Dumbing-Down the Katas

Shotokan's Secret presents a complete theory of the heian katas. There are the forums where the research was conducted.
Forum rules
You may visit as a guest and read everything. You may register and post messages. I reserve the right to control site content. -- Hanshi Clayton

Dumbing-Down the Katas

Postby HanshiClayton » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:51 am

Did Funakoshi simplify (dumb-down) the katas he passed on to us? Apparently he did.

“Hoping to see Karate included in the universal physical education taught in our public schools, I set about revising the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The Karate that high school students practice today is not the same Karate that was practiced even as recently as ten years ago (this book was written in 1956) and it is a long way indeed from the Karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa."

That's from Karate-do, My Way of Life, which is Funakoshi's autobiography.

How much did he simplify the katas? Probably not very much, actually, to judge by comparative analysis between Shotokan katas and those of other shuri-te styles. There are many differences in the katas, but the the Shotokan versions are not visibly "simpler" than the others.

Note, however, that the master expresses zero interest in whether the changes disrupt the meaning of the kata. Just make the dance simpler, he says, so that everyone can perform them.

To what end, we must ask? It must be a health goal, because it certainly isn't a martial one.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2012, All Rights Reserved.
This forum is supported by the sales of Shotokan's Secret, Expanded Edition
Site Founder
Site Founder
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:45 pm

Return to Shotokan Kata Applications

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Hit Counter by Digits