What's the difference between Shotokai and Shotokan

Discussion in 'Karate' started by TonyMc, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Renegade80

    Renegade80 Valued Member

    Goju has a much more southern kungfu influence as evidenced by the heavy focus on sanchin kata and stance. Their natural evolution would be chi sau, more Wing Chun than taichi, which they have a version of in kakie practice.

    While Shotokan may never have developed the catalogue of advanced skills and mechanics employed by internal martial artists, I don't see it as too great a leap from the mix of Aikido blending and close quarter striking to develop sticky techniques and close blending drills. Combine this with a bit of exposure to taichi and all the ingredients are there. It may never be push hands but there would be cross over points.

    And to answer the other question, shotokan is the base of my training. When I reached Brown belt I read an article by the founder of the JKS Harada sensei. They are an offshoot of Egami ryu Shotokai. Harada studied directly under Funakoshi and Egami, but went off on his own eventually. I visited one of the JKS schools for a couple of classes. I don't know how standard they were but they were nothing like the videos; it was just relaxed Shotokan with an emphasis on relaxed power and on blending and unbalancing.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  2. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    I thought JKS was Masao Kagawa's organisation? They're pretty old-school shotokan, aren't they?
  3. Renegade80

    Renegade80 Valued Member

    Apologies, it's the KDS - Karate-do Shotokai
  4. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    As GoJu hasn't developed it,I'd say the term natural evolution doesn't apply.One could make the case it could be a logical evolutionary direction.

    The most respected instructor in my town was a high level Okinawan GoJu teacher,so I've seen Goju's methods.It's not that they're bad practices,(they're pretty nice for what they are) but don't retain the depth of what mainland methods are/were.Probably at least partially the result of pruning in the formative years.

    Just a historical note-Funakoshi tossed sanchin out,if you didn't know.
    No,not too great a leap for a system to do that.However,taking into account that Okinawan practitioners either a)never received these training methods in much depth or b)discarded them in their own practices/teaching it doesn't appear that such practices held much interest for them.As I stated before,GoJu has never developed them in depth,so it's doubtful that Shoto would have gone in that direction.Even Uechi doesn't have any real chi sau and it's the most recent adaptation from China. For whatever reasons these type of methods don't historically seem to have appealed to karateka.

    As a natural evolution adaptation of southern methods of chi sau would seem more logical for karate systems than northern t'ui shou.Especially as t'ui shou is heavily dependent on specific mechanics.So crossover is debatable-other than the visible result.There's a large difference between t'ui shou and chi sau.I don't understand why you feel Shoto would have gone towards t'ui shou practices rather than leaning to chi sau of the southern variety.At least that's the way you read to me.

    GoJu has retained a starkly visible Chinese influence but I don't know if it's originally any more southern Chinese in its background than Shoto.Not like there's much visible northern Chinese influence in any Okinawan systems,claims of Shaolin or no.Altho' some of the Okinawan push hands does appear to have a Hsing I influence.

    Still an interesting idea to muse on,what would Karate systems have been like if they'd developed (or kept) such methods.

    Well-it would have made things tougher for us when squaring off with 'em!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  5. Renegade80

    Renegade80 Valued Member

    El Medico,

    The naha te systems of karate are directly related to southern Chinese arts (They're even pretty sure of the lineage) and they are much more recent (early 20th century) than the Shuri-te/Tomari-te that Shotokan and Shorin ryu styles are based on. Patrick McCarthy has some pretty comprehensive karate history on his website, I recommend it.

    As for not having chi sau?
    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgsSTkkFnbM&feature=youtube_gdata_player"]Kakie of Goju-ryu - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma-JHqEdrXc&feature=youtube_gdata_player"]Taira Bunkai - Taira Masaji Sensei (8th Dan) - YouTube[/ame]

  6. Senseiron

    Senseiron Valued Member

    I think the answer has mostly been hit on in this thread, having to do primarily with movement.

    Not being too familiar with Shotokai but very familiar with Shotokan I had to look up a fair smattering of videos for the former, including those linked in this thread.

    From what I see, Shotokan is a very concise, very strong, very defined movements meant for the effectiveness of directional power.

    To point to a reference, author Bruce D. Clayton in his book "The Secrets Of Shotokan" makes note that Chinese forms of martial arts were very static in that the two combatants would stand in one spot and control the confines of the fight. But the Japanese style was to promote forward momentum so that one technique would generate enough power to knock the opponent backward, usually ending the fight. I paraphrase, of course.

    I believe Shotokai is taking this one step further by adding in the sliding step and the more fluidness of the legs by not keeping rigid stances. While I can see the practitioner covering more ground this way, it is not entirely unpredictable. If you understand the practitioner has a propensity for doing so, then you should be able to gauge the timing and distance traveled enough to be able to step out of the way of an attack.

    And, for what it's worth, the movement of Shotokai reminds me far more of Olympic style fencing in its linearity and sliding stances. I could just as easily see these Shotokai practitioners with epees in their hands on a fencing strip.
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Have you read what McCarthy writes?
    The Chinese influences in Karate are southern. Look at a map,too.It's logical.
    I told you I've seen this.It's good stuff.We can refer to it as GoJu's pushing/sticking/blending/whatever but it's no longer the same thing as what it came from.This is about training methods and what/how/why things are developed.The differences are more than skin deep,it's quite technical.
  8. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Some systems in S. China operate this way but I hope he was speaking of specific systems which influenced Okinawan systems and not CMAs in general because that would be a really silly thing to say.
  9. Renegade80

    Renegade80 Valued Member

    I'm confused, I'm pretty sure that is precisely what I said.
    One you might be interested in if you haven't seen it already is a show called kung fu quest available on YouTube. Some karateka go to visit various crane schools and suggest that Miyagi trained at one in particular.

    Fair enough.
  10. Robert D

    Robert D New Member

    Apart from the endless - endless - walking backwards and forwards practice that you mention (they've been doing that for at least thirty years and seldom seem to do much else) Harada Mitsusuke has got increasingly into the 'I can make you fall over without touching you' nonsense, and has surrounded himself with compliant stoooges who are convinced that he can. Harada's proud claim has always been that he's teaching what Funakoshi really meant, and that everyone else has got it wrong. Never in the past three decades and more has Harada's Shotokai looked anything like Funakoshi's karate, though. They do a certain amount of slow-motion kata as well as their backwards-and-forwards drill (their kata looks a bit like tai chi), but no bunkai or oyo, ever.

    It ought to be understood, by the way, that Harada's Shotokai is not the same as Egami Shigeru's Shotokai (though Harada's acolytes like to think that it is. They also like to tell you that Harada is revered in Japan, though this has not been borne out by my experience).

    I admit that I'm not objective about this. I think Harada is a fraud, and I dislike the supercilious attitude of his disciples.It seems to me that the ryu has now become something of a joke, but others may disagree.
  11. EmptyHandGuy

    EmptyHandGuy Valued Member

    I did some Shotokai years ago with a splinter group from the KDS called Shindo Shotokai, they had a emphasis on strong basics and kata but they also got the pads out and did kata based drills too. There does seem to be a few splinter groups from the KDS, I wonder if it was because of what Robert D mentions above? I know for example that Shoto Budo is another splinter from the KDS who seem to have gone to the other extreme to the KDS with lots of sparring/pad work and grappling which could be seem as a counterpoint to the direction the KDS is going in maybe?

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