It's true I haven't read all the previous posts on Mr.Morris in great detail (I have now and there are still no substantial comments on the substance of his page...apart from retorics and membership clauses).
My "jumpy" comment was heavily influenced by three beers, previously consumed in a circle of a good old friends and inspired by Mr.Cecil's categorisation of Mr.Morris into the our legion of kindergarten karate "dudes".
1.Retorics (or whatever is it called)
I do not give a damn **** about Mr.Morris proficiency with words. For one good reason. I haven't learned any single karate skill by means of words but by B,S&T(ears). Being a frequent visitor of Okinawa, I can assure you there isn't much retorics going out there too. I might even say that most probably, the late (and rest in peace)Uechi Kambun, wouldn't be in the front echalons of these forums...and I have met one too many "instructors" who were so eloquent on karate at the table and disproportionaly poor on the Dojo floor (No offence to any of this forum participants, if we agree that Fighting Arts are still to be judged by demonstration of fighting skill not words..but this is already one of the main issues of Mr.Morris).
2. Mr.Morris clauses on membership
I am not at all so shocked by them as you are gentlemen. Mr.Morris is simply on line with good all practise that is going on in Okinawa and elsewere for century or so.
a)How many traditional okinawan students do you think are engaged in cross-training between the Dojos?
b)How much valuable instruction (not counting social workouts or occasional beating for a present to take home) one may expect to receive in Okinawa if travelling from one Dojo to another?
To my experience, very little or none. It is just that Mr.Morris proclaimed this publicly and in Okinawa it is unwritten rule. Everybody knows where he belongs and that's why all the politics..see current Okinawa Masters Tour...
..and one more reason..should one not take him seriously, why the heck should he deal with all the "dudes" coming from time to time with all the same questions to steal his time (he explained his motive is not earning easy money on hundreds of members).
3. His hard critique of Top Okinawa and Japan Masters
The critique itself is again nothing extraordinary apart from being public. It has been a common practise in Okinawa and Japan Martial Arts circles for centuries with the only exception that it is conveyed in inner circles. I have heard it personnaly (in bewtween Kyoshi, Hansi and Hanshi-sei),the Uechi-Ryu is marked by a famous letters during Uechi Kanei hospitalization,Mark Bishop also wrote on this subject, so what the fuss. Of course, it is not polite to come out publicly with such statements (but as he describes, other haven't been to polite with him too).
4. Empty skins, robotics, unnatural, grotesque movement patterns, etc...
I do agree totaly with Mr.Morris when karate is to be judged from the actual life and death fighting stand-point. And I believe he talks from that perspective. He is not talking about karate for everday folks - kids, business (wo)men, old grannies, sport tournaments, etc., etc...I believe any kind of karate is good enough for them which does not produce harm to health and misconceptions about efficiency in life and death encounters.
Karate has many faces but the pity is, even the last dude in white dress will claim he is practising self defense martial art, that is karate.
I could not agree more with Mr.Morris that Karate ceased to be Fighting Art at the turn of the century, when it went publicly, was introduced into schools, colleges, etc. And it was right it ceased to be such. Its essence and training methods had to be changed to suit such a large variety of consumers. The mistake is - that remained to be called fighting (martial art). They added the DO to it, but how many do eally understand the difference. Karate-Do, Kyu-Do (the art of releasing the arrow from the bow). Does the Kyudo has any relevance to fighting and defending oneself with the help of the bow&arrow. Can you imagine some average Tokyo citizen, who is practising and benefiting from Kyudo, being thrown into a theater of wild animals and he is to defend himself with what he practised diligently for years. That is Karate...from the Fighting art it remained just a skeleton which was further modified into thousands of ways, only because there is no ACTUAL LIFE&DEATH CONTEST to be judged upon for true efficiency.
Nowadays we have similar differentiation going on between "traditional-DO" karate and sport tournament karate. No one can win a tournament by practising Kyu/Dan Kumite and with this same training tool he is an easy victim on the street(and his Sensei should tell him so at the end of each training session).
So, I believe Mr.Morris is quite right when saying he could not find much of a true TOU-DI JUTSU anymore in Japan and Okinawa. He is not the only one to claim so. It has been gone long before seventies. Some traces are still to be found here and there and Uechi-Ryu is also lucky to have a form with some traces of substance still left.But the animals are all made of paper. What is the tiger and crane in our Kata? If you are exposed to genuine chinese animal form than you can judge how great the modification of Uechi-Ryu has been from China to Okinawa.
Karate has gone through many changes It is only to be wished that Instructors could CLEARLY define the framework and limitations of what they are teaching publicly. But I ask you how many do know what are they really teaching? And what purpose does such teaching serve?
Bill, I assure you I keep my memories of USA and Virginia visit among the top. I intend to participate in the August Okinawa World Tounament so will be absent in the middle of August but please e-mail me more details on your visit in Germany.email@example.com