100 thoughts on “One Karate Misconception I Discovered In China

  1. Thanks for your awesome questions! 🙏 If you haven’t seen my Chinese adventure yet, watch here: https://youtu.be/UCvimTuwkZY

  2. I think you need to interview Shihan Kiyoshi Arakaki of Muso-Kai to understand bunkai and Okinawan Karate. You attended their seminar.

  3. Yup. Same with Silat. I always tell non-Malay Silat practitioners to not just learn the language, but the entire culture of the people from where the martial art originated. In terms of expression of movements, Silat is all about self-expression. Although we have Bunga/Pelebat etc which other martial arts would say seems like Kata, but a Silat practitioner is expected to develop their own expression of the movements. Hello from a Silat nerd 🙂

  4. possible unpopular opinion: Ashihara Karate's katas lend themselves better to bunkai because they're all performed in the style's full-contact form (and also being a relatively newer style, less time has passed for the bunkai to become lost to history), with more straightforward movements. I recall Hideyuki Ashihara getting flak from the older styles (even Kyokushin) for so drastically altering the style of katas, but having trained in it for 15 years, I can say that they're much easier to comprehend even from a spectator PoV. just my 2 cents', osu.

  5. Nice job, btw. As a Five animal Kung Fu partitioner, I am very interested in Karate, because my Kwoon shares the same building/room with a Goju Ryu karate Dojo. And my high school friends learns that style of Karate. Considered me subscribed, because why not.

  6. try doing tennis, notice when transferring force in straight run up vs rotational recovering, what is the best in force transferring and what is adequate for striking and quick recovery, what is generated using your cg dantien and what it feels to use gravity in a serve. Then notice what can improve in cg in individual joints, including loading your racquet. How do you maintain optimal striking in a moving dynamic situation without feeling off centre vibration. After mastering this, you are the Mahaguru of karate and kunfu! 😇

  7. I believe this young man is rediscovering lost knowledge beyond any other Kara te master. He's the most knowledgeable teacher of kara te I've ever listened to. And I know racial bigots think that only east Asians can be authentic Kara te masters. It's interesting Okinawan Kara te comes largely from China. Chinese gung fu largely comes from India. India's martial arts were influenced by ancient Greek martial arts like Pankratia. If you get a chance Jesse, I'd highly recommend you experience training in Daito Ryu AikiJujutsu during your trips to Japan. You'd really enjoy the mechanical principles, biomechanics y wrist strengthening training. It will enhance biomechanics for your Kara te counter grappling. It's a powerful soft art, much more combat applicable than ai ki do. It'll change your life.

  8. Hi Jesse, I really appreciate your work, thank you for sharing tour experiencrs and knowledge. I have a question for you: what do you think about Systema? In my opinion we can find the same principles of Chinese martial art applied in a more "western friendly way" . Anyway I m a Shotokan practitioner and I found very useful the different approach of Systema to understand better my style

  9. Regarding the qi/ki dantien/tanden issue. I studied shorin-ryu before I became a king fu and taiji guy. The usage is actually very different, and tied to a peculiar practice called reverse breathing and to various conditioning exercises that, over time, develop the connections between the soft tissues of the body so that they can be directly controlled by the breathing. Qi is nothing mystical, but rather a measure of conditioning and control over these bodily forces (this applies to martial qi, which isn't the same as medical qi). It's also the skill that the Chinese are loathe to teach outsiders, generally speaking, especially in a direct manner. They'll give you a nugget here and there, but you have to figure out how to put them together yourself.

  10. As a PhD in Linguistics and a practitioner of Wing Chun and Xin Ying for more than 10 years, I really find your videos interesting!!! Especially the part about language and martial art.

  11. Jesse, when I was learning traditional chinese kungfu – Bak Mei style – my Sifu would explain that Bak Mei style came from a monk named 'White Eyebrow' (yes the famed villian in many movies and also in Kill Bill) who was a monk from the Shaolin Temple. After watching your journey to China, I noticed that the Incense Shop boxing utilizes the very same principles of how we practiced, namely the rounded/hunched posture and long attacks. If you haven't already explored this area in your research, perhaps this could be one. Anyway, I really like your work.

  12. When you said "I could definitely go back", it brought a big smile on my face. I found the journey too short too.

  13. Hey Jesse,. Great series. As a former Kung Fu practitioner I would say the next series you could consider is the transition of kung if from China or Hong Kong to NYC. My grandmaster Take Wah Eng has a great history of his style. (Which many kung fu practitioners could say 🤓) the way his firms are structured are very different from what I've seen. Plus the understanding that Cantonese and Mandarin have a 'confrontationally' history. That's a while other series altogether.

  14. "Sitting" into the stance – another reason why the word used is 'sit', is that the stance is the 'horse', in which a warrior rides into battle. So, the metaphor of 'sitting' on your 'horse' is used. So if your 'horse' is strong, you would be stable, and you could deliver your weapons. Your videos are like a 4D thesis. 🙂

  15. Hi Jesse San, what do you think about the thougts that the Greek Army brought Pankration and their wrestling and boxing with them across europe and asia to India?

    I like this idea very much, because you can find many Karate and Judo techniques on ancient greek paintings.

    I would like to hear your opinion,
    your Martial Art Nerd-Fan Julian. ✌

  16. It is only misunderstood by those who jumped from school to school, art to art and never took time to truly master an system. Sadly there are a lot of people that teach Karate and it is only for sport so they never learned the real art.

  17. The names have a cultural heritage way beyond martial arts. They are language manifestations of the local pop culture. In the example of the black tiger, in the Ming Dynasty (if I'm not mistaken, or maybe Qing), the most fearsome soldiers where called the black tigers. They were the front line and never gave up. The name came from stories about a tiger more ferocious than a normal one, a totally black one.

  18. I definitely agree with you we lose meaning and translation from everything from martial arts to religion to even basic language from the old days of what they would say and what they would mean so yeah it does make sense

  19. Yes definitely whatever art you have chosen to master other Arts can help you master it and make it better much like how Bruce Lee do with his Jeet Kune Do we use other types of martial art bring them together to make his better kind of like cooking bunch of different ingredients tips from other people that have been there and done that to help you make your specific dish that much better and your dishes yours your way not theirs and I think that is really cool

  20. Connect the dots, not collect the dots (apologies for the paraphrasing), absolutely beautiful statement and so powerful.

  21. For great roots of Tae Kwon Do, Id suggest visiting Grandmaster Kim Soo in Houston, Texas. Probably the most knowledgeable man about the very early history of Tae Kwon Do and the convergence of the original “kwans” of Korean martial arts.

  22. Hi Jesse (and anyone else who cares to comment) I was wondering — is there a style of karate that someone who has experience in tai chi and bagua zhang should consider taking a look at if they wanted to improve their own art?

  23. The more martial arts you learn, especially of internal arts, you will learn that karate and katas are actually an inferior in many ways. They appeal to people who enjoy mimicry but not spontaneity. Try a martial art that employs spontaneous movement and use of our Qi, efficiency is not even comparable.

  24. Excellent thoughts Jesse…you may well have discovered something very important…I'm 70 years old and have been practicing for over 50 years (Wado style) I'm glad I can still learn
    Many thanks

  25. Hi Jesse, thank you so much for your China report. Well done and very interesting. I had a question, what do you think about it? I learned, that Karate was strongly influenced by Kungfu, but in Okinawa it was mixed with native martial arts that already existed?! Or do you think, after your research, that Karate is a simplified, limited to the essential, Kungfu?

  26. As a Kung-Fu practitioner (Shaolin Wing Chun) I have enjoyed watching someone "rediscover" these roots. Your series had been a topic of discussion in my kwoon.

  27. You can actually trace the basics of all martial arts styles back through India to ancient Greece. Alexander's army brought the techniques they have developed to India and the Indians brought it to China, etc.

  28. Judo & BJJ: What you mentioned about the language terminology affecting practice, do you think this has happened in Judo Vs BJJ too? Because in Judo we break every single step of a Throw, in fact of any Waza. (Kind of like in Japanese Karate you mentioned- different moves one step at a time.) In BJJ the same throws are shown as just one step. (Kind of like in Kung Fu as you mentioned..the entire Black Tiger etc is one move which is a lunge and a punch etc…)

  29. Jesse please Don`t waste all your life on karate add in a black belt in BJJ and some years in wrestling or/MMA too ,it will make your karate much more effective in no or few rule fights .

  30. I applaud you, Jesse, for sticking your neck out on this, though it seems terribly obvious. I’ve been saying this for years, both in seminars and in print. And you will, no doubt, get a lot of flack from a host of doubters and folks who want to protect their “anything goes” approach to kata and bunkai—the multiple interpretation folks. I hope your voice can persuade some so we can get on with the serious study of kata and bunkai.

  31. Very interesting! Although long, I did not see the time spent watching the video. About going to China or visiting other dojos and gyms, I think it is a necessity for those who really want to develop a full martial art. That is how all styles and types of martial arts developed. There was always an exchange between different arts, with mutual influence. That was how Karate, Savate, Krav Maga, and more recently Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and so many others emerged … It was only with competitions that federations organized themselves and demarcated territory, closing styles and types in hermetic boxes. I think that with that the evolution of martial arts was a little braked …

  32. Cool man. I’ve been really really busy lately studying my root art of Wing Chun. I had to stop training Karate and other things to put all my focus on the Wing Chun. So I’ve not had time to watch your China episodes. I’m watching them now and made a little collection of your videos and past ones that relate to the inception of kata. This is part of my own study. My journey led me to White Crane also which is the bridge between Karate and other Kung Fu or Quan Fa.
    I’ll tell you what I know now. White Crane has its branches but Wing Chun is not a branch despite what some sources claim. Wing Chun Kuen is actually a fusion of White Crane and Emei Snake and not a branch of either. White Crane has Sanchin which stem back from the Dragon Quan Fa and Louhan Quan before that. Sanchin is found in all Karate. It’s easier to spot in Uechi Ryu, however it’s also part of our Naihanchi. Naihanchi is White Crane. Karate is a branch of White Crane.
    There’s much more going on beyond this study you have embarked upon. You have opened up the doors to what is going on today. The truth behind the arts have been kept under lock and key for many reasons and now the truth is coming out. The bottom line is Karate is Kung Fu. All these Arts originally from China.
    I hope this helps you my friend. You helped me by taking the trip to China. I’ve had there other friends/teachers/mentors who made the same journey to the roots of Kung fu and Karate. They are both past 60 years of age, as I am now 47. So the results were the same as yours. So good on you! You were very brave to go do that.

    On a side note cross training is beneficial. Only because there is only one human body and all these arts revolve around that. In the Bubishi there’s a bit of SunZi and advice on fighting. It basically says to know yourself and your enemy. This is the idea behind cross training. However, never fight a boxer with boxing or grapple with a grappler. Why? You don’t know what they’re going to do in a self defense situation. Sport is not self defense. If it’s sport then it’s the opposite. In other words, if we are MMA then we must know all these bits and pieces in order to compete. On the street, it’s different. We must know the enemy and detect what they are doing by observing them based on our understanding of how others fight. Whew!! That’s a lot and I apologize for my long rant. I just think cross training can mean do many things today like Cross Fit or whatever. Let me just tie it up. MMA/Sport Karate/Wrestling/Western Boxing/BBJ/Thai Boxing and whatever else that’s done with rules, protection, and referees is not self defense like the Karate, White Crane, or Wing Chun that is so controversial today.
    So in closing, I think your journey might lead you elsewhere now. It’s obvious that what you have discovered has changed everything as my journey has for me. Let’s just say my eyes are open.
    Ok I’ll stop there! 🙏🙏🙏😊❤️

  33. I already made one long post but I’m going to make one more if you please.
    I really enjoyed the series. It was perfect. It was one of the best and most well done things I’ve ever seen on YouTube. You’ve done a great job!
    I wanted to tell you what I thought about your idea about bunkai. It’s very true what you say. Kata are made up of impressions of various self defense applications.
    Wing Chun is not. There’s no applications. It’s more like a toolbox and you have to know how to use the tools. I would say that this is the Chinese method. I think the Okinawa method is kata and the idea of “bunkai”. I think this is what make Karate so wonderful! That’s why it’s sometimes hard to see the true origin of Karate. So the karate masters learned Quan Fa but taught it differently and organized it differently. There’s a really good book called the Secrets of Bunkai. Helmet something.., sorry. He’s got some videos on using Kyusho etc. Anyway I’m just Karate nerd.
    Thanks again.

  34. I don't like the word "block" as translation for uke. I like better "defend". There are many ways to mount a defense. You can run, you can block, you can counter, you can preempt, you can get out of the way just enough, etc. In football for example, the defense often scores touch downs.

  35. I was taught by my karate teachers about this tilt of the hips from the very basic stands. When you are in hachi-dachi, naute, or however you call the standing in attention stance, you will notice it not just gives you a slightly better balance, but also make you place the knees in a slightly bent but still comfortable position. Now, here is the difference: If your instructor suddenly and without warning indicates adopting a fighting stance, or move, or kick when your posterior is sticking out like if you were modeling blue jeans and your knees are completely straight, it takes a lot longer to move. Probably a second and a half compare to when you are in naute with the correct posture. You can try it with your students to witness it by yourself.

  36. Hi Jesse-san, I got an application of mae-geri I want you to try. Let's say the kick got 2 movements. Movement nr 1 block the legkick movement nr 2 kick either groin, leg or so on. Try stepping in with kick and all

  37. Fascinating video! There's also a lot of ambiguity of application in modern Chinese martial arts. What I've noticed is that the further back you go into "historical" forms, the more obvious the applications become. Sometimes the difference is night and day. I think there's a process of streamlining, convergence, and abstraction that takes place over time. People practice martial arts for different reasons, so this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You just have to be aware that it's occurring.

  38. I had lots of questions before I watched this awesome episodes and it helping me and my karateka in better understanding ….arigato gozaimasu ….."great work"

  39. Maybe check out Singapore for Hung Gar kung fu i personally think you would enjoy it.
    My hometown Perth Western Australia has some really good Karate and Kung Fu schools (Buk Sing CLF in particular) u and all my fellow Karate Nerds have a standing invitation

  40. Thank you for posting your thoughts on your trip to China. Being a student of MA myself ( not karate) , I have to agree that , we need to see Chinese side where its origin might reveal certain revelation why such form are like that or meant to be. Not in the present form was wrong but to enrich understanding of the MA that one is practising.

    Oh btw, if you do one day go to Korea to study on TKD and other KMA such Tangsoo Do, Hapkido style and etc….do consider to take a look at the Korean Kungfu Sibpalki , be it the generic Kungfu forms and Joseon version Sibpalki as well…. Thank you

  41. Only recently discovered your channel and I love it. If I may make a comment, and I apologise if I misunderstood you, but towards the end of your video you linked Tae Kwon Do to Incense Shop Kung Fu, which may have some truth in it. However, you appeared to link it to the dreadful and rather new "sine wave" motion practiced particularly by the ITF group. If that was what you were referring to when you mentioned the up and down motion, I'd argue that the Sine Wave thing is a more recent phenomenon. My first few TKD instructors were all ITF and that was not present in the early to mid 70's. I still refuse to incorporate the movement. My last school was Moo Duk Kwan and it used the Sine Wave, despite being WTF affiliated.
    However, if you are referring to the sink while you snap the punch/ strike out as my Shotokan based style instructors taught, then I'm with you. I learned that also in TKD and in styles like Choy Lee Fut. However, as far as I can tell, the Incense Shop style appears to have Hakka roots (CLF not so much) and that would make a lot of sense for transmission to Okinawa

  42. I couldn't help but think when you mentioned in the beginning about the open or closed and twisting away being a beautiful setup for a judo shoulder throw or hip throw. Also thank you for all your hard work watching you go to China reminded me of when I first started martial arts thank you for those old feelings sensei 🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️

  43. It's my understanding that Karate is originally from China, specifically in that one Chatan Yara studied in China in the late 17th century, and that on returning to Okinawa, the resulting style was so dangerous it defeated an armed samurai. As Chatan's students form a direct lineage to Shorin-ryu, this could be said to make Shorin-ryu the closest to the original Okinawan style.

  44. You actually have a misconception when you mentioned that the dantien is used in the same way hip are used in karate. The hip movement used in Karate is physical and a mechanical movement used to generate power. In Chinese martial arts, everything comes from the dantien because it is where the energy is stored, and it is the energy from the dantien that fuels the strikes, not the mechanical movement of the hips. It is internal vs external power generation.

  45. Astonished to know that authentic Shaolin Kung fu has survived both Qing Dynasty's assault and Mao Tse Tung's cultural revolution.

  46. Awesome!

    I also had a similar experience when already having Southern 5 Family stance shift change knowledge that I discovered this method of travel in Naihanchi
    with much

    we think your Great!

  47. everything very nice but where is the connection with roots of the combat styles?you will get back in the history to create our onw! but is any history book thats starts from the end to the beginning?ask your self please!

  48. Just a bit of random information regarding the influence of india on chinese martial arts – as I am in no way an expert. There's a youtube channel called Sanatan Shastarvidiya ran by a Sikh gentleman from the east midlands in the UK – I first heard about him during a BBC news segment about him preserving an ancient indian martial arts style. He seems very open, knowledgeable and friendly – so might be worth checking out? I've seen that he also teaches arts such as Jeet Kune Do as well. I myself practice the bodhidharma forms from the chinese system regularly (e.g. 49 postures I chin ching) – these are very similar to yoga postures. I can't say as to their link to martial arts, only I used to practice drunken kung fu which I had to give up due to wear and tear and the bodhidharma inspired forms served as a decent substitute in terms of similar conditioning but in a more relaxed way. The only other link is between dancing arts and martial arts – as many indian dance styles apparently contain martial art techniques (such as standing resting on back leg with forward leg straight and resting on heel, or tiger inspired postures), and this is probably true with many cultures around the world. Who is to say? – I dunno? Thanks.

  49. Are you gonna do a video about Oliver's Bellator Dublin win over Lewis Long? Been rooting for him since I saw him fight in London (even though he lost)

  50. Chinese forms are named after their main definning trait, so 108 may actually be 108 full movements(each having its own logograms (written character) and a full page description. Just like the 8 forms has a 20 page long description in english because its about 2 pages of written text for each movement XD

  51. 20:38 Snap and strike through… my oppinon is dim mak or no dim mak. When you activate dim mak points you do not strike through because a soft impact penetrate into the body. A strike throough stops on the Surface. Of course a strike through can broke bones but do not affect the dim mak points so much, or that American Karate senseis call Death Point Striking, that they do not know much about.

    28:09 the sitt down strighten your spinalcord and the energy flow in your body, if you can interupt this in a fight you win and your opponent lose their balance.

  52. Looks like you got out of China just in time. What do you think about the living conditions in China ? Are they unsanitary ?

  53. Ron van cleif tried to construct the original version of Kung fu from Karate, Judo, and Wing Chun into a system.
    Unfortunately, each system had its own language and ecosystem.
    Shorinji kenpo tried to assemble the techniques but it's almost impossible to make a system match the original Kung fu system.
    Maybe, Karate masters knew about the language in Chinese because Okinawa was closer to China than Japan.
    The real secret is the knowledge of the Chinese language and not just the techniques.
    Many Okinawan Karate masters studied in China and the Okinawan students have a good understanding of the Chinese language.
    It's like studying in France to study French cooking. If you don't know the French language, you'll never learn the proper French terminology for the cooking techniques.
    The amazing Karate practitioners of today are working hard to make Karate a fun and exciting martial art to learn.

  54. You can't think without language? Is that true? Do babies not think until they can express themselves? Mmmmmmm

  55. This subject blows my mind. I practice karate for a very ling time and you made me see many aspects that i woudn't seeing

  56. It amazed me how you went full circle back to the Incense Style or the hidden Shaolin Monk Fist Style. I think that it is logical that masters escaping violence and persecution would go from port to port and eventually reach Japan. I think insights from the source make complete sense. It is also logical that the Kata broke down the complex forms into a more refined art just like Buddhism turned into Zen in Japan.

    I think that many Dojo's don't understand the source material and their Dojo lacks the violence that masters faced so the Dojo lacks pressure. Pressure is vital for the techniques to manifest their essence.

    Originally Monks were sick and physically weak and unhealthy and the original Kung Fu was derived from 5 anmals: Tiger, Snake, Crane, Leopard, Dragon. These essences formed the basis of Bunkai and than forms evolved over the generations.

    Tiger used continuous attacks from deep lunges and grabs.
    Snake used many twists, circles, defences and the wrist to generate power forming locks and trips and throws.
    Crane used long movements, deceptions, strikes to vulnerable targets and level changes.
    The Leopard used fast kicks, and strikes to engage and perform takedowns and ground locks and then rolling out of the engagement. No more then seconds on the ground.
    The Dragon uses very powerful techniques, guards and strikes to kill. A punch is not a punch…. When they use the technique it is too damage the body using fingers and knuckles. Kicks to cripple and break their body. On top of this Dragon uses unique stances to attack from.

    This turned into a series of Bunkai they could adapt to all situations and made their new Monk Fist far superior to other styles. So much so that their secrets were a reason to kill them all. Notice how at the Temple they started sharing and it looked like Kihon and than they were prevented sharing anything else! This secrecy is one of the reasons they were feared and ultimately scattered like ashes from a burned Temple.

    I think the Japanese refined and perfected like they are want to do and I think many of the Fundamental Kata hold the essence when practiced under pressure. Ever been hit by your teacher while doing Kata????

    Learning a punch or kick or block only becomes meaningful and true Karate in my opinion when someone is trying to hit you in the face or kick you in the groin!!! I think the best way to teach is learn and then apply immediately aginst someone starting in slow time and then speeding up as skill is aquired. Just like a boxer spars and doesn't just hit the heavy bag….

    Amazing job! Truely the best work I have seen and it blows my mind that you discovered the Incense Shop Connection!!! A living master!!!! I think your discoveries will enrich anyone who does Karate!!! Amazing job!!!

  57. My teacher once told me anyone can find a way to defeat any technique in isolation. That is why a block must also be a strike and a strike must be a block. Think about Kihon for a moment. Everything we think of as a block is also a strike. if I block upwards imagine if that is under your chin…..

    If we isolate a technique someone can find its counter. That is why we have to adapt our thinking like those monks had to so long ago….. Those original Bunaki were designed to be used with full violent intensity. Imagine your llife is on the line. Everything must be trained without robotic precision, instead it must be forceful and brutal. A tree sways in the breeze and Karate technique needs to be fluid.

    The first thing everyone notices is that many techniques we can do in a controlled way are impossible under fire. One of the best drills I ever learnt in Japan/China and from different teachers was called Immortal Warrior.

    Immortal warrior is simple to practice in any Dojo. One sparring partner can attack and is immortal while the other player can only defend. (Attacks don't work) The defensive moves of course can be offensive if you know what I mean. Then of course you switch. This controlled sparring can be done fast and also importantly slow. Imagine that Jessesan is only allowed to attack and you can only defend… How would you go? More importantly how well would you be able to use the fundamentals….????

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