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"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

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"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

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.

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Is the Okinawan system of karate representative of Japanese Budo?

This question is difficult to answer. The Japanese started to influence Okinawa around 1600 when the Satsuma Clan invaded the island. The particulars of that invasion along with the resulting effects and influences is not well documented. It would seem that the Satsuma Samurai and their cultural belief system would be present and have influence on the locals but as to whether the Okinawans adopted any or all of that cultural belief is open to debate.

When we talk about Budo we are often referring to the Japanese culture. In the 1600's budo as a warrior way was till active but it was not to far off in the future that the more feudal era aspects would start to wane whereby the more spiritual and self-improvement, etc. type model was created and promoted to keep the spirit of the ancient budo alive while diminishing the more combative aspects. 

The term itself may have come from those changes toward a more acceptable form of martial practices. The term bushido is more a modern, i.e. about the late 1800's and early 1900's, term as well in the effort to explain the Japanese samurai feudal era type culture. It may have been very important to the Japanese to maintain their warrior like culture but with the influences of modern times some changes had to occur. The Japanese are well known in the abilities to absorb other cultural things of other peoples and then "make it their own."

As I understand "Ti or Toudi" of Okinawa I suspect and speculate that it was more a protection system for unarmed Okinawans yet I question how many since it would appear, with the lack of documentation this remains speculation, that it was practiced more with the affluent Okinawans as used by the Courts of the King of Okinawa. 

Regardless, it seems to me that Okinawan Ti or Toudi now referred to as karate was like most nations hand-to-hand combatives - a last resort. Weaponry was and is the preferred method of combat or fighting. Human's naturally want to distance themselves from the type of close up conflicts and when you consider their cultural nature being one of honorable and gentlemanly manners who tended to avoid major conflicts, i.e. such as invasions by say China and Japan, by a more diplomatic approach - adjusting and absorbing the conquering group - which may answer why such a small island country could have developed a relationship with the giant of a country, China, creating a solid trade oriented relationship over a possible dictator driven running of the island by Chinese. 

Actually this way of life by the Okinawans made it easier for both parties when the Satsuma Clan came to invade. As time passed and the King's influences waned then those upper echelon Ti/Toudi masters began to allow more Okinawans to train and practice karate. Since weaponry, other than implements of every day use developed into kobudo, was banned the empty-hand or the hand-to-hand system grew and expanded making it a more civil type of defense vs. combative type. This seems to me indicative of other martial systems through out the world so gives a certain amount of credence to this theory.

So, in the end I would not consider Okinawan karate as a budo. When I see today's modernization toward a more sportive perspective then I tend to move far away from the "bu" aspects. I would consider most Okinawan karate as supotsu-do or sport way of practice and training. The combatives or defensive aspects are much smaller if actually taught at all. 

Yet, most still use the Japanese inferences of budo to expand the excitement and glitzy way karate is practiced today. Using budo in most practices of karate today is nor truly acceptable in the strictest terms but could be applied if the spirit of budo as explained in my mind may still apply with caveats, i.e. unless it is used as self-defense and combatives (i.e. military implementation of martial arts systems today as in the MCMAP).

Will folks stop using such terms? No, as a matter of fact those types of terms and their resulting advertisement oriented use will expand to bring in more participants and, of course, their pocketbooks. I accept it and always take the usage with a grain of salt simply because a persons perception in relation to reality is not always accurate (read Rory Millers excellent post on "Knowing and Believing." http://chirontraining.blogspot.com/2013/06/knowing-and-believing.html

This is what I believe at this moment and at this time of publication/posting and believe wholeheartedly when I get more data will possible change this belief into another belief.  

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