2/21/2007 5:41pm, #11
Given your familarity of the Shotakan liturature that probably means that Funakoshi never made a public pronouncement concerning this issue in his books on Karate. Perhaps he said something to some Japanese newspaperman but I'd have no way to check.
Interestingly I've seen two versions of the story. In http://www.judoinfo.com/obi.htm which is an article on Judo the author writes"The kyu/dan ranking system , and the modern karategi (modified judoi) were first adopted by Funakoshi in an effort to encourage karate's acceptance by the Japanese. He awarded the first shodan ranks given in karate to Tokuda, Otsuka, Akiba, Shimizu, Hirose, Gima, and Kasuya on April 10, 1924. The adoption of the kyu/dan system and adoption of the a standard uniform based on the jugogi were 2 of the 4 conditions which the Dai-Nippon Butokukai required before recognizing karate as a 'real' martial art."
I'm skeptical of this account because if only Judo was using kyus and dans up to this point why would they have required this of Karate? If you see any holes in the above account I'd appreciate knowing it.
Here is a quote from another article which was formally available at the Black Belt Magazine Site. According to Isao Obata who received one of these first black belts, (but who is not mentioned in the first account)
"In 1926 Funakoshi, wishing to reward the fine development of some of his more dedicated students instituted the black belt designation. The practice started innocently enough. Funakoshi still wore the black belt achieved in during his practice of Judo on Okinawa. On the occasion of a visit by his top students to his home for tea one day, Funakoshi drew some lengths of black belting from a cupboard and presented these belts to Obata and the others. Since then, the institution has evolved into an official system." ("Karate is Dying" by Richard L. Blair, Black Belt Magazine October 1972.)
Rob, do you think that one of these accounts is more credible then the other?
2/21/2007 6:12pm, #12
Sorry, Samuel, but I don't know. I'm as suspicious as you. The stories the Japanese have told about Funakoshi's early days are difficult to believe. Most of his early students died in WWII, and the few that remained were bound and determined to use his reputation as a charismatic and charming individual as something they could leverage to start a Karate business in the 1940's when they all returned home.
It's hard for me to believe anything I read about what Funakoshi did back then. He couldn't have thought it too important. He didn't mention belts in any of his books - not even his original book in 1922.
2/21/2007 6:16pm, #13
Darn, it was worth a try. We don't get many karate guys who have actually read some of the source material in Japanese.
2/21/2007 6:34pm, #14
Thanks for coming by, Rob!
If I cared about looking good, I probably wouldn't have a cartoon chicken for a symbol.
All he does is talk karate but there is no demonstration that he can do as well as talk.
If you have specific points you disagree with him about, bring them up here."Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way to grasping reality -- it's our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see."
- Terry Goodkind, "Faith of the Fallen"
2/21/2007 7:03pm, #15
I remember one article you wrote in which you made the point that a black belt measure only the day on which the receipent tested and what their instructor felt about them at the time. Do you remember which article that was on your board? I need to locate it again.
2/21/2007 9:18pm, #16
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
I have to thank you for an article on your site about preparing for belt exams. I dont know if you still have the article on your site, but I used your advice preparing for my own belt exams in JJ. When I finally had students of my own I printed it out (URL and all) and handed it out to them as a guide. And I still have a copy on my hard drive somewhere.
It included what questions to ask the instructor and grader, how to make sure you knew what materiel was on the exam before the exam etc.
So, a very belated thank you."Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't **** with me!"
2/21/2007 9:20pm, #17
ROB aka 24FC, thanks for showing up. I love your site. Love it. Passionately. There need to be more Shotokan practitioners like you.
Maybe we can...Shotoclone you or something.
Sorry. I'll stop.
But thanks for coming by. I wish you'd post here more often.
Too bad I doubt we'll hear from your detractor again. He's likely been scared off.
2/21/2007 9:21pm, #18
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- Kanagawa, Japan
Unless Judo has become so intertwined with society that everything now uses the dan/kyu system I have to think that Judo simply adopted it and started using colored belts... I can't see them requiring it to be recognized as a martial art. But then I wasn't there.
And Rob - read your site back when I first moved here and was trying to figure out what sort of karate I had gotten myself into (yes, for the first year I was in our club I had no idea I was doing kyokushin). An interesting note - the kyokushin guys don't like you washing your belt - I've actually had them tell me not to wash mine anymore (yeah, I still wash it when it starts to stink).
2/21/2007 9:26pm, #19
So perhaps the kyu/dan rank existed in activities outside of Judo in the early 1920s? That would be a logical reason for its adoption.
2/22/2007 3:30am, #20
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
You know, I have NEVER seen any proof that he is really a 3rd dan JKS blackbelt or whatever. Generally, you know, if you say that you are 3rd dan, going by Shotokan standards you SHOULD be saying you are a skilled fighter, and an expert, or else, what are we training for? A third dan is not a yellow belt, right? Also, you will find that in his site he does say he is an expert (check the "About" area of his site where he says, "24FightingChickens is an award-winning web site written by long-time Karate expert Rob Redmond" ( http://www.24fightingchickens.com/about/ )
I consider his karate skill level of great relevance because it would be in proportion to his level of authoritativeness. He likes to say "kime is a myth", "karate is not a science", etc., but does he really know what he is talking about? Is he expert enough to be able to do karate properly and then in retrospect point out any flaws? Or is he just some yellow belt pretending to be a sandan, wildly commenting here and there just to get noticed? I mean, I would listen to the likes of Kanazawa, Enoeda, Asai, Joe Ertl, Edmund Otis, etc., people whom I can see have their karate down pat. However I have never seen any pictures or video of Rob doing any karate whatsoever. In fact, I have never even seen him in a karate gi. He has no tournament awards to his name either. I mean, guys, we slam the likes of Ashida Kim on this site, it may make sense to unmask Rob Redmond as well.