Okinawa karate does not belong to the Budo culture. It is only to read carefully the writings of Miyagi, Mabuni and Funakoshi, that are dicumentos that preserve the old culture of Ryukyu. There are no principles of Budo there, but some of the ones Sun Tzu (Sunji) exposes in his work Art of War (Bin Fa) summarized in the Bubishi of Okinawa.
The first masters who migrated to Japan were part of a passive resistance to the domination of the island by the Japanese Empire. Ryukyu's martial culture was shaped in Taoism; the Busaganashi symbol - "Genbu" - which frames the Goju-ryu and the Go Kenki school, is a traditional Taoist idol venerated by the navigators of Fujian associated to constellation of the Great Bear, the Emperor of the Night. Miyagi, Mabuni, Funakoshi, Gokenki and others, followers of the Sino-Okinawan tradition, never accepted Japanese acculturation and discreetly rejected the doctrine of Budo. In Japan, karate had a deliberate intention of cultural appropriation, reconfiguring it in a more athletic form that became known as "Japanese karate". This was led by the first Japanese masters, who came from Butokukai, who adopted karate. Since then, there are today to karate: "Okinawa karate" and "Japanese karate."
Okinawa karate has as its older register of real origin a poorly organized collection of martial teachings and medical care in a popularly book known as "Bubishi". This work is apocryphal, probably composed by several authors at different times, and is based on Taoist, not Buddhist, philosophy. This manual belonged to a school in Fujian that was transferred for political reasons to Naha around 1828. All this doctrine is developed around the alchemical doctrine of Dan (the Universal Elixir) and the three Dantians known as Sanguan Santian ("Doctrine of the Three Portals") or simply Santian - "sanchin" in dialect uchinan.
Taoists were very concerned about health and longevity, and believed that this was due to an "elixir of life," and that it was possible to extract this energy from the universe through meditation and certain movements that would connect the mind to the cosmos, potencializing this energy in the body through certain chemicals. The Hsing-I expression had this meaning: "to extract by the mind the essence of things”, the foundation of Taoist alchemy. The essence to be extracted is Dan, the Elixir, which gives life, animation and movement to all things, the "philosophical mercury" of the Arab and European alchemists.
In Taoism it was taught that there were three centers of concentration of Dan in the body - the Dantian - species of batteries that redistribute Dan to the whole body. These Dan are: Xia (lower, vegetative, nursery and reproductive), Zong (middle, thymic, animic) and Shang (upper, coronary, transpersonal, astral). They correspond precisely to the vegetative, animal, and intellectual souls of Platonism. The Santian is energized through breathing, in fact, Taoist meditation is a way of using mind controlled breathing to pump cosmic energy into the Dantian. This was the meaning of the Sanchin = Santian form, an active meditation exercise, but today practiced within a statute completely contrary to the original teaching and purpose. Thus, instead of energizing the Dantian, the current practice of the Sanchin by the Goju-ryu sect exhausts them (which, in fact, is the opinion of TCM physicians), affecting global health in the long run.
This meaning of the Sanchin / Santian was well known to Chinese masters and ryukans in the 19th century, before it was appropriated by not initiated people in Chinese martial culture, who today literally translate Sanchin as "three battles" with equally laughable semantic attributions. Itosu sought to give the karate he created, a new mentality based on technique and ergonomic gains, depriving all Taoist philosophy of art he had created to discipline the restless teenagers of Okinawa. He was aware that he was in a new world, dominated by Western science and mechanization of society, on an island that had only recently come out of the feudal regime. Itosu sought to insert his creation in this new paradigm. The romantic nature man (revived as neurosis by Oyama, Nakamura, Yamaguchi and other solar heroes of the new age of the film media) was replaced by man-machine, cyborgs hauled by super-athletic technologies.
Sadly, the new masters, wanting to give a painting of tradition to karate, invented impossible connections and the result was the disaster of the current karate, divided into sects that ignore their real origins. This is very evident in the modern Goju-ryu, now a religious fundamentalist sect. The myth of the hero was incorporated into the Sanchin kata, with its incredible and frightening ibuki, epic muscle contractions, and the future dilation of the ascending aorta, which tragically ended the adventure of the nature man who believed in his supernatural energy.
Contrary to popular belief, kempo / karate was not meant to train warriors, but to keep the body and mind healthy. It was born from the observation of a 14th-century Chinese physician - Hua To - who recommended to the emperor to exercise the population, for he found a great timeless truth: "sedentariness is the mother of all diseases." The best way to engage in exercise motivationally is like dancing or drama, so imitating animal movements and how they fight has generated exercises that have become very popular and stimulated the creation of martial arts in China. In the more general context, this has become a culture of good health and physical disposition for work and for the defense of the property.