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Original Stances in Forms

Author Topic: Original Stances in Forms  (Read 487 times)

Offline larrykirk

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Original Stances in Forms
« on: June 26, 2018, 08:27:18 AM »
My original Kajukenbo training did not stress forms but as I've gotten older I've been drawn to them as part of the Kajukenbo legacy and for exercise. However, I've noticed that the different branches use different stances (of course there are other differences too). I've seen king fu inspired bow stances and deep horse stances, but then also very Japenese looking forward stances as well as more upright Kenpo type neutral bow stances. Do any of you know which stances were used in the "original" Palama sets? Also, I'm curious, are the more upright- neutral stances, recognized as "correct" in competition. I've had friends who are Yoshukai tell me my stance is wrong when it is the way I was taught. Thanks in advance for any insight, clarity perspective on stances for the forms!
Larry Kirk -  brown belt/black belt Kajukenbo (Tiwanak line) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” John 6:47-48

Offline Dave Jones

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Re: Original Stances in Forms
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 02:38:06 PM »

The Pinans/Palamas (aka "original kajukenbo forms") were derived from Motobu Choki's Okinawan kempo / karate-jutsu as it was taught by James Mitose.
Those "Pee-Non" katas were developed by one of Motobu's instructors, Itosu Anko, in Okinawa around 1895 -over 120 years ago- and they were based on an even older Chinese form.
No, James Mitose did not train in some secret family style in Japan.  He learned some Okinawan kempo from the Choki Motobu lineage.  Even "Mitose's"* book gives that away.
As for when and where those kata were first taught in Kajukenbo or where they were brought in from, I have no idea.  I wasn't there and most of the people who know are not talking.

The Pinan forms have been morphed and modified almost since day one because of body mechanics etc, so over the decades you would be hard pressed to find many people who even understand the true origins.
It didn't help that they were renamed to "Heian" by Funakoshi (he was also taught by Itosu Anko), Palamas by Emperado, or that they are called either "Pyong-an" or "Pyung-Ahn" in Korean Tang Soo Do.
ITF / Tang Soo Do has shotokan in it's origins; Tang Soo Do [Korean] = Tang (China) Hand Way = Kara Te Do [Japanese].
WTF Taekwondo ("taygwondo" not Tie Kwan Do!) tried to strip out the Japanese / Okinawan / Chinese origins and components after the break-off from the ITF, so it uses different forms than the Pinans.
Funakoshi changed his KARA-TE kanji from "Tang (China) Hand" to "Empty Hand" in a similar manner to strip out the Chinese influence of his "Japanese" karate, even though it is still pronounced the same way.

Yoshukai karate (and it's parent chito-ryu) ultimately share the same origins and forms from Okinawa, so they might have some insight into how they are done "traditionally."
This is mostly because the founder of chito-ryu was taught by Choki Motobu's brother.
But comparing karate-do styles like yoshukai or chito-ryu with karate-jutsu systems such as Choki Motobu's Okinawan kempo or kajukenbo is just asking for trouble, IMO.

Imagine four "masters" who had been doing these forms for 40 or 50 years (from different respected systems) all doing the "same" Pinan (shorin ryu or chito-ryu, maybe) /Heian (shotokan) /Palama (kajukenbo) /Pyong-an (tang soo do) at the same time.
Have you ever seen such a side-by-side demonstration?  I haven't.  I've looked for such things but never found it.
But you can find YouTube videos of old guys from each style doing those forms and you can see somewhat different parts, positions, stances, etc. in each one when you look close enough.
So do you have the cojones to tell one one or more of those "masters" that their "stance is wrong"?

In short, who cares?  What difference does it make?  Where I come from it matters more if you can fight than if your form is "pretty" anyway.
A "form" is what you make of it, no more or less.  If you are not training (practicing isn't good enough & there is a difference) a pattern enough to make it into viable, reflexive techniques then what it looks like doesn't matter.
Forms or kata are no different than things like focus mitt work, drilling double-leg takedowns, or training triangle chokes in that regard.
The saying "You will fight the way you train" is a lot deeper than many people realize.  Case in point, notice that no one says 'You fight the way you practice.'?

That being said, I've seen brawlers with ugly "form" beat "martial artists" several times just because they were willing to be more brutal and quickly took the fight to a level of intensity that the "martial artist" was not prepared for.
Say what you want about MMA but even an amateur MMA fighter with a record like 0 and 2 will easily beat many "experienced martial artists" because they are willing to actually hit people hard and without hesitation.
People rarely rise to the occasion, they usually fall to the level of their training.

If you are truly concerned with how they are judging your kata in a competition or something then perform it the way they want to see it.

But if they insist you are doing the katas "wrong" then I'd challenge them to provide footage of Itosu Anko or at least Choki Motobu performing them.
When they failed to do so, I'd smack the taste out of their mouth and ask how THAT form was.  Welcome to kajukenbo!


* Mitose plagiarized "What is Self Defense" from Choki Motobu.  Many of the pictures are even shot-for-shot reproductions of an earlier Motobu text.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 02:38:51 PM by Dave Jones »
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