfa, Kung Fu, or Chinese?


Quote:
Let me just say that labels strip the core from the style, and the separation of the style's places one over another as far as methodology and ideology is concerned.

I've been training in an Okinawan style for over 5 decades. Yet, I've also crossed trained for over 4 decades because one style doesn't answer every situation.

So, Japanese way or Chinese way or Korean way or Okinawa way or this way or that way have no more meanings for me to embrace. Karate is Karate and to me, it's no longer Japanese or Okinawa. For me, it's a Martial Art and Martial Arts are a plethora of combative arts...combative way of expressing oneself honestly without being combative towards a label in order to define a MA.

Again, I teach an Okinawan style, but I am not handcuffed to it no more than any other MA is handcuffed to me. I no longer want to be confined, yet to be allowed to continue in my MA growth...to increase my MA betterment without any labels.

Am I ashamed of my Okinawan core?? Not at all. I'm very proud of my Okinawan core more and more each day. Albeit I'll not be stapled to it or by it because that limits my growth across the board as a MAis. Karate is Karate; no more and no less.


I agree with you when it comes to the big picture, and ones own personal training. There comes a point in one's own development when you realize that all martial arts are the same. However, I think the question I pose is more pointed.

There is a cultural aesthetic to the different arts that are reflections of the people who developed them. And I'm not just talking about the clothes they wear. Techniques themselves are representative of different cultural aesthetics. If you consider this, then how would you distinguish karate?
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LionsDen
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Joined: 06 May 2022
Posts: 136


PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eighthundred wrote:
Some interesting responses so far. Let me just say that I respect whatever opinions you have... many of which I may share. I'm bad with tone in real life and it's sometimes reflected in my writing. My intent is not to butt heads with anyone, but to work out topics that have been stuck in my brain.


Quote:
The point where Kung fu is mixed with any other martial art within the territory or what we now call Japan.

In this case thereís been elements of Muay boran, savate, and tegumi were mixed with Kung fu in Okinawa making quite distinctly not Chinese.


So if I were to take Shotokan, move to another country, add breakdancing elements, and call it another name... would it cease to become Shotokan?

Also, Karate having mixed elements of Muay Boran and Savate is pure speculation of which I've only heard come from Jesse Enkamp. I find his stuff entertaining but it's not at all based on hard evidence. Of course, if you have other sources I'd love to see it.


Quote:
That is a loaded question.

Karate is an umbrella term that covers many different styles and lineages.

For example, Uechi-Ryu has been (relatively) lightly influenced by Japan and still has a very distinct Kung Fu flavor to it, especially as you look at the more advanced techniques. Other styles such as Goju Ryu are fundamentally Okinawan as well. (Remember, Okinawa has "only" been part of Japan since the late 1800's).

As Karate spread to mainland Japan, it evolved to better fit with Japanese culture and ideals. If you look at the more Okinawan styles, their two-person drills tend to focus more on self-defense. You are expected to break your opponent's balance, push/pull him to manipulate the distance, etc. However in several more Japanese styles, you are not expected to touch your opponent in a two-person drill -- you don't want to disrupt their balance or stance.

Finally we get to Tae Kwon Do, which is descended from Shotokan karate, but they added a Korean flair to it. Then we can also talk about American styles of karate, which again have been developed from Japanese styles of Karate.

So I guess the answer is, is Karate Japanese? I would say yes and no. The term Karate was first used in 1920's Okinawa when bringing the art to Japan. All styles of Karate have some level of Japanese influence to them. However, all forms or Karate are not wholly Japanese.

My .02 worth.


Thanks for your .02. I did purposely leave the question broad to try and get a diverse set of responses. You bring up some good points I want to follow up on.

First, the point that Okinawa has only been a part of Japan since the late 1800s... I think this is a point that gets glossed over a lot in discussions about karate. Obviously Okinawa, and Ryukyuans in general, were assimilated into Japan but had their own language, culture, etc. of which "karate" would fall under. Is karate than more Japanese than Okinawan? If so, why?

Second, would you say you consider TKD as karate or style of it?

Third, and somewhat related to the second... If we are to follow the logic of styles of karate having a level of Japanese influence, then why aren't all styles of karate considered Quanfa, Kung Fu, or Chinese?


Quote:
Let me just say that labels strip the core from the style, and the separation of the style's places one over another as far as methodology and ideology is concerned.

I've been training in an Okinawan style for over 5 decades. Yet, I've also crossed trained for over 4 decades because one style doesn't answer every situation.

So, Japanese way or Chinese way or Korean way or Okinawa way or this way or that way have no more meanings for me to embrace. Karate is Karate and to me, it's no longer Japanese or Okinawa. For me, it's a Martial Art and Martial Arts are a plethora of combative arts...combative way of expressing oneself honestly without being combative towards a label in order to define a MA.

Again, I teach an Okinawan style, but I am not handcuffed to it no more than any other MA is handcuffed to me. I no longer want to be confined, yet to be allowed to continue in my MA growth...to increase my MA betterment without any labels.

Am I ashamed of my Okinawan core?? Not at all. I'm very proud of my Okinawan core more and more each day. Albeit I'll not be stapled to it or by it because that limits my growth across the board as a MAis. Karate is Karate; no more and no less.


I agree with you when it comes to the big picture, and ones own personal training. There comes a point in one's own development when you realize that all martial arts are the same. However, I think the question I pose is more pointed.

There is a cultural aesthetic to the different arts that are reflections of the people who developed them. And I'm not just talking about the clothes they wear. Techniques themselves are representative of different cultural aesthetics. If you consider this, then how would you distinguish karate?
if not Muay boran then MT proper has had an influence on karate, after all Japanese kickboxing even today is dominated by karateka, and only exists due to MTís influence.

And thereís obviously levels to incorporation of new things, but generally yes, if you moved, and mixed shotokan with breakdancing in a meaningful way, no honest person could say it was still karate, let alone shotokan specifically. Depending on how you do it maybe there could be an argument that you just recreated capoeira.
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