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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Mabuni and his thoughts on incomplete karate

Hi All,

This quote is just so great that today I thought I’d share it again. Interesting to consider that over 70 years later we still have the same problems with regards to incomplete karate and closed minds with reagrds to the fact that there could be more to karate than is commonly thought.

“The karate that has been introduced to Tokyo is actually just a part of the whole. The fact that those who have learnt karate there feel it only consists of kicks & punches, and that throws & locks are only to be found in judo or jujutsu, can only be put down to a lack of understanding … Those who are thinking of the future of karate should have an open mind and strive to study the complete art” – Kenwa Mabuni  1938

All the best,


shoshinkanuk's picture

Hi Iain,

It is indeed an interesting quote, and in the most part very true.

I think in terms of many people having  closed minds, theres a simple (not really!) awnser - karate's general purpose changed being led by large group teaching, sporting focus and a distinct lack of knowledge around the original art (as it simply wasn't transmitted to the mainstream).

People then invest say 20 years of their life working one way, and underpin that with the majority not having experienced serious violence and ultimatly the art changes (and all by design IMO).

Whilst I haven't been to Okinawa, I train under people who have spent significant time there and it would seem the problem (if you view it that way) isn't limited to the mainland - in fact mainland karate has had a serious influence on the Okinawan mainstream. (culturally and politically led), as has the modern world and all it brings.

However, thats part of the fun IMO, if you think of the Shuhari concept it's plain to see that theres a whole bunch of personal understanding and training required to understand YOUR karate, and that by default is different for us all (outside of core principles, strategies and techniques).

Keep up the good work!