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DanKelso
DanKelso's picture
Kanku Dai Kata Application Help

I have been working with Kanku Dai (Shotokan Karate version) for a while now. One part of the kata still has me thinking. In the middle of the kata, following two punches there is a turn with a block by your shin and forearm then a fall to the ground and then up facing the opposite directions with a down ward blocking motion open handed. Steps #40 to #44 with those familiar to the kata diagram charts. I see a possible throw and/or single leg take down from these movements but I'm thinking there is far more in these few movements than that. Would anyone like to help me see what these moves are most likely showing?

Tau
Tau's picture

Have you seen Iain's DVD on Kushanku bunkai?

DanKelso
DanKelso's picture

No, I do not have that DVD yet.

Tau
Tau's picture

Well, there's one answer. You can download it from the website. It's well worth it.

simonb
simonb's picture

Agreed with Tau its well worth downloading or buying Iain's Kanku Dai DVD. 

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Its not a kata I practice, but if I had to choose between Kanku Dai/Kushanku or the Pinan/Heian series, I would choose Kanku Dai/Kushanku every time

Wastelander
Wastelander's picture

I haven't seen Iain's Kanku/Kusanku Dai video, but some free and easily available information can be found on Jesse Enkamp's blog:

http://www.karatebyjesse.com/11-useful-bunkai-for-the-kusanku-ninja-move/

I don't like all of the applications he shows, but I do like to use that movement as tai otoshi (body drop throw) or an armbar pin. I learned the throw in judo, originally, and I am fairly comfortable with its use so putting it into my kata application was easy enough. It doesn't fit perfectly, of course, but it can work. The armbar pin isn't something I do too often, but my instructor is good at it--he actually uses the knee to help drive the person down into that position. The part where you do the leg lift and forearm block, I generally use as either a knee strike while gripping my opponet in a clinch, or defending against someone trying to use a single-leg takedown on you by striking their head or neck and twisting out of their grip.

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Some practical ideas on Jesse's site there. I'd also look at ko soto gari and gake as well as o uchi gari and gake. Those throws and similar ones all work well for the knee+augmented 'block' part prior to the turn to the drop down.

Mark B
Mark B's picture

As Jon says, some nice examples.

I've used option No.3, Ryo Ashi Dori myself during a ''real'' altercation. Simple and effective, especially if you've played much rugby. 

I like hammerfist into knee strike with snatch take-down , the Shuto that follows is a redundancy if the snatch fails- twist opponents torso(Shuto preparation) , complete Shuto to strike or takedown, just a quick idea that might work, I haven't tried it.

All the best

Mark

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

I have just read an interesting book on the history of Shuri-Te and the royal bodyguards, Matsumura's development of karate into the shuri-te we recognize today. The author had some very interesting perspectives based on how Kunku Dai had been modified for the context in which he believed Matsumura was operating.

Kunku Dai or Kushanku was adapted from a white crane chuan fa kata he learnt from Sakagawa who in turn learnt from Kong Su Kung from which the name derives. It was the authors belief that this kata was originally designed for night fighting where you cannot see the opponent. Matsumura adapted it to be used to deal with multiple attackers in the context of extracting a principle from a volatile situation. His theory was that some of the body guards would plunge into a crowd and attack them ferociously while two guards protected the principle (the regent Sho-Tei) by pressing him against a wall, the kata designed for that context was naihanchi, which has side to side movements.

In the case of the plunging move queried here, the author offered this potential bunkai: Where multiple assailants have grabbed your clothing, you gather their arms with the first part of the move, with hiza geri being a preparation for plunging down to unbalance them. Presumably the follow up move would be for shaking off any remaining assailants who still maintained a grip.

I don't necessarily agree or endorse that application, and I have never tried it, but it's an interesting idea in the context of the Shuri 'battle-plan' the author theorizes to create a context for examining bunkai. It was an extremely interesting book and an intriguing theory, well-reasoned and well researched using as much historical reference as exists for that time. But it did occasionally drift into some rather dubious bunkai suggestions, and breathlessly over-statement of the effectiveness of karate technique. Brilliant book none-the-less. Actually Iain got a mention (it was written around 2000 so before Iain's stuff had really penetrated deeply)

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Hey Stevenson, I've read the same book if you're referring to Shotokan's Secret (Bruce Clayton). Interesting read but I don't really subscribe to the findings as a whole.

In general, I'm not so keen on explanations for kata/bunkai that theorise that this given kata was "designed for night fighting" or that one was "the protecting the principal in a bodyguard scenario" kata. Those theories really would require practitioners to remember far too many kata movements/combinations to make practical sense.

Plus it doesn't really hold up when you consider that many old masters, who had rich practical experience, would only know one or two or, at most, a small handful of kata. That would leave them only able to protect themselves against a narrow range of assaults in specific situations.

Ideally I think the first approach when analysing kata should be that it was originally the aide memoire of a complete fighting method used by its creator as a method of passing on the key methods of this system to his/her students. And now it is likely to be a stylized version of the original template. Thus, most kata can be broken down to give you techniques/principles of a compete fighting method to deal with what were, when it was devised, the most common forms of assault.

There are exceptions to this, the Heian / Pinan series should really be grouped and looked at as a fighting system only as a whole (all 5 kata together). Also, some kata cannot be viewed as complete systems - Shotokan's Sochin and Meikyo for example and offer minimal combative information.

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Well, as I indicated I reserved judgement on some of the bunkai suggestions, but there is some weight in his arguments from a historical point of view.

Quote:
Plus it doesn't really hold up when you consider that many old masters, who had rich practical experience, would only know one or two or, at most, a small handful of kata. That would leave them only able to protect themselves against a narrow range of assaults in specific situations.

I am not sure what you are saying there....The theory holds up in that specific bodyguards would have theoretically have a few kata that suited their experience, training and characteristics, and modified by Matsumura for the very specific context in which they were operating. Secondly, the book contends that they were absolutely not looking to protect themselves from assaults - that's kind of the point of the theory. They were looking to extract the principle from a dangerous situation which involved some of them aggressively attacking multiple opponents, whilst others protected the principle and removed him.

My understanding and reading of the theory, is that just like any team, each member would have specific roles, thereby not requiring them to remember many different kata at all. I thought the idea of the reason why the kiai's are placed where they are in the katas in order to coordinate the plan interesting and compelling.

I agree that some of the bunkai suggestions are somewhat dubious, but the broad thrust of the theory is consistent, plausible, and well reasoned. I also thought the later parts regarding modifying bunkai to suit todays context absolutely bang on and the specific strategies he argued to be pretty well bang on. I also found that there was an annoying over-confidence in the likely effectiveness or destructiveness of many of the techniques discussed. Otherwise, it was a brilliant read, extremely informative, and the arguments from principles were consistent with what I have learnt from great teachers such as Iain.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

Claytons book is an interesting read indeed. But his theory is based on a lot of errors and historical flaws such as the enslavement of the okinawan people by the Satsuma and the disarming of the keimochi class.

We know that Matsumura was some kind of bodyguard to the kings of Ryukyu but to make all the officers and clerks of Shuri Castle into one big team of bodyguards is an exorbitant exaggeration.

Stevenson wrote:
I thought the idea of the reason why the kiai's are placed where they are in the katas in order to coordinate the plan interesting and compelling.
Problem here is that there were no fixed points for shouts in kata back in the days. The practitioner released a shout whenever he felt it was right if he decided to shout at all. They often trained at night at the masters house or his garden. To shout out would have disturbed the neighbors I guess wink.

Regards Holger

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Quote:
But his theory is based on a lot of errors and historical flaws such as the enslavement of the okinawan people by the Satsuma and the disarming of the keimochi class.

Well I am not entirely sure that he is suggesting that the okinawan people were 'enslaved' by the Satsuma's. Nor did he say that the keimochi's were disarmed by them. He said explicitly that a previous Okinawan King Sho Hashi (from memory) that unified the kingdom and disarmed the keimochi to stop any insurgency. The Satsumas, after their conquest in 1609, kept the policy of 'no weapons' going.

I am not sure that is historically inaccurate - do you have some references that refute that?

Also, while it might be entirely right to remain somewhat skeptical, there is evidence that well known masters such as Itosu and Azato (Funakoshi's teachers) were officials close to the regent.

There is plenty of supposition in the book, and there are places where I felt he pushes it pretty far out, but it doesn't strike me as an 'exorbitant exaggeration' to suggest that old masters known to have practised martial arts and were close to the Regent did not serve in some way as bodyguards and as part of a team.

With regards to the Kiai's - do you have a reference for your suggestion that pracitioners released a shout whenever he felt like it? I am not suggesting you are wrong, but it's a question of when the kiai was first formalized as part of the kata. If it was from Funakoshi, you might be right, but if it was Itosu, then there is still the possibility there is something in the theory. There was additional justification for the theory in the form of a logical rationalization: That if the principle of defense is the basis for the kata, why is it that the shuri kata, with the exception of naihanchi plunge forward agressively after initial lateral movements? Yes - I know the other bunkai analysis and principles involved, but there is more to the suggestion than there isn't.

Since I am on it, my intention is to invesitgate some of the reference material in the book. Can Holger or anyone else suggest a good follow up with competing theories or differing analysis of the history? It would be fascinating to get a different perspective.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

Stevenson wrote:
 Well I am not entirely sure that he is suggesting that the okinawan people were 'enslaved' by the Satsuma's. Nor did he say that the keimochi's were disarmed by them. He said explicitly that a previous Okinawan King Sho Hashi (from memory) that unified the kingdom and disarmed the keimochi to stop any insurgency. The Satsumas, after their conquest in 1609, kept the policy of 'no weapons' going. I am not sure that is historically inaccurate - do you have some references that refute that?

Clayton writes in chapter 1.7. There  were several classes of people walking the forested lanes of Naha/Shuri in the 1800s. - Okinawan keimochi: Disarmed for two centuries, these were the traditional island nobility. [...] - Satsuma samurai: These were the samurai overlords who administered the enslavement of Okinawa. [...]

Regarding the enslavement issue, the Satsuma samurai were never present in huge numbers. For the first economic inventory after the battle, the Satsuma send 14 commisioners who were accompanied by 168 men to estimate the tax rates for the kingdom. The relationship between Ryukyu and Satsuma was rather a mutual dependency than an occupation.

Regarding the disarming of the noble gentry, as far as I know King Sho Shin was the one who ordered the local lords to live in Shuri. But he never disarmed them. That assumption is based on an incorrect translation of a passage on a monument that was erected to honor king Sho Shin and his 11 great achievements of the age in 1509.

The correct translation of that fourth achievement would be: Brocade and embroidered silk are used for garments and gold and silver are used for utensils. Swords and bows and arrows exclusively are acumulated as weapons in the protection of the country. In the matter of finances and armament, this country excels other countries.

In "Notes on Loochoo" pubished in 1873 Ernest Satow wrote: As regards more manly accomplishments they are expert archers on horseback and good marksmen with the matchlock. Their skill on boxing is such that a well trained fighter can smash a large earthern water jar, or kill a man with a single blow of the fist.

So they were very well armed. In fact the okinawan had firearms (Tanegashima = matchlocks) way earlier than the Japanese through the better trade connections with the chinese empire. You also need weapons to fight of pirate attacks on the port of Naha. Therefore they had for example huge cannons.

Matsumura, Asato and others learned the Satsuma family fencing style of Jiggen Ryu. Matsumura even traveled to Kagoshima and learned directly at Satsuma. For fencing you need weapons.

In 1639 the Togugawa banned the export of weapons to overseas. Because the Ryukyu islands fell under the category "overseas" they were affected by that law. But that is no generell weapon ban. Due to the lack of swordsmiths on Okinawa the okinawans were allowed though to bring their weapons to Kagoshima for repair work.

Stevenson wrote:
With regards to the Kiai's - do you have a reference for your suggestion that pracitioners released a shout whenever he felt like it?

I am not suggesting you are wrong, but it's a question of when the kiai was first formalized as part of the kata. If it was from Funakoshi, you might be right, but if it was Itosu, then there is still the possibility there is something in the theory.

Regarding the Kiais I would have to look it up. I can't remember were I read that. I know that Funakoshi provided those points for the Kata he presented in his books. Itosu was born in 1831. At the time commodore Perry arrived on Okinawa in 1853 Itosu was arround 22. I don't think that Itosu already formulated Kata at this age.

Stevenson wrote:
There was additional justification for the theory in the form of a logical rationalization: That if the principle of defense is the basis for the kata, why is it that the shuri kata, with the exception of naihanchi plunge forward agressively after initial lateral movements?

What about Seisan (Hangetsu in Shotokan)? I can't see agressive forwards plunging here.

I hope that helps a little.

Regards Holger

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Very interesting post Holger - thankyou.

Quote:
Regarding the enslavement issue, the Satsuma samurai were never present in huge numbers. For the first economic inventory after the battle, the Satsuma send 14 commisioners who were accompanied by 168 men to estimate the tax rates for the kingdom. The relationship between Ryukyu and Satsuma was rather a mutual dependency than an occupation.

Ok - fair enough - he used the word 'enslavement' - a typical breathless overstatement that I found annoying in places, but the rest of your comment is not inconsistent with what he actually wrote, other than to suggest the dependency was mutual.

Quote:
So they were very well armed. 

Well, again according to the Clayton version of things - they were well versed in armaments, and Matsumura and many others had studied jiggen-ryu sword fighting, and rifles were known to them not only from China but also westerners who attempted to trade with them. But I am not sure you can conclude they were 'very well armed' from the evidence you cite, and the legend or theory that they were not allowed arms is well established. The photos that survive clearly show the shuri keimochi as unarmed, save for the tessen, which was a truncheon disguised as a fan.

I would also point out that at the time your author was writing was well after the Meiji restoration when the ban on weaponry was lifted - or at least not being imposed by the Satsumas, so it is still not proof that they were carrying weapons during the Tokugawan shogunate. Clayton rather pointedly insists that the keimochi were entirely aware of how to use weapons even if they were not allowed to carry them - so there is no contradiction there (even if he were wrong abut that as well). Never-the-less, conventional wisdom has a remarkable habit of being wrong, so I am not disputing what you say, merely challenging you to provide better evidence. Is there, for example, a historical reference you could point me to that would substantiate your views? I am genuinely interested in getting a different perspective from the one offered by Clayton.

Also, with respect to Itosu - Clayton also points out Itosu's age. He theorizes that at the time he formalized kata to be passed on, which was after the Meiji restoration, he removed many of the bunkai that would make the kata more obviously applicable and trained a new generation of potential royal body guards in case the Regent was reinstated. The theory suggests that should the restoration fail and/or the Regent return to Shuri castle, the new recruits would be shown the full thing, but until then the really brutal techniques would be secret. Significantly, it was a year after Sho Tei's death that Itosu asked to teach karate in schools, with the intention of keeping the art alive at least in a less aggressive form.

It's a lot of supposition I agree, but it's highly plausible, especially given the context.

WRT hangetsu - it is forward moving, but it was brought into Shotokan by Funakoshi from (I assume) his association with Higaoanna - the father of the Naha Te styles, or possibly Mabuni. He felt the need for something along the lines of the Ibuki breathing, but did not like the loud noises (which are not necessary) and also because the stance strengthened the inner leg muscles. So I don't think all the Shotokan katas necessarily stem from the supposed 'Shuri Cruible' period.

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

A couple of other things:

Holger - I deeply appreciate your engagement on this. You are clearly extremely knowledgable and its a great opportunity for me to learn.

Another point wrt Hangetsu - if you see how Iain performs it, he does it the pre-Funokoshi way without the knees pulled in or the exaggerated uchimata - the front foot turned in 35 degrees. When we perform Hangetsu, we straighten the foot on the gyaku tsuki. Iains stance is a long sanchin datchi more in keeping with its Naha roots. It was Funokoshi who added in the exaggerated stance. Personally, I really like the exaggeration. It works well for my body type in kumite. I am good at rooted stances and leg entanglemen, prising myself into my opponents space to unbalance them which that stance lends itself to.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Stevenson,

Stevenson wrote:
But I am not sure you can conclude they were 'very well armed' from the evidence you cite, and the legend or theory that they were not allowed arms is well established. The photos that survive clearly show the shuri keimochi as unarmed, save for the tessen, which was a truncheon disguised as a fan.

Ok, here is an important thing I forgot to mention. The Samurai class of Japan was a warrior class. Wearing a pair of swords was their right and marked their status. The keimochi had other methods to show their status and to distinguish in ranks. They had special colored robes, hats and hair pins. So there was no need for them to carry weapons. It is like nowadays at least here in Germany that the Average-Joe doesn't carry weapons. Police and Security people carry them and the armed forces use weapons.

So the okinawan braged about on how rich they were and that they were very well armed and when the members of the keimochi were very well aware on how to use weapons they must have trained with them. That wouldn't be possible if it had been a ban of weapons. I think they were allowed to own and use weapons for training and so on. But it was no need for them to carry weapons with them all the time.

Stevenson wrote:
The theory suggests that should the restoration fail and/or the Regent return to Shuri castle, the new recruits would be shown the full thing, but until then the really brutal techniques would be secret. Significantly, it was a year after Sho Tei's death that Itosu asked to teach karate in schools, with the intention of keeping the art alive at least in a less aggressive form.

Sho Tai died in 1901. The first Karate clubs at okinawan schools already emerged in the the late 1890s. As far as I know training in the martial arts was a priviledge unique to the keimochi. That priviledge softend up after the Meiji Restauration.

I have to go into a bit more detail about the historical circumstances now. After the Meiji Restauration Japan realized that they stuck in medieval times with their technology. So they consulted experts from every field of science and invited them to come and teach in Japan. They used the prussian example to reform the army, the english example to reform the naval forces, they oriented on german medicine standards and so on.

They reallised that the japanese people, especially the japanese aristocracy had a very poor overall health so after the introduction of the compulsory education in 1886 there was an imperial edict issued in 1890 on physical education. So children had to go to school now and they had to do millitaristic gymnastics to improve the health of a whole nation. That is were Karate came into play. In the course of the imperialistic effort the japanese recruted young men into the army. From the draft class of 1890 or so only three okinawans were suitable for joining the army, Yabu, Hanashiro and a third men, all students of Itosu. That was recognized by the authorities and paved the way for Karate as a tool for physical education for children.

Regarding the Seisan. You realise that there are many versions of Seisan and not all of them were from the Naha line. As far as I know Funakoshi learned Seisan from Asato who in turn learned it from Matsumura. The reason why it is not practised by descendents of the Itosu-line is that Itosu was mainly a student of Gusukuma of Tomari and inherited his line (according to Asato and Motobu).

Regards Holger

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Quote:
So the okinawan braged about on how rich they were and that they were very well armed and when the members of the keimochi were very well aware on how to use weapons they must have trained with them. That wouldn't be possible if it had been a ban of weapons. I think they were allowed to own and use weapons for training and so on. But it was no need for them to carry weapons with them all the time.

I don't think it follows that a ban on weapons would have made it impossible for keimochi to learn how to use them. One of Claytons more speculative ideas is that they did in fact have weapons stored in a secret cache. It's not only possible but actually highly likely that they would have made efforts to learn how to use them despite the ban in an effort to be prepared in case things went south. What you are saying goes against the conventional knowledge that the okinawans were prevented from openly carrying arms for which there is a good deal of anecdotal evidence. Some support for your argument would be most welcome - I well prepared to beleive that the real truth is much more subtle and nuanced than the conventional wisdom - in my experience that is almost always the case. But I would need a bit more to go on.

Quote:
Sho Tai died in 1901. The first Karate clubs at okinawan schools already emerged in the the late 1890s. As far as I know training in the martial arts was a priviledge unique to the keimochi. That priviledge softend up after the Meiji Restauration.

Karate in some form or another was around in Shuri and Naha outside of the Shuri castle both before and after the Meiji restoration. But Itosu only approached the schools to start teaching his form of Karate after Sho Tei died. Clayton contends that keimochi outside of the castle were also practised in martial techniques - whether you want to call it karate or not - and his theory is that for Matsumura they were a reserve guard. There are many stories of various masters with whom the Shuri bodyguards had contact, but Clayton is writing about the specific strategies developed for the context of the body guards of which Itosu was privvy and the katas developed for the situation by Matsumura and were then formalized and sanitized by him later...but it wasn't until Sho Tei died that Itosu approached the schools.

WRT seishan/hangetsu: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangetsu

I do realize there are many forms of this kata - I have Iains hangestsu bunkai DVD and it is fairly different from the one I practise. I have also read that it was Funakoshi who introduced it because he felt the need for a kata to take the roll of Sanchin kata - to do a similar job as it does in the chuan fa/Naha Te forms. I am not sure he learnt it from Matsumura or Asato, but I honestly don't know for sure - I think it is in Mabuni's book. According to Mabuni, Funakoshi approached him to teach him more kata and sent his eldest son to learn kata from him in order furnish Shotokan with greater variety of kata. Clayton would suggest that for Matsumura, any pre-existing kata would have been adapted for the specific purposes of the context of safeguarding the regent, and that Bassai-Dai was developed specifically for training for that purpose. Maybe Asato or Matsumura taught him Seisan, I don't know, but it doesn't strike me as likely.

Sorry to pester, but do you have some references I could follow up on?

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Stevenson,

Matsumura, Asato and many others learned martial arts directly from the Satsuma. The learned the Satsuma family style of Jiggen Ryu. Thats a reason for Budo being such a huge influence on the okinawan fighting traditions. What sense does it make to ban weapons on one hand and on the other to teach the own family style to okinawans?

When a ban of weapons was issued to prevent rebel attacks on the occupying forces, where is the point in teaching those rebels the very own fighting arts? That makes absolute no sense to me. I can't see no logic here. Besides that there is no hard evidence for such a weapon ban.

Stevenson wrote:
What you are saying goes against the conventional knowledge that the okinawans were prevented from openly carrying arms for which there is a good deal of anecdotal evidence. Some support for your argument would be most welcome - I well prepared to beleive that the real truth is much more subtle and nuanced than the conventional wisdom - in my experience that is almost always the case. But I would need a bit more to go on.

Sad but true. I'll see if I can provide you with any sources in english. My main source is the german Karate historian Henning Wittwer who in turn uses japanese primary and secondary sources.

Stevenson wrote:
But Itosu only approached the schools to start teaching his form of Karate after Sho Tei died.

Sho Tei died in 1709 I think you mean Sho Tai who was the last okinawan king before the meiji restauration.

As I said the first Karate Clubs emerged in the late 1890 with Itosu as instructor. Karate was introduced into the school system arround 1901/02 and was made mandatory in 1905. The reason for Itosu was the emperial edict on physical education issued in 1890 and him seeing the chance to promote Karate. I'll try to find an english source for that claim.

Regarding Seisan/Hangetsu I don't take Wikipedia as serious source of information, especially not for Karate related things :o).

When you look at the Goju and Shito versions of Seisan you will find them to be similar. Compare them to the Wado or Shotokan version and you will find significant differences. Mabuni learned Seisan from Higaonna or Miyagi thats why it is the Naha Seisan or better the Higaonna Seisan. In all styles derived from Itosu e.g. the Chibana lines there is no Seisan because it is a Matsumura kata and Itosu was a primary student of Nagahama (Naha) and Gusukuma (Tomari) according to Asato and Motobu. There is one version in Seibukan Shorin Ryu which came from Kyan Chotoku I think it was, who in turn learned his Seisan from Matsumura himself. Since Funakoshi saw Asato as his main teacher and Itosu didn't taught Seisan he must have it from Asato. Funakoshi showed Seisan already in his 1922 publication Ryukyu Kempo Karate. Gigo was born on 1906. I highly doubt that he send his 16yr old son to Mabuni for learning Kata only to publish that in his first book. Funakoshi took a core set of 15 kata to form his "style". He wouldn't have taken a kata into his core set that was freshly aquired by his son via Mabuni. That kata trading thing came way later. I remember that Nakayama was send to Mabuni for learning Kata.  Whatever.

Stevenson wrote:
Sorry to pester, but do you have some references I could follow up on?
No problem here. But there is a problem in getting good sources. Those are very rare. Common myths and deficient translations mostly come in hand and it is hard to tell whether a source is good or not. I mostly trust sources who are directly translated from the original primary and secondary sources with a certain skepticism towards the quallity of a translation. As I wrote I'll try to provide some sources over the weekend.

So long, Regards Holger

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Thanks again Holger.

As it happens I speak German (somewhat) and my wife is swiss so a German text would be fine.

Quote:
Matsumura, Asato and many others learned martial arts directly from the Satsuma. The learned the Satsuma family style of Jiggen Ryu. Thats a reason for Budo being such a huge influence on the okinawan fighting traditions. What sense does it make to ban weapons on one hand and on the other to teach the own family style to okinawans?

All of this is covered in Clayton's book. Actually very little you said here is in contradiction to what I read. He spoke of Matsumura receiving a mastership in jiggen ryu in a very short space of time. It seems he was an extraordinary martial arttist. Never-the-less you make a good point - although I am not entirely convinced by it. Kobudo was popular at the time, but no one was wandering around with katana's  - only the Satsuma overlords were allowed as part of their status. If they thought the Okinawans did not have access to weapons they may have felt there was no harm in teaching them sword martial arts.

Also, Okinawa was ostensibly a prefecture of China and the Okinawans paid a yearly tithe to the Chinese emperor. Okinawans could have and did go to China and study martial arts of different kinds. It was the source of the white crane chuan fa that was the popular style at the time and from which Kanku Dai/Kushanku came from.

The Karate clubs did emerge prior to 1902, and this is mentioned and discussed in the book, but Itosu only approached the schools to disseminate karate more widely after Sho Tei (or Tai - I think the spelling is interchangeable) died, a critical juncture. The katas that came from Itosu have a specifc history according to Clayton.

I don't want to defend Clayton and his theories too staunchly, but you seem to argue points that he himself made in support of his argument. Perhaps it might be worth your reading it again to remind yourself of what it was that formed the basis for his theory.

Possibly it boils down to whether it is true that Okinawans were not allowed to bear arms openly or not. His theory is pretty dependent on Okinawans being forced to find other ways to create an effective personal defense for their king without openly using weapons.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Stevenson,

last try :o).

After the Satsuma invaded and defeated the Ryukyu Kingdom they took the King and the members of the Sanshukan to Kagoshima. They were held hostage for two years and were forced to sign a document which regulated the whole future administration of the Kingdom. This document contained 15 articles.

1.     There will be no goods ordered from Tang (China) without the command from the Satsuma clan. 2.     No land will be bequeathed any persons who are not currently government officials. 3.     No land or government duties are to be bestowed on women. 4.     No personal male servants are to employed by individuals. 5.     No building an excessive number of Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines. 6.     Satsuma approval is required of merchants. 7.     There is to be no purchase and transport of Ryukyuans to Japan. 8.     The Ryukyus must deliver land taxes and other public property as established by the Satsuma magistrates. 9.     The office of Sanshikan is not to be ignored or bypassed. 10.     There are to be no coerced sales or purchases. 11.     Quarreling is prohibited. 12.     Small crimes shall be dealt with through the offices of the Chonin-hyakucho (low-level village officials) but the greater ones shall be referred to Satsuma. 13.     Ryukyu must not dispatch trade ships to other territories. 14.     Only Japanese measures are to be used. 15.     Gambling and other immoral activities are prohibited.

Nothing about a weapons ban. I think such an important detail like a prohibition of weapons would have been put in such a treaty probably at number 1.

Stevenson wrote:
As it happens I speak German (somewhat) and my wife is swiss so a German text would be fine.

That's great. I can recommend Stephen Turnbulls "The Samurai Capture a King - Okinawa 1609", George Kerrs "Okinawa - The History of an Island People", "A Brief History of Early Okinawa Based on the Omoro Soshi" by Mitsugu Sakihara, Henning Wittwers "Shotokan Band 1" und "Shotokan Band 2" (both highly recommended) and Heiko Bittmans "The Teachings of Karatedo" and "Erwin von Baelz und die körperlichen Übungen - Leibeserziehung und traditionelle Kampfkünste im Japan der Meiji-Zeit".

Stevenson wrote:
Perhaps it might be worth your reading it again to remind yourself of what it was that formed the basis for his theory.

It's been indeed a few years since I last read it. I will read it again, but my impression of the book won't change I'm afraid :o).

Regards Holger

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

That's brilliant Holger. Thank you very very much for your time, it's deeply appreciated.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Stevenson,

no problem.

WRT the shouts in Kata being a modern thing and no fixed points for them. Those two links may be of interest to you. http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/kiai-kata-and-heian-shodan-bunkai#com... http://karatejutsu.blogspot.de/2008/08/no-kiai.html

Regards Holger

Kokoro
Kokoro's picture

I just skimmed through most of this so i may have missed a few comments. i was mostly trying to avoid the how clayton debate, i have mixed feelings about his book and theory’s. after i catch up on the rest of this i might add something

One interpretation of bunkai is what you do I the kata is what happened to your opponent or what he is doing to you. If you apply this to the case of the drop it represents your opponent hitting the ground. Although not my favorite explanation of it, but it was one of the ones I was told.

Another one that comes to mind is going back to kusanku was a kata for night or fighting in the dark. And in the drop you are avoiding or hiding from your opponent by dropping down.

I more favor it as a throw or take down,  it makes a nasty take down when done right

JWT
JWT's picture

Without wishing to conduct gross necromancy, I missed this thread originally and came across it while searching for something else.

The theory that the Okinawans were disarmed was due to a mistranslation (in 1926 by Iha Fuyu) of a monument erected in the Palace grounds in 1507. This combined with the fact that the Okinawans deliberately hid their weapons capabilities from Captain Basil Hall in the early 19th C created the 'myth' of a disarmed Ryukyu. According to Karate historian Mitsuga Sakihara, Okinawa has never been officially disarmed.