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Kancho's essay on Karate and Japan  館長エッセイ Last update MAY29, 2017
26/5/2017 (May 29 enlargement) About the TENSYO
I feel recently Tensyo might be downplayed in the training of Gojuryu Dojos.I think it is a big mistake to lose sight of essence of Gojuryu. Tensyo is the Kata which Chojun Miyagi created.
Anyone knows Tensyo was made from the six simple figuresand it's explanation that was written in Bubishi by Chojun Miyagi, if he learn Gojuryu.The word Rok-ki-shu ( - -) means "six variation of hand".Bubishi does not explain most about Rokkisyu.It only simply explain when you attack the enemy's specific vital point by six variation of hand, he loses the life.It looks difficult to create that Tensyo,a high level Kata, from mere six figures and concise explanation.Furthermore, I think that it is impossible to deduce movement of Kata of Tensyo only from these six figures if I say.
I think this Kata includes four elements historically.
1."Rok-ki-syu" ,brief six pictures and descriptionin which were written in "BUBISHI"
2."Tsuru no te"(kenpo of crane) of Miyagi's Chinese friend Go Kenki(Wu Xian Gui ).He was a tea merchant who emigrated to Okinawa from China in 1912,and the expert of of Fujian White Crane.
3.Technique of Wushu that he got in his short trips to China in 1915(Fujian ) and 1917(Shanghai).
4.Koneri-te,the operation knead the hand in the Okinawan ethnic dance.
Miyagi was theoretical Karate-Ka who selected among the traditional Nahate Kata and classified them in the his original system of Go(Hard) and Ju(Soft) and fixed Sanchin(which he succeeded to from predecessor) and Tensyo(which he created) in each basic.Tensyo is the basic in the basic of every offense and defense.In addition, various joint locks are generated from it.You will be awakened to the true battle methode of Gojuryu by training this eagerly.
Of course it is not to repeat merely Tensyo.It is essential to train Bunkai with opponent.Only by doing so,you will become able to understand the guideline of the interpretation of Gojuryu, and various skill about offense and defense that Kata shows.We should value more Tensyo, and study it and fix it in the center of the training.

→Refer to the members only site: the video clip "Detail of Tensyo and it's training:May 29enlargement".(The old version was abolished.)
1/1/2017  Karate and Karatedo What is difference when the “do” attaches?
...We usually use the word “Karate”.But, in a sense, this is an abbreviated form which has the risk to lose essence of "Budo" (traditional martial arts of Japan). Strictly speaking, the right word is not Karate, but is Karatedo. When we talk with merely karate, it points at combat sport called karate.The meaning is deepened when end of a word "do" attaches it in "Karate".(“do” is pronounced the “dou” in Japanese.)
Not only Budo, a lot of Arts in Japan has the end of word "do". Those "do" has an active meaning that "seeking for truth".So the meaning of Karate-do is "seeking for truth of way of life by means of Karate".Karate-ka must be "the seeker after truth".Japanese Budo made much of Zen since ancient times.So Bodo is also called " moving Zen..By the way, is "Zen" practiced to show others it?The answer is NO. It completely loses essence and an effect of Zen if a person practices "Zen" as a performance for others. Karatedo is training and discipline for way of life. So the aim is same as Zen.
(This is the article that is partly revised of my contribution to Shihan Hamed Zafaranlou's Karate book which was published on November 2016.)

【1】“If you learn from the history and understand the present age, you can become an excellent Shihan.”(old common saying)
 Karate has become Olympics sports of 2020.At that time, the follow news reached me when we were soak in the after glow of the closing ceremony of Rio Olympics.
..On September, 2016, a 63 age and 170cm man , was attacked by the Asiatic black bear about 190 cm in mountains in Japan. But it was a misfortune for the bear, he is high level Dan holder Karate-ka. The bear's power was extraordinary. He was blown off by only a miss attack of the bear. Number to fight minutes,he attacked the bear's right eye with Nukite. The bear escaped. It was good that a life was saved.”
He drove his car by himself and went to the hospital. He was wounded in the head and the right arm, but was all the slight wound of complete cure two weeks.

..In traditional Karate, the finger always aims enemy's eye. This 63-year-old Karate-ka would have been training hard at such a traditional technique. If it had not been so, he could not instantly approach the bear and strike the bear’s eyes accurately.But such a training is useless to sports Karate competition.
The rule restricts the skill .Thereby it secures the safety and the ease of judgment. But we should regard what we lost and what we obtained.
For instance, let's do kumite with permission of Kinteki-keri.
How does your kumite change? Similarly, let's do kumite with the permission of attack to eyes, an ear and hair. In the situation, is Jodan mawashigeri effective? You must understand the real intention of sanchin-dachi,nekoashi-dachi and zenkutsu-dachi. Furthermore,in my dojo we sometimes try to against the plural enemies, the enemy having knives. By these little invention, the recognition of our Karate should change.
The game with the referee, the rule, the stopwatch and one opponent is only one side of Karate.I do not think that game is unnecessary not to mention.
.In fact, in my dojo, the exercises of kids is sports Karate style.But, It is not enough to reach the Karatedo.I goona write the six points which I would like you to mind on Karate .

【2】Karate historically was developed as Bujutsu to resist the samurai carring Japanese sword in Okinawan. In other words, Karate suppose the fighting against the multiple enemies and or the enemy having the weapon. We must not forget this Karate historical character. And Karate-ka was not proud of himself. We must not make Karate the means of conceit and or threat, too.

【3】Seiken is just only the one of form of fist of Karate.
In development of the modern education system, Karate kata changed to the seiken-centered motion. Karate originally used the of variety fist form depending on the vital points of enemy. We must study deeply the vital points. And we must practice to strike the vital points with an appropriate fist precisely. In modern sports Karate, the training of the fist is unnecessary. Even in Japan, the recent young people do not strengthen his fist.The fist of Karate-ka’s fist must’nt be the same the one of amateur.

【4】The technique of Karate is not only tuki and keri. Karate is a system of tuki, keri, joint lock, grappling hold, throw and choking. They are usually trained by yakusoku-kumite. And more,Yuzenkai suggests the new Gojuryu full-contact rule.

【5】We must know the mechanical rationality of karate.
Mechanical rationality of Karate is comprised by the power caused by twisting, the power caused by sinking, the power caused by rising, the power caused by advance, the power of the action and reaction, the power caused by release,and the principle of leverage.
①Power caused by twisting is,for instance, seen in Kata of sanchin. The power caused from the lower half of the body in sanchin-dachi reaches the arm via the waist, the back, and the shoulder, and is converted into Seiken tuki.
②Power caused by sinking is the power from suddenly change from high posture to low posture. This is the using of potential energy. For instance, it is seen in the Age-tuki at the same time as suddenly lowering posture in Kata of Seienchin. 

③Power caused by rising, for instance,is the power seen in kata Sesan.(Continuously three times Seiken at the same time suddenly raising posture.)
④Power caused by advance is, for instance,the power of the operation that advances rapidly position. This is the using of potential energy, too. This power is typically seen in kata Heiku, Paiku, and Anan.

⑤ Powerer of action and reaction is, for instance, the power seen in the right seiken tsuki with strongly pulling the left seiken. In kata Sisouchin, the osae-uke uses this power.
⑥Power caused by release is, for instance, seen in kata Saifa.(Uraken attack with rapidly expansion posture from shrinkage posture.).

⑦ Principle of leverage is seen in the sashite technigue(the stabbing hands) in the kata Sanseru.An important point is to use your both arms like a stick. Don't you bend the joint of your arm, and don't catch the arm of opponent. You must set Sashite to make the opponent's vital point (Hizizume or Wanjun) the fulcrum.Turn the your body to throw the opponent to the direction of the force.

I do not deny the significance of the competition Kata. I only would like to say that we should become aware of it. The standardization of Kata deprived the historical combat operations from Kata.
For instance, many Karate books for the beginner explain the mae-geri in kata Saifa is kinteki-geri. But this keri originally is the technique to inserting the tiptoe in enemy's vital point. The old Karate-ka forged his tiptoe, and broke enemy's internal organs by it. This technique had disappeared in competition kata.
Tsuki is also similar. In traditional Gojuryu, when the tsuki hit to the enemy, we screw our seiken in the enemy's body by a little shoulder movement. And the tsuki should be do as to break the enemy's spine and or the back of the head. Goluryu Sihans had taught like the method until half a century ago.

【6】We must study a continuity of kihon and kata and kumite.The truth of Karate is in the deep continuity between kihon,kata and kumite. The Karate lucks this continuity of three elements is mere combat sport. So, the study of Kata is very important.
For instance,it is the moment when the joint lock "hiji-ori" made a hit in opponent in jiyu kumite. The kata "Sisouchin" has the usage of this technique. The next is the basic training the "hiki-uke" for this technique: It is one of the kihon(hojo-undo) .

It is the training "Kake-te" to use the "hiki-uke" instantly in jiyu-kumite.We practice this repeatedly earnestly until the picture comes out in jiyu-kumite in.
Many joint locks of Gojuryu are put out not by catching(tukami) but by crossing(sashite).
In a speedy battle of Karate, there are no time to catch a opponent.

I will say once again. kata and kumite and kihon must be related together.Recently participants of competition must do kata as acting for show. Even if people watches the real training Kata, he maybe feel it like a poor performance.However, we who investigate karate as bujutsu must continue training kata not the show but the training.And we discover the technique that a certain innumerable movement suggests in kata.
Karate Kata has the history of the secretiveness. The next explanation is a guideline for you.(the nine principles for Bunkai of Gojuryu Kata)
①In kata, the uke moving front means the attack, and the one getting back means the defense.
②The rotation of the body imply the throwing technique.
③The motion in Kata often should be interpreted as reverse action for Bunkai.
④Do not obsess over the demonstration line .
⑤Uke has always converted to grab the opponent and fall him.
⑥The seiken attack to the face have to be converted to the palm or the nukite or the Kamite.
⑦The one attack goes to only one enemy.
⑧The direction of the tiptoe foretells the next motion.
⑨Nekoashi-dachi means always the keri

【7】From Bujutsu to Budo
As previously described,Japanese traditional technical culture was sublimated to ethical or Zen philosophy in the long history .The Japanese has expressed it by the word "Do".The Japanese martial arts, Ju-do,Ken-do,Aiki-do,Kyu-do,Iai-do , Karate-do are typical examples.And Syo-do (calligraphy), Tya-do(tea ceremony ),Ka-do ( flower arrangement) are also good examples.Karate is ultimately the spirit, the way of life and the art. Finally, I introduce you the old proverb of Japanese samurai .
The man of fortitude is the man gentlemanly.The courageous person is the person with deep love.
2/10/2016  What is "osu" originally ?
..The word "osu" is a well-known greetings of karate.More say,in Japan, "osu" is used as greetings well in boy, high school student and university studentl.
But it is a mistake if you think all Japanese karate dojo uses "osu" as for granted.
Karate dojo in Japan surely use the word "osu" but not all. They use "hai" as common sense greetings.And the dojos of okinawa do not use "osu" as far as I know it.In fact, I have not been using it until recently, too. I had had uncomfortable feeling on this word.Because this word has a impression of no class.On earth what is "osu?"
The word originates from a morning greetings of university students in the early 20th century.(According to one estimate,it was Takushoku university) "Good morning" is "o-hayou-gozaimas" in Japanese."o-hayou-gozaimas" was omitted and changed into "o-hayossu" and finally became "osu".In other words, the word "osu" was vulgar contracted form of "good morning".Takushoku university at the time was the university which was famous for the martial arts.Therefore the influence on other university students was strong, too.
It was university graduates to have pulled Japanese karate after World War II. JKA (Japan Karate Association), Mas Oyama's Kyokushin are big one of them.They used "osu" which they were familiar with for school days routinely.In other dojo ,the "osu" came to be copied from it before long, too.
Now "osu" is "押忍"written in Kanji.The character "押" is "overwhelm" , and "忍"is "endure" . Of course it is a phonetic equivalent.So this kanji has strange expression.But because the meaning of the "substitute character" is felt to be good for karate, "osu" is used now in many karate dojo.Incidentally most other traditional Budo(martial arts) in Japan do not use the word "osu".
13/9/2016  About the news that a 63-year-old man repulsed a bear by Karate.
 The follow surprising news reached me when many Japanese people were soak in the afterglow of Rio Olympics and the trailer of Tokyo Olympics 2020.
 On September 1, 2016, a 63 age and 170cm man was attacked by the Asiatic black bear about 190 cm in mountains in Gunma prefecture Japan. It was a misfortune for the bear, he is high level Dan holder Karate-ka.
 He told " I heard sound. In the moment, the bear attacked to me. I thought that I was murdered. I became the southpaw-style and fought against the bear. The power of the bear was extraordinary. I was blown off by only the miss attack of the bear. Number to fight minutes,I attacked the right eye of the bear with nukite. The bear escaped. It was good that a life was saved.”
 He drove a car by himself and went to the hospital. He was wounded in the head and the right arm, but was all the slight wound of complete cure two weeks.
In our traditional Karate, the finger always targets opponent's eye. This 63-year-old Karate-Ka would have been training hard at such a traditional technique.Otherwise he advance to the short distance and cannot hit the bear’s eyes. However, such a training is useless to win in modern sports Karate.We should regard what is Karate again.
(The quality of image was dropped by his anonymity hope.)
 3/4/2016 "Douwai ",Kata of mystery
In a sense,Kata was originally folklore in Okinawa.Founders of Ryuhas had selected some Katas according to his philosophy, and created the system of his Ryuha.Kenwa Mabuni was a maximum collector of Kata.But his collection is not all.Some Kata, which were not choiced by famous founders.
In our sect,some Kata of mystery exist.For example, there is Kata called "Douwai".We do not know the details of them .(The photographs are "some parts of Douwai")
Kata not seen in other sects. This is, so to speak, an endangered species.

Of course,"Douwai" is out of Gojuryu standard list.But the Kata has character of Gojuryu.Sometimes,this kata may be called Rouhai.I guess "Douwai"‘is a corrupted form of "Rouhai".Surely this resembles Matsumura Rouhai of Shitoryu to some extent.And it resembles the Tomari Rouhai closely further.They might be "Kyoudai-te" (brothers -Kata).
By the way,"Rouhai" (Okinawa dialect) was clearly influenced by Chinese luohan quan (羅漢拳) .This Kata 's features is one-legged posture.In Okinawa, the posture is called "the foot of the heron".So Rouhai is written 鷺牌 (Shield of the heron) in a kanji.But this name was changed the Meikyo (明鏡:Bright mirror) by Gichin Funakoshi.It means that the brightly clear heart like a mirror.
Acording to folklore,certain General who escaped from Taiping Civil War(1850 to 1864) in China thought this Kata to some Okinawan Karate master.As a result,this Kata became three type Rouhai (Tomari Rouhai,Matsumura Rouhai and Douwai(Naha-te Rouhai)) by the difference of their sect (Tomari-te, Syuri-te and Naha-te) If so, the three Rouhai has further relation through the General with Heiku,
Paiku and Anan.While presumptuous, I might add Douwai to the list of Yuzenkai Nahate Gojuryu in the future.In that case ,"羅漢" is good for the Phonetic equivalent kanji.
7/3/2016 ..About the technique of Sashite (Stabbing hands)
Sashite (Stabbing hands)is a generic name of the technique using "the leverage”, and it is one of the important technique of Goju-Ryu. Sashite" is seen in much Kata.I will explain Sashite as an example in Sanseru and Gekisai.
Movement of Sashite in Kata「Sanseru」.
This movement means the following throwing technique by Sashite and body turn.

An important point is to use your both arms like a stick.Don't you bend the joint of your arm, and don't catch the arm of opponent.You must set Sashite to make the attacker's vital point (Hizizume or Wanjun) the fulcrum.Turn the your body to throw the opponent to the direction of the force."敵の急所肘詰または腕馴を支点とする。自分の腕を棒のように操作すること。

"Sashite" in Gekisai
is the last movement of kata
"Sisouchin". This movement is Sashite.Try bunkai it.
1/2/2016 ..Common view that Karate had been used in actual combats looks suspicious(?)
In March, 2015, the education authorities of the Urazoe city in Okinawa prefecture,Japan announced "The investigation report about the origin of Ryukyu Karate".It is a reports by a small town education authorities but has some interesting viewpoints.Because the famous martial arts reserchers in China and Okinawa participated and many historical documents of the Chinese side were referred to this study .
want to explain it briefly..
According to the report , the common view that Karate had been used in actual combats looks suspicious.
The Ryukyu kingdom at the time did not have a standing military. In the first place, there was no war in there.So the aim of the Okinawan samurai was to become a bureaucrat.Perhaps Kata had been a kind of culture of Okinawan samurai, and been a suitable entertainment to show to the king or Mission from China.So it is necessary to consider Kata from viewpoint of not only a martial arts but also a entertainment .沖縄でも武士階級の最大の目標は官僚に採用されることであり、近世沖縄は戦争もなく常備軍もなく、型は実戦使用というよりも国王や貴族、賓客の前で披露する武士の教養ととらえた方が適当である。
I also think that Kata has the taste like a traditional dancing.For example, you may feel a commonality of the nuance of Passai , Saifa and Chinto if you watch the classical performing dancing"the shishimai" (dancing of lions in China, Okinawa, Japan) in the youtube.In other words, these KATA reminds of various movements (playing, being wary, licking it's foot, pushing it's head forward ) of a lion in "Shishi mai".例えばサイファやパッサイなどは古くから広く中国文化圏で行われている獅子舞の動作との関係が強い。
"Shishi no te" (fist of the lion) is seen in traditional Kata Pas-sai and Sai-fa. The word "Sai" is a lion.
But a fist disappeared in modearn game Kata.The report states that the cause that the style of the characteristic lion disappeared is to have introduced karate into the high school education in Okinawa in 1905.)The word "Chin-to" is Zin-tou (The head of group).This means a leader lion of "Shishimai"group.
The opening operation of Passai is a gallant figure of the leader lion which jumped out of the group first.The movement of the sixth and the seventh of Saifa is the technique of fist of lion.

Shishi-mai(dancing of lions)
Fist of the lion(shishi no te) in Saifa
It is correct to do this movement not with Seiken but with Shishi no te.
A movement of the dragon in Kuru-runfa
Kuru…臥waiting for an opportunity

龍舞 Ryu-mai(dancing of dragon... Ryu(dragon) vs Shihi(lion))Kuru-run" (臥-龍) means a dragon aiming at opportunity to go on the sky secretly on the ground.
This word is from an ancient Chinese history book " Sanguo Zhi(Records of Three Kingdoms)".

The other interesting indication by this reports.
1 Passai
is Kata of a lion not Kata of a leopard.Passai is "拍-獅 Pau-sai" in a dialect of Fujian, China.This meaning is Shihimai(dancing lion) itself in Fujian.パッサイは拍獅(パウサイ)で福州語で獅子舞の意味。
2 Hei-hu-quan (黒-虎-拳:black-tiger-fist)influenced Gojuryu,too.剛柔流は長拳である黒虎拳の影響もある。
3 Chinto comes from the meaning of a head (頭:Tou:leader) and a camp (陣:Chin:group of festivals).It is not essentially specific Kata but is the good Kata of the group leader.チントーの語源は陣頭(獅子舞の頭)であり、もともとは特定の型を指す用語ではなく、獅子舞の頭領の得意とする型の意である。
4 The correct date of birth and death of Wang Daxing (王打興) , one of ancestor of Gojuryu, is 1659~1763.He is the first student of founder Fāng Qīniáng(方七娘) of White Crane (Hakutsuru fist白鶴拳) and he was at second position of 28 geniuses by the master.In a list of that time, the master name Ton Lee-chek" 鄭礼叔 (1654 ...? Tou ryu ko?) is seen.White Crane had been derived to the Fujian district by 林世成 (Rin Shi cheng) in the next times of Wang Daxing (王打興). He may be a progeny of the three or fourth generation of Wang Daxing.Xie Zhongxiang (謝崇祥1852-1930) graduated from Rin Shi cheng's system.(ワイシンザン:ワンシージャン:王師匠:武備志に登場する有名な)王打興は白鶴拳の創始者である方七娘の28人の弟子の2番に位置した弟子である。また彼ととともに五虎と称された弟子に鄭礼叔がいる。王打興の3~4代目の末裔と推定される林世成が白鶴拳を福州へ分派し、その門派から謝崇祥が現れたが、東恩納寛量が福州で師事したのは彼であるという有力な説がある。
 Back Number(2013~2015)
No.15 Message from kancho in the beginning of 2015
No.14 The sword stored in the sheath is stronger than the sword pulled out from the sheath.
No.13 Mas Oyama as great Gojuryu fighter."The circle motion is a principle of Karate"
No.12 About the adjusting method of the body(The Orient medical and Gojuryu Karatedo).
No.11 On basic Japanese words for Karate
No.10About the (historical) movement that had disappeared in Kata(For instance, for SAIFA)
No.9 Misunderstanding about the Karate weapon "SAI".
No.7 Secret that lurks in the final operation of "SUPARINPEI".
No.6 six powers that composes Nahate-Gojuryu Karate
No.5 40 years passed after Bruce Lee had died(1940-1973) 
No.4 At Okinawa 
NO,3 Is the technique of modern Kendo the same as the technique of "Japanese sword"?  
NO,2 Famous Samurais that appears in "youtube"  
NO,1 Is Ninja exist?    
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