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What does the "Real" Uechi-ryu look like?
The Video Magazine # 12 began quite a lot of speculation regarding how the Uechi-ryu Kanbun Uechi brought back with him, differs from what his son taught and we are now practicing. I remember being shocked at seeing what appeared at the time, to be a drastically different system. What do you think of the style, as performed at Kanbun's first dojo?
Now, I haven't seen the tape in queston, but lately I've been looking at a lot of old films of various Okinawan and Japanese karate styles from the 1950's. The one thing that strikes me most forcefully is that ALMOST NOBODY does things the the way they did forty years ago! The rhythms and flow are different, the techniques have changed, some techiques have appeared and disappeared.
Another tape shows a current Okinawan master saying that most styles, even Okinawan, have changed their techniques to reflect Western/scientific ideas of the biomechanics of punching, thus changing both the trajectory and and the way of doing punches. In this case he is talking about Shorin Ryu derived styles, and how the punches used to be 'whip-like' rather 'than piston-like', for example.
This shows that the idea of preserving any human endeavour in a kind of time-warp is a romantic, but highly unrealistic notion. We can try as hard as we want, but it'll never happen. Life is change, even for karate styles.
(c)1997 maurice richard libby --all rights reserved
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