Karate Study List [KSL]

The KSL (Karate Study List) is a private conduit serving the members of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society. The principal focus of the Society is to study the origins, ethos & technical theories of karate & kobudo in an effort to better understand the confusion and ambiguity surrounding these traditions, and to understand its original application & value. Candidates MUST BE active members in good standing with the Society to subscribe.

Catering specifically to Okinawan/Japanese-based traditional karate/kobudo traditions, the Society is a multi-style organization made up of like-minded teachers & learners from all over the world who gather to discuss historical, philosophical & technical issues at the forefront of this art. Unlike so many other e-mail lists in cyber space, the KSL enjoys a wonderfully refreshing environment where dialogue is nurtured with mutual respect without regard to rank or position, and no one is threatened because their opinion doesn’t fit someone else’s mould.

Originally established in mid 1998, the KSL, then known as the “Karate Shihan List,” was developed as a forum where Shihan-level instructors could meet to discuss varying teacher-related topics without the nepotistic distractions, foul language, personality clashes and childlike attitudes common elsewhere. Efforts to gather support to participate in this new email discussion list attracted mixed opinion. Some were disappointed, others angered. In the end, seventy-seven “Shihan” were keenly motivated and the list started with the promise that each of these subscribers would participate, rather than lurk. Despite the great intentions, endless encouragement offered, and the seventy-seven promises to actively participate on the KSL, less than 20% ever contributed. Sadly, it became quite obvious that the KSL was not destined to succeed under these circumstances. Within three months of its inception, a heck of a lot of work went down the drain, as the plug was pulled to terminate the forum.

Re-thinking the entire issue, it finally became apparent that the KSL would better serve the growing supporters of our own  organization rather than catering to those from who did not have our best interests in mind. In December of 1998, with the support of about fifty people, the KSL was re-established under the name, Karate Study List to honour the traditional heritage of karate and the legacy of its founding pioneers. Proudly, the KSL serves those supporters who find value and direction within our multi-style international organization.

With more than a thousand on-line members,  the KSL is, for all intense purposes, a dojo in cyber space and subscribers honour it as such. Observing  traditional dojo protocol, the KSL is free from inappropriate behavior (such as foul language, slander or bashing etc.) and actively engages in discussions surrounding the historical, philosophical & technical infrastructure of karate. Subscribers posting to the list are reminded to use good old-fashioned manners when discussing/arguing any thread and to sign their names (i.e. John/Mary Smith), style (Wadoryu, Shorinryu etc.) rank (Yudansha; with the dan, or Mudansha; without the dan) and location (New York, London, Tokyo etc.)

We believe that by observing such protocol we are not just helping to set good examples for all members, and new students, too, we are also underscoring the value of good manners while being reminded of how important mutual respect is: The cornerstone of our tradition. We do not believe that the KSL is better or worse than any other list in cyber space, only that it suits our needs to correspond with like-minded people in a polite and courteous manner.

Building bridges & uniting like-minded learners all over the world through studying the origins, evolution & functional application practices of traditional karate. Learn to completely understand the sum total of its individual parts: Ti’gwa [The plebeian form of percussive impact brought to Okinawa from the old Kingdom of Siam], Torite [Shaolin-based techniques of seizing and controlling], Tegumi [Okinawa’s old-style grappling], and Kata [holistic-based Chinese forms of human movement], along with how Japan’s shikata-based culture [with special emphasis upon the pre-war Dai Nippon Butokukai and Judo/Kendo pedagogy] influenced its growth, evolution and mindset. 

 “We respect the traditional heritage of karate, and the cultural legacy of its Okinawan pioneers, but advocate, “not following in the footsteps of the old masters but rather seeking what they sought” [Basho]. “We cannot solve our [kata-ambiguity?] problems with the same level of thinking that created them” [Albert Einstein]. “Contempt prior to full investigation enslaves a person to ignorance” [Dr. John Ray], “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes” [Marcel Proust]. Known for our thinking-outside-the-box mindset, the IRKRS is a dependable source of information helping students and teachers alike achieve goals never before thought possible.”  

KSL Entrance