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?

Shimazu Iehisa presented military weaponry to Ryukyuan leader

For more than a century a prohibition of firearms and cut and thrust weapons by the Shimazu House has been considered one major trigger for the development of empty handed martial arts in Okinawa. While this theory has been refuted … Continue reading

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Kata Taught by Matsumura Sōkon (1)

Since I read about Matsumura Sōkon in social networks recently and about the kata he presumably taught, I thought it might be a good idea to remind Karate circles of an eyewitness account about the eminent master. In his 1941 autobiography, … Continue reading

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Karate and the Floating Foot (Ukiashi 浮き足)

Floating Foot is a literal translation of the Japanese word ukiashi 浮き足. It refers to an unsteady step, to standing on the tiptoes, to being ready to flee, and even – figuratively – to high volatility in a financial market. … Continue reading

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3 – The Theory of Tī

The Lexical Meaning of Tī The lexical meaning of the character for the word Tī, written in Japanese Kanji as 手, comprises of various meanings and uses. First of all, it denotes the human arm as well as the hand … Continue reading

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2 – Perception of the Weapons Ban Under Satsuma

Kerr noted that “no evidence can be found to suggest that the Okinawans at any time contemplated an attempt to throw off Japanese controls.”[1] Indeed, judging from all sources available it is quite obvious that neither the political nor the … Continue reading

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1 – The Weapons Ban Theories

According to a foundational theory of Karate, in pre-modern times an indigenous unarmed martial art of Ryūkyūan design existed. Generally referred to as Tī 手 in the native pronunciation, it is considered a native form of boxing and an original … Continue reading

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