Sunday, January 25, 2015

Oh, damn it...!

I'm about to get into trouble.

Considering my opinions, and (other people's) expert opinion, I should avoid trouble. That's what it's there for. That's what that sinking feeling is there to tell me. "Run away", it says.

So, then, should I leave MA?

You see, my problem is with the classics.

I've said it scores of times. My mind is "classical". I deal better with kata, and structured teaching, than I do with that half-on, often-off "method" and structure in our usual class. Because I'm apparently an idiot, I'm looking for some extra information outside my standard school. As good as I believe it is, it certainly doesn't have every answer since the invention of the wheel. Because I am who I am, I was looking for "classic" themed information. The basic karate strikes, for example. Naihanchi kata. I was ready to find some quirky bunkai. Some exercises that wouldn't fit my mindset, or whose medical consequences were not thought thoroughly enough according to today's medical expertise.

Oh, Hell. Twice over.

What I'm finding are scripted bunkai that make no sense at all. Yes, sure, that's a known fact. Many bunkai don't make any sense. But I thought those were the Western ramblings of people who hand't learned enough about their own style. Or others. What I certainly didn't expect is certain amounts of crap delivered in a DVD by one of the last living pupils of the wave of Japanese karate pioneers early last century.

And it hasn't been the only one. I've been seeing clips for styles and meetings and schools and associations all over Okinawa and Japan. Considering how extended some of those associations are worldwide, some of them should be under trial for lèse humanité. What they're doing is not healthy. It's an insult to that "Do" suffix they insist on attaching at the end of "Karate", if "only" physically [*].

I think it was at Karate by Jesse --a site I only recently discovered-- that I recently saw an article where a Chinese master complained of how karate had lost its understanding of movements, even in Okinawa, while the culture itself was very aware of them (and he used the example of the samurai koryu). I don't know enough of Chinese MA to judge if they're much better than that (standard commercial schools aren't, for sure), or Okinawan-proper karate, either. But I see what he means.

And if the source is that diluted, that crammed with things that make no sense... how can the Western schools be any better? And, please, spare me "you only say that because you don't understand". I may not understand karate well enough, true. I do understand basic anatomy, thank you so very much. We no longer live in the XIXth century. Knowing that your hands will break up before you die of old age but that you'll kill your assaulter was okay back then, it's not so much there days. Among other things, current medicine is better at patching people than at healing arthritis. Remember Emperado.

On the plus side, watching that just helped me see one of the "lost elements", something that didn't make sense. And the "lost element" is not in the movement... it's in the timing! It opens a world.

Still... Oh, Hell.

Take care.

[*] No one insists on calling shiatsu, "Shiatsu-Do". And it's as much a "way" as karate, with possibly (likely) better health benefits. Why? Are we trying to convince ourselves?

No comments: