Here’s a little advertisement published in the Yomiuri Newspaper on April 3, 1947 for “Kenpo Karate-do Taikan, Volume 1”. No, not the one by Nakasone and Mabuni that was published in 1938, this one is by Kinjo Hiroshi and Hui-Byung Yoon. There book was the first of a series to be published by the two men. If you’re a Karate ‘baka’ like me, then the advertisement will catch your eye for a number of reasons.
Kano Jigoro (嘉納治五郎 1860 – 1938) was a man of tremendous importance and influence during the Meiji and Taisho era in Japan. An educator, sportsman, informal diplomat, budoka and member of the aristocracy, he understood the importance of embracing western culture that was entering Japan and at the same time preserving its own. So it would come as no surprise that his 1927 visit to Okinawa was an honor for the Okinawa people and for many of the founders of modern Karate-do. Read More
Long ago before there was so much material available on the internet about martial arts compared to now, I ordered a book called Fukien Ground Boxing by Cai Chu-Xan. It was, at the time, the only information about the art in English available at the time. I was fascinated by this highly unusual but effective Chinese martial art and was very curious to know more about it. As luck would have it I was able to track Cai down in Kagoshima, Japan of all places, where at the time he was studying for an advanced degree. Read More
In my last post I talked about Karate-do teachers during the 1930s and 1940s who traveled to occupied countries to demonstrate Karate-do. Whether these teachers were part of the right-wing that had taken over Japan during this era is hard to pin down. In today’s post I’d like to continue with that topic and discuss Miyagi Chojun’s 1936 trip to Shanghai. Read More
An important, but little discussed topic in modern Karate-do history is the political and social climate of pre-WWII Japan. There was obviously a climate of extreme nationalism in Japan during the early 1920s that continued until Japan’s defeat in 1945. Read More
The other day I was chatting with one of my students after Kobudo practice and we got on the topic of Yamane (Yamani)-ryu. This of course got me thinking about not only Yamane-ryu, but also the other Kobudo systems (Taira, Matayoshi, Ryukonkai, Ufuchiku) practiced on Okinawa. Below are some random thoughts about Yamane-ryu and Kobudo in general in point-form. Read More
I’ve never been a fan of oi-tsuki (追い突き) – the lunge punch so ubiquitous that it is synonymous with Karatedo in the public’s eyes. One of the main reasons for my dislike of this punch is that it is not found in classical Nahate kata. Sure it can be found in Geki-sai I & II, but those are relatively modern creations made along the same lines as Pinan series, but in the classical forms we predominately see gyaku-tsuki (逆突き) or reverse punch as its commonly referred to. The rather tragic English translation of gyaku-tsuki aside (or oi-tsuki for that matter) the punch takes its name from the “flipped” position of the punching arm and lead leg.