Japanese Karate – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Karate was born in Okinawa, yet most people think that Japanese Karate is the source. The reason for this is that Karate traveled through Japan, and this country became the central marketing force of that art. Thus, people just assume that Japan is the heart of the art.
It is true that Japan has contributed greatly to the growth of Karate, but there are a few problems arisen because of that help. Things have occurred in Karate that actually restrict an individual’s striving for artistic expression. This piece of writing will examine that concept. Best karate classes Las Vegas
The person most responsible for pushing Karate into the modern world is Gichin Funakoshi. In his writings one notes that he discourages Karate for competition. Unfortunately, this advice was not adhered to, and Karate became slanted for the tournament win.
Nothing wrong with testing oneself, but when the game becomes win at any cost, got to get that gold, got to beat the other guy, the art becomes skewed badly. The sport desire to pound down another human being goes against the more artistic desire to control oneself. Thus, Karate ceases to function as Art, and becomes a method for human cockfighting.
This problem manifested Funakoshi taught his karate to college students. These students altered the art according to their youthful excesses, and put aside the development of character as the prime motivation of the art. Thus, tournaments grew popular, students became enthralled with fighting for the sake of fighting, and there was even one incident of a student being killed for not wishing to go down this dark path.
Because of this lust for personal power in Karate there was also a distinct degradation of art. For instance, to this day a karate point won’t be awarded when fighting unless the student charges in with a front stance. If one examines the older arts, the Chinese based arts from which the Japanese version descended, however, one will see that the front stance is an over commitment, and that the true fighting stance is the much more balanced back stance.
When fighting from a balanced back stance one can use all weapons (fist, foot, or otherwise) and still retain the ability to shuffle backward out of the action. To be able to stand back, apart from the action, as it were, encourages the student to take a more balanced viewpoint to the fact of even getting in a fight. It has been a rather sizable observation of this author that when students are trained in the back stance as the major stance of Karate, they become less aggressive and more understanding.
Interestingly, Funakoshi himself seems to have understood these points. On one hand, he is reported as saying that he didn’t even recognize that Karate that was being taught, that it was drastically different from that which he had brought to Japan. And, on the other hand, his official paraphernalia, the chops and seals and what have you, were not given to Shotokan Karate (the premier Karate organization of Japan) upon his death, but rather were passed on to a more complacent and gentle style of Karate called Shotokai.
In closing, whether you study one of the more balanced styles of Karate, or whether you have been influenced by the power pushing Japanese styles doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do the forms, and you seek for balance. Thus, consider the words of this article, apply them as you can and Japanese Karate can revert to a more true form of Martial Arts.