(Click here for Spanish Version)
Shotokai Karate Budo's Online Enciclopedias
(This article is a synopsis of a more extensive work to be presented at SIM 24/26-Oct-03)
Shotokai Karate Budo’s Online Enciclopedias approach their 8th year online
(September 2003 we'll celebrate 8 years with SKB material online on
Shotokai.cl and Shotokai.com), interesting how much has changed since the
early days. We are now no longer surprised to see visitors from the most
remote places in the world. We are not surprised to see 18,000 visitors a
month (only on Shotokai.com alone). We are no longer worried when we get
messages from JKA groups in Pakistan or Macedonia asking for a membership...
things have changed. It's not that we no longer appreciate visits or
contacts, it's rather that we now know what to expect and how to react to
and the web are powerful tools, just as much today as 8 years ago, that
hasn't changed. Its power resides in its "democratic" nature.
Though some things have changed in the stucture of internet in the years
since it became a commercial enterprise to have presence on the web, people
with money are little by little regaining control of it all,
there is still space for small groups without money. We can still
gain public and visitors from the web in a free fashion, only based on
adecuate work in promoting the website on search engines (like Google and
Yahoo) and based on people linking back to the website once they see that
it’s an excellent source of information.
Internet appeared, people with money were the people that got their word
across, their version of history (specially in Karate), a wide presence was
obtained by paying large amounts of money to magazines, publishing and
distributing books (very expensive), publishing ads in newpapers, TV ads,
radio ads, etc. All these traditional methods were extremely expensive and
not available for small groups around the world, like for example Shotokai
Karate Budo. There was no chance of anyone in Europe or North America ever
hearing about SKB or even Shotokai in general. This case is repeated all
over the world within Shotokai, maybe with the sole exception of Nihon
Karate-do Shotokai which was the owner of the important publicactions of
Master Funakoshi and Egami's works, Karate-do Kyohan, Karate-do Ichiro, etc.
So before Internet our groups formed a diffuse, unlinked and weak
organization of (to call it something) small or medium sized clans of
Shotokai, before the Web, was a large group of weak (relative to groups like
JKA) and mostly solitary groups scattered all over the world, incommunicated
and very vulnerable to influence and depredation of larger Karate groups
with economical success. Shotokai groups in their solitude even flirted with
competition as a survival method, losing little by little their focus and
straying from the basic premises of what Shotokai is as a Budo.
has changed radically after the World Wide Web expanded and groups like SKB
seized the opportunity of having a presence on the web. Suddenly SKB, a
small group of less than 200 participants with no money what-so-ever, with a
little knowledge on web positioning and publishing quality material
accumulated in years of research, could appear better listed than large
groups like the JKA with millions of participants and big and deep pockets...
That surely was a radical change! It was, of course, a change that could not
be missed or squandered, and we did our best to ride the crest of the wave
and I believe we still do. Suddenly Shotokai was no longer an obscure,
unimportant branch of Master Funakoshi’s karate, it was as important or
even more so than the so-called heirs that called themselves “Shotokan”.
interesting how many things changed after SKB published material on Master
Funakoshi, Yoshitaka Funakoshi, Master Egami and other important Budo
subjects. Suddenly Yoshitaka was mentioned more and more, Teiji Kase
suddenly acknowledged he had trained with him (though I doubt it, seeing as
Yoshitaka never taught people under Shodan and Kase was a beginner when
Yoshitaka died, they may have been in the same room some time). Now people
talk about the Shotokai - JKA conflict, Master Egami has been pulled out of
anonymity and is mentioned more and more. I even have a quote out of a new
book on "Shotokan" Karate history that has been taken out of the
Shotokai.com website (wrongly by the way)... so the influence has been
larger than expected and we've not been able to see the full effect nor the
end of it.
its not only about getting Shotokai represented on the Internet and
influencing the “history” stronger groups had imposed during the
Shotokai silence, it was also very much about communication between Shotokai
groups, those lonely islands of karateka in the world were suddenly a click
and less than a minute away from each other. It was a matter of searching
the web for Shotokai groups and there they were!
still remember the first letter I received from José Patrão now some 6 or
7 years ago… what a surprise! Someone in Portugal with views so similar he
could have been part of SKB! I remember I was very excited and printed the
letter and took it to Heyden Sensei. We established a friendship that has
later culminated in various visits to Portugal by both my Sensei and I. This
I am sure has not been a unique event. I feel this has repeated many times
over all over the world.
the point is that Internet has been our unifier, in great measure the
Shotokai International Meeting will be an outgrowth of this process
iniciated 8 or 9 years ago by the pioneer Shotokai groups that developed a
web presence. We need to build upon these advances, this technology that has
helped us overcome the geographical distance. We must work to amplify it by
training and sharing together openly, exchanging information and propagating
the expanded knowledge and wisdom within the groups and also over the
Internet in an ever expanding positive echo within the Karate-do world.
It’s time to counteract the deadly contraction and individualism with
expansion and solidarity. This is the best moment to do so and we must sieze
the opportunity we’ve been presented.
Shotokai Karate Budo Mexico
Guadalajara, Mexico - July 16, 2003
Texto/Text: © Copyright, M. Gallardo, 2003