Karate was exhibited in Okinawa, yet most people think that Japanese Karate is the root. The reason for this is that Karate traveled through Japan, and this country became the central marketing division of that art. Thus, people just assume that Japan is the center of the art.
Japan has indeed offered considerably to the growth of Karate, but there are a few obstacles arisen because of that help. Things have occurred in Karate that contain an individual’s striving for artistic representation. This piece of writing will explore that concept.
The person most accountable 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 inclined for the competition win.
Nothing wrong with examining 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 terribly. The sport passion to pound down another human being goes against the more creative desire to control oneself. Thus, Karate ceases to function as Art, and becomes a means for human cockfighting.
This dilemma manifested Funakoshi taught his karate to college students. These students altered the art according to their athletic excesses, and put aside the evolution of character as the prime motivation of the art. Thus, tournaments grew widespread, students became enthralled with fighting for the sake of fighting, and there was even one incident of a student being killed for not wanting to go down this dark path.
Because of this lust for personal power in Karate there was also a sharp degeneration of art. For example, to this day a karate point won’t be awarded when persevering unless the student charges in with a front stance. If one considers the older arts, the Chinese based arts from which the Japanese version slipped, however, one will see that the front stance is an over engagement, and that the true fighting stance is the much more stable back stance.
When fighting from a stable back stance one can use all weapons (fist, foot, or otherwise) and still maintain the strength to shuffle backward out of the action. To be able to hold back, apart from the performance, as it were, assists 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 taught 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 satisfied and refined style of Karate called Shotokai.
In closing, whether you consider one of the more balanced styles of Karate, or whether you have been inspired by the power pushing Japanese styles doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do the forms, and you attempt for balance. Thus, contemplate the words of this article, utilize them as you can and Japanese Karate can return to a more true form of Martial Arts.