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.