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Overview on Standardization

Going back to my original post on this this subject entitled:

Standardization of Kata/Kihon

Well, who was it that seems to have resisted the standardization process?  In the quote I cited, it was Chotoku Kyan.  How does he figure in the transition of the Ryukyu Kingdom to the Okinawan Prefecture?  His father, Chofu Kyan, was a member of the Sanshikan, the highest level of Ryukyu governmental authority under the King himself.  Chofu Kyan served Sho Tai, the last King of the Ryukyus, the one who was overthrown during the annexation.

In fact, Chotoku Kyan grew up in Tokyo as his father was assigned there to serve the King in his new position as a Japanese noble.

Chotoku Kyan had one of the closest and highest ties to the old Ryukyu Kingdom.  He resisted the standardization of Karate, as he learned and taught the "old way".  The "old way" was intimately associated with the Ryukyu Kingdom.  Standardized Karate was more tied to modern Japan and Okinawa Prefecture.  In some ways they were like oil and water.

Karate experts with ties to the Ryukyu Kingdom, such as Chotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu,  among others, were more likely to maintain the old way.  People without such ties were more likely to embrace the new form of Karate, which was a product of the modernization and assimilation process.

This may all seem like a historical footnote.   But it helps to explain how Karate came to be the way we find it today.  And it helps us to better trace its roots, to try and find the aspects of Karate that we lost during the standardization process.

Karate came to Hawaii in 1900 (or perhaps in 1896).  Karate in Hawaii was largely unaffected by these processes, at least until after World War Two.  In other words, Karate in Hawaii kept to the old way.


Charles C. Goodin