Chris Hannington wrote an essay for his 3rd Dan on the pro’s and con’s of Itosu Ankoh developing a program specifically designed for school children that came to be known as ‘karate’. In Itosu’s program, all dangerous techniques were altered to a safer version, or not included at all. Head level punches became stomach level, low kicks became high kicks, and grappling, throwing, pressure-point striking became obsolete. There was also an emphasis on developing physical strength, flexibility, fitness, etc, and this can be seen in many modern stances (back stance, horse stance, front stance).
Chris argued that on the one hand the karate program exposed karate to millions of people around the world, but it also exposed them to unrealistic self-defense, and impractical techniques. This gave many students, and teachers alike, a false sense of security as the techniques they were learning and practising were designed for children.
What was Chris’ opinion at the end of his 2000 word essay? Well, he argued both sides, and finally sat on the fence! And I am sitting alongside him. 🙂
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