It is said that around 1926, the ethnic Chinese man named ‘Go Genki’ (呉賢貴) or ‘Wu Xiangui (1886-1940) – migrated to Okinawa and became a Japanese citizen. My view is that the name ‘呉賢貴’ (Wu Xian Gui) is a transliteration of this person’s chosen Japanese name – and is not his given ethnic ‘Chinese’ birth name. I believe this is true despite many Western scholars treating this transliteration as if it were his ‘true’ and ‘genuine’ ethnic Chinese name. Furthermore, Japanese language historical texts state that this Master of Fujian ‘White Crane Fist’ (白鶴拳 - Bai He Quan) married an Okinawan woman surnamed ‘Yoshihara’ (吉原 - Ji Yuan) - and that he took this surname as his own. This surname is common in Japan and the Ryukyu Islands and has more than one origination. This name literally translates as ‘Lucky Origination’ - and although one branch is linked to the Japanese imperial house – many others are simply linked to ‘good’ and ‘pleasant’ places. If Go Genki took this name, then he would have been known as ‘Yoshihara Genki’ or ‘吉原 賢貴’ - if these names (and facts) are correct.
Go Genki is believed to have taught Miyagi Chojun the ‘Open Hand of the Crane’ exercise. This is recorded within Japanese language texts as '鶴の手'. The first and third ideograms - '鶴’ (he4) meaning ‘Crane’ and ‘手’ (shou3) meaning ‘Open-Hand’ - are of Chinese language origination, whilst the second character (‘の’ - ‘no’) is entirely ‘Japanese’ in nature. This phrase can be read in the Japanese language as:
a) 鶴 (he4) - Crane = ‘か’ (Kaku), ‘つる’ (Tsuru) and ‘ず’ (Zu), etc.
b) の (no) - Hiragana Character – ‘Belonging to’, 'Possessing’ and ‘Pertaining to’, etc.
c) 手 (shou3) - Open-Hand = ‘ず’ (Zu), ‘て’ (Te) and ‘手’ (Te), etc.
As this training method has been transmitted into the practice of modern Goju Ryu Karate-Do - the above concept can be compared to its contemporary counter-part – namely that of ‘Sticky-Hands’ generally referred to as ‘Kakie’ (カキエ). This analysis reveals a startling correlation in that ‘Kaku’ (か) - Japanese for ‘Crane’ - shares the first particle of ‘Kakie’, namely the Katakana particle of ‘カ’!
This is said to be linked to the Chinese language ideogram ‘加’ (jia1). This ideogram is composed of two particles:
Left Particle = ‘力’ (li4) - meaning a ‘plough’ used to cultivate the land. The foot presses down so that the plough may ‘cut’ into the soil whilst being firmly rooted.
Right Particle = ‘口’ (kou3) - referring to an ‘open mouth’ which is calling-out encouragement to the oxen pulling the plough!
During the Heian Period of Japan (794-1185 CE), however, the Chinese ideogram ‘加’ (jia1) was modified and reduced to only the left-hand particle – forming the Japanese Katakana letter of ‘カ’ (and the Hiragana letter of ‘か’). Interestingly, the Japanese term ‘Kaku’ (meaning ‘Crane’) is written as ‘か’ (mirroring the ‘Hiragana’ letter) - but in this instance it is a direct conjunction of the Chinese ideogram - 鶴 (he4), taking on a more specific and direct meaning. The Chinese ideogram - 鶴 (he4) or ‘Crane’ - is comprised of the following constituting particles:
1) Left-Hand Particle: 寉 (he4) - Archaic – Meaning ‘Crane’ and ‘Bird’. The Japanese equivalents for reading this Chinese particle include ‘か’ (Kaku) and ‘つる’ (Tsuru) - all referring to a ‘Crane’.
2) Right-Hand Particle: 鳥 (niao3) - ‘Bird’ and ‘To Breed’ Birds. The Japanese equivalents for reading this Chinese particle include ‘か’ (Ka) and ‘とり’ (Tori) - all referring to a ‘Bird’ and/or ‘Chicken’.
The Japanese term ‘か’ (Kaku) - although a recognised conjunction of the Chinese ideogram 鶴 (he4) (meaning ‘Crane’) - is used today to refer to a ‘Mosquito’ (although an archaic interpretation also refers to a ‘deer’). Perhaps the association between a ‘Crane’ and a ‘Mosquito’ refers to both being flying creatures that are known to be ‘dangerous’ due to their ‘biting-stinging’ capabilities.
What links the Japanese term ‘か’ (Kaku) - or ‘Crane’ - to the Goju Ryu Karate-Do practice of ‘カキエ’ (Kakie) - or ‘Sticky-Hands’ - is the Japanese (Katakana) language particle of ‘カ’. This corresponds to the ‘Hiragana’ particle of ‘か’ (also pronounced ‘Ka’ when discussed as the sixth syllable of the gojuon order). In and of itself, ‘カ’ (Ka) indicates a ‘question’ or a ‘sense of doubt’ when used with general Japanese language discourse – although it is also used as part of hundreds of other concepts, from Buddhist enlightenment to a glowing fire and many others! Whatever the case, when ‘か’ (Kaku) is used within the context of Goju Ryu Karate-Do - the particle ‘カ’ (Ka) forms an important constituting element of the Japanese word for ‘Crane’. In this instance, the fighting abilities of the Crane are emphasised. The Crane is defined as a large, long-legged bird of the Gruidae family – which can be dangerous because of its fierce squawking and deceptive movements – coupled with the use of its long and sharp beak, its strong kicking and its dangerous ability to powerfully deflect blows through the use of its wings. The alternative Japanese term for ‘Crane’ - ‘つる’ (Tsuru) - does not refer to the Crane’s fighting ability – but rather the length of its slender legs, body and beak. This is because ‘つる’ (Tsuru) is linked to a description of a ‘vine’, ‘string’ or ‘twine’, etc, - referring instead to the slim dimensions of the ‘Crane’ rather than any combative or fighting abilities it may possess. (Indeed, ‘つる’ (Tsuru), due to its association with ‘fishing’ and ‘hooks’, etc., also carries the meaning of ‘to hang’ - as if ‘hanging’ from a hook – perhaps referring to a ‘Crane’ as it soars through the sky – or perhaps as it stands upon one-leg – giving the impression that its solid stance has some other supporting device).
As the practice of ‘カキエ’ (Kakie) is said be ‘Crane-like’ - then it is logical to assume that the practice of '鶴の手' (Kaku No Te) - or ‘Open-Hand of the Crane’ - must be directly related to the practice of ‘カキエ’ (Kakie). I suspect that as the Master to Disciple transmission was traditionally premised upon physical action and spoken instruction, the Chinese practice of ‘鶴の手’ (which could be pronounced in China as ‘He De Shou’ or more succinctly as ‘He Shou’) was passed on in Okinawa as ‘Kaku No Te’ - which was then transformed into ‘Kakie’ (カキエ) overtime – being finally written down through the manner in which the description of the practice had evolved. The original emphasis upon the ‘Crane’ as a noun – was transformed into an emphasis of the dynamics of the practice itself (as a ‘verb’). I believe the clue to this association is the inclusion of the Japanese particle ‘カ’ (Ka) in both ‘か’ (Kaku) - or ‘Crane’ - and in ‘カキエ’ (Kakie) - ‘Sticky-Hands'.
Goju Ryu Kakie (2010)
I was thinking about your comment regarding 'Kakie' and its relating to 'hanging', or 'to hang', and thought I had better check the accuracy of my 2010 article. As I know next to nothing about Japanese script, I cannot remember where I acquired the Japanese 'かきえ' text that I used as a contextual blue-print - particularly as there was nothing like the digitalised dictionaries and encyclopaedias that are available online today!
I accessed a number of Japanese language texts regarding Karate-Do today, and found this interesting extract (although Wikipedia must always be checked for accuracy):
'Today's Karate-Do is a martial art that focuses on striking techniques, but Okinawa's ancient Karate-Do includes 'Control Hand' (取手 - Qu Shou) pronounced 'To-ui-Tī' or 'Tori-Te'（トゥイティー、とりて) in Okinawa - and 'Hang Hand' (掛手 - Gua Shou) pronounced 'Kaki-Ti' or 'Kake-Te' (カキティー、かけて) in Okinawa. These elements of the older Okinawan Karate-Do include grabbing, holding, and controlling the opponent's joints in preparation for throwing.'
What is interesting to me, after reading this, is that in gongfu this very principle is termed 'Qinna' (擒拿) - which I term 'joint relocation'. Master Chan Tin Sang used to say that 'if you know how a joint should normally move - then you know how a joint should 'not' move'! Furthermore, '擒' (qin2) also means to 'arrest' and 'constrict' - in other words, to 'stop' the opponent moving by taking away their options! As regards '拿' (na2), this means to 'seize' and 'grasp', etc!
With 'Hang Hand' (掛手 - Gua Shou) mentioned above, the ideogram '掛' (gua2) refers to the act of hanging or suspending. It can also mean to 'wear', 'arrive at', to 'divide' and to 'end' or 'terminate' an activity. The question is 'why' does this ideogram mean all this?
Left Particle = 扌(shou3) - this signifies a left-hand.
Right Particle = 卦 (gua4) - refers to a trigram or hexagram in the Yijing (Change Classic) - the act of 'divining' and the agency of 'change'.
Therefore, 卦 (gua4) is comprised as follows:
Left Particle = 圭 (gui1) - a ritualistic (pointed) jade object used when addressing the emperor! This is made by doubling the ideogram '土' (tu3) which symbolises 'earth' or 'clay' being worked on a potter's wheel!
Right Particle =卜 (bu3) - the act of 'divining' through integrating the 'cracks' derived by placing a hot poker on an ox scapula or tortoise shell (plastron). This is the historical basis of the 'Yijing' or 'Book of Change' (I Ching).
This would suggest that '掛' (gua2) derives from the skilled action of an Official or Minister (who served the King - the only person in ancient China who was allowed to access the divinatory 'oracle'). This Diviner used his left hand whilst 'separating' and 'dividing' the tortoise shells and/or ox scapula - probably 'hanging' or 'suspending' them up - whilst the right-hand held the heated metal rod which was applied to the sacrificial object. The King asked a question (which was written down by the Diviner), the hot poker touched the shell or bone and the rising smoke carried the message up to the divine sky! The answer was received through the various 'cracks' and 'patterns' manifest in the shell or bone - which only the Diviner could interpret. As these questions, received patterns and answers were all collected and sorted - the basis for the 'Yijing' or 'Book of Change' was formed.
In 2010 I used the Japanese (Hiragana) text:
かきえ = Kakie
In the above Japanese Karate-Do page the following ideograms are used to express exactly the same idea:
1) カキテ = Kakite - this is written in 'Katakana'
2) かけて = Kakete - this is written in 'Hiragana'
As there are a number of variations of the same ideograms within the Japanese language, the first two ideograms I used in my 2010 article are identical with today's findings and match these expressions. Placing the ideogram I used first in each section, this is how they compare:
1) 'か' (Hiragana) is the same as 'カ' (Katakana) = 'Ka' - but in Japanese this means 'mosquito'! In my 2010 article I thought this might have been a Japanese rendering of the much more likely Chinese ideogram of '力' (li4) - which stands for 'power' and generated 'force' - given the nature of the Goju Ryu exercise under discussion.
2) 'き' (Hiragana) is equivalent to 'キ' (Katakana) and directly related to 'け' (Hiragana). Whereas my 'き' and the above 'キ' carry the sound 'ki' (and can mean 'ki' energy, wood, tree, spirit and origin, etc), the ideogram 'け' is pronounced 'Ke' and means 'hair', 'fur' and to 'divine'. In my 2010 article I though this might represent the Chinese ideogram '手' (shou3) or 'open hand' - which is often used to signify 'mastery' through 'control'.
3) I used the ideogram 'え' (Hiragana) which is pronounced 'E' and means to 'gather', 'meet' and 'turn'. The examples above use 'テ' (Katakana) and 'て' (Hiragana) both pronounced 'Te' and although used to imply an 'open hand' in the above Japanese text, more specifically these ideograms are used to refer to 'doing something' or 'an act in motion' which might or might not involve the use of the hand. Either way, my thoughts in 2010 was that this should represent the Chinese ideogram '元' (yuan2) - referring to the 'origin' or 'root' of a thing. (It is interesting that the reading of 'origin' in this section 3 does match an alternative meaning found in section 2 above - where 'き' can also mean 'origin' - as if a hidden meaning was accidently stumbled upon)!
In 2010 I was working from the idea that Higaonna Kanryo was being taught Chinese terms in the Hokkien (Fujian) dialect - which were then written down in the various alphabets used in Japan! As it stands, the Japanese interpretation of 'Kakie' (in whatever version) reads something like the 'mosquito that lives in the woods is doing something (possibly with his hand)!' Of course, this could be prosaic and refer to the irritating to and fro (backwards and forwards) movement of the mosquito as it moves with endless 'ki' energy, around an opponent that seems flat footed and stationary - like a tree!
Looking up '掛手' (Gua Shou) I found this Japanese language article which mentions Kakie as also being found within Sumo Wrestling (fed through the auto-translator):
Therefore, '掛手' (Gua Shou) in the Chinese language should read in the Japanese language as:
掛 = 'Ka', 'Ke' or 'Kai' (it seems both 'Ka' and 'Ke' and used simultaneously)
手 = 'Te', 'Ta', or 'Shu'
掛手 = 'Kake-Te'
This Japanese language page also uses the (Hiragana) variant of 'かけで' to describe this activity - which reads 'Ka Ke De' and translates as 'to over come an obstacle!' This is interesting, as the change of character at the end generates a coherent sentence - whereas the three other examples quoted above:
1) カキテ (found today)
2) かけて (found today)
3) かきえ (used in my 2010 article)
In and of themselves, do not carry any particular or coherent meaning. Although, my 2010 variant keeps translating as 'calligraphy' - but this could imply the hidden meaning of skilfully moving the hand to manipulate the environment! All in all, I think this new data immensely increases our knowledge of this Okinawan cultural activity! Even though it was not available to me in 2010, nevertheless, my reading of the characters is sound and I like the theoretical approach - which I think was the product of your knowledgeable input and the outcome of our long discussions about the history of Goju Ryu!
With regard to the Chinese-Japanese term '掛手' (Gua Shou) 'Hang Hand' - I have just remembered to check the Hokkien (Fujian) pronunciation which is:
1) 掛 = 'Koa', 'kui' and 'khoa'
2) 手 = 'chhui' and 'sui'
This looks like:
Hang - 掛 (gua)
掛 - Japanese = 'ka-ke'
掛 - Hokkien = 'koa-kui' or 'khoa-kui'
Hand - 手 (shou)
手 - Japanese = 'te' or 'shu'
手 - Hokkien = 'chhui' or 'sui'
It looks as if we might be getting somewhere. This would imply, in my view, that Higaonna Kanryo had the Chinese concepts written down (in Chinese script) which he brought back to Okinawa from China, which were then transcribed into similar looking Japanese characters - but Japanese characters that have completely different meanings to the Chinese text they were copying! This fits in with the secrecy that used to exist between styles with only close disciples being told what the Japanese characters really meant in the original Chinese language script (which was probably lost over time). When the Japanese script was encountered without the guidance of the original Chinese script - the meaning was lost. I believe that if a person can read Chinese script - then they can 'see' the original meaning in the Japanese characters:
Then かきえ looks like 力手元! But we also now know that:
かきえ (and its variants) = 'Kakie' or 'kakete' in Japanese phonetics and 'khoakui-sui' in the Hokkien dialect! Whilst my '力手元' (Li Shou Yuan) or 'Power Hand Origin' reads in Hokkien as:
1) 力 = 'lek', 'lat' and 'liak'
2) 手 = 'chhiu' and 'sui'
3) 元 = 'goan'
All grist for the mill!
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.