Japan has always been something of an enigma to Western eyes. Certainly, during the times of high imperialism leading-up to World War Two, (and during
In all my time training in traditional Chinese martial arts, either in China or abroad, I have never encountered a gongfu style that uses the ‘ki-ai’ (気合),
apanese fighting systems that had been used during WWII against the Western allies, now became the preferred CIA means of spreading Japanese influence throughout Europe and America, and cementing a re-born Japan as an essential ‘frontline’ ally against a potentially threatening Communist China.
Background information to the infamous 2006 challenge match between Yanagi Ryuken and Iwakura Tsuyoshi in Japan, the video of which went viral in a matter of hours in both Asia and Japan. Curiously, despite Yanagi’s lose – he is as popular as ever in Japan, whereas Iwakura Tsuyoshi has disappeared into obscurity.
Not only is a traditional ‘form’ or ‘kata’ a vehicle for martial excellence, but through the specific shapes (and psychological and physical conditioning required to perform these ‘forms’), longevity and health are a by-product of proper and correct martial practice.
Two years later, Christmas Humphreys displayed the same amorality of the Japanese Zen he so admired, by having Ruth Ellis (a historic victim of domestic abuse) executed for fighting back against her abusive husband.