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  1. TekkaMaki is offline
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    Trying to make sense of it all

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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 12:00am

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    Why Karate Sucks Now

    We have had many discussions on these boards about how usless kata are and how karate sucks. In this thread, I want to discuss the differences between Karate Do and Karate Jutsu, the reasons Karate sucks now and the impact of Kata on the art of karate do as a whole.
    After doing some brushing up on kata and the 'bunkai' or techniques which are hidden within the kata, I have realized that absolutely nothing that the average karateka does or practices resembles the actual theory and practice of karate do.

    Karate is not trained correctly and it is not taught correctly.

    Here are a few things that are done wrong today:

    There should be absolutely no such thing as a chamber punch.
    The reason punches are chambered during kata is because it's supposed to be the method of practicing a pulling, off balancing motion while grabbing an opponent. The punch is more like a pushing motion to off-balance and sweep.
    Furthermore, the hand that is not punching should always be up, protecting the face. This is why we see in the techniques of, for example, kyokushin karate, a punching style that more closely resembles boxing. Teaching the movements of kata as blocks and punches have completely ruined the techniques of Karate Do.

    The rigid stances should be used only for transitional purposes.
    Things like front leaning stances and horse stances are only to establish a base while throwing or tripping an opponent and should never be used as a fighting position. Training out of these stances causes bad habits.

    The hard, rigid 'blocks' of Karate should not be used to intercept punches or kicks.
    The blocking motions of karate, as they are practiced, are not to be used against punches. When karate do was developed, it was developed as a fighting art in a time when it was much more common for someone to grab you than to punch you. In feudal and post-feudal japan, the nobility practiced jujutsu and karate do was developed as a way to protect against trouble-causing warriors.

    Karate jutsu does not contain long kata, but does contain alot of two-man exercises which involve grabbing and escaping, joint locks and so forth. For this reason, it far more closely resembles Jujutsu.

    I can give a quick example of what I'm talking about here. Let's take the first kata that any karate school teaches. We all know it. We go to the yoi position, then step to the left into a horse stance with a downward block. (1) Next, we step in that same direction with the right foot and throw a punch. (2) We reach up behind the shoulder, turn around into a horse stance and execute another downward block (4) then finish with another forward step and punch(5).

    Here is what should actually happen:

    1) having been grabbed at the wrist, we pull the arm upward to escape the grab while establishing a base. Instead of a downward block, this should be a grab of the attacker's sleeve.
    2) stepping forward, we pull the opponent's wrist "to chamber" and grab the opponent at the lapel. with the opposite hand.
    3) turning around we continue the motion with the hands still at the opponents' wrist and lapel, setting up a morote seoi nage throw.
    4) we execute the morote seoi nage throw.
    5) The final "punch" is actually a setup for another grab, which leads into the next technique, a repetition of morote seoi nage from a quarter turn instead of a half turn.

    The subsequent "punches" down the middle can easily represent an osoto gari leg sweep.

    In the karate-style self defense techniques practiced at my dojo, which I believe came from the kyokushin karate style, we are constantly reminded to keep the hand that is not striking or blocking up to protect the face, not up at the ribs or down on the hip.

    You may begin flaming... now.
  2. BackFistMonkey is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 12:10am

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    Quote Originally Posted by TekkaMaki
    You may begin flaming... now.
    Flame what ? That was a good post and sound as far as I can tell . The only issue I have is that freaky avatar .....
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    Nuke a unborn gay whale for Christ.
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  3. EternalRage is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 12:37am

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    Quote Originally Posted by TekkaMaki
    Here are a few things that are done wrong today:

    There should be absolutely no such thing as a chamber punch.
    The reason punches are chambered during kata is because it's supposed to be the method of practicing a pulling, off balancing motion while grabbing an opponent. The punch is more like a pushing motion to off-balance and sweep.
    Furthermore, the hand that is not punching should always be up, protecting the face. This is why we see in the techniques of, for example, kyokushin karate, a punching style that more closely resembles boxing. Teaching the movements of kata as blocks and punches have completely ruined the techniques of Karate Do.
    I was taught that the chambering punch was just to develop power in a punch because you have a dual motion of pushing and pulling, like a piston. Regardless, I have yet to see any sane Karate school tell their students to fight like that... and if they do, well it's what we call bullshido...

    The rigid stances should be used only for transitional purposes.
    Things like front leaning stances and horse stances are only to establish a base while throwing or tripping an opponent and should never be used as a fighting position. Training out of these stances causes bad habits.
    It also teaches balance and trains your leg strength. But again, I doubt any sane Karate school would tell you to only move in front, back, and horse stances.

    The hard, rigid 'blocks' of Karate should not be used to intercept punches or kicks.
    The blocking motions of karate, as they are practiced, are not to be used against punches. When karate do was developed, it was developed as a fighting art in a time when it was much more common for someone to grab you than to punch you. In feudal and post-feudal japan, the nobility practiced jujutsu and karate do was developed as a way to protect against trouble-causing warriors.
    I must be alone in this... do the rest of you spar karate people that actually try to use rising blocks and down blocks in traditional stances? I have yet to meet one that's actually retarded enough to try that crap... all the karate i've seen or done generally treats the kata part of it as tradition and art - that there are certain things like balance and breathing that can be learned as secondary training for fighting, but nothing else.

    I can give a quick example of what I'm talking about here. Let's take the first kata that any karate school teaches. We all know it. We go to the yoi position, then step to the left into a horse stance with a downward block. (1) Next, we step in that same direction with the right foot and throw a punch. (2) We reach up behind the shoulder, turn around into a horse stance and execute another downward block (4) then finish with another forward step and punch(5).

    Here is what should actually happen:

    1) having been grabbed at the wrist, we pull the arm upward to escape the grab while establishing a base. Instead of a downward block, this should be a grab of the attacker's sleeve.
    2) stepping forward, we pull the opponent's wrist "to chamber" and grab the opponent at the lapel. with the opposite hand.
    3) turning around we continue the motion with the hands still at the opponents' wrist and lapel, setting up a morote seoi nage throw.
    4) we execute the morote seoi nage throw.
    5) The final "punch" is actually a setup for another grab, which leads into the next technique, a repetition of morote seoi nage from a quarter turn instead of a half turn.

    The subsequent "punches" down the middle can easily represent an osoto gari leg sweep.
    I'm kind of confused. You tell us that the chamber punch is retarded and shouldn't be used in forms, that you have to guard your head. Now you tell us how "it's supposed to be done" with an equally unrealistic drill where someone grabs your wrist??? And then use it to train this alternate version of the chamber punch where you're still not covering the face...
  4. ojgsxr6 is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 12:56am

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    TekkaMaki, how much experience do you have with karate?
  5. TekkaMaki is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 12:58am

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    I understand what you're saying here, this is all still speculation. The original article is just an opinion, kind of a springboard for more posts. I totally appreciate what you have to say, though.
    I wouldn't consider that drill to be at all unrealistic, I think the point of that particular kata movment is to practice the technique for a rear sweep.
    Earlier I said that you shouldn't chamber a punch; pulling someone off balance is not chambering a punch, now is it? I didn't say the motion was useless, I'm only saying that I think its actual use is not to load up a punch at all.
    And definitely, no, I've never seen a karate guy fight using horse stances and up and down blocks, but if they're never going to use them then why do they train them? That's what I'm trying to figure out here. If they're useless now, they were probably useless a hundred years ago. So why are they in there? What I have seen karate guys do while sparring is that awkard rear hand chambered/forward hand bent in an L shape just above the hip stance, which strikes me as being retarded.
    That's why I have the hypothesis that the "bunkai" of all the kata didn't involve very much punching or blocking at all, but that those movements are actually choreographed to repeatedly drill the technique of certain sweeps, throws, takedowns, etc.
    Try it - get a buddy, throw on your gis, then grab him by his lapel with one hand and his sleeve with the other. Then do your "chamber punch." You'll off-balance him. You can easily see how you can sweep him from here.
    Thanks for your input, I hope I cleared it up a bit. The "chamber punch" is not a punch at all, but rather an off-balance.
  6. ojgsxr6 is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 1:03am

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    I have about 1 year and a half of your typical McDojo karate and 6 months or so Enshin karate experience, which is the style I currently train. It's not alot of experience I know but I have never been taught to chamber a punch and have never seen that kata.
  7. TekkaMaki is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 1:03am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chanukah Harry
    TekkaMaki, how much experience do you have with karate?
    I trained with USSD for two years, their forms, for the most part, are lifted directly from okinawan karate. Additionally, at my current dojo we practice karate kata for reasons I still don't quite understand. That's sort of what I'm trying to figure out here. We also have some techniques which are from a karate style, which are so incredibly different from anything that we do in the kata that I wonder what the hell the point of the kata actually is.

    I would by no means consider myself to be so thoroughly a part of the world of karate to be an expert, sort of the point of this thread. Trying to make sense of it. On top of that, even if I'm totally wrong I'm sure that the overwhelming majority of what I've said, while not necessarily traditional, is entirely applicable.
  8. TekkaMaki is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 1:07am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chanukah Harry
    I have about 1 year and a half of your typical McDojo karate and 6 months or so Enshin karate experience, which is the style I currently train. It's not alot of experience I know but I have never been taught to chamber a punch and have never seen that kata.
    I'd like to know a little bit more about your style of karate, then. You actually don't live far from me, maybe we can arrange a meeting so we can discuss and demonstrate. All of the experience I've had with karate, even going back to when I was younger and I had friends who would show me little bits and pieces of Shorin Ryu and Shotokan, chamber punches abound!

    I'm pretty sure everyone has seen that kata, maybe I'm just not describing it correctly? At USSD it was called "1 Pinan" and in my current dojo it is simply "beginner kata." I am not sure what the japanese name is.
  9. ojgsxr6 is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 1:15am

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    Enshin is basically Kyokushin with throws, it was founded by Joko Ninomiya, one of Oyama's bad ass blackbelts that won the all Japan Tournament in 1978, I think he also did the whole Muay Thai challenge match deal.

    Also, I'm not really from Mt Sinai, Chanukah Harry is, I'm in Huntington. 2 things if you want we actually have class on Monday at 8:30pm if you want to check out the class. It's in Centerreach in Aspen Fitness gym. Otherwise, we can always do a Throwdown, not a Gong Sau Throwdown, but hey let's see what we can do throwdown. If I remember you're kind of tall right, 200+ lb right?
    Last edited by ojgsxr6; 12/25/2005 1:22am at .
  10. EternalRage is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/25/2005 7:14am

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    Quote Originally Posted by TekkaMaki
    I wouldn't consider that drill to be at all unrealistic, I think the point of that particular kata movment is to practice the technique for a rear sweep.
    Earlier I said that you shouldn't chamber a punch; pulling someone off balance is not chambering a punch, now is it? I didn't say the motion was useless, I'm only saying that I think its actual use is not to load up a punch at all.
    Ok, but still bit of a long shot I'd say towards explaining a center chamber punch. I think it is simple - that people used to fight differently and that was the best way to punch at the time. I suppose those same "people" didn't live long enough to see times change, hence since everybody was being taught this way no body really had the gall to reevaluate it.

    And definitely, no, I've never seen a karate guy fight using horse stances and up and down blocks, but if they're never going to use them then why do they train them? That's what I'm trying to figure out here. If they're useless now, they were probably useless a hundred years ago. So why are they in there?
    Why do some people still put milk and cookies out for Santa when there is no Santa? Why do people indulge in buying trees and putting shiny things on them? It's simply tradition. As for it being useless a hundred years ago, times were different then, people fought differently, like I said, it was probably the best way to punch at the time (tho probably more along the lines of hundreds of years ago).

    I personally don't have a problem with learning traditional stuff. It's nice as an art, not a fighting science, although there are plenty of secondary training you can get from kata practice. However, its when you start believing the traditional stuff can be consistently effectively used in a live setting that the bullshit sets in. See its nice to leave out cookies and milk for Santa but when you start believing that anyone other than your parents ate them in the middle of the night, that's when we scream BULLSHIDO!

    What I have seen karate guys do while sparring is that awkard rear hand chambered/forward hand bent in an L shape just above the hip stance, which strikes me as being retarded.
    Like the karate kid?

    I'm pretty sure everyone has seen that kata, maybe I'm just not describing it correctly? At USSD it was called "1 Pinan" and in my current dojo it is simply "beginner kata." I am not sure what the japanese name is.
    Pyung Ahn Cho Dan in Korean MA
    Pinan Shodan in Okinawan MA
    Heian Shodan in Japanese MA

    Generally the sequence you described is a down block to the left, punch, down block to the right, draw back and hammerfist, and then punch. Every Karate school from here to Tokyo does that form.
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