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Paul Anderson
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Karate/Judo Documentary

Interesting looking documentary on Japanese Karate from a former Kyokushin champion.  Not watched it through yet so don't know how much practical karate discussion is involved, however it looks to have decent production values and may be of interest.

Same guy seems to have done a bunch of other documentarys called 'samuri spirit' looking at other Japanese Martial Arts.  I've linked to the Judo one below which seems to have some interesting discussions on Japanese Judo vs Western Judo.  Plenty more on youtube.

 

 

 

 

Iain Abernethy
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Looks like a good find Paul! Thanks for posting them. I've embedded the videos for ease of viewing.

All the best,

Iain

John
John's picture

Impressive watching those hard core Goju and Uechi-ryu guys go at it then you see their bunkai and realize they don't know anything about violence.

It points back to the fact that if you don't know the problem your trying to solve you can't make an effective solution.  I think what they are doing is what MacYoung called "fear management." Their toughness becomes a talisman against all those who would attack them. 

For a lot of those guys I would say they need to make a clear goal and have some way of objectively measuring if their working effectively towards that goal. To say your learning self defense but still, even with the internet and the wealth of books you can get off websites like amazon, not making any effort to see if you working effectively towards that goal is irrisponsible.   

nielmag
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Although the "purity" of the art(s) gives us all warm fuzzies, werent the original okinawan masters quite found of alcoholic beverages and women?  my point is not to disparage them by any means, but werent they in search of highly effective techniques (jutsu) and later came the idealism (do)? 

I agree, the bunkai looked very much like block, counter; block counter.  Is that because that is what their true interpretation is, or is it still the old school mentality of keeping true bunkai of a dojo a secret?

im no historian by any means, but my understanding, the whole samurai code/spirit came in the later centuries were there wasnt much war going on, and they were needing to create a significance for themselves.  Again not criticizing, just stating some opinions from my own research.   

Black Tiger
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I enjoyed watching the first Documentary but had to stop as my battery Died. Seemed really good and for the fact the "Presenter" was from a Kyokushin background

Zach Zinn
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nielmag wrote:
Although the "purity" of the art(s) gives us all warm fuzzies, werent the original okinawan masters quite found of alcoholic beverages and women?  my point is not to disparage them by any means, but werent they in search of highly effective techniques (jutsu) and later came the idealism (do)?

Without reference to the video, as far as I know the answer to the above is basically "no". While definitely things changed markedly with the mainstreaming of Karate, and full on Japanese style modern Budo concepts, there is some evidence that there has always been a "do" emphasis in Karate, You can find quotes from as far back as Bushi Matsumura about this. Similar concepts are/were also a big part of the Chinese arts that Karate takes part of it's heritage from.

That isn't to say I think the old guys didn't have effective techniques or concepts as I most certainly think they did. I just don't buy the idea that this an either/or question, and that any focus on ethics or other intangibles is a totally modern thing. I mean, you can find western martial manuals entirely unrelated to Karate that focus on what we would call 'do'..there has always been some inclusion of that kind of material in martial arts training, IMO.

Sorry to be long winded, I actually agree with the criticisms being made of the video, I just think  that if we are seeing a lack of effectiveness int he video, it isn't due to the inclusion of 'do', it's due to exclusion of something else.

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

So the true spirit of karate is to injure oneself in training but, in the event of real violence, to allow oneself to be beaten (without responding) up to the verge of death? I'll pass.

On a side note the romantic idea that samurai were paragons of virtue is laughable. They were highly trained killers. If their lord commanded them to wipe out a village for not paying its taxes on time they'd slay man, woman and child without question.

It doesn't matter how deep the narrator's voice is, BS is BS.

(I liked the judo ones though).

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi all,

the samurai spirit came to the ryukyu kingdom at the lates in 1609 when the shimazu clan of satsuma conquered the ryukyu kingdom. They brought their fighting style, jigen ryu, along. Old Masters like Matsumura studied that Jigen Ryu style of fighting. Jigen Ryu is not a mere sword school. It contains also an empty handed part, Ju Jutsu if you like.

As Zack pointed out, Matsumura was an advocate of good manners. See his seven virtues of budo in his makimono. I think the whole "karate ni sente nashi" thing can be traced back to at least Matsumuras generation of teachers. When I am not wrong it was Asato Anko who stated in an interview with Funakoshi, that was published in the early 1900, the "karate ni sente nashi" is an old saying. So he must have heard that at least from his teacher, Matsumura.

Even the medieval knights had a code of conduct. So I think it was always like "With great power comes great responsibility". smiley

Regards Holger

Ives
Ives's picture

How can you possibly base an opinion about those Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu karate-ka bunkai on 10 seconds of footage?

The way they showed the kata and a very basic yet stylised bunkai, in split-screen, is a acceptable way to show a layman an idea / direction of how kata could be interpretated.

What I liked about the documentary (on karate) was the open approach of Nicholas Pettas towards the different views on karate as expressed by the different teachers. The view on karate given by Hajina Kazumi I found also very interesting. 

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Ives wrote:

How can you possibly base an opinion about those Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu karate-ka bunkai on 10 seconds of footage?

My criticism was of the documentary, not the karateka themselves, nor their styles. I'm sure they do some great things. This film just doesn't show them doing them. It's all self-harm and ludicrous philosophies that will get them hurt or killed in the real world.

Jon Lean
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The normal highly romanticized view of the martial arts, but then this is from NNK World, the English speaking but Japanese TV Channel, who would not be expected to offer a critical view to a foreign audience - very Un-Japanese that!

I smiled when Pettis revealed that the Japanese called him the "Blue Eyed Samurai", I've heard that one applied to a number of western martial artists in Japan, it's usually accompanied by a ironic smile and laugh....I wouldn't boast about itwink

Bit in the judo doc with Inoue was good though........

Zach Zinn
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Lee Richardson wrote:

Ives wrote:

How can you possibly base an opinion about those Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu karate-ka bunkai on 10 seconds of footage?

My criticism was of the documentary, not the karateka themselves, nor their styles. I'm sure they do some great things. This film just doesn't show them doing them. It's all self-harm and ludicrous philosophies that will get them hurt or killed in the real world.

I'm curious, beyond the very short bunkai snipetts (which also were not mky cup of tea), what exactly was so objectionable? I didn't listen to all the dialogue, did I miss something? Also, what part is self harm?

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Zach Zinn wrote:

I'm curious, beyond the very short bunkai snipetts (which also were not mky cup of tea), what exactly was so objectionable? I didn't listen to all the dialogue, did I miss something? Also, what part is self harm?

I'm looking at it from a point of view of karate for self-protection, so the idea of damaging my knuckles (and forearms and finger tips etc) goes directly against that. I don't buy into the idea that self-destructive training improves the character or develops a warrior spirit. Modern soldiers don't deliberately traumatise their bodies. The nukite conditioning was particularly bad, I thought. Common sense should tell us that poking our finger ends into something hard isn't clever. Taking the wrong tool for the job and forcing it to work is all wrong.

Near the end the virtues of self-control and endurance were extolled. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but the example that was given to illustrate those virtues being tested was of a master being set upon by a gang of thugs and allowing himself to be beaten up without retaliating. To me that's like learning CPR, but having the self-control not to us it when required.

Maybe it's just me. I'm crotchety like that.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

 

Quote:

I'm looking at it from a point of view of karate for self-protection, so the idea of damaging my knuckles (and forearms and finger tips etc) goes directly against that. I don't buy into the idea that self-destructive training improves the character or develops a warrior spirit. Modern soldiers don't deliberately traumatise their bodies. The nukite conditioning was particularly bad, I thought. Common sense should tell us that poking our finger ends into something hard isn't clever. Taking the wrong tool for the job and forcing it to work is all wrong.

Near the end the virtues of self-control and endurance were extolled. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but the example that was given to illustrate those virtues being tested was of a master being set upon by a gang of thugs and allowing himself to be beaten up without retaliating. To me that's like learning CPR, but having the self-control not to us it when required.

Maybe it's just me. I'm crotchety like that.

 

I have mixed feelings on the conditioning bit, on the one hand I think alot of modern practitioners disgregard some methods (such as competent makiwara training) unfairly considering them to simply be injurious..on the other hand, I did think some of the conditioning was overkill, and personally i'd rather spend the bulk of my time learning how to do something right rather than endless tool sharpening.

I think John made a good point about the 'innoculation against fear' thing..however, I think you could equally apply this to schools that spend 90% of their time on heavy bag, mitts, and pushups as well. Though admittedly the heavy bags and mitts and pushups don't neccessarily carry the same injury risk. Basically what i'm saying is, minus the injury risk (real or perceived) from the traditional conditioning methods, it seems like the complaint is on all this 'toughness' training with no connection to real violence..int hat case there are plenty of western dojo making the same mistake, just substituing kettlebells or focus mitts's for chi-ishi and makiwara.

The 'don't fight back' thing kind of floored me too, weird.

Ives
Ives's picture

I have to agree with Zach Zinn on som of those points.

Kakie and makiwara training isn't damaging or injurous when building up.

It's like running, if you decide one day to run a marathon without training, you'll be in for trouble because your endurance may be lacking, but more likely your tendons will be overworked before before reaching the 10K mark. I know people who started running (not marathons but running shorter distances) without a gradual build-up. Same goes for weight-lifting. People tend to forget that rest is a big part of training.

Back to the smashing of your forearms; it basically comes down to Wollf's law, your bone density will increase (applies to running aswell). Which is actually strengthening your body not damaging.

I have to say that the documentary showed some ackward conditioning routines. And the story about Chibana Chosin I found weird aswell.  

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

I don't have a problem with the strength and conditioning training in and of itself, it's the thought of people beating themselves up in the name of self-protection that doesn't sit well with me. This is going off-topic slightly so I'll start a new thread in Training Methods.

Joshua.Harvie
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Interesting bit in the Judo one about the 'philosophical' (for serious want of a more appropriate term) role attached to 'ippon,' and how it's been essentially watered down by competitors aiming for a tidy collection of half points. Does anyone know if there are any resources on older karate competitions which may show a similar trend?