What does a Karate Kata mean? It’s a dance, it’s a book of techniques, it’s a method for controlling and teaching large numbers of people without the need for data. It’s zen, it’s one thing at a time, it’s a belt arrangement system.
It’s a recent invention that dates back two thousand years…and it shows you exactly and precisely and where to place them clodhoppers you call feets. It’s data arranged out of order in a set sequence. Whatever they are, do them long enough and you will know Karate.
Well, maybe. Maybe not. After all if Gichin Funakoshi is to be believed, Karate is changing and changing…here is his direct quote.
“Hoping to see Karate included in the universal physical education taught in our public schools, I set about revising the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The Karate that high school students practice today is not the same Karate that was practiced even as recently as ten years ago [this book was written in 1956], and it is a long way indeed from the Karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa.”
The classical Kata attributed to Gichin Funakoshi are called Heian. This writer learned, from a lineage other than the Japanese, Karate forms called Pinan. And there were distinct and stark differences between the two.
The Heian are violent, forward stancing, explosive, in your face, one punch one kill. The Pinan have focus in the fist, work out of the more defensive back stance, modify the explosion exactly to the work being performed, are subtle and polite, and believe in getting along with your fellow man.
Of course, my bias holds, the Pinans are better. They were created before the young turks of the Japanese college system altered them for tournaments and power and fighting and power and glory and power and…well, power. The Pinans were created before lust was in vogue.
Of course, that said, this writer’s bias taken into account, one can modify the forms back to the way they were. All one has to do is adjust the angles and modify the mind. Ahh, modify the mind…perhaps it is not possible…but one can hope.
If you would like to view the original Pinans, maybe even take a free Karate lesson, try Learn Karate Online.
Category Archives: Okinawan Karate
Karate Secrets, eh?
Sort of interesting, you hear about secrets, but, when you get there (black belt?) you find there aren’t any.
You find that water is wet, rocks are hard, and life goes on.
And the real martial arts secrets deal with things like geometry and math and…school stuff.
Well, you actually start to apply basic physics to the body, and you find the good stuff.
I’m not going to go deeply into this, because I don’t want to give away the store. You’re going to find the answers on the Matrix Karate Course, or the Master Instructor Course.
But, the universe is based on the square, the triangle, and the circle.
Karate happens to be the square. It creates the base, the foundation, and a rock solid platform to build all arts on.
Unfortunately, people tend to look for the secrets, instead of building the foundation.
That said, when you do Karate you should be looking for ways to apply a triangle, perhaps to angulat the stance a bit, that sort of thing.
And you should be looking for places where the circle exists, in the performing of a block, smoothing out the edges of a punch.
So the secret of Karate is to simply sink your weight into the stance, learn how to generate the explosion of the tan tien, study how the body moves, and keep doing it until you…transcend. Until you slide a bit out of the body, until you see energy, and can appreciate it, and even start to use it. At that point you can shift arts, but you shouldn’t until then, or you won’t really see all the glorious karate secrets, and the martial arts secrets, sitting in plain sight for all to see.
Goju Ryu Karate is the invention of Chojun Miyagi. That’s right, all you Karate Kid Aficionados, there really was a Mr. Miyagi. Interestingly, however, the real Mr. Miyagi was not a Karate purist.
I’ll tell you about this after the video.
Most people think of the founder of an art as pure, he studied only one style, and never dabbled. This is because of the true believer mentality inherent in many people who learn one thing, and hold to it as the most important thing ever learned in the history of mankind. The founders of martial arts systems, however, are a varied bunch; Aikido, Kung Fu, Taekwondo or whatever, the founders invariably studied many arts before settling on the method they thought was best.
Miyagi’s initial training in the martial arts was under Ryuko Aragaki. a neighbor of his, who was considered quite the fighter. Miyagi must have done well, for Aragaki introduced him to his teacher Kanryo Higashionna. Miyagi had 3-5 years of martial arts training at the time.
For thirteen years Miyagi studied with Higashionna. Higashionna was considered to be one of the foremost Karate men of the time, and he was renowned for his Sanchin Kata. He was fond of standing and letting up to four men push on him, and holding his ground.
After thirteen years Higashionna died, and Miyagi decided that to move on in the martial arts, he would have to study with the people who trained his teacher. Thus, he made the pilgrimage to Fujian province in China, where he studied Shaolin and Pa Kua Chang.
Now Miyagi was accomplished in both hard and soft style martial arts. He returned to Okinawa and taught his system, eventually choosing a name from the bible of Karate, the Bubishi. The name was goju–’hard/soft.’
The Gojo system is thus based on hard karate, but illustrates a development of hard to soft. There are hard blocks, and yet there are drills and concepts which take the student into the softer aspects of the martial arts. Being a full bodied martial art, the style became one of the few Karate styles to rival the mainstream karate of Funakoshi.
In the final assessment, Goju is a strong system. It has resulted in the systems of Jundokan, Meibukan, Shorei kan and isshinryu. But the strength of the system lies not solely in Karate, but in the strivings of a man to understand both the hard and the soft, and who then formulated the Goju Ryu Karate System. If you want to learn the truth about Karate, check out Matrix Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
When you learn Karate there are the forms and the techniques, and then there is how to freestyle. Why are they different? Why can’t you use the techniques from Classical Karate in Freestyle? Check out the video, then I’ll tell you about it.
There are two answers to this.
First, you can use bunkai in kumite, you can use those form applications in freestyle, when you are a black belt. But you can only use them against lower belts. Upper belts will be wise to your tricks, grin, and they won’t fall for it. But the lower belts, they just don’t know enough, haven’t practiced enough.
So your form techniques should work on the street, if you have a good instructor, a good system, and you have been a good student.
Second, there is a huge, massive gap of data; there are chunks of art missing from Karate (and other arts) which, if understood, will close the gap between classical forms and freestyle.
This is the thrust of the Matrixing method, to enable students to see those missing pieces, downsize that chunk of what you don’t know down to nothing, and you will find that classical forms and freestyle are virtually the same.
No, I am not kidding you…that’s the truth.
Over the years well meaning teachers have just not figured out what was missing, and have, in certain cases, contributed to the occlusion of data.
Here’s what one instructor had to say after seeing the Matrix Karate Course…
“…because of the Matrix concept, I have totally re-structured my self defense program…”
I get these kinds of wins every couple of weeks. Some guy is introducing matrixing, restructuring his class, and basically getting rid of that huge chunk of missing martial arts information.
If you matrix, you can learn karate, and you can learn how to freestyle, and they will mesh and merge and come perfectly together. There will be all sorts of things that suddenly appear and make sense…things you didn’t even know existed. The Matrix Karate course is available at Monster Martial Arts.
I lay on the floor gasping, suffering from the simple martial arts injury of…having the air knocked out of me.
It was a simple punch to the belly, didn’t really even hurt much, but I couldn’t breath. The rest of the class gathered around, stared as my face turned red.
The instructor stepped in, pushed me flat on my back, grabbed a hold of my belt, and jerked upward. Air flooded back in, and suddenly I could breath.
This injury was pretty common back then. And the usual practice was to bear hug the sufferer from the rear and lift him up. This would stretch out the muscles, causing them to relax, and then you could breath. At least I think this is what was happening. Sort of CPR for the Karate induced injury, if you get my drift.
The second method I have described. The guy is flat on his back, you jerk up on his belt, and the muscles relax and he starts breathing.
The important thing here, however, is that we were being taught incorrectly to suffer such an injury in the first place.
Later, I went to a more traditional dojo, and we were taught to tighten the belly on impact, when punching, when blocking, when kicking. Basically, when the body expanded, or was impacted upon. Once I learned that, i never had the breath knocked out of me again.
Drop by Monster Martial Arts, there are all sorts of tips, for everything from injuries to techniques to…whatever.
Karate people are the best peoplein the world. Really love ’em. So here’s the deal.
On my site (Monster Martial Arts) pick out any course you want.
Let’s say the price is $29.95. You go to paypal and send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) $24.95. Then email me as to which course you want.
Any course you want. Actually, you could do this for a bunch of courses. It’s that kind of Xmas, you know?
And, now that I’m talking, I want to explain what hanakwanmass is.
I don’t care what religion you are, or what color skin you’re wearing, or whatever. We’re all human beings under the flesh, and if you have a holiday, I share your joy. No matter what holiday. That’s the meaning of hanakwanmass.
So head over to Monster Martial Arts, pick up the free ebook, find a course to save five bucks on, and…
If you are in a real system fighting starts to become secondary, you start working on silencing the inner chatter in your mind.
To concentrate on one thing, to the exclusion of extraneous thoughts in your head.
This is the real point of it all, can you get rid of so many thoughts that your head is silent all the time?
If your head is getting silent all the time, you are doing real karate. If it is not getting silent all the time, you are not.
This can be applied to other martial arts, but I found it easiest to perceive in Karate. Of course, that might just be me.
But it doesn’t happen in an art that isn’t a real art.
If you are interested in smooth and slick training programs that result in a silent head, come on over to Monster Martial Arts. It’s good stuff.
Who, or what, does the changing in Karate. Interesting question, eh? I’ll give you more of an answer right after the video snippet.
Can you see any changes? Is it different than your Tekki or Horse Kata?
We study a fixed art, don’t change those forms, and that changes us. We adhere to a program, and become the program.
Yet, if we don’t change the martial art, the art will eventually stop changing us.
The art is a a manifestation of the spirit, and the truth of a spirit is that it must keep changing. This is the fact of creation.
So if you are an old dog who won’t alter a move to fit a situation…the porch is over there, go crawl under it.
But, if you are one of these rebel types, willing to put your chin out and risk a wallop, as long as you get to learn something, then you’re in the right company. Here’s a win.
Al I have enjoyed studying your work. I love how it is changing the way I look at Karate and Hapkido. Respectfully James
This is a guy who’s learning Karate, and learning himself at the same time.
Check out my Evolution of an Art page. It offers three complete arts for cheap. Do the arts and you’ll understand how big an art can be. Pick up a free ebook on the home page while you’re there.
Most Karate instructor courses are boot camp, or an accelerated form of ‘monkey see-monkey do,’ or just a bunch of extra forms to learn. Actually, an instructor has to know specialized data, none of which is taught on the instructor courses I’ve seen. Here’s what happened when one fellow saw the data on the Master Instructor Course.
“As I started reading the Instructor Course things that I had been teaching started to become clearer. I could see why you had chosen one move over another in each form. And for the first time I could really explain to my students not only the whys and hows, but how to take the core moves and expand it to fit any situation.
My students have started coming up to me after class telling me how much more they are enjoying it, and that the classes have stopped being so ridged and now flow in a kind of give and take between me and them. I have stopped being a task master and started having fun and letting them teach me as well.
I also now found that I can more easily critique techniques that I see others as well as my own. I can almost feel what is a pure technique that belongs to an art and one that someone just threw in because they thought it looked pretty.”
This is the mark of a good teacher. The ability to see technique or form and know instantly what is right with it, and what is wrong.
Feel free to check out my Master Instructor page. It works not just for a karate instructor, but for any art, because it deals with the true principles of the MartialArts.Pick up a free ebook on the home page while you’re there.
Sri Nisargatta Maharaj once said, “It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.”
We can take this, on the surface, to be a reflection of our lives. Do we lie to our friends? Do we lie to our enemies? Do our lives become lies?
Taken a little deeper, is your karate a false karate? Are the principles physically sound? Do you end up craving the joy of combat? Or do you feel the deep peace and satisfaction at the end of every workout…the peace and satisfaction that puts aside the weapons and the hostility in the soul?
Karate is deeper than words, for words rarely echo, but the practice of true karate results in your self knowledge. If you feel more ‘I am’ at the end of your workout, then you are doing True Karate.
You can find out more about True Karate at Monster Martial Arts. Pick up a free book while you’re there. Win #54