Japanese vs. Okinawan Karate
In part The answer lies outside Karate. To properly understand the difference between Japanese and Okinawan, we must look elsewhere as well as the Arts them selves. We need to look at the history, culture and, traditions of the nation states that gave rise to the art of Karate
Okinawan Karate styles tend to be hard and external. In defense they tend to be circular, and in offense linear. Okinawan karate styles tend to place more emphasis on rigorous physical conditioning than the Japanese styles. Most of the characteristics of Okinawan karate-do appear in the use of fists, toes, elbows, and knife-hands. The development of the art of te accelerated with the subjugation of the Ryukyus in 1609 by the Satsuma clan of Japan. Okinawan karate styles were greatly influnced by Kung-fu. While Japanese styles tend to have longer, more stylistic movements and to be higher commitment. They also tend to be linear in movement, offense, and defense. Both tend to be high commitment, and tend to emphasize kicks and punches, and a strong offense as a good defense.
Karate is tied inexorably to the culture that gave rise to it. Okinawa has historically had cultural, political and military exchanges. One of the more notable exchanges took place in 1392, when 36 families from China settled on Okinawa, most likely bringing with them a knowledge of kung-fu. These fighting methods were adapted and further developed by the Okinawans and came to be known as te (meaning "hand") or to-de (written to mean "Chinese hand" and pronounced kara-te in Japanese). One contributing factor to the development of te as an unarmed fighting art, as a result of a number of successive weapons' bans imposed by domestic and invading rulers between the 15th and 17th centuries. Over time different styles of te developed to suit practitioners with different physical attributes. The Naha-te style focused on strong, heavy techniques, while the Shuri-te style specialized in...
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