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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
I studied wado (karate) and separately tai chi in its combat version more or less concurrently years ago. More recently my chosen style is tang soo do.

Here's my observations.

At first, like at beginner level, TSD and wado look almost identical. The only major difference in found when I started TSD was that the fighting stance is much more like cat stance as found in kung fu, whereas wado's fighting stance was closer to a front stance, pretty much identical to 'snake' stance from tai chi.

Other than that, TSD starts out looking very much like how wado looks at the beginner level.

At the beginner level, tai chi and wado seem quite different. Tai chi is more circular, as more open hand techniques, and the punches are a bit more like jabs than 'thrusts' of karate.

That's beginner level sort of done.

As you advance, you start seeing more open handed stuff in TSD whereas wado is pretty much about fists, but then you see something from wado that is core to its power sneaking into TSD, most notably, what the Japanese call tai sabaki. We make better use of redirection and angles as we move up through the grades.

Similarly, in wado, the slow but powerful linear 'thrusts' that differentiate it from tai chi start to give way to jabs and that most awesome of techniques, uraken or back fist. It starts to look more like tai chi.

Tai chi, when practiced as a martial art, places a lot of emphasis on physical conditioning tight from the start. It was certainly the toughest training I ever did. Far tougher physically than either wado or TSD. But as you progress, it becomes obvious that this is to prepare you for the more linear and powerful moves found in styles like karate.

So what conclusion can we draw? That's upto the individual. But one of my conclusions is that they're all pretty much the same thing, just taught in different ways. The tai chi kung fu folks seem to focus on mind and body first, so that you are well equipped to learn the powerful combat moves. The karate and TSD folks train technique first and assume mind and body will be refined through repetition of technique. In essence, I think all styles cover largely the same things, but not necessarily in the same order.

Just on the point that kata are often criticised as not flowing or not being relevant. That depends on two things in my opinion. How they are taught, and how they are practised. It's that simple. Some people seem to want to try to replicate a series of stoll photos or sketches. Some people want to use them as moving meditation. Some look for the flow and try to visualise the fight. Maybe some people want to learn to dance I don't know. But kata/hyung/forms all have the flow. The all teach the principles of combat. Not competition fighting but staying alive at any cost kind of fighting. It's anything but just punches and kicks. There's neck cranks in them, throws, arm locks and breaks, chokes, take downs, escapes, and of course an unhealthy dose of gonad ripping. In schools that teach the flow these things present themselves quite freely. In schools that teach the series of stills, perhaps it is harder to see. I have a sneaking suspicion that that's one of the reasons the tai chi folks start hyung slowly, so you have time to spot things. But the very same flow, when taught properly.


Well put.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All too often I think it's human nature to judge based on what little we see or understand of a given art and base it in it's superficial appearences.

I am guilty of this very thing. I have had my own opinions of certain arts but after taking them have adjusted that opinion based on experience.

IMHO all old arts have merit. They obviously were created out of necessity to protect oneself and were used with success. If not I doubt that they would have survived for as long as they did. However many have been altered to fit a persons or a nations prescribed needs and thus has also changed the core intent and focus of the art. On seeing this, outsiders make judgments based on superficial concepts and components of the art rather than digging deeper to find the founders intent. Saying that this art looks a certain way after only studying it for a sort time or worse based on looks alone is without merit or true knowledge and not based on real experience.

To state that Karate Kata is more rigid than say Kung Fu is on the surface a very true statement. Anyone can observe this. However to say it has no flow... in terms of what? Are we speaking of the surface or is this based on years of study and decades of experience?

I feel as though there is a lot of flow in Kata. In the actual performance of Kata, well not in the terms some speak of. However once you break it down to it's core principles which are the applications it was created to house and pass down and you inject these applications into two person drills meant to teach one to fight, there is more than enough flow to satisfy any Kung Fu practitioner. Or maybe that is just one persons opinion.

I think many things are dependent upon how they are taught and what the intent and focus is. If taught like dance you see dance, if taught like combat you see combat, if taught rigid all you see is rigid. Many teach Karate in-particular very rigidly. Some teach it naturally and the movements are free of rigidity. It all depends on the individuals experience.

Having said, opinions all too often are based on the norm rather than taking into account those that do not proscribe to the norm. It's like saying that TKD is an art of kicks. Not true but depending on your experience and observations you may well come to that conclusion and pass it as fact. Not everything is wrapped up in the same neat little box.

Either way, I feel that many times when statements are made about an art it is based on what we see on the surface rather than what at it's true meaning.

Just my 2 cents.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:
All too often I think it's human nature to judge based on what little we see or understand of a given art and base it in it's superficial appearences.

I am guilty of this very thing. I have had my own opinions of certain arts but after taking them have adjusted that opinion based on experience.

IMHO all old arts have merit. They obviously were created out of necessity to protect oneself and were used with success. If not I doubt that they would have survived for as long as they did. However many have been altered to fit a persons or a nations prescribed needs and thus has also changed the core intent and focus of the art. On seeing this, outsiders make judgments based on superficial concepts and components of the art rather than digging deeper to find the founders intent. Saying that this art looks a certain way after only studying it for a sort time or worse based on looks alone is without merit or true knowledge and not based on real experience.

To state that Karate Kata is more rigid than say Kung Fu is on the surface a very true statement. Anyone can observe this. However to say it has no flow... in terms of what? Are we speaking of the surface or is this based on years of study and decades of experience?

I feel as though there is a lot of flow in Kata. In the actual performance of Kata, well not in the terms some speak of. However once you break it down to it's core principles which are the applications it was created to house and pass down and you inject these applications into two person drills meant to teach one to fight, there is more than enough flow to satisfy any Kung Fu practitioner. Or maybe that is just one persons opinion.

I think many things are dependent upon how they are taught and what the intent and focus is. If taught like dance you see dance, if taught like combat you see combat, if taught rigid all you see is rigid. Many teach Karate in-particular very rigidly. Some teach it naturally and the movements are free of rigidity. It all depends on the individuals experience.

Having said, opinions all too often are based on the norm rather than taking into account those that do not proscribe to the norm. It's like saying that TKD is an art of kicks. Not true but depending on your experience and observations you may well come to that conclusion and pass it as fact. Not everything is wrapped up in the same neat little box.

Either way, I feel that many times when statements are made about an art it is based on what we see on the surface rather than what at it's true meaning.

Just my 2 cents.


Interesting thoughts here. I recall the first time I saw Uechi Ryu forms. To me, they looked more like mating rituals of Birds of Paradise than martial art forms. I had a hard time identifying the flow, and the techniques looked silly.
Educating myself on the art helped substantially!
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(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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