Tag Archives: gichin funakoshi
On of my favorite kata was Kima Chodan. It has several other names, Tekki, the Iron Horse, and so on. It was also the favorite of Giochin Funakoshi, he spent ten years playing with it.
The reason it is so great is that it is a power form. Getting low in the horse, stepping back and forth, just powers up the tan tien like nobody’s business.
One of my favorite things was to face a partner and mirror the form. We would race, find harmony, critique each other endlessly. A mirror that actually talked…how cool was that, eh?
For those who would like to go extreme, it’s fun to put a heavy weight vest and go crazy, or to hold dumbells and go crazy.
After a while the power jacks up, you start feeling like nobody in the world could stop you, and man, ain’t life a hoot!
Anyway, here’s my version of it. I learned it forty years ago, and I haven’t tweaked it much, so it’s a pretty pure version. Comes not through the Japanese lineage, but direct to the Okinawa Masters who taught Gichin Funakoshi. If you want to learn more about the old Karate forms surrounding Kima Chodan, or Tekki or the Iron Horse or whatever you call it, check out Temple Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
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.
It is a well known fact that the only thing that doesn’t change is that everything changes. That is the unavoidable truth residing at the heart of this universe. That this is true in Karate (and other martial arts) was put forth by Gichin Funakoshi, the father of Karate.
Check out the video. It shows how one should examine karate form applications to find all the possibilities. The article will continue below that.
Before I tell you what he said, let me make a point through the sayings of Matsu Basho. Don’t (merely) follow in the footsteps of the masters, but rather seek what (the truths) they sought. While this bit of writing I present to you may seem like an attack on the classical approach to the martial arts, it is really merely an admonishment to look deep.
To look deep is to find the soul. To look deep is to find the true martial arts. To look deep is to find yourself.
Hoping to see Karate included in the physical education taught in our public schools, I set about changing the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and the martial arts should change too. The Karate that school students practice today is not the same Karate that was practiced even as recently as 10 years previous [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 paragraph you have just read are the words of Master Gichin Funakoshi. There may be some paraphrasing, so if you want the exact quote, simply examine his book. It is titled…Karate-Do: My Way of Life.
The point here is that to memorize the forms and techniques is fine, up to a point. And at that point one must give up the Monkey See Monkey Do type mode of instruction and start digging deeper. This is the only way to get to the heart of the real martial arts.
The Martial Arts, and we are speaking specifically of Karate here, were created for specific times to solve exact problems. Was it designed for defense against weapons that are no longer in use, armor that is no longer worn, mind sets that are no longer showing? Was it translated for children, for different cultures, for languages and beliefs and mind sets?
The answer is resoundingly yes, Karate has changed over the years, and not always for the best. Thus, one must look beyond form and bunkai, beneath words, and beyond even the imagingings of our sensei. One must look hard and deep, else one will never realize what Master Funakoshi meant when he said that Karate is not what it was, and they will miss seeing the truth of themselves.
If you want to learn more about Real Karate, and how to find it in any method or style, head over over to Learn Karate Online. Pick up a free boo on ‘How I Discovered Matrixing,’ while you’re there.
Don’t you just love my titles? Wimp Learns Real Karate. Ha!
The funny thing is, probably over 80% of us have the wimp image of ourselves. I don’t know what did it to you, but high school did it to me. I went in brazen and smart, and came out wondering what the hell life was about. It took Karate to return me to my natural state.
Your natural state is tough, funny, smart, you have friends, and your girl is kick ass.
No, I’m not being funny, that’s the way you are. If you don’t know it, read the win right below.
I now have the ability to be there (or here) and defend myself against attack and this is not something I was able to do when I came in here.
I also have the understanding of how the body should be working and the physics involved.
That’s what it is all about. It’s not about trophies or being tough, it is about being smart and competent. I’m going to try and upload a ‘wimp’ ad from a few decades ago. If you don’t remember it, take a good look at it. These are the ads that started us on the road to redemption, on the road to self discovery, on the road out of high school and bullyism and experiences that try to chip you down.
You want to learn Real Karate, come on by my site. It’s a funky site, but it’s a blast. MonsterMartialArts.com