Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind...

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Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind...

Post by ab g-d » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:40 pm

Karate's Fighting Origin by Bruce D. Clayton, Phd (in ecology , BTW)

Interesting book. Basically outlines the generation before Funakoshi. He theorizes, and I mean theroizes, that all these guys were bodyguards to the ruler of Shuri and Karate was a bodyguard art. He goes on to back engineer how that explains a bunch of stuff. Certainly academically interesting, and who knows, he's done his homework.

The thing that gave it a little more credence for me is he readily admits that karate is missing lot's of stuff for fighting, that karate as it is taught today is a farce and outlines a Shuri -te ll that includes weapons, ground fighting etc...

Worth a read if you're into this kind of thing.

Also reread Seamus Heaney "Opened Ground" Selected Poems 1966-1996 - this is of course a must read. Very much in the man poetry genre, if you will.
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Re: Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind...

Post by ab g-d » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:00 pm

Jack wrote:I did a review of this book when it came out, it's good stuff. True, I have no idea, but it makes sense. The explanation of Ba-Sai Kata is a joy to read, I love that kata.

Do you do the Karate-do/shotokan kata Bill?
Nope. I mean I've done a little, but my Kyo teacher, for the brief time I spent at a dojo, was WAY more into kihon then kata, an approach I agreed with. Then we moved to the "fight club" and I was taking Thai Boxing and boxing as taught by an ex boxer. And I've never done a Shotokan anything in my life.
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Re: Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind...

Post by Pinky » Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:43 pm

I agree that this is an interesting book. The historical stuff is a mix of actual history (Matsumura actually was a bodyguard) and wild theorizing. One interesting, and more widely confirmed, part of the historical stuff is that karate was developed by the more educated class as they were the ones who traveled to China and Japan. In any case, the idea that kata is supposed to teach breaking through crowds, escaping holds, etc. is more important than Clayton's theories about scribes and clerks being a secret bodyguard force.

This book, books by Abernathy, Schmeisser and others are part of a movement to put a lot of what's been lost from karate back into it. Reading them is one of the things that convinced me I should start studying jujitsu.

Iain Abernathy's "Karate's Grappling Methods" is also worth looking at if you're interested in this sort of thing. I think Schmeisser, who I've heard makes all of his new shodans study another style for at least a year before returning, is next on my reading list.
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Re: Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind...

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:44 pm

His theorizing is wild, but it is a very fun book. I've always thought that some of the historical development of karate could make an awesome movie.
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