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    kimjonghng's Avatar
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    Karate and its kung fu ancestry connection question

    Something I frequently here is that Goju Ryu and other older Karate styles retain close similarities to their Kung Fu origins such as white crane and other styles of the south of china and fuzhou. Im curious though, how did newer styles like Shotokan necessarily 'lose' that aspect (something else Ive heard on a few occasions) and become more 'Japanese'

    what did they even lose?

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    That's some good stuff, thanks for posting the file.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimjonghng View Post
    Something I frequently here is that Goju Ryu and other older Karate styles retain close similarities to their Kung Fu origins such as white crane and other styles of the south of china and fuzhou. Im curious though, how did newer styles like Shotokan necessarily 'lose' that aspect (something else Ive heard on a few occasions) and become more 'Japanese'

    what did they even lose?
    For those non-speed readers, based on DCS's document:

    What they lost most was references to their Chinese origin, but this occurred over centuries, so like in China, individual schools diverged greatly over time sometimes with major differences, but all ending under one national umbrella. It would be like if Brazil somehow managed to convince itself over 500 years that jiujitsu had no Japanese ancestry...like a lot of other imperial cultures, there was definitely a sense that what the Chinese had made was inferior/barbaric, and Japan's was superior and would conquer and assimilate it all (which it did to half the Pacific over the next 100 years), starting with the little Okinawan empire and it's Tang Te >> Kata Te evolution.

    There were a lot of cultural infusions over many years from the 14th to the 19th century. Starting on pg. 45 of this work, it describes a number of those between Okinawa and China, as well as between Okinawa and Japan, that led to a huge amount of cultural sharing including warfare, but this line is great:

    "Karate was forged in the fire of the Ryūkyū kingdom, between the Japanese hammer and the Chinese anvil".

    As far as the various lineages are concerned and how well they approximate Southern Chinese styles like those from Fujian, YMMV but anybody familiar with Fujianese MA should be able to see it the various similarities and differences between that and many styles of Karate. Some karate is very much like Crane styles, including things like balancing on one leg. On the other hand Karate doesn't seem to include a lot of the grabbing and breaking **** that is common in Fujianese arts. There is a definite difference in the grappling, limb, and clinchwork department.

    What's especially absent from Karate are many of the iron body methods in Southern CMA. I suspect karate's version of this are greatly distilled because of the religious aspects of qigong...that would be something particularly foreign to Okinawa and Japan who had their own native religious and spiritual routines of exercise. Notably, that was the same sort of thing Kano Jigoro removed from his jujutsu...he had access to more modern medical and sport science than the 14th-19th century China and Okinawa would have.
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 1/29/2018 6:32pm at .

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    Another interesting parallel to note from the study is gunpowder, and by extension, how weapons shifted from 14th-20th centuries. By the time of the invention of Karate styles, Chinese guns and their European descendants had been the norm for warfare for centuries, unlike the roots of Kung fu which come from the era of hand to hand weapons. So that's another thing "lost" to modern times, the need to train non-ballistic weapons. Another vast differences between Fujian arts and Okinawa or Japanese karate is the sheer number of catalogued killing instruments.

    If you look at the Bubishi, for all its purported influences, the proliferation of Chinese weapon types never seemed to really take hold in Okinawa or Japan..

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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Rabbit View Post
    Another interesting parallel to note from the study is gunpowder, and by extension, how weapons shifted from 14th-20th centuries. By the time of the invention of Karate styles, Chinese guns and their European descendants had been the norm for warfare for centuries, unlike the roots of Kung fu which come from the era of hand to hand weapons. So that's another thing "lost" to modern times, the need to train non-ballistic weapons. Another vast differences between Fujian arts and Okinawa or Japanese karate is the sheer number of catalogued killing instruments.

    If you look at the Bubishi, for all its purported influences, the proliferation of Chinese weapon types never seemed to really take hold in Okinawa or Japan..
    That's something I always found interesting. Kung Fu retaining a lot of weapons and forms. Goju Ryu apparently had some unique bo staff stuff until a few generations after founding it was meant to have been dropped from the curriculum for being pretty irrelevant for people, at least that's what I have repeatedly heard in the Goju discussions I've had at seminars. I suppose you can still learn it through doing Kobudo though

    As for the iron body, I assume that Hojo Undo is probably the Okinawan version? Though we tend to not use Dit Da Jow or anything like that
    Last edited by kimjonghng; 2/08/2018 7:10am at .

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    There are some who said that Shotokan developed as a very fundamentals-oriented system because Funakoshi was not that advanced a practitioner. He was sent to teach the Japanese mostly because he was the one with better command of the language and was not that important to keep around. (Motobu was said to have challenged FUnakoshi for teaching crap). Then when Nakayama and others took over, they imposed a more Japanese-like ideology upon the style, incorporating structural and conceptual elements from kendo, of which Nakayama was a previous practitioner. Thus, in the very influential BEST KARATE series which served as a syllabus for basic techniques, the emphasis was on simple, highly-polished fundamental techniques with lots of rigorously-trained athleticism behind them.

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