When one see the comments about the IOC Session decision to include 5 sports into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a sports and karate being one of them one realizes that the karate community in the world are an uninformed ignorant lot with very little analytical capacity. As you are all aware karate started as one united structure both in traditional Okinawan karate and today’s sport oriented karate. History tells us very clearly that karate was a synthesis of many martial influences over the decades with the Chinese influence, the Japanene influence and the various South East influences which evolved karate into what it is today. Actually speaking karate was one activity before the name karate was adopted and before that Tode or Chinese hand and previously called Ti, it was the effects of Itosu Sensei the great Okinawan karate genius and his vision to include karate as a physical education activity in the Okinawan school system, that led karate in the direction it has today. Before this karate was a effective form of civil self defense not just against untrained ruffians but also against fighting armies, when the Tokugawa and the Satsuma samurai invaded Okinawa and banned weaponry the Okinawa people went into secrecy and developed this civil empty hand self defense, although karate existed long before this, as they were a people that loved their freedom. After the introduction of karate, by Itosu Sensei into the Okinawan school system and deliberately after extracting the effective self defense application from karate, this set the foundation for karate as we see it today. What we see today which was exported to JAPAN and the rest of the world was “children karate”. Now this not a bad thing as the approached allowed for the survival of karate until today and made it very popular and contributed to its world-wide spread, without this I am afraid karate may have disappeared or it would have been practiced by very few. Take today the watered down styles that teach predominantly ” children karate” tend to have bigger numbers as members, as this karate is simple and straightforward. But those elaborate schools of deep study tend to have fewer students. This is a fact about other BUDO groups as well, kendo has much more members than kenjutsu and so forth and so forth. So we determine that in the evolution of many Japanese styles and especially those in the universities ” senior children karate” the students wanted to develop a competition atmosphere amongst themselves. If one looks at the various Japanese universities one will notice loyalty till they are in their adulthood. This is a matter of pride and it is in this atmosphere that one starts to understand the Sempai/Kohai system, seniors always push and control the juniors to a point of brutality sometimes, in Okinawan it was more a teachers disciple relationship which is very different to what Japan was used too. Japan is known to be a hierarchical society, and many wanted to shown off their group achievements. Besides there is a very serious rivalry between karate organizations and universities. This was the ideal environment for a further dilution of the old Okinawan karate and the exported ” children karate”.
One has to take into consideration kata was always the emphasis of the karate masters and their strategies and tactics of their styles were embedded in kata. Actually every kata is a fighting system on its own. In the old days students a maximum of two to three kata ONLY. Even Itosu emphasized kata in his ” children karate” practice.The only difference was the dangerous application was removed and his emphasis was only on physical education and development, most of the strategy, tactics and self defense technique which we developed to disable or damage the enemy were “hidden” and known by a few or even lost. So it clear that what was exported to Mainland Japan was “children karate” .
So the exported karate was further watered down when sport was introduced to the “children karate” from Okinawa, also as can we established through analyzing morgen sporting rules, a limited number of techniques we deployed into the sports system. Even the sports system was first developed under the “hitatsu ikken” mentality as an emulations as a sword men, that one strike should kill or injure and opponent, the strike we are suppose execute are to be at nerve center or organs without touching but with the intent to destroy, so we say similar to “shadow boxing with a partner” or shadow fighting. Again certain areas were forbidden and speed, distance and timing was the emphasis of this competition approach, there is evidence that this form of karate tried to emulate Kendo, and many of its rules have been taken from Kendo. Then came the introduction of karate into the west, the westerners were not happy with this “ikken hitatsu” mentality and they tried to bring in a more boxing approach but with a stop start methodology, a multiple point system was introduced in the late seventies and evolved into a multiple point system with more kicking and sweeping technique, which is the karate we see today, in the meantime another approach was developing, one where a group in Japan and America wanting more contact and more endurance. Knockdown sport karatewasdeveloped by including Amuam Thai approach and in America the contact karate with protection was introduced. All these started from Okinawan Karate and after Itosu Sensei created “children karate”. United World Karate Federation includes all these in its competition formats and includes all traditional karate kata Sao we are preserving all karate from Okinawa and Japan in one organization and one competition so we are the truly United Karate World Federation. A anyone can participate and develop themselves in all ways available.
So to the point both traditional Okinawan karate and other modern sport karate are essential for karate to survive, traditional karate from Okinawa would not have survived if “children karate” was not created because this allowed group training and mass participation, traditional karate has small dojos and one on one instruction is emphasized to teach the deeper understanding of self defense where as more recent sport is mass based and very simple and more athletic.
I have seem comments that some people only do ” we only do BUDO karate and are not interested in sports karate” but you are actually training and teaching “itosu’s Children karate” with your large group instruction, monthly fees and systemized kata practice and kumite prearranged teaching and calling yourselves authentic and the original BUDO karate. Who are you fooling there is nothing BUDO in your karate and with these comments you are bullshitting the uneducated and ignorant or maybe you are doing this to yourself and who are you trying to hogwash with you words. Only yourself, because you actually don’t know your karate history.
Sport karate and karate to the Olympics is good for all karate and we must embrace this like the BrucE Lee era was also good for the popularity of karate although Bruce Lee was kung fu practitioner, all in all we are either martial arts and martial sport, or just doing martial sport but think we are doing martial arts.
We can try as much as we want today’s society is nothing like the masters of old and one is not trying their skills on the battlefield daily for survival where they are using their skills in life and death situation, but rather teaching many on what they believe many work if the situation arrived. But on the sporting side we have pseudo situation of winning by selective rules without killing or injuring anyone seriously.
So really who are you fooling, maybe yourself, because you are ignorant and really are simulating what you learnt and believe this is the truth. The truth is in the kata and its analysis and the proof is its effects which unfortunately if used in its proper form and effect will definitely get you in jail. Think about this before you make comments about sport karate and traditional karate both are important for karate’s current and future development.