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Bulltahr
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:54 am    Post subject: Funakoshi/Oyama relationship Reply with quote

I wonder what they thought of each other as they had distinctly different personalities.
Any comments in any literature??
Would have been a very interesting dynamic.
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Age-Uke
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never read anything about Oyama and Funakoshi

But I have read about Motobu Chōki and Funakoshi having differences
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ōyama Masutatsu had little respect for the Teachings of Funakoshi Gichin. To quote the man directly: “It’s not karate. What he taught me were etiquette and exercise. Too slow”.

Furthermore, Ōyama described Funakoshi as “soft and gentle, good for teaching karate to little children as he did in Okinawa. But he is not a real karateka. It was all kata with the old man”.

With the above said, Ōyama did later state that Funakoshi was his true karate teacher, and that of all the things he learned from the founder of the Shotokan system, kata was the most important. Considering the emphasis Ōyama placed on Jissen Kumite, Tameshiwari, and Hojo Undo, and that his favourite Kata to perform was Tensho (a kata created by Miyagi Chojun) I cannot help but suspect this might have been an example of Ōyama’s dry wit.

Regarding Ōyama’s experience with Funakoshi, I suspect it was far more limited than the two years he claimed. I would also point out one should be incredibly sceptical of Ōyama’s own claims about his experiences until 1952 where we have third-party evidence of the U.S Tour he did. After all, he claimed his first training was with Funakoshi Yoshitaka (Gigō) at Waseda University School in 1946. Funakoshi Yoshitaka died in November 1945, and we should remember that the practice of Budo (Including Karate) in schools and universities was functionally banned until 1949 when Judo lead the way in being reintroduced. My guess is that 1947 is the proper date of the start of Ōyama’s training under Funakoshi Gichin at the rebuilt Shōtōkan.

With all the above said, I somewhat doubt that Funakoshi lived long enough to form an opinion of Ōyama. Funakoshi died in 1957, after a period of illness, but had retired to a largely private life earlier in 1956. Although Ōyama founded Ōyama dojo in 1953, it was just another Goju-Kai dojo that was part of the growing IGKF. It was not until 1956 that Ōyama began to gain his reputation for rough, but effective training, and the Kyokushinkaikan was not founded until 1957. I suspect, however, that Funakoshi would have had the same dim view about Ōyama as he did Motobu Choki (if without the personal grudge), and would have probably opined as he did about Ohtsuka Hironishi and Yasuhiro Konishi adding too many elements of Nihon Bujutsu to the art and encouraging the practice of Jiyu Kumite.

In terms of an actual, direct, relationship I doubt Oyama was anything more than another fair-weather student to Funakoshi.
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JR 137
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic’s post is pretty much what I was going to say, only he said it better.

Oyama reportedly trained under Gichin Funakoshi for 2 years. The things Wado Heretic says that Oyama said have been quoted in several places. But I don’t think Gichin Funakoshi considered Oyama a “fair weather” student. Oyama reportedly earned a 4th dan under Gichin Funakoshi.

Gichin Funakoshi didn’t live long enough to see what Oyama eventually became. Gichin Funakoshi died in 1957. Oyama started his first dojo in 1953, but it was more or less a bunch of guys training under him in an outdoor vacant lot. He opened an actual school in 1956, calling it Oyama dojo.

Had Oyama been the Oyama we associate when Funakoshi was alive, Funakoshi probably would’ve felt the way Wado Heretic says. I don’t see it really going any other way.

There’s bits and pieces of Oyama’s training scattered around the internet and books. The problem I come across is there’s no one book that documents everything. Most notably his Judo training is typically a paragraph at best. This website puts what I’ve seen in many places together quite well:
http://the-martial-way.com/the-early-martial-arts-training-of-mas-oyama/

No idea how truly accurate it is, but he’s using a lot of sources. The problem I’ve come across with stuff about Oyama is once someone says something, everyone copies and pastes it like it’s the absolute truth. For example, everyone copies and pastes the origin of Gekisai Sho kata without thinking twice. IMO that claim of origin of it is completely wrong. Hanshi Steve Arniel was the first to publish it and everyone takes it as scripture, being that it came from Arniel. I’d love to ask him if Oyama claimed that was the origin of Gekisai Sho or if that was Arniel’s assumption.
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fairwind was perhaps a harsh way to put it. Rather, I do not think Oyama was a student on the radar of Funakoshi even during his training with Funakoshi. Similarly, in the time frame we are discussing, Funakoshi left teaching to his primary assistants such as Obata. I suspect Oyama was a face in the crowd.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Fairwind was perhaps a harsh way to put it. Rather, I do not think Oyama was a student on the radar of Funakoshi even during his training with Funakoshi. Similarly, in the time frame we are discussing, Funakoshi left teaching to his primary assistants such as Obata. I suspect Oyama was a face in the crowd.


I think so too. Oyama only reportedly spent 2 years under Gichin Funakoshi. The rest of his Shotokan time was spent under Gigo Funakoshi. Gichin Funakoshi reportedly promoted him to 4th dan, but I wonder if he was Oyama’s day in and day out teacher. This was at Takshoku University and not at the Shotokan that was built for Funakoshi towards the end. So it makes me think Funakoshi was more active in everyday teaching at that time.

Another question I have is how advanced of a rank 4th dan was at the time. There was one of Funakoshi’s direct students teaching here in the States that died not too long ago. He would never accept a rank above 5th dan because he claimed 5th dan was the highest rank under Funakoshi and 10th dan was made up later on. So was Oyama comparable to what we view 4th dan today, or was he one rank under the highest rank possible?

And how long was Oyama in Shotokan total. 2 years under Gichin Funakoshi, but how many under Gigo Funakoshi? Was there anyone else in between?

A single biography or autobiography with specific dates, locations and names would be wonderful here. The only thing we have is bits and pieces scattered through Oyama’s and several others’ books. You’d think there would be a more definitive single source book written about Oyama’s life and training. Looking at Kyokushin and offshoots’ numbers, he’s easily one of the most influential MAists of all time. And he died in 1994, so it’s not like he wasn’t around when people started keeping more detailed information. It’s just very odd to me that no one way down with him, thoroughly interviewed him, and wrote a book. Most things written about him that I’ve seen are secondhand accounts rather than from Oyama himself or through an actual biographer. I think he enjoyed the legend and mystique surrounding him. A lot of the stuff that was claimed about him didn’t come from him directly. It was typically someone around him saying things and him silently nodding.
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funakoshi himself did not hold any rank and did not immediately implement the dan system until after his following grew significantly. The decision was certainly made based on the success of Judo at the same time and the influence of its founder, Kano, who according to contemporary sources, was on friendly terms with Funakoshi.

By the time Funakoshi handed out dan grades for the first time, those students who got them had already been training under him for many years daily. In other words, the criteria and skill level of these first dan grades were likely very different than what was established later on or nowadays in the average dojo. This means one can logically assume that the equivalent dan by today’s standards is different and therefore not at the same level.

If Ōyama was graded to 2 or 4th dan by Funakoshi’s judgment back then, the equivalent dan level today would likely be significantly higher because training methods and evaluations changed a great deal since the late 40’s or 50’s.

Also, getting to know a student’s nature, personality and character is not instantaneous. The more students an instructor has the longer it takes. Funakoshi and his own teacher probably knew each other very well because he was taught in private and in semi-secrecy as was the onld Ryukyuan custom. Funakoshi taught large numbers on the Japanese mainland, and very likely had no time to know his students personally except for a choice few who were with him the longest. Two to four years is not enough to really know someone out of a crowd of 50 to form an opinion on said person’s quality as a human being or their interpretation of what they have learned and how they pass it along.
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Funakoshi himself did not hold any rank and did not immediately implement the dan system until after his following grew significantly. The decision was certainly made based on the success of Judo at the same time and the influence of its founder, Kano, who according to contemporary sources, was on friendly terms with Funakoshi.

By the time Funakoshi handed out dan grades for the first time, those students who got them had already been training under him for many years daily. In other words, the criteria and skill level of these first dan grades were likely very different than what was established later on or nowadays in the average dojo. This means one can logically assume that the equivalent dan by today’s standards is different and therefore not at the same level.

If Ōyama was graded to 2 or 4th dan by Funakoshi’s judgment back then, the equivalent dan level today would likely be significantly higher because training methods and evaluations changed a great deal since the late 40’s or 50’s.

Also, getting to know a student’s nature, personality and character is not instantaneous. The more students an instructor has the longer it takes. Funakoshi and his own teacher probably knew each other very well because he was taught in private and in semi-secrecy as was the onld Ryukyuan custom. Funakoshi taught large numbers on the Japanese mainland, and very likely had no time to know his students personally except for a choice few who were with him the longest. Two to four years is not enough to really know someone out of a crowd of 50 to form an opinion on said person’s quality as a human being or their interpretation of what they have learned and how they pass it along.

Solid post!!




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immaterial
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Ōyama Masutatsu had little respect for the Teachings of Funakoshi Gichin. To quote the man directly: “It’s not karate. What he taught me were etiquette and exercise. Too slow”.

Furthermore, Ōyama described Funakoshi as “soft and gentle, good for teaching karate to little children as he did in Okinawa. But he is not a real karateka. It was all kata with the old man”.

With the above said, Ōyama did later state that Funakoshi was his true karate teacher, and that of all the things he learned from the founder of the Shotokan system, kata was the most important. Considering the emphasis Ōyama placed on Jissen Kumite, Tameshiwari, and Hojo Undo, and that his favourite Kata to perform was Tensho (a kata created by Miyagi Chojun) I cannot help but suspect this might have been an example of Ōyama’s dry wit.

Regarding Ōyama’s experience with Funakoshi, I suspect it was far more limited than the two years he claimed. I would also point out one should be incredibly sceptical of Ōyama’s own claims about his experiences until 1952 where we have third-party evidence of the U.S Tour he did. After all, he claimed his first training was with Funakoshi Yoshitaka (Gigō) at Waseda University School in 1946. Funakoshi Yoshitaka died in November 1945, and we should remember that the practice of Budo (Including Karate) in schools and universities was functionally banned until 1949 when Judo lead the way in being reintroduced. My guess is that 1947 is the proper date of the start of Ōyama’s training under Funakoshi Gichin at the rebuilt Shōtōkan.

With all the above said, I somewhat doubt that Funakoshi lived long enough to form an opinion of Ōyama. Funakoshi died in 1957, after a period of illness, but had retired to a largely private life earlier in 1956. Although Ōyama founded Ōyama dojo in 1953, it was just another Goju-Kai dojo that was part of the growing IGKF. It was not until 1956 that Ōyama began to gain his reputation for rough, but effective training, and the Kyokushinkaikan was not founded until 1957. I suspect, however, that Funakoshi would have had the same dim view about Ōyama as he did Motobu Choki (if without the personal grudge), and would have probably opined as he did about Ohtsuka Hironishi and Yasuhiro Konishi adding too many elements of Nihon Bujutsu to the art and encouraging the practice of Jiyu Kumite.

In terms of an actual, direct, relationship I doubt Oyama was anything more than another fair-weather student to Funakoshi.


Not surprising. It's no secret that Funakoshi watered down Karate to make it an excercise for good health, not combat. He was opposed to free sparring, only advocating step-sparring, at most. It was Funakoshis son who lowered the stances, had free sparring (point fighting) sessions in secret after his father had left the building, etc. Most of what we associated with Shotokan karate is due to the son, although Funakoshi probably did contribute to some of the technical hallmarks of Shotokan style punching, which deviated from the Okinawan styles.
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is also some doubt as to Fukankoshi’s technical skill and how much he had learned from his own teacher at the time he decided to move to the mainland. The man himself also clearly states in his books that what he learned in Okinawa and what he taught to Japanese students were very different.
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