Pathways of Karate Development

East Asia cultures are different than western cultures by perception in many aspects. Going back hundreds years, the differences were even larger.

The book "Pathway of Karate Development" exposes the pragmatic approach of karate origin. It reveals similarities and differences then and nowadays from a pragmatic perspective and offers captivating perspective of techniques, as it appears in kata.

Interpret descriptions and explanations of earlier East Asian Martial Arts in Western eyes will lead to measunderstanding of the idea. It is similar to try using two different units of measures in same formula. It is impossible to calculate and will inevitably lead to mistakes, some negligible, some significant and some ridiculous. In any case, it is clear that different measurement-units ate not to be used in same structure.
Hence, when approaching a particular subject, we should be well acquainted with it’s all aspects and shades as well as the context.
It is true for every field and karate is no different, especially when we discuss about postures, movements, body mechanics and Bunkai-kata.

Only when one is familiar with the subject and knows the context and history (On Ko Chi Shin 温故知新 "Study the old to understand the new"), only then one can make suitable adjustment and transformation from past to present, from military to civilian arena, from one purpose to different purpose.

Further more, the concept of karate, the approach, atmosphere in the dojō, postures and body mechanics, are different in Okinawa than in Japan and certainly than in the West. For example in Japan it is part of Budō. In Okinawa it is also heritage and folklore. Terms such as Chinkuchi Kaki (Chinkunchi or Kunchi) 一寸力 and Ganmaku/Gamaku 岩捲 are typical to Okinawan Karate.
In both Japan and Okinawa, karate is perceived as a mean to train the mind and not only body.
Going back on timeline, Karate was perceived differently at the beginning of the 20’s centuries than at the 19th century, let alone earlier, delving to Ryūkyū Kingdom era.

That leaves us with many questions about Ryūkyū-di, the ancestor of karate. However, we find many clues to its purpose and applicative techniques in earlier kata.

Many techniques that seem to be “ineffective for self-defence" in the modern arena are not meant to be such indeed. It was designated for the reality of Ryūkyū era and for entirely for other purposes. A thorough understanding of things will provide us couple of insights. One is from historical perspective, about origin of karate, why and how it developed. The second is a proper transition and adaptation of the technique from earlier period to today's reality.

On the one hand, we rightly claim that the physical principles and body mechanics have not changed. On the other hand, as I mentioned, the environment, needs, goals and perception have changed. Therefore, there is common growing, but also differences and we must collect the information properly, then carefully compile it into a picture and eventually wisely draw conclusions.

Kata is actually the only tool which are left from our ancient ancestors.
Speaking about Kata 型/形, Bunkai 分解 and Oyō 応用, we perceive it today as self-defence and attribute it to nowadays environment.However, we should remember that earlier kata were established many years ago, based on certain environment and for particular goals by skilled official close-combat security staff who served the Ryūkyū government in various security missions. That is Ryūkyū-di.

In my first book, “Karate Uchina-Di 沖縄手”, I concentrate in the evolution of karate, studying the historical facts and environmental factors, in order to get to the bottom of things and draw a clear objective historical picture about the process of karate development.
This book: "Pathways of Karate Development" focuses on the pragmatic aspect of the techniques and is brought in more personal flavour. It is based on many conversations and interviews during my visits in Okinawa as well as carful research and analyses. "Pathways of Karate Development" brings the reader to the reality in which kata and Bunkai-kata were evolved and developed. This, I hope, will shed light on the way we practice Okinawan Karate nowadays.

Pathways of Karate Development
Pathway of karate development Pathway of karate development
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