Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Grasshopper Syndrome


Miyagi Chojun (right) pictured here in 1930
Following on from the previous post, I found myself wondering how many people using the name Goju-ryu today imagine they are training in the same way as Chojun Miyagi? I don't mean people who think they are doing their kata exactly the same way he did his, I doubt very much anyone alive today is doing that. I was thinking more along the lines of how many people today have convinced themselves that they are actually training in Goju-ryu karate? You see, in spite of the hundreds of changes that have been made,  the additions, and the training methods that have been abandoned by so many in the sixty-years since Miyagi sensei died (in October 1953), millions of people around the world today continue to believe they are practising Goju-ryu karatedo.....well they're not!

But this is not to say that what they are doing is bad or in some way inferior to Goju-ryu...it's often not: but whatever it is, it is different! If you have no understanding of, and do not practise, junbi undo, hojo undo, kigu undo, ude tanren, kakie, and bunkai, then the kata of Goju-ryu (however they are done), are of little use to you. So please think again if you want to claim an understanding of Goju-ryu, because remembering a few routines in thin air, and a list of fancy bunkai, is not the same as following a tradition; and there is nothing authentic about jumping from one school of karate to another (like a grasshopper) just so you can say you are now training in this style or that.

Moving from one school of karate to another is nothing new, I've done it myself; but if you do make a move then at least have the integrity to do as I did, and leave all the trappings of your old school behind...and that includes your rank. You can't do it eh? Then perhaps, in spite of the bristling self-image you project in public, you're not the highly developed, non-egotistical, karateka you like to think you are.......grasshopper!