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sensei8
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2021 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For as long as I can remember, we ALL wore white with no exceptions, except for our Soke and Dai-Soke, in which for the most part they wore white top and black bottoms, and from time to time, they'd both switch to a white bottom and a black top...on the floor...and during normal classes.

Slowly, and I do mean slowly, slower than a determined and purposeful crawl, we were permitted to add black top or bottom, depending on rank. That stayed in place for quite some time.

Is it mutiny to fall away from all white? Maybe; depends on a lot of precedence.

To me, I could care less as to what color the gi is because we're all students of the MA, and students of the MA train to improve their MA betterment in order to become most effective.

Imho!!




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Last edited by sensei8 on Sun Jul 11, 2021 11:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2021 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KwicKixJ1 wrote:
Wastelander wrote:

I don't think it's silly for them to be upset at the loss of part of their cultural heritage, which they take great pride in, as it's being replaced with stuff that has nothing to do with the karate that their ancestors passed down to them--especially when it's still being called "traditional karate," as if it's been that way the whole time. I've seen people from Italy become enraged at how people and "Italian" restaurants cook Italian food for the same reason. The difference is that there are still tons of people in Italy who can cook traditional dishes properly, but the people on Okinawa who can teach the older methods of karate are dying off, because all the young people just want to compete in tournaments that are tailored to the Japanese approach to karate.


I see what you're saying and I get that some people might see modern karate as straying away from traditions and cultural heritage, but I guess what I'm thinking about is what aspects of modern karate they're straying from and how much it really identifies a culture?

Like I said earlier, I think American sport karate is a totally different martial art from Japanese or Okinawan karate. But I'm having a hard time seeing why someone who's dedicated to Okinawan karate would find it disrespectful of their culture to emphasize the parts of kata that Japanese kata competitions focus on. I think that competition kata elevates the kata scene and really showcases the maximum potential of the human body. Now, when it comes to fighting I guess the idea of point fighting being a game of tag that dilutes the old warrior spirit of traditional karate, I can see that, but point fighting and practical combat applications are two completely different elements of the same activity. Like floor exercises vs balance beam in gymnastics.

What do you think? Would love to hear what aspects of modern karate you think puts old traditions at risk.


It isn't ALL Okinawan karate instructors, because there are certainly plenty of them who are totally fine with the popularity and money involved in sport karate--they are human, after all--but there is dissent. Due to the focus on aesthetics and athleticism, the Japanese approach to kata has removed many of the body mechanics that karate uses (power generation, muchimi, chinkuchi, softness, etc) and has replaced them with things that look nicer, or are more physically demanding, but are not connected to any combative function. This also alters how the kata can be applied, which is the entire point of kata, originally--providing a template of practical fighting methods for people to use in drilling and sparring with partners. As for the sparring aspect, point karate and practical combat applications aren't really two different elements of the same activity--the former is a roughly 80 year old kickboxing sport that took about 5 karate techniques and put them into a Kendo-style ruleset, while the latter is karate.

As to how it puts old traditions at risk; people would rather win trophies than learn how to fight and protect themselves. Physical activities with competitions are more popular than physical activities without them, and people who participate in physical activities based around competitions pretty much ONLY learn what will win competitions. In this case, that's crisp solo kata, completely fantastical application demonstrations, and a game of tag using just a handful of the techniques found in karate. This means that most people end up learning karate that is geared toward competition, and those who learn competition karate are almost exclusively going to learn things specifically geared toward winning competitions. Why should they learn those other techniques? They don't score any points. Some of them are completely illegal. Some of them you just can't do, because you're not allowed to be that close to your opponent. This leads to a loss of knowledge and material over time, because there is no one to teach it to. I know of an instructor on Okinawa who specifically said that he used to know old, realistic applications to the kata, but he hasn't taught them since the 60s, because people just want to do tournaments, and he's forgotten them. If the younger generations don't learn the material, then the karate that was developed on Okinawa will eventually die off, and only the karate that was re-worked by the Japanese will exist.

Now, the capitalist argument to this is that the free market has decided that old-style karate no longer deserves to exist if modern tournament karate is what people want to do, but honestly that's just a depressing thought, to me.
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
Now, the capitalist argument to this is that the free market has decided that old-style karate no longer deserves to exist if modern tournament karate is what people want to do, but honestly that's just a depressing thought, to me.


This is interesting to consider. I think it's interesting in that, for a high percentage of the people who will ever practice the Martial Arts, most of them will never have to experience an actual self-defense scenario. However, they may very likely face a lot of competition, either at tournaments or in class, if they choose to. Therefore, not being as exposed to the need to use their self-defense as much, it doesn't linger at the forefront of people's minds.

It is unfortunate if that is the case, and I have a great appreciation for those that keep the self-defense aspects going in spite of this.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Rage of the Page decides quite a lot no matter the subject. The MA is far from the exception, and oftentimes, it's never even close to being the exception. Gi, methodology, ideology, fluffy bunnies, and little green men are what we, as MAists, decide that which is acceptable, whether it's effective or not.

Albeit, the forest can't be seen because all of the trees are blocking our view...time and time again.




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Miick 11
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Joined: 01 Jan 2021
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with wastelander , it is not silly at all .

First, we have to understand what a significant part of Okinawan culture that karate was, and still is . There is a thing called 'cultural misappropriation' and its hard to see the offense in that UNLESS it is your own culture that has been misappropriated and then presented in a way that is rather awful.

Regarding the changes FROM original Okinawan karate ( I have written about related things to this in other threads here ) , for example , Hohan Soken left Okinawa and went to Argentina before these changes started , when he returned he asked ' What is that , that those people are doing ? " the answer was "karate" , his response was " Noooo .... that isnt karate . "

Even our teacher ( Kosei Nishihira , a close student of Soken ) rarely wore a white (or any other color) gi ... maybe the pants and a white singlet, or 'slacks' and a singlet or topless when training also no belt (unless he wore slacks ... someone once asked , in training , what color belt he was, he looked down at his slack's belt and said 'brown today' . Maybe for a group posed photo he wore a gi... I have seen that .

One has to understand the whole dynamic of change and the difference from old style to modern to get why this would be annoying . If anyone is interested, I could explain more .

Mr . N. wanted people to learn about old Okinawan culture ... its was and is dying out its being overtaken by 'Base ( US military, ie. ) mentality' fast food culture and other western things . If one went to him 'just' to learn karate one would get a very different response if one wanted to learn ot as part of their old culture . And, it is a fascinating and interesting culture ( check out the old 'turtle tombs' ) .

A note on 'black clothing' in Okinawa and Japan . If one looks closely , the traditional dark clothing was dyed with indigo, one major reason is that indigo is a mold repellent . . I have seen ancient Japanese textile that had a pattern or indigo and white on it and all the white parts where decayed and tattered but not the indigo parts . Eg if one looks at a traditional aikido hakama it is a deep indigo color .
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Miick 11
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
KwicKixJ1 wrote:
Wastelander wrote:

I don't think it's silly for them to be upset at the loss of part of their cultural heritage, which they take great pride in, as it's being replaced with stuff that has nothing to do with the karate that their ancestors passed down to them--especially when it's still being called "traditional karate," as if it's been that way the whole time. I've seen people from Italy become enraged at how people and "Italian" restaurants cook Italian food for the same reason. The difference is that there are still tons of people in Italy who can cook traditional dishes properly, but the people on Okinawa who can teach the older methods of karate are dying off, because all the young people just want to compete in tournaments that are tailored to the Japanese approach to karate.


I see what you're saying and I get that some people might see modern karate as straying away from traditions and cultural heritage, but I guess what I'm thinking about is what aspects of modern karate they're straying from and how much it really identifies a culture?

Like I said earlier, I think American sport karate is a totally different martial art from Japanese or Okinawan karate. But I'm having a hard time seeing why someone who's dedicated to Okinawan karate would find it disrespectful of their culture to emphasize the parts of kata that Japanese kata competitions focus on. I think that competition kata elevates the kata scene and really showcases the maximum potential of the human body. Now, when it comes to fighting I guess the idea of point fighting being a game of tag that dilutes the old warrior spirit of traditional karate, I can see that, but point fighting and practical combat applications are two completely different elements of the same activity. Like floor exercises vs balance beam in gymnastics.

What do you think? Would love to hear what aspects of modern karate you think puts old traditions at risk.


It isn't ALL Okinawan karate instructors, because there are certainly plenty of them who are totally fine with the popularity and money involved in sport karate--they are human, after all--but there is dissent. Due to the focus on aesthetics and athleticism, the Japanese approach to kata has removed many of the body mechanics that karate uses (power generation, muchimi, chinkuchi, softness, etc) and has replaced them with things that look nicer, or are more physically demanding, but are not connected to any combative function. This also alters how the kata can be applied, which is the entire point of kata, originally--providing a template of practical fighting methods for people to use in drilling and sparring with partners. As for the sparring aspect, point karate and practical combat applications aren't really two different elements of the same activity--the former is a roughly 80 year old kickboxing sport that took about 5 karate techniques and put them into a Kendo-style ruleset, while the latter is karate.

As to how it puts old traditions at risk; people would rather win trophies than learn how to fight and protect themselves. Physical activities with competitions are more popular than physical activities without them, and people who participate in physical activities based around competitions pretty much ONLY learn what will win competitions. In this case, that's crisp solo kata, completely fantastical application demonstrations, and a game of tag using just a handful of the techniques found in karate. This means that most people end up learning karate that is geared toward competition, and those who learn competition karate are almost exclusively going to learn things specifically geared toward winning competitions. Why should they learn those other techniques? They don't score any points. Some of them are completely illegal. Some of them you just can't do, because you're not allowed to be that close to your opponent. This leads to a loss of knowledge and material over time, because there is no one to teach it to. I know of an instructor on Okinawa who specifically said that he used to know old, realistic applications to the kata, but he hasn't taught them since the 60s, because people just want to do tournaments, and he's forgotten them. If the younger generations don't learn the material, then the karate that was developed on Okinawa will eventually die off, and only the karate that was re-worked by the Japanese will exist.

Now, the capitalist argument to this is that the free market has decided that old-style karate no longer deserves to exist if modern tournament karate is what people want to do, but honestly that's just a depressing thought, to me.


Well said !

Where is the applause button ?
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KwicKixJ1
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Joined: 13 Aug 2003
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Styles: Taekwondo, Shorin Ryu, Shudokan, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:

It isn't ALL Okinawan karate instructors, because there are certainly plenty of them who are totally fine with the popularity and money involved in sport karate--they are human, after all--but there is dissent. Due to the focus on aesthetics and athleticism, the Japanese approach to kata has removed many of the body mechanics that karate uses (power generation, muchimi, chinkuchi, softness, etc) and has replaced them with things that look nicer, or are more physically demanding, but are not connected to any combative function. This also alters how the kata can be applied, which is the entire point of kata, originally--providing a template of practical fighting methods for people to use in drilling and sparring with partners. As for the sparring aspect, point karate and practical combat applications aren't really two different elements of the same activity--the former is a roughly 80 year old kickboxing sport that took about 5 karate techniques and put them into a Kendo-style ruleset, while the latter is karate.

As to how it puts old traditions at risk; people would rather win trophies than learn how to fight and protect themselves. Physical activities with competitions are more popular than physical activities without them, and people who participate in physical activities based around competitions pretty much ONLY learn what will win competitions. In this case, that's crisp solo kata, completely fantastical application demonstrations, and a game of tag using just a handful of the techniques found in karate. This means that most people end up learning karate that is geared toward competition, and those who learn competition karate are almost exclusively going to learn things specifically geared toward winning competitions. Why should they learn those other techniques? They don't score any points. Some of them are completely illegal. Some of them you just can't do, because you're not allowed to be that close to your opponent. This leads to a loss of knowledge and material over time, because there is no one to teach it to. I know of an instructor on Okinawa who specifically said that he used to know old, realistic applications to the kata, but he hasn't taught them since the 60s, because people just want to do tournaments, and he's forgotten them. If the younger generations don't learn the material, then the karate that was developed on Okinawa will eventually die off, and only the karate that was re-worked by the Japanese will exist.

Now, the capitalist argument to this is that the free market has decided that old-style karate no longer deserves to exist if modern tournament karate is what people want to do, but honestly that's just a depressing thought, to me.


Well said! I understand what you're saying and see your point if we're looking at it as a whole, but I wonder if maybe there isn't something positive to be said about outliers who see the pushing of their physical limits and chasing after techniques for the sake of maximizing power, speed, balance, and efficiency just for the sake of loving progression within themselves as martial artists. The world is a different place, and everything down to our diet has made it easier for us to explore our limits. Why not drive karate, and specifically kata, forward to see the pinnacle of human ability? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's like saying modern-day body-mechanic science, access to coaches, training facilities, modern diets, equipment, and surface areas make Usain Bolt and modern Olympic sprinters as practicing a different sport from sprinters from over 100 years ago because their sprinting techniques were based on the environments they trained in back then. Am I reading this wrong?

I don't compete anymore, but I'm still super passionate about kata. Bunkai is important to me, but equally if not more important as my ability to throw my techniques like the top level competitors in the world even if I never get close.
I'm constantly trying to improve my speed, balance, focus, and power. I train and drill because this is my martial arts journey and what matters to me. Now, did competition karate create this drive in me? I don't really think so, but competition karate definitely set the bar for what I see as possible in my body. Is it wrong to try and chase after what my body is capable of instead of learning what works for someone at more of a disadvantage in a physical altercation?



The practicality of combat application is something that I've always had a bit of an issue with when it comes to karate schools in general, but that's a whole nother can of worms lol.
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Wastelander
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Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2021 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KwicKixJ1 wrote:

Well said! I understand what you're saying and see your point if we're looking at it as a whole, but I wonder if maybe there isn't something positive to be said about outliers who see the pushing of their physical limits and chasing after techniques for the sake of maximizing power, speed, balance, and efficiency just for the sake of loving progression within themselves as martial artists. The world is a different place, and everything down to our diet has made it easier for us to explore our limits. Why not drive karate, and specifically kata, forward to see the pinnacle of human ability? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's like saying modern-day body-mechanic science, access to coaches, training facilities, modern diets, equipment, and surface areas make Usain Bolt and modern Olympic sprinters as practicing a different sport from sprinters from over 100 years ago because their sprinting techniques were based on the environments they trained in back then. Am I reading this wrong?

I don't compete anymore, but I'm still super passionate about kata. Bunkai is important to me, but equally if not more important as my ability to throw my techniques like the top level competitors in the world even if I never get close.
I'm constantly trying to improve my speed, balance, focus, and power. I train and drill because this is my martial arts journey and what matters to me. Now, did competition karate create this drive in me? I don't really think so, but competition karate definitely set the bar for what I see as possible in my body. Is it wrong to try and chase after what my body is capable of instead of learning what works for someone at more of a disadvantage in a physical altercation?

The practicality of combat application is something that I've always had a bit of an issue with when it comes to karate schools in general, but that's a whole nother can of worms lol.


Your comparison is sort of an apples-to-oranges one, in my view. Sprinting is defined as "the competitive athletic sport of running distances of 400 meters or less," and it's implied that you will be running as fast as you possibly can as part of that. HOW you run as fast as you possibly can, while competitively running a distance of 400 meters or less, doesn't change the fact that you are sprinting. Karate, on the other hand, is a martial art developed for self-protection and law enforcement/security personnel, which included techniques for striking, kicking, grappling, locking, strangling, and restraining opponents--techniques which were put together into drills that became kata, so that they could be easily repeated and practiced when a partner wasn't available, while also recording the curriculum of a system. Modern karate has REMOVED the vast majority of what defines karate. A better running analogy would be if the Olympic Committee decided to remove the hurdles from the 100m hurdles, because the competitors will be able to run faster, so that's an improvement, and then they still call it the 100m hurdles.

I'm not against (and I don't believe Okinawan instructors are against) applying modern sport science and kinesiology to karate, but I would prefer to see it applied to karate, not light kickboxing and dance performed in a keikogi.
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KwicKixJ1
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
I'm not against (and I don't believe Okinawan instructors are against) applying modern sport science and kinesiology to karate, but I would prefer to see it applied to karate, not light kickboxing and dance performed in a keikogi.


Oh ok I see what you're saying now. Yeah removing all those aspects would be really sad and you definitely would lose a lot of what makes the art what it is.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KwicKixJ1 wrote:
Wastelander wrote:
I'm not against (and I don't believe Okinawan instructors are against) applying modern sport science and kinesiology to karate, but I would prefer to see it applied to karate, not light kickboxing and dance performed in a keikogi.


Oh ok I see what you're saying now. Yeah removing all those aspects would be really sad and you definitely would lose a lot of what makes the art what it is.


This is truly sad to see, I believe it bled over into TKD, when it got started. That, combined with the fact that the influx of a sense of building Korean nationalism, and using this to differentiate TKD from it's roots in Karate. Although the skill levels that can be seen in Olympic TKD can be exciting to watch, I don't think it's what the vast majority of TKD practitioners should be training for.
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