Shin Nagare Karate Stylistic Elements

Shin Nagare Karate primarily evolved from traditional Shotokan Karate, Kickboxing, and Jujitsu. However, it contains elements from many other styles, notably Tang Soo Do, Aikido, Judo, Kenpo, Arnis, and Eagle Claw. The core striking system contains two parallel training paths. Students simultaneously train in “traditional” techniques and kata derived from Shotokan and in “fighting” techniques derived from modern American kickboxing. Over time, a blend of the two develops in a student’s sparring style. Additionally, Shin Nagare schools train in Jujitsu throwing and grappling techniques for a truly mixed style. Through its combination of training techniques, Shin Nagare is true “hard/soft” style, incorporating elements and techniques from both hard styles and soft styles and using them interchangeably as needed.


The Shotokan Tradition


Shin Nagare borrows its core traditional techniques and kata from Shotokan. Notably, the Heian series of kata and Shotokan’s Bassai Dai make their appearances in SNK training. However, these kata retain a distinct flavor to them. For instance, Shin Nagare’s Advanced Kata series resembles somewhat of a mix between the Shotokan Heian series and the Tang Soo Do Pyung Ahn series. Also, the Shin Nagare version of Bassai Dai almost resembles Tang Soo Do’s Bassai more than the Shotokan version from which it historically derived.

This is because many of the early Shin Nagare practitioners were highly influenced by a Tang Soo Do school they trained with at the time. This is also evident in the way many SNK “traditional” techniques are performed today – a style that somewhat resembles a cross between Shotokan and Tang Soo Do form.


The Kickboxing Legacy


Meanwhile, Kickboxing provided a profound influence on the early development of Shin Nagare. Many early practitioners were also full contact Kickboxers on the PKA circuit. They incorporated many of the prevalent Kickboxing techniques of the day. In particular, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace’s kicking techniques provided a profound influence on the development of SNK. The punching techniques of SNK also borrow heavily from boxing and kickboxing styles.


Throws, Locks, and Grappling


Shin Nagare also incorporates many aspects of Jujitsu and Judo training. However, the degree to which this training is incorporated varies heavily from school to school. Some SNK schools teach almost exclusively karate techniques. Others teach their SNK program exclusively as karate, with a separate jujitsu program. Still others teach Shin Nagare and full Jujtisu programs side by side in the same class. Finally, some schools retain a blended system that incorporates Jujitsu and grappling training to varying degrees. Since there is no centralized home organization that formalizes Shin Nagare curriculum in the way that some other traditional arts do, this is entirely dependent on the instructors at any given school.


Other Influences


Shin Nagare also retains distinctive influences from several other martial arts. In addition to the “hard” blocking styles inherited from Shotokan, SNK also borrows heavily on the relaxed, “soft,” trapping-hands blocking of styles such as Wing Chun. Additionally, most SNK schools incorporate various techniques from Aikido, Judo, and Eagle Claw systems.