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nielmag
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Karate Roots fr Siamese Boxing

On another thread, BRyder brought up an interesting point that the striking portion of Karate can trace its roots from Siamese Boxing, Muay Boran, which became Muay Thai .  Theres an interesting article written by Patrick McCarthy:

http://mccarthy-sensei.blogspot.com/2011/01/was-siamese-boxing-original-source-of.html

Oerjan Nilsen posted another article

http://www.karatebyjesse.com/?p=5479

So which leads me to a question.  Iain has written a great article about individual kata can be styles in and of themselves.  Hypothetically speaking, if Karate had some roots in Siamese Boxing, and kata is core of Karate, and each kata could be a style in and of itself:  Is there kata that would reflect these Siamese roots?  Or is the influence mostly that the okinawans took the chinese kata and replaced open hand with closed fist, etc that we see in many kata? 

Black Tiger
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Good Question/statement

As we all know, Okinawa was subject to many outside influences so I wouldn't be supprised if Burmese Boxing was one of the ingredients of Modern Karate, I know I can see many Siamese Boxing influences in my particular Ryu of Karate.

nielmag
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Black Tiger wrote:

Good Question/statement

As we all know, Okinawa was subject to many outside influences so I wouldn't be supprised if Burmese Boxing was one of the ingredients of Modern Karate, I know I can see many Siamese Boxing influences in my particular Ryu of Karate.

Really, can you give examples?  This topic abosutely fascinates me!

Black Tiger
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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Karates-History-Traditions-Bruce-Haines/dp/0804819475

This book highlights many of the outside influences including Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese and Laos Sailors/travellers trading etc with Okinawa

michael rosenbaum
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Given the geographical location of Okinawa it shouldn't come as a suprise.  Point of fact in 1968 Donn Drager (Comprehensive Asian FIghting Arts) listed Thai, Chinese, Fillipino and even Arabic influences on the Okinawan combatives.  However it was their assimlation into the Okinawan culture that made them into Te, Ti, Bu, Karate-jutusu, etc, etc. Or, in other words all the parts came together as a whole which grew more solid when introduced to Japan and the west. Karate (for lack of a better word) has always been an eclectic fighting art, sadly though we overlook that today. This might also help: http://iainabernethy.co.uk/news/free-comprehensive-karate-e-book-back-online

Th0mas
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Not wanting to hijack the thread... but it is clear that Japanese Martial arts (especially Karate) was heavily influenced by Western Military traditions, and given that Japanese Jujitsu proponents would visit the UK in the late19th and early 20th centuries I was wondering how western martial arts (boxing and Greco/Roman wrestling etc) influenced the local fighting styles of Okinawa and Japan.

Being an island I have assumed that Okinawa had a strong matritime tradition which was probably less isolationist than mainland Japan. This would set up the opportunity for a sharing of cultural ideas with foreigners, which is clearly seen in the Okinawan fighting arts with the influence of Chinese visitors. So given the UK and other European interests in China in the 19th Century (boxer rebellion, opium wars etc) there must have been some degree of knowledge transfer with English/european traders and naval men.

I wonder if that influence can be seen in the modern kata we have today?

nielmag
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Thats an interesting question.  I know judo borrowed the double leg take down and firemen's carry from western wrestling.  I believe the line drills of karate kihon came from western military (see Ebook my Michael Rosenbaum)

Th0mas
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Hi Neilmag

Yes I agree I have also read that Western Military tradition influenced the line drills in Karate Kihon. 

It is interesting that Iain in some of his video's mentions the cross-buttock throw as application for the form in Heian Godan. Now is that an influence from catch-as-catch-can or just another example of there only being a limited number of obvious practical ways of throwing someone over your hip?

In terms of the double leg take down and the firemans lift I can think of at least one kata (Kushanku/Kenkudai) where  that is an obvious bunkai implication. So given that Kushanku was a Chinese martial artist was his style influenced by western wrestling?...not sure if the timeline works for that one.

BRyder
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As I mentioned in the other thread Okinawa [because of its geographiccal location] was a melting pot for martial arts, and Naha in particular because of its prominence as a port. As such, if there was an established trade route between any country it is possible that there may have been a influence on the Okinawan arts, but it is probable the countries or regions with the stringest trade links (which will probably be the places closer to Okinawa) will have the greatest influence...China, Japan, Philippines, Thailand Vietnam etc.

I do think it is highly flawed to attribute a particular technique or kata application to a certain influence, and even more so to draw a conclusion that there must be link between the systems because of technical similarities. This/my opinion is constructed simply because:

1. the nature of the violence that is encountered by human beings and the unique anatomical structure of the human body and its common weaknesses are the same irrespective of geographical and [reasonable] temporal distance.

2. whilst indigenous culture is an influence on the art or system that results from the need to systematise fighting,  the basis upon which violence occurs - personal animosity requiring 'self defence' or a breakdown in diplomacy requiring war - and the desired outcomes from these are the same irrespective of culture.

As such, ever since the need to systematise fighting arose, people will have experimented, documented and refined methods of negotiating acts of violence...given the contextual similarities and the anatomical similarity the outcomes that people focussing on this are woud find will also be similar. Liekwise, when devising a safer method in which to gain skill and then test it in a competitive format, similar outcome would be found...as a result finding  similar throw in cumberland wrestling as in judo is entirely possible with no transfer of knowledge.

Th0mas
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Hi BRyder

I don't disagree with you, it is the classic One head-two arms-two legs limitation/opportunity. I think I also came to the same conclusion vis-a-vis developing similar solutions to the same problems in the other thread.

However ...

Quote:
 I do think it is highly flawed to attribute a particular technique or kata application to a certain influence,
Given that we see that certain kata are attributed to the influence of an individual (Kashanku, Gankaku etc), it would seem logical that you absolutely could draw that conclusion. If I travelled back in time and washed up on the shore of Okinawa Circa 1820's and I happened to encounter an influencial martial artist who was impressed by my d33dly st33t techniques, there would be a direct influence from Iain abernethy's approach to Karate (as he amoungst others is someone who has influenced my own practice etc) in any applications demonstrated in the  kata that the Okinawan martial artist created for posterity.

...Th0masai Dai anyone?

BRyder
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I think we may embark on a freefall of semantics but...

By linking techniques to a certain influence I was trying to suggest that  statement or conclusion of this nature: "there is a hip wheel throw in heian sandan and a cross buttocks throw in cumberlnd wrestling, the techniques are identical therefore one must have been an influence on another' would be flawed/itosu must have been influenced by cumberland wrestling...the similarity is obvious, but the link is improbable.

The 'certain influence' I was referring to in the quote you made were of an art not an individual.

Whilst a form and a technique can be influenced by an individual, each time it is passed on the influence changes...so in the shipwreck story you suggested it would be your influence on what Iain had taught you that would impress not Iain. I'm not saying 'watered down', just that it would be different because we shape things based on our on experience and preference. Likewise when Kushnku taught someone, when that someone taught what he had learnt from Kushanku it would be influenced by other areas or schools or arts he had changed in...so what is regarded as Kushanku's teachings are changed or relabelled, hence the number of different Kushanku forms we see today. 

Because of the personal reinterpretations, directly linking a technique in one art as being influenced by another art (without record of this actually occurring) and basing this assumption purely on similarty of technique would be flawed.

nielmag
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Th0mas wrote:

In terms of the double leg take down and the firemans lift I can think of at least one kata (Kushanku/Kenkudai) where  that is an obvious bunkai implication. So given that Kushanku was a Chinese martial artist was his style influenced by western wrestling?...not sure if the timeline works for that one.

Here is an excerpt from wikipedia on Jigoro Kano

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kan%C5%8D_Jigor%C5%8D

"Kano had trouble defeating Fukushima Kanekichi, who was one of his seniors at the school. Therefore, Kano started trying unfamiliar techniques on his rival. He first tried techniques from sumo. When these did not help, he studied more, and tried a technique ("fireman's carry") that he learned from a book on western wrestling. This worked, and kataguruma, or "shoulder wheel", remains part of the judo repertoire, although at this moment the judo organisations of some countries prohibit this throw in competition judo.[11]  "

michael rosenbaum
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BRyder wrote:

I think we may embark on a freefall of semantics but...

By linking techniques to a certain influence I was trying to suggest that  statement or conclusion of this nature: "there is a hip wheel throw in heian sandan and a cross buttocks throw in cumberlnd wrestling, the techniques are identical therefore one must have been an influence on another' would be flawed/itosu must have been influenced by cumberland wrestling...the similarity is obvious, but the link is improbable.

The 'certain influence' I was referring to in the quote you made were of an art not an individual.

Whilst a form and a technique can be influenced by an individual, each time it is passed on the influence changes...so in the shipwreck story you suggested it would be your influence on what Iain had taught you that would impress not Iain. I'm not saying 'watered down', just that it would be different because we shape things based on our on experience and preference. Likewise when Kushnku taught someone, when that someone taught what he had learnt from Kushanku it would be influenced by other areas or schools or arts he had changed in...so what is regarded as Kushanku's teachings are changed or relabelled, hence the number of different Kushanku forms we see today. 

Because of the personal reinterpretations, directly linking a technique in one art as being influenced by another art (without record of this actually occurring) and basing this assumption purely on similarty of technique would be flawed.

I agree and will go further by stating that pinpointing exactly where an empty-handed technique came from, or who invented it, is difficult at best.  You can state there are Chinese, Indian, Thai, etc, etc, influences on Karate, but  pinning down a technique's point of origin is almost impossible. The reason being is that the art of fighting did not originate in one geographical location then spread from there. No, as civilizations evolved so did the fighting arts on a world wide scale.  Moreover similar demands create similar results due to the human body's framework.  Therefore you've got kicking, punching and grappling in Ancient Greece just as you do karate, Chinese Boxing, Bando etc, etc. And since there's only so many ways that you punch, kick, throw then similarities will exist. It dosen't imply that kung-fu, or karate, started in ancient Greece then spread to Asia, or vice versa.  And to complicate things even more you have the intercourse between western and eastern fighting arts- something that's been happening for thousands of years- not to mention individual tastes which also heavily influence the development of fighting. In reference to Kano, yes he probably did take throws from western wrestling, but he could have just as easily found the same throws in Chinese Boxing and Wrestling had he known where too look.

Now, having stated the above, I will state that in regards to weapons it is easier in tracking down their points of origin due to the style of blade and armor as well as the artwork and inscriptions commonly found on swords, spears and halbards.  But then again, just as with empty-hand techniques similar demands create similar weapons and tactics.  The spear, halbard and pike were used on both Eastern and Western battlefields as were pike formations. Battlefield grapping in the west looks very similar to that found in the east.

My point being is that you can acknowledge certain influences, but dwelling on them to much can lead to confusion or a missunderstanding about karate and the historical context in which it evolved. Fighters are much the same as musicans.  They borrow from where ever they can and give little regard to style purity, so long as what they take works.

BRyder
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michael rosenbaum wrote:
My point being is that you can acknowledge certain influences, but dwelling on them to much can lead to confusion or a missunderstanding about karate and the historical context in which it evolved. Fighters are much the same as musicans.  They borrow from where ever they can and give little regard to style purity, so long as what they take works.

That perfectly encapsulates what I think. Thanks!