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Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 07 May 2015
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
In my opinion, when you are more concerned with the way something looks over how it works, you've lost the form/function ratio that makes karate a martial art, and not a performance art.

Zenkutsu-dachi, in particular, is actually something I've been meaning to put together a video on. I actually started recording it on Saturday, interestingly enough. Hopefully sometime this week I can finish that up. I did somewhat cover it as a topic in a recent article I wrote, though. To just quickly address a couple of your points:

There is a difference between the rear leg in zenkutsu-dachi being "straight," and the leg being "locked." You should never lock your joints--it's unhealthy and you can't move again until you unlock them.

The longer/lower your stance, the less rotation of the hips is possible, so a long/low zenkutsu-dachi is going to severely limit your rotational power. It accounts for this by moving your bodyweight forward/downward, instead.

From all my ponderings, viewing and my trials and errors, I can only agree with you.
As I understand it, one thing that happened when the Japanese took karate from the Okinawans, is that they turned it from a system of self defence against "ruffians in the street" into a system of defence which reflected the mindset of Japan in the 1930s, that is, formulated, uniform, somewhat philosophical and militaristic. A good analogy I think of zen stance and movement in zen stance is of marching in an army. You have the ordinary march, very good for keeping a unit together and getting from a to b, and the stylised march, the goosestep, which is not at all practical, but very effective as a metaphor for military strength. That may seem a leap, but compared to Okinawan karate, Shotokan karate is rigid, unyielding, and from what I can see, not really very practical. A lot like military drills compared to hand to hand combat. That Shotokan became the norm in the mid 20th Century is, from what I understand, simply good marketing as opposed to sound practice for self defence.
Of course, what that means practically is that for grading purposes in most clubs I may or may not join, I have to conform to a stance that is robbed of any real efficiency, awkward, difficult to move in and arguable destructive to my body. I've heard that it is good for building leg strength, but what point good leg strength if my hips are worn out (Man, I feel it in my hips).
The only justification I ever heard for zen stance (and I suspect it's somewhat spurious), is that Japanese streets were narrow, and a strong, low, solid stance which said, "I am not moving, you will have to come through me, might, just might put an attacker of little skill off any initial attack.
Anyway, I ramble at length when I should be getting on with work.

I don't suppose you have a link to the article, I'd be interested in reading it. Same with the video, if it's for public viewing.
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