Category Archives: Theories of Historical Karate in Comparative Perspective

In this category I look into the theories and perceptions of historical Karate. Is there a causal relation that can be verified from existing historical sources?

Kyan Chōtoku book on public display at the Karate Kaikan for the first time

A panel exhibition sponsored by Okinawa Prefecture that introduces the history of Okinawa karate during the early Shōwa period (started 1926) began on April 8 in the lobby of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan Exhibition Room in Tomigusuku City. The kumite … Continue reading

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On Sēpai (1986)

Not too long ago communication between Okinawa and the world as well as between sensei and students was slow. Things would sometimes take months if not years to reach anybody, if ever. My colleague Filip Konjokrad just provided his translation … Continue reading

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Chiishi and Ishi-sashi — Traditional athletic culture (undo bunka) of Okinawa

At the beginning of the 20th century, while young men’s associations in all places worked to promote sports, the Young Men’s Associations of Shimajiri County carried out a survey about recreational pastimes: “Right now, this county’s citizens compete in only … Continue reading

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Nagamine reveals secret of karate to the Metropolitan Police Department

After his first assignment to Tōkyō in 1936, Nagamine again had the opportunity to travel to the capital in 1941. This time he was dispatched to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which at that time included the Bureau of Police … Continue reading

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Spiking the jujube date

One of the very few technical terms of old-style karate still currently handed down in Okinawa is kōsā. The original designation koza changed over time and was mostly forgotten or simply replaced by modern Japanese terminology, namely by the terms … Continue reading

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Sanchin

It seems that Higashionna Kanryō trained Sanchin as a technique to acquire skill. Miyagi on the other hand thought there was already enough practice of kaishu-gata, but heishu-gata were lacking. He began to aim at physical education and martial arts … Continue reading

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The most important source to assess and to reinterpret the old narratives of karate schools

A narrative is a report that adds meaning to, and influences the perception of events among a target group. It is related to a specific field (cultural, political, etc.), conveys values and emotions, and is subject to modification over time. … Continue reading

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The Karate and Kobudō Performers and Performances of 1939

Recently I revealed that Nagamine Shōshin (1907-1997) evidently performed Chatan Yara no Kūsankū in 1939. This is the earliest instance the name of this kata appeared like this in writing. This information is based on an unpublished program of the … Continue reading

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Sakugawa, Matsumura, and the “Illustration of the Arm’s Minor Yin Heart Meridian”

A few years back Patrick McCarthy and Tuttle were planning to publish a new edition of the “Bubishi.” At that time, I had been asked if I’d like to contribute a little extra info, which I gladly did. My article … Continue reading

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The 2nd Okinawa Karate Academy — An unknown group of early modern Karate persons (3) — Yonamine Isshun

Usually kobujutsu is spared from being accused of going through the process of technical sanitation that is typically believed to have been the case for karate in school education. As a result, kobujutsu is also believed to have been less charged with nationalistic and militaristic ideology. However, the following research results necessitate to reconsider the notion that modern Okinawan kobujutsu was an original warrior martial arts from the kingdom times. Instead, modern Okinawan kobujutsu was probably spawned by the same momenta as karate. Continue reading

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