My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
When the Physical Trumps Other Principles
Many of the first karate instructors in the west started out with nothing more than the physical teachings of the system. What I mean by the physical teachings is they learned the mechanics of the basics, kata and rudimentary kumite, i.e. a few boxing like combinations coupled with kicks. I have often theorized and hypothesized that this was due to the influences of the change from jutsu to a model more attuned to younger folks and the school systems of Japan and Okinawan, after WWII.
In the Isshinryu community the first generation students, many of them but not all, fell prey to the same issue. It can be assumed, for the moment, because of a statement from Shinsho or Cisco, Tatsuo-san's second son, where he explains why Tatsuo-san wanted those first generation students to embrace the ken-po goku-i. He stated, “My father wanted Americans to know more about “gokui (essential points) of Isshin-ryu karate but they only had a year to learn on Okinawa. So he only taught the basics or the physical applications.”
This was the foundation of western karate and in particular western taught Isshinryu. I am not saying that what I perceive is the actual truth but until I encounter facts that support another viewpoint my theory stands, for now. The goku-i or essential point of the way of the fist does provide a means to extract such things as the fundamental principles, i.e. a person's balance is the same as a weight, that speaks to several of the fundamental principles of martial systems and/or effectiveness. Balance comes from proper breathing, adequate and correct posture which comes from spinal alignment, structure; then their is the principles of heaviness, relaxation. centeredness, etc. All principles of martial systems that are the foundation of all combative arts.
This particular example also explains a part of the principles as explained by the term "chinkuchi." My readers all know how I love to talk about that one especially since it connects to the complete spectrum of principles as I understand them and that connects to the goku-i and its inferences per Tatsuo-san's desire for Americans to study the ken-po goku-i.
What this original model of teaching the physical while leaving the more important aspects alluded to through the goku-i left most karate instructors focused only on the application of the physical covering only part of the principles of physiokinetic's while leaving out the principles of theory, technique, and philosophy.
What I believe was the true intent of Tatsuo-san and Shinsho-san in presenting the goku-i was each of us must seek out the full spectrum of martial arts, i.e. the full shu-ha-ri that embraces the full model of the principles of martial effectiveness/systems. It also makes me understand his early promotions of some to roku-dan with emphasis that afer fifteen years or so then accept the grade because he was hoping and assuming the Americans would learn from the goku-i, discover things like chinkuchi and the principles behind it and karate and then assume a teaching role to pass all of it along to their students.
Maybe I got it right and maybe I don't have a clue. I just know that even those who profess to fully understand the system and the wishes of Tatsuo-san are not forthcoming with said teachings. They tend to hold them near and only pass their teachings along to those who are within that circle. It is a shame as this kind of stuff could change the beliefs, as it has for me, of the Isshinryu community resulting in a one unified wholehearted Isshinryu - something I believe Tatsuo-san wished for his system.