Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


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. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

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.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

Search This Blog

Kata or Embusen or Kata

I can only answer this in a theoretical setting. The reason is there is "no data or historical documents/documentation" to provide us an answer. It is a very good question tho and I am going to answer it only from my personal views and knowledge, as minimalistic as that is.

The kata came first. My belief is that those who came before, the creators of karate as derived from the original indigenous practice of toudi or ti, pulled together their techniques and along with their studies of the Chinese arts of the fist, Chinese boxing, they created their kata.

Lets take it back a bit and try to understand how karate came to be. Okinawa had some form of fighting system which came to be known as "Ti" which is Okinawan dialect for Te or hand if you will. It is also believed that it was referred to as "toudi" or a type of wrestling/grappling/striking system [this is arguable/debatable of course].

The Okinawan's relied heavily on trade with other countries for their livelihood. Their primary sources and influences were Chinese. The trade and exchange with the Chinese is well documented in the only English history book we have and other information/documentation is simply hypothesis by Americans, etc.

The Chinese influences permeated all aspects of life on Okinawa barring the one trait that seems to be exclusive to them, their gentlemanly nature; their peaceful way of politeness and decorum they expressed to anyone and everyone be they friends or conquerors.

The Chinese influences were very strong regarding Okinawan fighting systems in that Chinese boxing was a part of the relations both countries enjoyed for many, many years. We hear stories of Okinawan's traveling to China to learn Chinese boxing which we call "kung fu."

The Chinese already had patterns for practice which we call kata so that in all likelihood influenced Okinawan masters of their systems to incorporate these patterns of fighting into a "kata." We may have found if it were actually documented that they were not called "kata" then but some other Uchinaguchi term, i.e. this is the Okinawan dialect of language.

The Chinese had a name they called the forms or rather the movements, i.e. "Eighteen Movements of Lohan (Order 26). These techniques are thought to be the basis of the modern martial arts and the true origin of Shaolin Kung Fu," as stated here, " "

So, regarding karate of Okinawa, the kata came first and the patterns of movements where embusen are formed by the practice came to be and who knows when those lines or blueprints of kata came to be called embusen. I can extrapolate that it might have come from Japanese influences but suspect it actually came from the implementation of the "sportive aspects" and the "implementation to school systems" effort.

Most who refer to embusen tend to connect it to the tournament efforts for start/stop and evaluation grading in competitions.

So, what do you feel is the source and purpose of embusen? The one caveat I would express here and all the time is all information must be taken as theory simply because very little was actually documented for historical purposes.

I my humble opinion documentation of any kind concerning karate did not come to fruition until the late 1800's but more in the 1900's after WWII. 


JoRoman said...

Nice post; as you say anything pre-1900s is pure speculation with little documentation, but your theory is more sound than others I have read about. You might want to check out my friend Dan's blog post on embusen for some great thoughts on the why of embusen use in kata:

Thanks for sharing sir!

Charles James said...

Hi, JoRoman: thanks for the feedback and I had already read the article on Dan's blog. I follow his comments as well ... :-)