Before I write anything, I need to say that there are many fantastic ‘Kyokai Karate’ groups out there. The word ‘Kyokai’ (協会）usually refers to an association or large following.’Dantai (団体) also indicates an ‘association’ or ‘group’.
That sounds good. Like minded people in support of each other, as opposed to some sort of inter-dojo competition!
‘Kyokai Karate’ has great effect when all the instructors come out of one cadre, trained to a high level, for example the JKA Kenshusei Kai’; the organisation tends to control those who step out of line.
Splinters, and small groups may give rise to a form of nepotism where there is the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality. These small ponds too often have a ‘big fish”. Since we are equal, regardless of grade or status, there is no real necessity for the dictatorship. We should all be able to assist ourselves and our peers on the journey that is Karate-Do.
Students, of course, need to follow a role model. Members need a structure. But, at the end of the day the ‘karate’ has to become ‘their karate’ once Kodansha grades are achieved. We should show similarities to each other, but different approaches need also to be embraced.
Commercialism and propaganda often precede the actual Karate. I believe that we should all see ‘Karate Keiko’ as a beautiful experience; practice to better ourselves and not be seen as ‘part of the machine’!
Style over practicality, function over form? It could be a never ending argument!