"The Internal Struggle"
I stumbled across an article the other day titled
"We need to save our art." I didn't have time to read it but the title hit me with that flash of conflict that most school owners and instructors have when contemplating the line between holding to the old, traditional ways and adapting for modern times? Most would agree that living in the past is a dead end, but dumping the values that got us here, on the other hand, threatens the very foundation of our art.
Fanatical traditionalists will say that we must not vary from the way envisioned by the masters of our modern styles (Wado, Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, etc.), and, although I somewhat agree, I wonder if the masters, themselves, would. Would they demand that a practitioner be a carbon copy, or rather would they believe that some change is inevitable, even necessary?
The techniques, values, and philosophy of the martial arts existed long before the originators of our mainstream styles came along. These men took that knowledge, added insight and point of view, and produced the effective training systems we have today. They, themselves, did not adhere to the old ways. Those late 19th century and early 20th century masters were fighting a different battle than the generation that preceded them. They recognized adaptation was required and they adapted their art with a mind to the future (and were often labeled heretics for it.)
So what about now?
To be true to our art, we must maintain the core of karate as well as the enhancements of our teachers, otherwise we are simply playing games. But isn't there room for tweaking, expanding the delivery? The people and environment of today are different from the people and environment of the earlier masters, just as it was for their predecessors. We face new issues, new challenges. As Master Ohtsuka said in his book Wado Ryu Karate, "Technique must be infinitely changeable and altered - just like the sky and space."
So what changes are acceptable? Necessary?
Where does that line between the old and new lie and how can we innovate? Who knows? But whatever it is must first benefit the student and then should only be considered with the greatest of care. Maintain balance at all cost. It's an issue with which each owner and instructor must struggle. But trying to do everything exactly as it was done in 1930 is not the answer and I believe the old masters would be the first to agree. They have, in effect, told us so.
Until the next the thought, keep kicking and punching. Wisdom seems to come from it.
Welcome to the world of karate history, philosophy, other martial art information
Dear Wado Enthusiast and other karate practitioners;
The purpose of this newsletter is to pass on historical information, philosophical views and activities of interest to karate martial artists around the world. Please send your article, event or activity with a photo of the instructor and/or event organizer by the 20th of the preceding month to get your information in this newsletter. Please send your text in a Word document. Please send posters and pictures in small jpeg files, thank you.
Instructors, please forward to a Wado enthusiast or other karate practitioners, thank you.
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One of the most difficult areas that this newsletter has to deal with is the use of instructor titles. We are very sensitive to this issue and do not want to offend or insult anyone. To simplify this daunting problem we will use the following guidelines with the use of instructor titles:
a. The correct title of the instructor(s) must be in the article or seminar information submitted by the author or event organizer.
b. All captions that we place under photos will be:
1. Japanese instructors: Last name followed by the title Sensei.
2. Non-Japanese instructors: The title Sensei followed by the last name of the instructor.
c. Any title and name that is placed in this newsletter by newsletter staff will use the title of Sensei.
We consider the title "Sensei" a very prestigious title
Wado Books & Information
Editor's note: There are many Wado practitioners in the world that do not have access to Wado books and literature for one reason or another. In this section we will publish key parts of Wado books and direct the reader to where they can be purchased. We will publish the author's introductions and philosophies but not the technical components of the book.
We are continuing with another writing from Master Otsuka's book Wado Ryu Karate, published by Masters Publication. This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.
Martial Arts Are For Techniques For Peace
by Master Otsuka (1892-1982)
Martial arts and its techniques are for peace. The techniques are a form of peace being expressed through action. By training in such techniques, one observes the ideology behind martial arts - as well as developing the mentality to observe peace.
Being an expression of peace, martial arts have no impossibilities. It is both scientific and theoretical. It does not exceed heaven, it does not oppose the earth, it does not oppose people; it is in accord with all of these. Like the blowing wind and the flowing water, it is in accord with the ways of nature. Water always flows from high to low. When the flow is obstructed, water goes around this obstruction and continues to flow smoothly as before. It will flow through the smallest of spaces and cracks, perhaps taking along with its flow anything that stands in its way.
Likewise for the wind. A bottle gourd that floats on this flow of water rides above this invincible flow; hence it never sinks.
To read article
Itosu Yasutsune was probably the person most responsible for opening karate up to the future. As the world entered into the "modern" era around 1900, karate teachers began to lift the veil of secrecy from their karate training.
Itosu had been a scribe of the court, a guard to the King and one of the primary students of Bushi Matsumura. He was educated and well respected, with substantial influence on the society of the day. By 1900 he was teaching karate (called Tode
at the time) to school children.
In 1904 his martial art of Tode, (Chinese Hand) was incorporated into the school system. One of the main reasons was the discipline and physical fitness of the students.
Itosu felt it important to explain karate to a public that had, because of the secrecy of the art, only a rudimentary understanding. This was the Okinawa of 1900. They knew about karate, its proponents were virtual living legends, but about as much as we might the true inner workings of the modern CIA.
Itosu put down these 10 precepts to help the Japanese government and the general populace understand what it was all about. There were many Okinawans of the day who did not like the Japanese, but Itosu considered himself a loyal Japanese citizen and wanted the Japanese to recognize karate as an asset for its military and a vehicle for building good citizens. You can see that in some of his references.
|This photo is thought to be Master Itosu|
To read the rest of this article click HERE.
Sensei Hunt holds Dan ranks in Wado Ryu, Shito Ryu and Shotokan.
Robert Hunt is the author of the book "The Art and the Way". Click the title to get information about this book. To order the book click HERE.
You can contact Sensei Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Duane Abbajay
One concept I find particularly fascinating is the Japanese term 'Shuhari,' which actually contains 3 phases.
Shuhari also appears in Japanese tea culture and other applications, but this brief examination is limited to its application in martial arts.
The subtle differences in the definitions of Shuhari by two great masters both deepens our understanding, and stimulates further discussion: Hironori Otsuka Sensei's (early 20th century- the founder of Wado karate) definition begins with: 'In martial arts, there is a word that has always existed - 'Shuhari.' While Kenji Tokitsu (80+ years later) states: 'The Japanese formula of Shuhari defines the method that must be followed in learning an art.'
Next, perhaps the over-all meaning of their definitions can be better understood by breaking down the three phases of the word as individually defined by both masters (shu, ha, and ri). Finally, exploring the gradual departure that each phase seems to have, or at least suggests. In fairness, the possibility of content differentiation due to translation, and differences in personality with each teacher, must also be considered. Let's take a closer look at quotes from both masters attributable to each phase, respectively.
What strikes me is that with a quick read the two definitions appear to be so similar.
SHU (In the first phase the explanations seem nearly identical)
Otsuka- 'To maintain the teachings of the predecessor, and strict adherence to them.'
Tokitsu- 'To respect, to follow the model or the ideal form.'
HA (In the second phase, differences begin to appear)
Otsuka- 'To doubt anything that serves to disrupt that action.'
Tokitsu- 'To liberate oneself from the effort of learning...while continuing to hold to the path that has been indicated.'
RI (The third phase is an extension of the first two)
Otsuka- 'To separate from the first two, and improve on the teachings whenever possible.'
Tokitsu- 'To move beyond the form.'
With a deeper one, a divergence in meaning seems to exist. (Yet both seem to seamlessly create a beautiful mental stillness.) To me, the questions become: Are both masters saying the same thing?
Has the passage of time influenced a more modern interpretation?
As a novice karate ka, when I find myself struggling with the differences within a seemingly obvious concept, I think about a teaching from Myamoto Musashi: 'The movement of the mind must never stop.'
MARTIAL ARTS HUMOR
Is That So?
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"
We all need a little Zen in our Lives. If you have a story, please send it in.
WIKF Wado Karate Seminars
Sensei Jon Wicks
WIKF World Chief Instructor
|Wado Kai Black Belt Seminar 2013|
November 8,9, &10, 2013
Other Seminars and Events
|Arizona Fall Karate Championships|
Hosted by Walden Martial Arts
9th Annual IKL Karate Championships
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Shihan Walter Nishioka (L) & Sensei Julian Shiroma (R)
Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in
"Self-respect is the fruit of discipline."
Abraham J. Heschel "