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What is karate and where is it from? - In More Detail
Which style of karate is Kin Shin Kai?
What do the names mean?
Why is the serious study of Karate generally called "Karate Do"?

Which style of karate is Kin Shin Kai?

It is firstly important to point out that the idea of style is much misunderstood and abused in the martial arts.

A style is not some amazing set of self defense secrets discovered by the founding master like the ten commandments - that is, etched in stone. A style is really just the handing down, through the generations, of a founding masters's way of doing and teaching things. This itself was doubtless based on other existing traditions, and also reflected their choice of which of the universal principles each master tended to highlight.

The issues of self defence a style addresses, and a large part of the techniques used to address them, are fairly common to all styles concerned with civil self defence. They are dictated by a set of acts of violence fairly common to all mankind and by the common weaknesses of the human body which need to be exploited to protect ourselves from would be aggressors.

A style was and is inevitably further modified by each generation of instructors it is handed down through, even when their intention is to be totally faithful to the original master's ways. Very few people perform what they are taught exactly like the teacher, even if they want to. That is why picking a style because the teacher is impressive and you want to perform just like them is a mistake. Ohtsuka Tadahiko Hanshi has many great students but none of the seniors did things just like him. At the end of the day each person must develop their own style to suits themselves.

What is vitally important is the quality and relevance of the teaching methods a style offers and also the quality of the teaching that goes with them. The training methods also must support your objectives which is often not the case. People may be told they are learning self defence when they are really practising sport karate or learning unrealistic 'art for art sake' techniques

The point here is that just as the Okinawan and Japanese masters modified things to suit themselves and their times, so should today's experienced martial artist use their deep understanding of the past to do the same. That is, in the end, we must all develop our own style. Style is not universal, principles are. Style is individual. A "Style" then should be thought of as a teaching tradition or stream of knowledge which gives the budding martial artist precise methods and principles to assimilate while they mature enough to modify and develop their own ways.

Now let's move on. As we learned earlier, there were reportedly three general streams of karate developed in Okinawa by the early 1900's. These were Naha Te, Shuri Te and Tomari Te (named after the Okinawan towns where they allegedly developed). Master instructors then introduced their own versions of these to mainland Japan.

Naha Te seems to have been developed from the Southern Chinese martial arts (particularly of Fujien province) largely by KANRYO Higaonna (1853-1916), whose senior student MIYAGI Chojun (1888-1953) modified and added to what he had learned and named his "new style" GOJU RYU, and is acknowledged as its founder.

One of Chojun Miyagi's contemporaries and later his senior student was SEKO HIGA (1888-1966). He passed down this Goju Ryu tradition via IZUMIKAWA Kanki, to ICHIKAWA Sosui, and finally to OHTSUKA Tadahiko.

Ohtsuka Tadahiko was a 9th dan master of Goju Ryu karate who taught Karate and other martial arts at his GOJU KENSHA SAISHINKAN dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Goju Kensha is the name he chose for his organisation/school. It is he who taught Goju Ryu Karate to the Goju Kensha Australia members including George Ciechanowicz, 6th dan head of the Kin Shin Kai school.

So Kin Shin Kai training is based on this Goju Ryu karate tradition or style as passed down and reinterpreted by Master Ohtsuka Tadahiko. However, just as Master Ohtsuka boldly looked outside of what he had been taught by researching the various historical roots of Karate, other traditional martial arts, and also newer relevant developments, so Kin Shin Kai is following his lead and doing the same.

It was actually Master Ohtsuka's wish, stated during a Question and Answer session with Shihan George Ciechanowicz in Japan in 1981, that we in Australia should Australianise Karate, adapting the art for our times and culture. After all, this is no different to what the Japanese did to the art when they imported it from Okinawa.

We are really just continuing a process of refinement and development that has always existed with the Naha Te /Goju Ryu karate tradition in particular and throughout the history of human activity as people work to keep tradition meaningful and relevant.