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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. •