We’re having our third tournament in this year’s “Uechiryu Karate Championship Series” on Sunday, October 2, 2011. It’s being held at the JunglePlex in Plymouth. I hope you’ll attend and see it as a positive ingredient in your development as a well rounded martial artist.
Let me share with you something I learned many years ago. There’s primarily five types of karate. Not styles as in Uechiryu, Gojuryu, Shotokan, TKD, etc. But types. The first type is the karate of the dojo, where we learn the methods, philosophy and techniques of the instructor. Not necessarily the techniques and psychology of the founder of the style, but the ways of the dojo instructor and other senior members of the school. A lot of times, in the dojo, you can convince yourself that you’re the best at karate because you’re doing so well in your dojo and you keep receiving promotions, belts, etc. In some instances you are the best, but unfortunately, in most instances you’re probably not the best because your techniques haven’t been tested against the unknown and that does matter. You’re generally not going to be attacked by someone from your dojo.
The second type is what could be called demonstration karate. Some folks are really good at it. When they put on a demonstration they put it together so well that everyone wants to join their club. I’ve seen people perform the best kata demonstrations to try and get students and not one person joins up. Others, who’ve figured it out can put on a demonstration, do five techniques and get almost everyone to join up. (although I’m not one of them).
The third type is what can be called street karate. Guys that are familiar with fighting in the street environment know that it’s the element of surprise and being sneaky, nasty, billigerent (and a few other adjectives) that matter most when overcoming an opponent. A true street fighter doesn’t care what you know. Intimidation tactics are used to instill fear in the most seasoned fighter, thus, neutralizing most of the skills you thought you knew. A close cousin to street karate is what I see on the tube called UFC, MMA. Those boys, primarily in their prime, are going at it like they’re in the street, except with the fact there are rules. In the street, THERE ARE NO RULES.
The fourth type of karate is tournament karate. Take a kata, for instance, you’ve practiced it thousands of times, you believe strongly that it’s well tuned and you decide to compete with it at a regional tournament. Then, you lose the first round wondering why. You think, “My instructor said I’m ready. He said I’m the best”. What happened? Well, tournment karate is different. There’s a way to do it. That goes for kata, sparring and weapons competition. Then there’s a way to do the local tournaments, versus the regionals versus the nationals versus the internationals. They’re not the same levels of events, you must acquire experience, know how, etc. By now you’re probably thinking, but what is the fifth (or you may have more, if so share it with us).
For now, I won’t divulge the fifth type, I’ll let you ponder the idea of the four types of karate. If you so choose you can write me back sometime when you think you’ve gotten it. I’ll let you know, that it’s not a consolidation of the four nor is it talking about karate nor is it exercise karate.
We hope to see you next Sunday and wish you good health.
8th Dan, Kiyoshi, Uechi-ryu Karate-Do