What’s with all the different styles of karate?
I get asked about styles every once in a while,
and this is a tricky question.
It’s tricky because there are no styles.
Oh, there is the appearance of styles, especially for a beginner,
but a kick is a kick,
a punch is a punch,
and they can be fixed with an accurate application of physics.
So what are all these ‘styles?’
They are different methods for becoming expert…
Up to the point of expert a person is often enamored
with styles and differences.
if he really is an expert,
he realizes that no art is better or worse,
there is only better or worse training.
There is only better or worse application of the self to training.
or what we call ‘styles,’
are just the means by which we get to expert.
that there are no styles,
is mentioned by old masters,
especially in Okinawa before Karate was exported,
Kanken Toyama states it directly.
Also, Jesse Enkamp has a nice episode on the subject.
One time I was talking to my instructor,
He had just left the Korean Karate Association
and was no longer allowed to use the term ‘Kang Duk Won,’
so he changed the name to Kwon Bup.
I asked him what Kwon Bup meant.
He had a book on his coffee table,
written in Korean,
which language he couldn’t speak or read.
He pointed at the book and said that his instructor gave it to him
and that the title was ‘Kwon Bup.’
Which means ‘Fist Method.’
So he decided to relabel his art ‘Kwon Bup.’
I asked him what the difference was between ‘Do,’ ‘The Way,’
and a method.
He shrugged and said,
“Is there one?”
He didn’t care about organizations (politics)
or styles or labels…
he just cared about the most efficient way to learn the art.
I hope that illustrates what i’ve said here.
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