What style is Sydney Koshinkan?
Generally when people refer to a ‘style’ of martial arts they want to know whether it is karate, judo, jujitsu, or another form. But these terms just refer to different aspects of martial arts which focus on specific skill sets – karate is known for its kicking, judo for its throwing of an opponent, jujitsu for wrestling on the ground, with many having a sport focus.
Sydney Koshinkan is the Sydney representative of Koryu Uchinadi which is a comprehensive study of all aspects of unarmed self-defence applications to defend against acts of physical violence. In recent times many martial arts have moved more towards a sports-oriented focus of fighting. Sydney Koshinkan focuses on functional, practical, and realistic technique, understanding how a real life fight may eventuate as well as how the human body functions and its anatomical strengths and weaknesses.
When faced with a real fight you may need to apply skills from a variety of disciplines – there are no rules, and having a broad range of skills will serve you better than being an expert in one.
Are the fighting arts different in modern times?
Essentially no. The human body and its strengths and weaknesses have not dramatically changed over the years, nor have the mechanical principles that apply. The techniques that worked in yesteryear, still work today i.e. an armbar still uses the same principles to apply pain.
What is different is the access to this information. Previously all learnings were passed down from teacher to student. While this relationship is still a critical ingredient to a student’s progress, students have greater abilities to supplement this information from other sources such as the internet, DVD’s or even access to teachers from other countries. This is a double edged sword as more information is not necessarily better. If this information is not grounded in correct fundamentals or correctly understood, it can be detrimental. This is where a critical mind is essential in determining “do the principles make this a practical and realistic application against a HAPV attack?”
For a more in-depth analysis of the history of the fighting arts in Asia and the creation of Koryu Uchinadi please refer to the following sites;
For more in-depth information relating to the history of martial arts please refer to the following articles:
On Kochi Shin
The history of karate – Ben Stone
What is Koryu Uchinadi?
Is there anything wrong with martial arts being a sport?
Of course there isn’t. Who doesn’t enjoy watching UFC or a high-level BJJ competition? Not only can we enjoy the competition for its competitive nature, but we also appreciate the fighters athletic prowess, the discipline required to reach an elite level, the ability to confront fear, the functionality of technique and even, if I dare say it, the brutality of the event. The growth of MMA in some ways has brought back the focus on the importance of functionality in martial arts, however, without trying to disparage MMA, it needs to be called out that as a sport there are limitations in a rule bound environment.
In the cage there is no danger of a friend intervening or a weapon being used. Certain moves are outlawed- tactics such as eye gouging, biting, groin shots, head butting, and hair pulling are all forbidden in the cage, but are all common tactics in real life conflict (check out youtube). Combatants fight in a controlled environment – in a competition fighters wear gloves, mouth guards, specialised clothing and no shoes. Fighters are typically of equal weight and ability and fights over seen by referees.
This is not to say that a UFC competitor couldn’t defend themselves outside the cage – clearly they have a skillset to call upon when faced with a violent situation, and a raw physicality to deal with most conflicts. But the cage is different to the real world.