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Japanization of Okinawan Karate to Create Cultural Homogeneity within the Nation of Japan
September 12, 2022
Because Karate is such an essential pillar of an autonomous Okinawan subculture, its Japanization from Karate-Jutsu into Karate-Do became the mainland’s priority not just for militaristic purposes, but also to create cultural homogeneity across the nation.  
Why my Lianbuquan is Different from Yours
July 25, 2022
There are countless kung fu forms across innumerable schools and lineages, but sometimes different schools share the same form. While reviewing the Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu Complete Collection, YMAA Staff Writer Gene Ching discovered some overlapping forms between his Northern Shaolin tradition and YMAA’s curriculum and discusses the shared roots and divergences.
The YMAA Kung Fu Curriculum
April 18, 2022
This is Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming's official YMAA External Arts Curriculum, which outlines his recommended order of study for Kung Fu students.
Itosu Anko Sensei’s Motivation to Teach Karate to Kids
April 4, 2022
Stressing Karate’s possible use for supporting Japan’s armed forces was Itosu Sensei’s pragmatic strategy to secure sufficient funds for his educational campaign by tapping into Japan’s funds for its militarization―whereas the final and underlying goal of this educational campaign was not to create the raw material for the nation’s military forces, but something different, something nobler.
Some Thoughts About Karate Class
January 24, 2022
Regardless of your physical condition when you begin your training and in spite of the hurdles you’ll encounter during it, strive to keep in mind that you are, underneath it all, an athlete. We all are, by virtue of 300,000 years of evolution.
Peaceful Minds Through the Study of Lethal Okinawan Karate? - January 17, 2022
Through building up physical and mental strength, inappropriate overcompensating and aggressive tendencies lessen and eventually even vanish, since traditional karate training creates new self-definitions of capability and new self-perceptions of being able to successfully defend oneself and others. Unavoidably, self-confidence and courage eventually will improve and reduce feelings of inferiority.
Where Cobra Kai Fails the Martial Art - January 3, 2022
The staggering success of Netflix's Cobra Kai has brought renewed attention to the martial arts, especially karate. Anyone who bore witness to when The Karate Kid premiered in 1984 can recall the impact it had on the global popularization of martial arts. The film attracted a massive influx of new students and a tremendous boon to awareness, as well as to the economy. Cobra Kai has improved how the martial arts are depicted in the show with subtle clarifications that only the most discerning martial artists might appreciate.
Traditional Karate Is Okinawan Cultural Heritage - December 13, 2021
Outwardly, the two societies are integrated, but the Okinawan people have proven masterful at the remaining cultural differences and attaching new importance to them genuine Okinawan karate being one of those cultural symbols.”
Socio-Cultural Reasons for “Takeover” Attempts to Integrate Okinawan Karate into Mainland Japan’s Budo Philosophy - November 29, 2021
“Japan’s militaristic and nationalistic attitudes before WWII and its strategies to establish an Olympic sport after WWII explain why the mainland took over Okinawa’s unique fighting art.” Hermann Bayer, Ph.D.
Seven Aspects of Kihon - November 1, 2021
There are, however, a few key qualitative generalizations to be made about virtually all techniques. As you enjoy class training in kihon (technical fundamentals), you’ll want to continually check the following seven preliminary items to ensure they are driven deeply into your muscle memory.
The “Japanization” of Okinawan Karate in Mainland Japan - October 18, 2021
Japanization” changed many techniques of genuine Okinawan karate radically, and the essence of the original, Itosu-based style, which is self-protection, was lost in its transition from Okinawa to mainland Japan.
Encouragement - October 6, 2021
As you bow onto the dojo floor, wake up to all that is around you. Strive to maintain that consciousness until the time you bow off the floor for the night. Your awareness should be at its utmost when you are practicing your techniques.
Karate is For the Rest of Us - September 20, 2021
There is a public perception of adults who practice karate, borne no doubt of the movies our local multiplex presents us. America's favorite entertainment medium is the province of young athletic people who, in their quest to make right through might, produce skilled strikes that land accurately, rendering perfect unconsciousness in every opponent, and enable our hero to emerge uninjured after battling many wrongdoers. We in the practice know better.
Did Genuine Karate Originate in Okinawa or in China? A Contribution to Historic Reasoning in Martial Arts History - September 6, 2021
Applying a comparable argument, an existing Okinawan martial art with its clear intention and purpose of self-protection integrated foreign (here: “Chinese”) knowledge and skills as a useful improvement into its existing system, into its existing idea, its existing concept and intellectual framework.”
What is Karate? - August 30, 2021
"...since karate training has stressed humility and overcoming oneself as fundamental principles from ancient times, even though one may not be aware of the development, it contributes substantially to the polishing of character."—Master Gichin Funakoshi from Rentan Goshin Karate Jutsu, 1925
Olympic Karate: A New Martial Art Enters the Ring - August 2, 2021
Martial arts history happens when karate is introduced at the Tokyo Olympics. Among the 33 overall different sports this year, karate is part of a special group of martial-based Olympic sports. This includes archery, boxing, fencing, judo, modern pentathlon, shooting, taekwondo, and wrestling (some also include the track and field event of javelin, and the winter sport of biathlon.) Despite their global impact, most Olympic games are of Western origin. The outstanding Non-Western games are the martial arts: judo, taekwondo, and now karate. The Olympic karate events will begin on August 4th and run until August 8th, 2021.
Working Together: Teaching Online - March 26, 2021
Online teaching has been trending throughout the pandemic. YMAA instructors Jonathan Chang and Michelle Lin share their experiences providing virtual teaching pre-pandemic until now, as well as hosting a global Martial Arts Virtual Camp. I sat down with them recently (virtually of course) to discuss all this and what they are planning for the future.
Bam Commandments: Spiritual Principles - February 15, 2021
It’s the first of the month in the tough ghetto neighborhood. It’s payday for the poor. The welfare check has arrived, and the drug dealers can’t wait. It’s also their payday, and they can easily estimate $20,000-$50,000 in income. This might seem exaggerated, but it’s not. This dealing goes on every day, and with this business comes violence, guns, and murder for those in top positions of power.
Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo - February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
Know the Land, Know the Martial Arts History of Vietnam - September 28, 2020
Vietnam has a land mass close to 332,000 square kilometers, it borders China to the north, mainland Southeast Asia to the west and has hundreds of kilometers of coastline. As a result, the region has long been seen as a strategically and economically valuable resource. The modern incarnation of Vietnam was first amalgamated by military expansion southwards throughout the seventeenth century, giving the country its distinct "S" shape. Meanwhile, the northern borders have had very little modification since the withdrawal of the Song Dynasty in 1070.
Vietnamese Martial Arts and Their Role in the Modern World - July 24, 2020
The land we now know as Vietnam has been defined by centuries of conflict. Within the modern-day borders of the country, countless battles for dominance, resources and survival have taken place, thus ensuring the development of many unique fighting styles. Although there has been a long and intertwined history between China and Vietnam (the name Vietnam even stems from the Chinese "Nan Yue" which means "Southern Dwellers",) various geographical, cultural and physical differences have all coalesced to create combat systems that are distinctly different from their northern counterparts.
The Way of Wushudo - December 2, 2019
The highest level of martial arts training is to be able to perform beyond all boundaries, systems, styles, and techniques with total freedom of self-expression. You can achieve this only after you have developed a strong foundation in a particular style or system.
Sambo-Not for the Faint of Heart - November 25, 2019
The young newspaper reporter was looking for an angle on his story about the national sambo tournament I was hosting sometime back around 1985 in Kansas City, Missouri. I had given him the necessary background information on the sport; the rules, history, who was competing that day and the other bits of information that would give the reporter more than enough information to provide an interesting story to his readers.
Steps to Winning - November 11, 2019
Many people study martial arts because they want to develop their fighting skills, then have a chance to go one-on-one with other martial artists. It seems more refined and socially acceptable to them than going outside and picking a fight with someone on the street. Of course you don't get the same possible dire consequences, because there is always a measure of controlled fighting in the ring.
Structured Training in the Martial Arts - October 14, 2019
Structured training is not only necessary, it is essential and central to success in any field of endeavor, and especially so in the fighting sports that comprise the martial arts. A person has to train hard, but just as important, that martial arts athlete has to train smart. In most martial arts, there is a rational approach to skill development.