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                                       KARATE IS ALWAYS EVOLVING

                                                       by Soke Tak Kubota

Do you think that different karate styles competing against each other will lead karate to a modification of technique?

That is exactly what is happening now; it’s what I saw many years ago and I incorporated into Gosoku Ryu. They will have to analyze others styles and find about their own strong and weak points to try overcome them. It also will affect kata performance, since Shotokan people might be doing Shito Ryu or Goju Ryu kata if the kata their practitioners have selected for competition has its roots in other “ryu.” We know many well-known Shotokan masters teaching Shito and Goju katas to their black belts these days. I was not “crazy” when I said 30 years ago what eventually was going to happen. Little by little, the styles will be modified.

Do you think these masters eventually will change the original styles?

It is one thing is to “change” the style and another to incorporate or to add elements from other karate styles. For instance, Master Hirokazu Kanazawa is a straight Shotokan teacher, but he not only personally trained in Goju and Shito but also teaches Goju and Shito katas to his students, because he knows these specific katas have a value to be added to the Shotokan principles. Unfortunately, he was criticized when he started, but today everybody understands and respects him for openly doing that. It is only fair to accept the fact that 20 years from now the styles, no matter how traditional, will be different from what they are now.

Your students are very successful in sport karate. Do you teach special techniques for competition?

Yes, I do, but they are successful because they train hard and put a lot of time into it. What's funny is that a lot of them are very good at getting disqualified for attacking too hard. Competition techniques don't work in real life and in self-defense situations because the whole environment is different - but being a professional instructor means giving people what they want and need.