April 01, 2010

Almost gone

The real Mr. Miyagi. Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953), founder of the Goju-ryu style.

Ever since I began formally practicing karate in jr. high, I dreamed of going across the water to study it. The original "plan" called for going right out of high school but that didn't happen.

At the time, I was practicing the Shotokan style, which was headquartered in Tokyo. The longer I trained and the more I learned, however, the more I wanted to go to the source, i.e. Okinawa, where it was born.

The art now know as karate (for "empty hands") is probably the result of a combination of the indigenous Okinawan fighting art of te (meaning hand)and the Chinese martial arts popularly known as kung fu.

A poem written by the scholar Teijunsoku, born in 1663 includes these lines, which also reflect the values of karate:

No matter how you may excel in the art of te,
And in your scholastic endeavors,
Nothing is more important than your behavior
And your humanity as observed in daily life.

Over time, two major streams evolved which were named after cities in Okinawa, Shuri-te and Naha-te (Naha has since pretty much absorbed Shuri). Shuri-te is often described as being quick and light, while Naha-te is said to emphasize strength development and uses special breathing and dynamic tension methods in training. The leading Shuri-te styles today include Shotokan and Shorin ryu, while Naha-te is represented by styles like Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu. A neutral observer would recognize both as being karate but also as being different.

Most of my background is in the Shuri-te tradition, so I'm hoping to round things off a little this trip.

Goat Rope posts will appear as usual through the weekend. After that, I'll try to blog from across the water but on a different time schedule.

THIS IS THE BRAIN on politics, revisited.

CEO PAY. Firms that received TARP money don't seem to be adhering to CEO pay guidelines.

A LITTLE GOOD NEWS. After a back and forth that has gone on for some time, funding for a program that helps people with disabilities and the elderly stay in their homes has been increased in WV. Not too many states are doing things like that these days.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Godspeed John Glenn.