It is commonly held that Gichin Funakoshi brought karate to the modern world. Well, he could be considered to have done so, except that something happened a century ago, that presents a different version of karate history. We’ve got to give Funakoshi credit for what he did, but was his karate the true art? I know what I write here is not going to be what a lot of people want to hear, there will be a few people who are going to want to take me to task. However, the story that I am about to relay really happened, it is the truth. That said, please know that I do respect Gichin Funakoshi, he is pivotal to Karate. In turn of the century, last century, Japan, people, same as people all over, loved the human cockfight. It wasn’t uncommon for people to gather to watch gladiatorial contests between different arts and artists. Certain of these gladiators even offered open challenges to the audience, step up if you think you can beat me. One night a Russian strongman threw down the gauntlet to the Japanese audience. One can imagine the outraged audience, and the surprise when a frumpy, old Okinawan stepped up to the ring and prepared to fight. The year was 1921, and Karate was about to become famous. Motobu Ch?ki was 52 years old when he climbed through the ropes that night. He had studied with virtually every Karate master on the island of Okinawa, and he had, when he was young and impetuous, perfected his art in the violent red light districts of his island home. This history, and a daily regimen of makiwara pounding, served him in good stead. One punch later Motobu climbed out of the ring, the Russian strongman lay sprawled and doing the one punch snooze. Reporters were delighted, they wrote colorful stories, and handed them in. Editors were delighted, and, since they didn’t have any images of Motobu, they popped in a picture they did have of a guy who was doing karate. Gichin Funakoshi, a nondescript teacher from Okinawa, was held up as the guy who did the violent knock out performed by Motobu Choki. And Motobu, though he did teach karate and was responsible for spreading the art, because the media did such a bang up job of investigating, received virtually no credit. And Funakoshi is became famous and shared Karate with the world, yet, it wouldn’t have happened if Motobu hadn’t had the one punch one kill ability. Now, you have to ask yourself who has the real karate, a school teacher who benefited from the wrong picture, or a rough cob who got the job done. No, Funakoshi’s karate is not bad, and generations of karateka have contributed to the art. However, there is still that one blot, a hundred years ago, provided by a man whoknew one punch one kill, which argues the concept of who had the True Art.
Al Case has researched real Karate for 40 years. He has written hundreds of articles for the magazines, and had his own column in Inside Karate. He is the originator of Matrixing Technology, and you can argue with him, pr perhsp pick up a free ebook, at Monster Martial Arts