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  1. D Masters is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 2:49pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Traditional Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Shotokan - misrepresented?

    As a young person who practices Shotokan - which i find to be a fine striking art, i feel that on the internet and to many people, Shotokan is misrepresented in it's form and history.

    Most people know the Karate of yesterday where in the 1970's many tournaments were turned into all out wars. I've seen the videos, many fighters from that time were of exceptional skill. While browsing this forum i saw a few threads about old schoo karate, people saying how it has "fallen from it's former greatness" and i must say, i agree. In many aspects it has gone the way of the "TKD McDojo" but i feel there's something missing. I know plenty of Dojos that are reliable and great places to learn and grow. I've trained at several of them in my home town of Los Angeles, and while we may have several of our own 'McDojos' in the SKA(Shotokan Karate of America) it is mostly an extremely respectable traditional karate organization. But I digress!

    The real history of Shotokan and well, Karate in general goes back many years, before World War II. In 1917 Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan man whom practiced karate long before it had any names, it was simply 'karate', made a trip to Kyoto under permission from his master to hold a karate demonstration. To make a long story short, japanese interest was high after the the Emperor Hirohito saw an okinawan karate demonstration and was so interested that he talked about it for days. When Funakoshi left his home in okinawa, including his wife(whom expressed praise for his wanting to share karate) and his masters, he moved to Tokyo and began teaching the general japanese population Karate. (if you'd like to read more, this is all i have to offer. http://www.worldblackbelt.com/Martia...s/Shotokan.asp)

    Oh, and about the name? Shoto was Funakoshi's pen name when he was young, so when they named the style they called it "Shotokan" or "House of Shoto", making it one of the first Karate styles to have it's own 'name' . If you'd like to know more, i'd suggest getting Funakoshi's biography titled "Karate Do, My way of Life" it's a very good book and offers alot of incite on modern karate.

    Hope you enjoyed my little bit of history here; i'm sure not everyone here will enjoy this but hopefully some who enjoy the 'art' part of martial arts will like this. I could go on and on with more and more history, so kust ask if you'd like to know more!
  2. ironlurker is offline
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    How do Chameleon Circuit?

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 3:05pm


     Style: jkd

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by D Masters

    Most people know the Karate of yesterday where in the 1970's many tournaments were turned into all out wars. I've seen the videos, many fighters from that time were of exceptional skill.
    I've read books about old school shotokan and bloody bareknuckle fights. But at the same time, while the fighters prided themselves on their toughness, it seemed that an ambivalence to (full-)contact fighting, brawling, etc. quickly grew, spurred in part (at least according to what I've read) by bad PR from sensationalistic headlines about "violent karate", "karate nut arrested for x or y", "bloody karate battle", etc. Quotes from karate people like Tegner and Mattson come to mind.

    One shotokan author (whose name escapes me right now) maintained that newer karatekas were "better athletes" after the move away from the fights you talk about, which was more important then being "a fighter." So, what do you think was responsible for this change?

    a) bad PR/legal issues
    b) lack/ignorance of proper protective gear, so a dichotomy of "emergency room" vs. "point sparring" came into play
    c) mass marketing, to kids/parents/hobbyists etc. not interested in fighting per se
    d) the feeling that "sport" was more important then "fighting", or that the two were mutually exclusive
    e) the feeling that pulled strikes or point-contact did not degrade the fighting capability of the style
  3. D Masters is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 3:51pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Traditional Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by ironlurker
    I've read books about old school shotokan and bloody bareknuckle fights. But at the same time, while the fighters prided themselves on their toughness, it seemed that an ambivalence to (full-)contact fighting, brawling, etc. quickly grew, spurred in part (at least according to what I've read) by bad PR from sensationalistic headlines about "violent karate", "karate nut arrested for x or y", "bloody karate battle", etc. Quotes from karate people like Tegner and Mattson come to mind.

    One shotokan author (whose name escapes me right now) maintained that newer karatekas were "better athletes" after the move away from the fights you talk about, which was more important then being "a fighter." So, what do you think was responsible for this change?

    a) bad PR/legal issues
    b) lack/ignorance of proper protective gear, so a dichotomy of "emergency room" vs. "point sparring" came into play
    c) mass marketing, to kids/parents/hobbyists etc. not interested in fighting per se
    d) the feeling that "sport" was more important then "fighting", or that the two were mutually exclusive
    e) the feeling that pulled strikes or point-contact did not degrade the fighting capability of the style
    Well personally, from my own experience at my dojo, they market it out to women's self defense and confidence for little kids, but when it gets into the advanced classes that are populated mostly by black belts the fighting gets pretty vicious.

    I personally think what was responsible for that change though was just social shift. The 70's were right after the vietnam war, people were angry at the government, many men needed something to take out their aggressions. This was also the hayday of Bruce Lee and kung/fu karate movies. Alot of my parent's friends and older friends all took some form of martial arts when they were young.

    I think you're right though, about the violence thing. Karate was extremely bloody and violent in the 70's.

    As for point sparring? I've had my share of instances when i had obviously won a fight but still lost due to a bad point system. So go figure, you know?
  4. kwoww is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 5:29pm


     Style: punching bag / crew jitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by D Masters
    As for point sparring? I've had my share of instances when i had obviously won a fight but still lost due to a bad point system. So go figure, you know?
    This happens in MMA, too. See: Palmer v. Cole in the IFL.
  5. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 5:31pm

    supporting member
     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by D Masters
    The real history of Shotokan and well, Karate in general goes back many years, before World War II. In 1917 Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan man whom practiced karate long before it had any names, it was simply 'karate', made a trip to Kyoto under permission from his master to hold a karate demonstration. To make a long story short, japanese interest was high after the the Emperor Hirohito saw an okinawan karate demonstration and was so interested that he talked about it for days. When Funakoshi left his home in okinawa, including his wife(whom expressed praise for his wanting to share karate) and his masters, he moved to Tokyo and began teaching the general japanese population Karate. (if you'd like to read more, this is all i have to offer.
    I think the more important parts of shotokan history are neglected here. The karate Funakoshi learned from Azato is different from the older branches of karate you can find in Okinawa. Why did these older teachers change the CMA type karate that was done before? I think this is key to understanding shotokan and other hard style karate. If you research the bunkai stuff, you learn about what these changes were and why they happened.

    *note: I don't practice Shotokan; the closest I've done was a semester of tang soo do at SDSU.
  6. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 5:34pm

    supporting member
     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'll also note that the Shotokan practitioners I've met have been pretty cool- at least they focus on things like developing hard, connected punches and elbows, and hard front and side kicks instead of 540 jumping hook kicks and such. Beating a makiwara has advantages over some of the drills and such I've seen in other arts.
  7. Mr Bosco is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/07/2007 10:43pm


     Style: Wrestling & BJJ

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    From what I've heard so far around here, the main style of Karate people respect is Kyokushin. But the techniques of Kyokushin must be si,ilar to that of SHotokan. I suppose if you take a Shotokan dojo, drill them with lot's of pad work, fitness work and hard contact sparring you'll have good fighters. Much like any other martial art.
  8. D Masters is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/08/2007 3:29am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Traditional Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra
    I think the more important parts of shotokan history are neglected here. The karate Funakoshi learned from Azato is different from the older branches of karate you can find in Okinawa. Why did these older teachers change the CMA type karate that was done before? I think this is key to understanding shotokan and other hard style karate. If you research the bunkai stuff, you learn about what these changes were and why they happened.

    *note: I don't practice Shotokan; the closest I've done was a semester of tang soo do at SDSU.
    Of course Karate predates what happened in what i wrote, i was really only focusing on the time when Shotokan itself was 'created'. I don't think much changed as Funakoshi passed down the art that was taught to him by Azato and several others ( i'll get my Funakoshi biography to get the other's names later) because Funakoshi found it extremely disrespectfull and felt he had no place to change anything they had taught him.

    That's something i admore about the japanese, very respectfull. Good to see that people know their stuff around here :)

    Quote Originally Posted by kwoww
    This happens in MMA, too. See: Palmer v. Cole in the IFL.
    It's unfortunate, but nothing to dwell on.

    Quote Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra
    I'll also note that the Shotokan practitioners I've met have been pretty cool- at least they focus on things like developing hard, connected punches and elbows, and hard front and side kicks instead of 540 jumping hook kicks and such. Beating a makiwara has advantages over some of the drills and such I've seen in other arts.
    Yeah we don't do much acrobatic stuff. It's mostly just training by doing. Many oizuki or tseiken tsuki punches up and down the floor and etc. We do alot of drillwork, kata, basics, and sparring at my dojo. It's pretty well rounded. (although i will admit, my home dojo is known among some others for practicing alot of sparring, so i can't vouch for other shotokan schools in the area.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bosco
    From what I've heard so far around here, the main style of Karate people respect is Kyokushin. But the techniques of Kyokushin must be si,ilar to that of SHotokan. I suppose if you take a Shotokan dojo, drill them with lot's of pad work, fitness work and hard contact sparring you'll have good fighters. Much like any other martial art.
    Personally i respect all martial arts styles unless they outwardly prove themselves to be fake. I respect kyokushin heavily. After watching some Ryu Narushima videos, i don't see much difference from how we conduct our free sparring in our classes. We do a bit of pad work, but alot of drilling. Not much fitness though, i handle that on my own.

    "Hard contact sparring you'll have good fighters. Much like any other martial art."

    You raise a fine point! Most people don't realize that with enough effort, any style can be both dangerous and effective. I think that's something many people don't realize :)
  9. Mr Bosco is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/08/2007 4:39am


     Style: Wrestling & BJJ

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Exactly.

    Okay, fitness work you do on your own. I do too. Nothing wrong with that. I don't like paying people to do pushups, sprint drills or burpees. That I cab do by myself.

    But, how is the fight training. Do you guys do lots of fight technique work ? Do you guys do pad work or hard contact fighting ? If the answer to those questions is "Yes" you have a good club. If not I would find something else.
  10. urasj is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/08/2007 5:37am


     Style: Karate, Judo

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The problem for some "TMA" is that they don't sparr enough. Many Traditional Karate dojos have same drills / techniques as kyokushin, but kyokushin usually produce better fighters. The reason is probably that kyokushin does alot more hard sparring while TMA might be abit laid back on that area. Ofcourse, should the TMA also have hard sparring, they too would probably produce good fighters.

    Shotokan in Norway is more or less regarded as a "Kata" martial art. Little sparring compared to other TMA styles. From what I understand though, Traditional Karate in Norway seems to put more focus on hard sparring than form what I hear of US Dojos.
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