Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Seiyo Kai Karate and Kobudo - A Powerful Martial Art

Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai(TM)
THE KARATE KID. In the 1984 movie "The Karate Kid", two different kinds of karate schools were depicted: (1) Sport Karate represented by Cobra Kai and (2) traditional karate represented by Miyagi-Ryu Karate. At the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (Arizona Hombu) we teach traditional karate.

Hopefully, you caught the subtleties as explained by Mr. Miyagi. Sport karate was about winning trophies at any cost, while traditional karate was about fighting for one's life - in other words, we teach karate for self-defense and as a weapon - both empty handed (kara-te) and with weapon (kobu-do).
So, where did karate come from? According to legend, a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma introduced it from India. In the legend, Bodhidharma traveled from India through the Himalayan Mountains to the northern Henan Province of China in order to introduce Zen Buddhism to the Shaolin Temple. This event, if it actually happened, is thought to have occurred around 525 AD. When Bodhidharma arrived at the Shaolin-si (small forest) temple he began teaching meditation but found the Shaolin monks to be unfit, lazy and periodically fell asleep during meditation. To remedy the situation, he added a group of physical combat exercises known as 'Shi Pa Lohan Sho' also known as the '18 hands of Lohan'. The blending of combat with philosophy - the blending of the body with the mind, resulted in the first martial 'art'.

To be an art, there must be intrinsic value for the mind and spirit - this is what differentiates martial art from street fighting, or karate from MMA. Thus, the combining of combat with meditation resulted in an esoteric art - the first of its kind in the world. Today, there are many things that are called martial arts that have no esoteric value that cannot be a martial art - in particular MMA and many things called sport martial arts. 

Pencil sketch of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate
Master Gichin Funakoshi by Soke Hausel.
The father of modern karate - master Gichin Funakoshi, a Shorin-Ryu practitioner from Okinawa stated, "the Purpose of Karate lies not in Victory or Defeat, but in the Perfection of its Participants". This supports that karate is a martial art as the self-defense system is all about perfection of the practitioners. It has little to do with victory or defeat, which is a very important part of sport karate. 

Furthermore, Shoshin Naginame, a grandmaster of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate wrote, "If there is no kata, there is no karate, just kicking and punching" . This relates to the fact that kata, which has considerable esoteric value as well as extraordinary combat techniques, is what makes karate and important martial art. He also concluded that "Karate begins and Ends with the study of Kata".

It is clear that "kata is a living encyclopedia of martial arts techniques containing all the necessary elements for blocking, striking, kicking, restraining, body hardening (shitai lori), meditation, self-defense, weapons techniques and much more. What could be more esoteric and more combat oriented?

I was intrigued by an Indian martial art known as Kalarippayattu taught in southern India. It is a very primitive combat form and possibly this descended from Shi Po Lohan Sho. It has many circular blocks, open hand techniques and acrobatic movements similar to Kung Fu. Possibly, this or a similar combat exercise was introduced to the Shaolin Temple. Whatever was introduced became a major martial art all through China and was again introduced to Okinawa sometime in the past. Kung Fu may have been introduced to Okinawa with 36 Chinese artisan families who moved to Okinawa in 1392. It is thought that these Chinese introduced a book entitled 'Bubishi' at that time - a book about the White Crane Kung Fu.

The White Crane martial art from China was modified by the Okinawan people who tweaked many of the techniques and made everything a little more practical to develop karate. Shorin-Ryu karate of today is translated as Shaolin -style indicating a tie to the Shaolin Temple. 

OKINAWA KARATE. Little is known about the early development of karate on Okinawa. Some suggest a few Okinawan people traveled to China to learn kung fu, particularly those who represented the King of Okinawa and his body guards. But the presence of the Bubishi with the 36 Chinese families who settled in Okinawa suggest that kung fu may have been introduced at the end of the 14th century. There are some who have suggested that the Bubishi is a text from the White Crane martial arts. Okinawa was a trading port for southeastern Asia, so all kinds of asian philosophies could have been introduced to their culture.

Nearly a century after the 36 Chinese families made their home on Okinawa, King Sho Shin proclaimed a weapons ban on Okinawa. Some suggest that this was a ban on martial arts and after the proclamation, both kobudo and tode were only practiced in secret. Bladed weapons (swords) in the hands of the people were banned in about 1480 AD. The reason for the ban was that King Sho Shin was fearful of a revolution. And Okinawa was later invaded by the Satsamura samurai from Japan who also proclaimed a ban of particular weapons on Okinawa. It is clear that the literature related to the history (conjecture and legends) of Okinawa and its martial arts, provides many contradictions.

Some Okinawan's began to develop the martial art known as kobudo: it is suggested that the development of kobudo was left up to the warrior class (Pechin) on Okinawa, which is unlikely as they were still able to carry swords. But no matter who developed this ancient art - whether Pechin or peasants, the tools of the Okinawa farmer, fisherman and merchant were practiced as weapons - thus kata were developed along with many waza (techniques).

Karate was associated with three different villages known as ShuriNaha and Tomari- each a center for a different sect of society - kings and nobles, and farmers, fishermen and merchants respectively. For this reason, different varieties of karate developed that were initially termed Shur-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te (te referred to the empty hand technique). These were collectively known as Okinawa-te (Ryukyu-te), Tode and later Kara-te. Gradually, karate was divided into two parts known as Shorin-Ryu (from Shuri and Tomari) and Shorei-Ryu (from Naha). As karate continued to evolve, the Shorin-Ryu karate remained known as Shorin-Ryu with the exception of when it was introduced on mainland Japan and later named Shotokan, and Shorei-Ryu later became known as Goju-Ryu.

Master Gichin Funakoshi suggested that the two primary karate styles were based on different physical requirements. Shorin-Ryu was quick and linear with natural breathing and Shorei-Ryu had steady, rooted movements with synchronous breathing with each movement.

The kanji used to describe tode was pronounced kara and referred to emptiness. At some time, do was added to kara-te, making it karate doDo was used to imply that there was a path to take with the practice of karate. The 'do' was used early on as it implied a philosophy to the study of karate. Okinawan scholar Teijunsoku (circa 1600s) stated, "No matter how you excel in the art of te and in your scholastic endeavors, nothing is more important than your behavior and your humanity as observed in your daily life". Here he mentions te and also implies there was a path to follow with its training!

It is reported that the first public demonstrations of the secret art of karate were performed by the Grandfather of modern karate - Anko Itosu and the father of modern karate - Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi's demonstration occurred on mainland Japan in 1917 at the Butokuden in Kyoto.

In 1922, Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate karate at his Kodokan dojo. It is thought that this sponsorship by Dr. Kano allowed for the spread of karate though out Japan. Without the sponsorship, karate would likely be uncommon on Japan because it was viewed as a peasant art. As such, some styles of karate were developed with Japanese roots that included Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Kyokushinkai.

The original Shorin-Ryu remained predominately Okinawan. Soken Matsumura (1797-1889) studied under Tode Sakugawa (1733-1815) and many of the current branches of Shorin-Ryu can be traced back to these two martial artists. Some of the more prominent branches of Shorin-Ryu include Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu, Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu, Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu, Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu.

Many of Matsumura's students started their own branches that included Sukunaihyashi Shorin-Ryu, Ryukyu Hon Kempo, Kodokai Shorin-Ryu, Seidokan Shorin-Ryu, Chubu Shorin-Ryu, and Ryukyu Shorin-Ryu. Others that have recently evolved include Yamashita Shorin-Ryu and Seiyo Shorin-Ryu.

Seiyo Shorin-Ryu (Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai) was created in 1999 after Dai Soke Sacharnoski certified Sensei Dan Hausel as the sokeshodai (first generation grandmaster). Soke Hausel had trained under a number of martial artists over the years beginning in 1964, and each art influenced the development of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, but by far the greatest influences were from the martial arts taught by Dai-Soke Sacharnoski. Soke Hausel took techniques from KyokushinkaiWado-Ryu, Shotokan, Dai Yoshin-Ryu Kempojutsu, Seidokan Shorin-Ryu, Yamashita Shorin-Ryu, Juko Ryu, and Yamanni Ryu Kobudo to create Seiyo-Shorin Ryu. Seiyo-Shorin Ryu is distinguished by having nearly 70 karate, kobudo and samurai arts kata, bunkai for all kata, and applied focus and power in every punch, block and kick in the system. It is the philosophy of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu (as it is in some other traditional martial arts) that one should be able to end any attack with a single block and strike. Seiyo translates as Western as opposed to Eastern indicating a strong western cultural influence. The system is referred to as Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai, Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu Seiyo Kai, Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Budo Bugei Renmei, and Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Renmei.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo

It is apparent that the United States public remains poorly educated in martial arts. For instance, I often have people remark they have never heard of Shorin-Ryu Karate. Some even ask what kind of MMA is Shorin-Ryu? MMA doesn’t fit the definition of martial art, and Shorin-Ryu karate traces its roots back to the origins of karate on Okinawa.

Shorin-Ryu and Karate are essentially the same. Shorin-Ryu was created on Okinawa and can trace its origin to the Shaolin temple in China. In fact, the kanji used to write Shorin-Ryu translates as Shaolin-style and refers to the Shaolin-si monastery.

Most think karate is Japanese, but karate is Okinawan and created when the Okinawa Prefecture was a sovereign nation ruled by monarchs. It became Japanese only because Okinawa was conquered by the Satsuma Samurai of the Shimazu clan from Japan in 1609 AD. Even so, Okinawa remained a separate nation until 1879; and karate was not introduced to mainland Japan until 1917, but it was not accepted by the Japanese until 1922 and the karate that was introduced was modified from that taught on Okinawa.

When introduced to Japan, all kata were modified and renamed. For instance, Pinan kata were renamed Heian, Naihanchi (Naifanchi) kata were renamed Tekki, and so forth. Only the ‘omote' techniques (those visible & understandable) were apparently taught to the Japanese, while many secrets (kuden) remained in Okinawan hands such as techniques identified as 'irate' (not obvious), 'miegakure' (intentially hidden), 'okras goroshi’ (delayed killing strikes), ‘tine hsueh’ (vital point strikes), and ‘hitotsuki hitogeri’ (one strike knockouts).

Most historical facts related to karate’s development were lost over time and nothing was written about the art as it was kept secret among Okinawan practitioners. Some suggest karate developed in the late 14th century when 36 artisan families from Fujian China relocated on Okinawa and introduced gung-fu (kung fu). A document known as the Bubishi reportedly accompanied these families, which is a primitive text of white crane gung-fu.

After the art had been created, there was more than one path of evolution. Okinawa royalty and body guards learned gung fu (and later karate). There is evidence peasants also learned gung fu. In 1480 AD, King Sho Shin of Okinawa issued an edict banning the use of bladed weapons - likely because he was fearful of civil war.

After the proclamation, some Okinawa fishermen, merchants, and farmers began training with tools of trade as

weapons for self-defense and the art of kobudo was created.

To describe karate , the Okinawan word tode was used in the early 18th century. Tode refers to Chinese hand

(i.e., karate ). Tode was also used in reference to a Chinese visitor named Kushanku (also Kusanku ) who

taught gung-fu on Okinawa. Some suggest that tegumi (Okinawan traditional wrestling) was enhanced with

kicking, striking and blocking techniques of gung-fu to produce karate .

The weapons ban imposed on Okinawa

encouraged refinement of te & kobudo .

Tode (te ) took different paths in the

villages of Shuri , Naha & Tomari . Each

was a center for a different sect of

society: kings and nobles, merchants,

farmers and fishermen, respectively.

Thus, different styles of te (karate )

e v o l v e d i n e a c h v i l l a g e and

subsequently became known as Shurite ,

Naha-te and Tomari-te . Collectively

these were called Okinawa-te (Ryukyute)

and tode .

The Chinese character used to write

tode can be pronounced 'kara ' thus te

was replaced with kara te or 'Chinese

hand art'. The modification to kara-te-do

was done to adopt an alternate

meaning for the Chinese character of

kara meaning 'empty '. Thus, the term

karate came to mean 'empty hand'. The

‘do’ use in karate-do implied 'way' or

'path' to emphasize a moral and

spiritual philosophy, something not

seen in MMA. At some point in the 19th

century, the Okinawa masters decided

to call their art karate. Soon different

ryu (styles) were named. For example,

Shuri-te was renamed Shorin-ryu to emphasize its roots at the Shaolin temple; and Naha-te was renamed

Goju-ryu (hard-soft syle) to emphasize the mechanics of the karate style. Much of tomari-te was lost over time.

So, all other styles of karate evolved from Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu .

The first martial art is thought to have originated at the Shaolin Temple of the Henan Province. Legend

suggests a Buddhist monk by the name of Bodhidharma traveled from India to the monastery in China where

he taught Zen philosophy at the temple at around 525 AD. When Bodhidharma began teaching meditation at

Shaolin-si (small forest temple), he found most monks were unfit & lazy and many fell asleep during meditation.

Realizing the monks needed physical conditioning to improve their minds, he began teaching a set of physical

exercises along with meditation known as 'Shi Po Lohan Sho' (18 hands of Lohan) reputed to have been a

fighting form or system. The blending of Lohan with Zen led to the first martial art. In order to be an art, there

must be some esoteric value for the spirit, body and soul. Without philosophy, it cannot be an art.

Today, we recognize Shorin-Ryu karate and its branches that include Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu (small forest

style), Koybayashi Shorin-Ryu (young forest style), Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu (pine forest style), Matsumura

Seito Shorin-Ryu (orthodox style), Sukunaihayashi (Seibukan), Ryukyu Hon Kenpo (Okinawan Kempo ),

Kodokai Shorin-ryu, Seidokan, Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Shidokan, Shorinkan, Kyudokan), Chubu Shorin-Ryu,

Ryukyu Shorin-Ryu and Seiyo Shorin-Ryu (Western Shorin-Ryu ).

Traditional karate employs philosophy and provides affirmations that include the following dojo kun :

(Makoto no michi o mamoru koto ) Have devotion in seeking a true way.

(Reigi o omonjiru koto ) Always act with good manners.

(Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto ) Cultivate a spirit of effort and perseverance.

(Kekki no yu o imashimeru koto ) Refrain from violent and uncontrolled behavior.

(Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomeru koto ) Work to perfect your character

(Kara te ni sente nashi ) There is no first attack in karate.

(Kara te do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto a wasaru na ) Karate-do begins and ends with bowing.

(Dojo no mino kara te to omou na ) Karate extends beyond the dojo.

Many of us know Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) is considered to be the Father of Modern

Karate. Funakoshi was a master of Shorin-Ryu Karate, although his students renamed his

Shorin-Ryu martial art as Shotokan to honor the great master instructor. But do you know

who is the Grandfather of Modern Karate? That honor is given to another master of

Shorin-Ryu by the name of Anko Itosu (see photo on following page).

Next time you are in the Arizona

hombu dojo, check the Juko Kai

Shihan (master instructor)

lineage chart on the wall. You will

find Itosu on the chart, but not

F u n a k o s h i e v e n t h o u g h

Funakoshi influenced Seiyo Kai

Shorin-Ryu Karate. This is

because Funakoshi had little

influence on Juko-Ryu karate

and Seidokan Shorin-Ryu.

However, he will appear on our

lineage chart with Itosu I’m

preparing for the Seiyo Kai

Shorin-Ryu lineage due of my

past training in Kyokushin Kai, Wado-Ryu and Shotokan karate: all three styles influenced

by Funakoshi. Thus, I have two lineages: one as Shihan of Juko-Kai and the other as Soke

of Seiyo-Kai. !

When we begin to search information on Itosu (and other Okinawan martial artists) we are

sometimes confronted with a variety of names for one individual. This is because many

Okinawan names were complicated by social status and some maintained names for

different occasions, while others changed names. As a result, many Okinawan martial artists

had more than one name. This was true of Itosu.

Anko (Yasutsune) Itosu (1831-1915) was one of the most influential 20th century karate

pioneers. Itosu initiated the instruction of karate in the Okinawan public schools at the end of

the 19th century. Prior to that, karate was hidden from outsiders. In addition to Itosu, his

student Gichin Funakoshi also worked to introduce karate to the Japanese in the early part

of the 20th century.

Itosu is credited with creating the five Pinan kata (referred to as Heian in Japanese) that

were extracted and modified from the long and complex Kusanku kata (known as Kanku in

Japanese). He is also thought to have taken a complex Naihanchi kata (Tekki in Japanese)

and split it into the three we practice today (Naihanchi shodan, nidan and sandan). Some

also believe he created the Kusanku Sho and Passai Sho katas. !

Itosu was born near Gibo station (26°13’28"N; 127°43’8”E - see Google Earth) in the village

of Shuri, Okinawa in 1831. Shuri is now a district of Naha City, but was formerly a separate

village. Shuri village is where the art referred to as Shuri-te was developed that was later

renamed Shorin-Ryu karate in 1933 to honor its roots. The kanji that describe Shorin-Ryu

translates as “Pine Forest Style” in Japanese, and translates as “Shaolin Style” in Chinese

indicating ties to Kung Fu practiced by the Monks of the Shaolin. !

Itosu’s first name was Anko (the kanji can be alternately read as Yasutsune, and his last

name Shishu can be read as Itosu), but is commonly known as Anko Itosu. Itosu was born to

a prominent family on Okinawa and educated in Chinese literature. At approximately 5-feet

tall, Itosu was nearly average height on Okinawa and many described him as stocky, barrelchested,

and very strong with considerable discipline. But as a child, Itosu was shy and

introverted - karate is attributed to have given him confidence. !

Itosu trained under the great karate practitioner Sokon ‘Bushi’ Matsumura who in turn was a

student of Tode Sakagawa (1733-1815). Tode Sakawgawa in turned studied under Kusanku

(for whom the famous Kusanku-Dai kata derived its namesake). Itosu also trained under

other martial artists including Sensei Nagahama. Nagahama was known to be very diligent

and stressed building the body. It is likely this influenced karate which was considered a

method to develop physical and mental strength and as well as self-defense. !

Anko Itosu began training under Matsumura of Shuri, later trained with Nagahama of Naha

City, and upon Nagahama's death, he became a disciple of Gusukuma of Tomari village.

Thus, he trained in all three-principal styles of Okinawa Karate we refer to as Shuri-Te,

Naha-Te and Tomari-Te. Because of his training, Seiyo Kai has kata from each primary

system of Okinawa karate.

Another interesting perspective of Itosu and his influence was identified in a book "Okinawan

Karate: Teachers, Styles And Secret Techniques," by Mark Bishop. Bishop contrasted the

karate of Azato which had Matsumura heritage mixed with a swordsmanship perspective)

and Itosu: "while Azato believed the hands and feet should be like bladed weapons and one

should avoid all contact of an opponent's strike, Itosu held the idea that the body did not

have to be so mobile and should be able to take the hardest of blows” (one of the reasons

we practice shitai kori or body hardening and also practice focused blocks). !

Part of Itosu's karate training included makiwara practice. He once tied a leather sandal to a

stone wall in effort to build a better makiwara. After several strikes, stones fell from the wall.

After relocating the sandal several times, Itosu had destroyed the wall. This is similar to

Sensei Patrick Scofield’s father, who also studied Shorin-Ryu. Patrick described his father as

knocking down a cider block wall with a back kick. !

In 1901 Itosu began teaching karate at the Shuri Jinjo Primary school and taught at the Dai

Ichi middle school and the Okinawa prefectural Men's Normal School in 1905 (Bishop 1999).

In 1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of karate at Okinawa's First Junior Prefectural High

School. It was here that he developed the systematic method of teaching karate techniques

that are still in practice today.

Hombu (also pronounced honbu) dojo translates as ‘headquarters’. In martial arts this is the designated headquarters of a martial art ryu (style, system, martial arts family, school) and/or kai (association). Dojo refers to a traditional place for training. In the West, dojo implies martial arts school. In the East it refers to a ‘place of the Way’. Initially, dojos were attached to temples in Japan. The adjacent photo is courtesy of Heather From on her recent sojourn to Japan.

A Hombu dojo is the also the dojo of a soke. For

instance, the Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai hombu was initially established at the University of Wyoming in 1999. The hombu remained at the University until we moved to Arizona. I was hoping to locate the hombu at Arizona State University because of the educational value of traditional martial arts, but it is not always possible to educate university administrations – so hombu dojo (Arizona School of Traditional Karate) was relocated to the border of Gilbert and Mesa in 2008. In the back of my mind, I still hope to establish a hombu at a university in the valley.

Dojo is often interpreted as a gym or training center or a facility similar to a zendo. The prefix ‘do’ in ‘dojo’ or suffix ‘do’ in aikido, judo, kendo, budo, zendo and even karatedo, suggests there is ‘a path to follow’. Martial combat systems focus on technical aspects and apply the suffix ‘jutsu’ as opposed to ‘do’ such as bujutsu, aikijutsu, jujutsu, kenjutsu and even karatejutsu. Jutsu systems are martial combat systems that provide little redeeming human value.

Do is an esoteric concept that defines differences in karate-do and karate-jutsu. Even though ‘do’ is typically not added to Shorin-Ryu Karate, it is implied: we are a karatedo system.

Years ago, I trained in kempojutsu, a Japanese karate combat system with no kata and when I was at the University of Wyoming, we offered certifications in both Shorin-Ryu and kempojutsu prior to 1999. So what are the differences between do and jutsu? Typically, jutsu combat systems have no kata and focus on combat, where as ‘do’ systems also include combat, but they also include kata. Thus, it is kata that apparently provides the redeeming and ‘creative’ value in martial ‘arts’. Kata incorporates traditions, respect, breathing, meditation, mushin (empty mind), muscle memory, body hardening, blocks, kicks, strikes, pressure point recognition, throws, strangulations, joint locks, etc. The more you practice kata, the more you understand karate. Kata is like camouflage art – the more you look at it, the more you see.

Buddha (boddhidarma) in Japan (photo courtesy of Heather From).

The late Soke of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate - Shoshin Nagamine (1907-1997), stated "Kata is the origin of karate. If there is no kata, there is no karate! Without kata, there is no martial art - instead it becomes nothing but primitive street fighting!” When used properly, kata will enrich and improve training. But if used improperly, it will do the opposite – so kata provides in-yo (opposite) paths much like of everything in life. Kata should never be relaxed. It needs to be practiced with focus and power. If kata is practiced like tai chi (tai ki), you will hurt your technique and your ability to defend yourself.

Japanese lanterns (photo courtesy of Heather From).

According to legend, an Indian monk introduced martial arts to the Shaolin Temple in China about 525 AD by teaching the monks meditation and Zen philosophy. When he discovered many monks snoring during meditation, he introduced a combat system ‘shi po lo han sho’ known as the 18 hands of LoHan to improve their focus and physical fitness to help them stay awake during long periods of meditation. It was this combination of philosophy with combat that resulted in martial art practiced by the monks of the shaolin. This art was passed on to visiting Okinawans and was modified into karate. The kanji used to write Shorin-Ryu translates as Shaolin. Scott Pritchett recently introduced me to a historical novel about this legend entitled ‘Sudden Dawn’ by Goran Powell that is a fictional story based on Da Mo (Boddhidarma) and his introduction of combat arts to the Shaolin.

Mr. Miyagi: “Karate come from China, 16th century, called te, "hand." Hundred year later, Miyagi ancestor bring to Okinawa, call kara-te, "empty hand."

Daniel San: “I thought it came from Buddhist temples and stuff like that”. Mr. Miyagi: “You too much TV”.

Traditional karate was never a competitive sport on Okinawa. Karate was initially developed to train body guards of royalty and later introduced to peasants. It was a weapon of self-defense kept secret from all outsiders until introduced to mainland Japan in 1922. Prior to that time, it was never practiced as sport. Shoshin Nagamine said "Karate may be considered as the conflict within oneself or as a life-long marathon which can be won only through self-discipline, hard training and one's own creative efforts." The father of modern karate, Gichin Funakoshi stated, "There are no contests in karate.” Sport karate was created after the second world war by mainland Japanese martial artists who trained under Funakoshi against his wishes.

Daniel San: “All right, so what are the rules here?” Miyagi: “Don't know. First time you, first time me”. Daniel San: “Well, I figured you knew about this stuff. I figured you went to these before. Oh great, I'm dead. I am dead. You told me you fought a lot”. Miyagi: “For life, not for points”.

Kata has likely been part of karate since it was created. Since Okinawans had no cameras, they needed a way to remember bunkai (applications) in karate and to develop muscle memory. They did this through kata – a living encyclopedia of karate techniques and applications.