Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bubishi A Close Look Redoux Part 2

More on the Bubushi

I still have more to consider on the Bubushi.

Remember my ground rules:

1.) I consider all English translations as correct, without an expert verifying that they're translating the same text, the rest becomes simply argument.

2.) I'm assuming all Okinawan instructors had their own copies of the Bubushi and were fluent in the Chinese dialect it was written in

3.) My mission is to try and understand how the Bubushi might have influenced Okinawan karate's development, from a logical analysis

4.) I'm using the Alexander and the McCarthy Bubushi translations and texts, as I don't read Chinese.

On my last post RT ^..^ made the following comments:

"As far as pressure points go a lot of the Bubushi seem medical rather than martial. For instance the correct time to administer a remedy is a lot more practical then trying to figure out exactly the best time to attack a point, especially in a critical situation."

"The major weak points are covered and appropriate warnings are provided, to me It's just as likely a case of things not to do as a case of things to do"

RT I think there is merit in what you're saying. One section of the Bubushi contains Article 9 - Twelve-hour Vital Points revealed, Article 17 - Seven Restricted Locations (Immediate Death May Occur) Article 21 - Delayed Death Touch 12-Hour Diagrams and Article 24 - the Bronze Man Statue which appears to show the 36 vital points. [This is from PM's translation]

Of particular interest, is the fact the Alexander and the McCarthy translations use different 36 vital point charts. I am currently doing an analysis of what those differences are and will post this eventually.

Because of the translations and other material added by the translators, its difficult to be sure, but I think the original text consisted mostly of diagrams of the locations to strike. Hence for the Okinawan instructor to understand the implications (without outside sources or formal instruction) they would have to bridge the gap between these different sources.

At the same time the Bubushi contains a number of sections on how to cure or relieve the effects of these strikes.
It does seem on the first analysis the Bubushi is highlighting these points and showing how to deal with being struck there.

I do feel the Okinawan instructors who developed Karate were moral individuals who were developing mostly a defensive art.

On the other hand, they were not the originators of this material from the Bubushi. Whoever the source, may have been using this information for defensive measures (i.e. How to cure if you blow the block).

On the surface it is reasonable to assume that you wouldn't take the time to remember where to strike at 3pm when attacked randomly.

Yet other answers are also possible.

The source material might have been developed for an attacking art. Hence if you're planning to attack someone at 3pm, here is where to attack.

But I can see a number of variables in which this material can be considered a defensive art.

Essentially the twelve shichen (bi-hourly) vital points utilize the 36 vital points of the Bronze Man Statue. Whether you buy the shichen theory, without doubt those 36 points will do damage to an attacker if struck there.

Hence, the instructors training might well be to attack those points under duress, and that allows wide latitude of targets in their own right.

Once one can accurately attack the 36 points, the next stage of defensive training might well be to focus on attack defense on the 12 shichen daily. Hence you train yourself that from Midnight to 2am you do 1 or 2 or 3. Then from 2am to 4am you do 4 or 5 or 6 and so forth.

My believe is if you accept the validity of these theories you would structure your training to fully embrace them.

Consider what that training would be like. To train you to know which Shichen you were in at any time, as well as are able to execute the correct responses. It seems to me if this was done this would be 24 hour a day training.

Simply because I know of no one training that way today, doesn't mean it wasn't addressed that way in the past.

But there is also another defensive strategy, that of attack before they attack you. In that context the 12 shichen vital points can also be considered defensive. This can be a planned defensive strike, or an instantaneous defensive strike, but hitting those point(s) first.

As I think about an art structured this way, I imagine a limited number of strikes to each target, but rigorously studied, would be the goal.

That could be one reason some instructors (Myiagi, Motobou, and Ueichi) were not interested in a large amount of kata? <Against sheer supposition on my part.> Instead, they were interested in them being executed correctly.

Unfortunately, as I understand Okinawan karate, I do not have any examples that this was the approach toward training being offered.

But, I hold it is something to be considered.

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