Thread: The True History of ....
3/19/2006 3:49pm, #21
Here is a related thread from this section:
One of the classic legends of Karate was that peasants on Okanowa(sp) had refined their open hand arts to fight against the samarai after the Japanese took over this island in the 1600s. However there is simply no historical evidence of such a revolt.
3/19/2006 7:22pm, #22
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
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Is an open revolt against the japanese occupiers necessarily implied in training to fight against samurai? Or could the Okinawans' lack of military power mean only training to defeat single samurai in isolation was possible? How valuable would it be if that was the case? Surely guerilla approaches wouuld be required to training to resist samurai, in particular or en masse? Ambush, hit and run techniques and terror tactics do not appear much in kihon, kumite or kata. The question of bandits or ronin must addressed- was Okinawa, the Wild West of Japan, a haven for them? That might provide some usefulness for the Okinawans to learn to fight. Genocide by samurai army would more likely to result from resistence against the oppucation. Beating down bandits might be more likely to result in medals. Open hand techniques vs exceptionally trained (read constantly polished if you doubt old skool kyudo/kenjutsu's effectiveness) sword spear and bow skills seems very........brave. Weapon arts traditionally attributed ot peasant Okinawa's- tonfa, sai and the ultra lethal street effective d3adly nunchuku. Were these an integral part of Te (Hand) systems? If so, where along the way to chinese hand to empty hand were they lost? When firearms came into play?
These questions and probably a whole lot more need to addressed to separate our favourite myths from history? Hope this is constructive!:karated:
3/19/2006 9:41pm, #23
On my bookshelf I have Bruce A. Haines book "Karate's History and Traditions, Revised Edition" (Tuttle Publishing, Rutland Vermont, 1995). It offers a concise statement of the myth. Note also that Tuttle Press is considered one of the most reliable if not the most reliable publisher of martial arts books in the English language.
"The resulting military expedition in 1609 [The Japanese Satsuma clan invading Okinawa] ended Okinawan independence and made way for complete Satsuma control over all the Ryukyus. A number of prohibitive ordinances proclaimed by Iehisa Shimazu included a ban on all weapons. Arms found in an Okinawan's possession were immediately confiscated and the owner or holder thereof severely punished. The bitterness that arose from such total subjugation was difficult for many of the islanders to bear in silence, and clashes between the two groups began to occur. In such battles the Okinawans were forced to use the only 'weapons' they still possessed, which generally amounted to little more than their bare hands and feet. (footnote here is to Funakoshi, Gichin: Karate-jutsu, Tokyo, 1925, p. 3)
Seeing that such disunited resistance was gaining them little, the various Okinawan ch'uan fa groups and tode societies had a series of secret conferences that resulted in their banding together in 1629 as a united front against the enemy. The result was that a new fighting style developed from this combination of tode and ch'uan fa, which was simply called te, or literally, 'hand'." (Cites Konishi, Yasuhiro "Yasashii Karate no Narai Kata, Tokyo, 1957, p. 18.
So the implication is that the Okinawans were actually running some sort of resistance movement against the Japanese using what became Karate.
One can find a lesser echo of this statement in John Corcoran and Emil Farkas , "The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia, Tradition-History-Pioneers" (Pro-Action Publishing, Los Angeles, CA revised in 1993), p. 186. Their advisor on Okinawan Karate was Richard Kim.
"A Japanese military expedition in 1609 ended Okinawan autonomy. The subjugated Okinawans were again denied weapons. In clashes with the victors, the Okinawans used the only weapons they possessed, their bare hands and feet. . . .
Gaining little from such disunited resistance, the various Okinanwan ch'uan fa groups and tode societies banded together in 1629; the result was a new fighting style, a combination of Okinawa-te and chuan fa called simply te. During this period, and after, many Okinawans were secretly sent to China to learn."
So the legend that I can show has been reiterated in two reference sources claim a , resistance was attempting to use Karate. In contrast Mark Bishop, "Okinawan Karate: Teachers, styles and secret techniques" (A & C Black, London, 1989) p. 10-11 writes:
"It is necessary to point out here that prior to 1879 martial arts on Okinawa had been reserved solely for the upper-class families and even after that date few ordinary folk were able, if willing to practice them. I have found not the slightest scrap of historical evidence to even suggest, as is often put forward, that weaponless Okinawan peasants developed fighting systems as a means to overthrow their Satsuma overlords. On the contrary, as will be seen, all evidence demonstrates that after 1609 ti [SB: sometimes called Te] was practiced for self defense and as a personal means of self development by the nobility."
Then I'll refer you to the comments of Patrick McCarthy who has written extensively concerning Okinawan Karate history:
"The pre-Meiji peasant class theory would have us believe that karate and kobudo unfolded in the secrecy of nightfall, unbeknownst to the occupying samurai warrior, who allegedly raped and beat women and cruelly cut peasants down for no reason at all. The theory further maintains that peasants, trained in this clandestine 'combative' overcame the unsuspecting samurai warrior in personal confrontation. While I am certain that the occupation was not without incident, nowhere in my extensive research can I find any accounts of such a history. It is simply not true and I do not think that any serious researcher believes that."
quoted from Mark V. Wiley, "Martial Arts Talk: Conversations with Leading Authorities on the Martial Arts" (Tuttle Publishing, Rutland Vermont, 2000), p. 7.
Okay, Boardhitback, do you have any of your own sources to offer?
3/20/2006 12:27am, #24
Originally Posted by Canuckyokushin
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I would say Whooping Crane and Ngo Cho before Praying Mantis.
3/20/2006 3:02pm, #25
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
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- Mar 2006
As for sources, um not really my strongpoint. If I want to question the validity of anything posted here can I do so if I can show it just doesn't stand to reason, or is logically inconsistent? For example, the statement "The secret techniques of style X were developed to allow sword-wielding inhabitants of country X to combat the numerically superior rifle-masters that comprised the occupying trained and experienced army of country Y, although no acutal conflict on any scale between them is recorded" seems open to critique with or without a contary primary source. Hope I'm not being an ass.
Last edited by BoardHitBack; 3/20/2006 3:04pm at .
6/29/2006 5:23pm, #26
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There are many different systems in this style. If the name ends in ryu, its karate. Shorin Ryu, Wado Ryu, s.hito Ryu are examples of the ryu styles. There are a few exceptions to the "ryu" rule, namely Shotokan and Kenpo or Kempo. Karate is mainly a striking art, although you may see joint locks or holds in some of it. Pure karate is blocking and kicking, most techniques that look like holds or locks are normally limb destruction techniques. Karate developed in Okinawa and was brought to Japan in the 1920s by Gichin Funakoshi, who is referred to in some circles as the father of modern karate-do. Funakoshi's teacher was Master Itosu, who is the founder of the Shorin ryu style. There are a lot of similarities between Okinawan karate and Japanese karate. They use the same katas, or forms, and alot of the techniques are similar.
6/29/2006 5:41pm, #27
Originally Posted by Jeet Kune Do
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Wow. All that history from the back of ONE cereal box! All the Ryu have somewhat common ancestry. My particular style is a mix of Shotokan and Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jiujitsu (an native Japanese art). None of this is relevant as to the origins, however.
It's safe to say that Karate's origins began in China. I know that McCarthy believes it is mainly influenced by Long Fist and White Crane, at least in the forms development. Other's have said that the okinawans added their own spin, and even McCarthy talks about tegumi drills (which have grappling and limb destructions in them,btw). Much of that was 'refined' out of what became Karate when Funakoshi brought his take on it to Japan, and started teaching in gyms. Motobu (a contemporary of Funakoshi), was very much into practicality and using his Karate in every day encounters.
Many of the founders of modern day ryu trained with one or both of these men, then added their own influences. As a result, various styles of Karate vary greatly. Hell, even within a style, various substyles have emerged. Politics, money issues and infighting created bitter rivalries between senior students. And the craptacular cycle of bullshido began.Originally Posted by pauli
Originally Posted by melvin_peebles
6/29/2006 7:40pm, #28
I have a fairly good Okinawan Karate history from Sokon Matsumura to Hohan Soken somewhere I'll try and dig it out.
6/30/2006 9:07am, #29
1. On weapons bans and the development of Karate.
There are often discussions about the seizure and banning of weapons. Typically, people note that the Okinawan aristocracy first banned weapons. That's been accepted as a mistranslation of historical documents by an okinawan scholar.
http://www.niraikanai.wwma.net/pages...e/chap1-2.html (an excellent history of Okinawa, with full citations)
Here's the key footnote on this one:
 As Sakihara Mitsugu points out in the revised edition of Kerr's 1958 English language history of Okinawa, the widely-held view that Sho Shin imposed a kingdom-wide ban on swords, bows and arrows, and the like, was based on a mistranslation by the famous Okinawan scholar Iha Fuyu. In actuality, it was a case of weapons being less in abundance in Okinawa than in Japan. See George Kerr, Okinawa: The History of an Island People (2000), 543-544. Whilst items weapons such as swords were in limited ownership, Patrick McCarthy points out that law enforcement officials and others developed skills with "weapon-usable objects," such as sickles and other farming tools, boat oars, and even flutes. Patrick McCarthy, 'The Sapposhi, Pechin, and Samurai,' The Ryukyuanist 24 (1994), 1.
The other key notion in here is that (as with other culture) the martial class (civilian martial artists) developed out of Law Enforcement and most likely the limited middle class. The fact of the matter is that peasants typically had little to do with martial development because they had no friggin time for it.
Further, my understanding is that there wasn't a complete weapons ban under the Japanese rule either. There was a ban on sale of firearms (apparently nobility could apply for a permit to keep their existing muskets).
"The second time that the Okinawan samurai were purportedly disarmed was after the Satsuma invasion of 1609. But documents have been recovered that state that the Satsuma outlawed the ownership and sale of firearms, all the Okinawan samurai of the Pechin class and above were allowed to keep those muskets and pistols that were already in their family's possession.
There is further documentation that in 1613 the Satsuma issued permits for the Okinawan samurai to travel with their personal swords (tachi and wakizashi) to the smiths and polishers in Kagushima, Japan for maintenance and repair. From the issuance of these permits, it is logical to infer that there were restrictions on the Okinawan samurai carrying their weapons in public, but it is also clear evidence that these weapons were not confiscated by the Satsuma."
2. I think one of the critical points to look at is the mainstreaming of Karate into the Japanese education system. As I understand it, this is the moment where both more Kata was introduced (to shift the focus from Kumite) and that there was a concerted effort to make the system more "Japanese" (as part of the rise in jingoism that was feuling the Empire in the lead up to WW2 and the related military action). This is the point where the martial is superceeded by outside culutral pressures and results in interesting shifts of foucs and purpose.
Last edited by Matt Bernius; 6/30/2006 9:15am at .Student of Wan Yi Chuan Kung Fu,
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4/13/2007 6:08am, #30
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Please feel free to make any corrections:
The first historical references to Karate started around the ninth century. Weapons were banned in Okinawa by the indigenous kingdom of the time, and Karate devloped from a mixture of indigenous boxing and White Crane Kung Fu from Fukien province in China. There was a good deal of trade between southern China and Okinawa at this point in history.
Karate became a very popular activity in Okinawa, and was taught to the royal familly. The styles first branched into regional variations, Shurite, Tamarete, and Nahate. Shurite was mostly taught to the higher classes, and as I understand it, was the style taught to the royal familly. It would become Shorinryu. Nahate was more of a working class style, and would become gojuryu.
As for 'creators,' i don't think anyone can be labelled as an originator. Certainly Matsumura was one of the famous teachers. Karate became illegal when the Satsuma clan from mainland Japan invaded and took political control in the nineteenth century. It was occassionally used as a form of defence against Samurai... at least there are stories about it being used that way.
Gichin Funakoshi learned Karate in secret, and as a school teacher, he was eventually able to promote it as a physical activity. Shotokan (pine tree school) Karate came from the forms he developed for children, and he brought it to mainland Japan around the turn of the nineteenth-twentieth century.
Chogun Miyagi, the founder of Gojuryu Karate, was also one of the people to make karate more widely popular. He studied Chi Gun breathing and crane in Fukien province, as did a number of other important Karate masters. From his training in China, he created Sun Chin kata.
Any other styles of Karate come from these two styles, Gojuryu and Shorinryu. Many of the variations were developed in Japan (Shotokan), and others were mada-up in America. This is pretty much correct, if anyone has any details to add, please go ahead.