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  1. Charles James
    Charles James at | | Reply

    This “secret” terminology may simply be the translator’s perceptions leaking into the book. Isn’t it true that if a translator cannot find an adequate term in English to express the thoughts of the Asian mind they tend to “assume” a meaning therefore this “secret” label may not be what Toguchi sensei meant. I find that many of the interpretations when translating today are not exactly what the Okinawan masters were trying to convey yet to remain within the cultures pension to keep the harmony in discussions they may allow something that does not exactly mean what they mean.

  2. Mike Clarke
    Mike Clarke at | | Reply

    Hi Mario,
    I think we often give too much credit to the Okinawan karateka of old. While I’m not advocating that they were not as good as history tells us they were, I think “all” karate history, especially coming from present-day Okinawa, has to be treated with at least a little scepticism.

    Experience tells me that individuals are often built up, or pulled down, depending on who is telling the story and the point they are trying to make. Only last November, while I was in Okinawa, I was asked to turn my recorder off during one interview,so I could be told the “truth” about certain historical figures in goju-ryu.

    I’d heard a number of the stories, or versons of them, before; and took them for what they are….stories! As Charles points out, the word ‘secret’ may have been something that appeared in translation, or maybe not? Many of the secrets I have been privvy to in Okinawa were not secret in the way most westerners would understand, but more like “private” things that a particular teacher of dojo liked to keep to themselves. I have quite a few of these private aspects to my karate also, as I suspect anyone else has who has made a serious study of karate for any length of time.

    All the best,

  3. Peter Fabbroni
    Peter Fabbroni at | | Reply

    Happy New Year to everybody!

    I am a Shoreikan student under Master Toshio Tamano. I would like to express my comments on McKenna sensei article. Please note that these are just mine and are not to be indended as official for Shoreikan school.

    When we talk about “Kaisai no genri” we refer to a set of rules and theories which are specific to Goju-Ryu and not other schools. That do not imply that other schools do not have their “secret” set of rules but only that those transmitted to Toguchi senseei by Master Miyagi along with his theories as regards development of a teaching system. Shoreikan claim that the way its curriculum has been developed reflects those rules and theories. We do not know whether this transmission has been exclusive (I doubt) however we must admit that no other Goju Master ever spoke about them. Shoreikan believed that the theory has been lost during the war (so we shoud suppose that was passed to other Miyagi students deceased during the conflicts).

    As Gekisai was developed by Nagamine sensei and Miyagi sensei together, we should also suppose that the latter knew it, or knew part of it through Miyagi or other sources (maybe this is also the reason Nagamine spoke very well about Shoreikan system and Toguchi sensei). We must therefore assume that other Masters were exposed to some kind of Kaisai set of rules.

    This is a rather natural conclusion if we look at how kata were developed. If it is true that kata are synthesis of centuries of techniques and ideas condensed in compact forms, we must assume that before a system of rules for enabling this process were elaborated. Everything start from an idea. With reference to kata, the idea is what Shoreikan call Kaisai and it is likely that many set of rules exist specific to the various schools.

    I do not see Mabuni article to refer directly to the third Kaisai rule as assumed by McKenna sensei (he could indeed refer to more that one adversary). However, as confirmation of the above mentionned assumptions that other sets could exist, I would like to quote several rules transmitted by Hohan Soken (from a Budo International article written by Evan Pantazi sensei). Several of these are very similar to the rules quoted in McKenna sensei article and “the Way of Kata” book:

    - In kata there are no blocks, every movement is an attack
    - In kata there are no multiple adversaries, rather a set of ideas which function aganist one adversary
    - If a movement is repeated on both sides, it will function on both sides
    - If a movement is present in one side only, it will function better (but not exclusively) on that side
    - In holds, grab strongly a weak adversary and lightly a strong adversary

    I cannot say that I understand Kaisai or what it really is, however Shoreikan longtime students recognize the existance of a single theory behind its curriculum and the way and time is presented to the sudents.

    When Toguchi sensei told about Miyagi request of not revealing Kaisai, I believe that he was referring not only to the set of rules but to the theory on how to apply them and develop in a teaching system. Knowing the rules, without proper intelligence, combat experience and practice maturity however, do not guarantee kata understanding. If it is true that Kaisai exist and that it was passed to Master Toguchi I believe that the a/m were the characteristics Master Miyagi saw in him.

    My best to everybody!

    Peter Fabbroni


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