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#103961 - 04/27/04 08:36 PM Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
Dixon Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/25/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Harrisonburg VA
I went to a tournament last saturday, it was the first tourny I'd been too in three years. It really threw me off. I know that people change katas to make them more flashy for the judges. I'm ok with that to an extent. What I saw....geesh where to start, in the middle of a kata the guy stands up straight and walks to a corner, faces the opposite corner and does 3 flips across the ring. Saw a bo kata where the guy did a strike from a hand stand and when he wrapped it up at the end he did a flip.

I expect to see kids kaiing on every move, I expect to see all the kicks raised up to head level for the judges. What I saw saturday wasn't kata, it was garbage. Of the 100+ katas I saw I could identify 4-8.

People are spending time making katas and altering katas to look good. Is there some hidden benifit in that that I don't see? It seems that most of the people there were more interested in getting a plastic trophy then doing the katas the way they were taught. Aside from the beginners no one did any traditional katas, no pinans, no naihanchis, no tensho, seisan or geikisia's.

I value my katas very highly. I'd much rather lose all my money then lose my knowledge of kata. It looked like alot of high ranking martial artists sold their katas out for a plastic trophy.

My friend competed, this was the first time he had ever been to a tournament and he did very well. We were watching the brown belts and black belts sparring, then he says "the only things that people are throwing is lead leg side kicks and backhands" He was correct. I watched almost all of the sparring and I only saw two people get hit hard, one happen to be my friend, he threw a cross to his opponents stomach and the guy doubled over. and Gina Thornton almost sidekicked a girls head off her shoulders.

It seems that tounrament sparring is teaching martial artists to not hit hard. I see the benifits of sparring. Its a neat little game of body tag, but so many people ( especially non-martial artists) veiw it as the top of the line in martial arts. The same goes for tournament kata. Why is it that those aspects matter so much?

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#103962 - 04/28/04 09:44 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
rookie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 652
Loc: US
I don't know what to say but i agree with you 100%. I have not yet been to a tournement but the ones I catch on ESPN@ and or other channels dishearten me. The Katas you describe do nothing but give fuel to the JKD kata haters out there.

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#103963 - 04/28/04 11:03 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
WADO Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 900
Loc: denver co usa
These people illustrate my point Kata is not an end unto itself it is a means to an end anything that is not practical has already been discarded in the past by people who have actually been in life or death combat. Who is some kid who calls himself a go-dan to change something that has worked. It would be like an army recruit finishing basic training and then questioning his NCOs who have been in combat on the effectiveness of the tactical training they teach. Imagine some private in the army telling a war veteran that his ideas are no good and that his new ideas are better. I am not against improvisation and innovation but serious questions arise even in my mind when someone even creates what he or she calls a new style. If you look at Krav Maga which is supposed to be one of the biggest innovations in martial arts in the 20th century, all it does is teach the same old techniques and simplify them down to teach effective fighting quickly. A backflip has no purpose anywhere near a fight and should not be tolerated in a sport that claims to be a martial art. Remember the word Martial means war or combat.

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#103964 - 04/28/04 11:19 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
WADO Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 900
Loc: denver co usa
And another thing I was in a tournament two weeks ago and it was like my opponent was begging to be punched don't they teach defense and body movement any more. I roundhouse kicked this guy in the ribs he fell down on his face and I got disqualified for excessive contact. I have always been instructed in judging seminars that the face knees groin and throat are vulnerable even for a well trained fighter so they must be protected in tournaments, I completely agree with that but, the rule of thumb was always that a black belt or someone who accepts the risk of competing in the highest division and asserts that they are in good shape so that heavy contact to the body is usually allowed and even scored. I really don't have any clue or advice to give you these days, except at the highest levels of international competition very rarely does anyone throw a side kick. Most points in the Pan Am games came from reverse punch, lunge punch, roundhouse kick to the body and front kick to the body, all extremely practical techniques. I think American tournaments score junk too easily so people throw junk but nobody would win outside of the U.S. with side kick and lazy slapping backfist to the face. I competed in one tournament in Romania and aside from the lack of grabbing and clinching, and the stop time when points were scored this WKF tournament had as much contact as any foll contact tournament you will ever see.

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#103965 - 04/29/04 03:35 PM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Tournaments are an escape from the reality of MA. Some instructors push thier students in that direction and some frown upon them. The bottom line is ...there fun, no more no less. There is nothing wrong with competing outside your dojo and having your own kata's ect. LONG AS YOU COME BACK TO REALITY WHEN YOU STEP BACK INTO YOUR DOJO. Remember it's just a tournament, a place for MA's to gather and have a good time...why sound so gloomy about it? [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]

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#103966 - 04/29/04 05:01 PM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
WADO Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 900
Loc: denver co usa
I have a karate book from like 1950 that talked about the new craze tournament karate, this book basically stated that Tournaments really have three purposes. 1. To train a person to act in a stressfull situation. 2. To practice timing 3. To develop proper control. I don't know if tournaments are good or bad but they are sometimes fun, it's nice to have something to be competitive with for someone at my age, other than rec soccer of softball. I really think that for someone to do some of the forms I see on ESPN they must really be devoting enough time to that that they must be neglecting real training, I don't like these tournaments that trick people into thinking they are better than they really are. Karate should only look pretty by accident function should always precede form.

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#103967 - 04/30/04 06:51 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
[QUOTE]Originally posted by WADO:
I have a karate book from like 1950 that talked about the new craze tournament karate, this book basically stated that Tournaments really have three purposes. 1. To train a person to act in a stressfull situation. 2. To practice timing 3. To develop proper control. I don't know if tournaments are good or bad but they are sometimes fun, it's nice to have something to be competitive with for someone at my age, other than rec soccer of softball. I really think that for someone to do some of the forms I see on ESPN they must really be devoting enough time to that that they must be neglecting real training, I don't like these tournaments that trick people into thinking they are better than they really are. Karate should only look pretty by accident function should always precede form.[/QUOTE]

1950...great. Do you want to know the real truth about the "purpose" of tournaments, it's big business $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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#103968 - 04/30/04 07:03 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
[QUOTE]Originally posted by WADO:
And another thing I was in a tournament two weeks ago and it was like my opponent was begging to be punched don't they teach defense and body movement any more. I roundhouse kicked this guy in the ribs he fell down on his face and I got disqualified for excessive contact. I have always been instructed in judging seminars that the face knees groin and throat are vulnerable even for a well trained fighter so they must be protected in tournaments, I completely agree with that but, the rule of thumb was always that a black belt or someone who accepts the risk of competing in the highest division and asserts that they are in good shape so that heavy contact to the body is usually allowed and even scored. I really don't have any clue or advice to give you these days, except at the highest levels of international competition very rarely does anyone throw a side kick. Most points in the Pan Am games came from reverse punch, lunge punch, roundhouse kick to the body and front kick to the body, all extremely practical techniques. I think American tournaments score junk too easily so people throw junk but nobody would win outside of the U.S. with side kick and lazy slapping backfist to the face. I competed in one tournament in Romania and aside from the lack of grabbing and clinching, and the stop time when points were scored this WKF tournament had as much contact as any foll contact tournament you will ever see.[/QUOTE]

Tournaments are opptional, if it's not for you take the other path, don't make them sound so horrible.I like going to them to see all my old buddies that I used to fight or train with, it has become more like a social gathering for us. It gives some MA a chance to shine a little, some people need that in order to validate all thier hard training.........some people.

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#103969 - 04/30/04 10:00 AM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
sunspots Offline
oldtimer/newbie
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 650
Loc: Southern Oregon, USA
In my school, we consider tournament sparring to be the bridge between the dojo and the street. You are up against a stranger, and usually have no idea of their skills. You have to deal with adrenaline and pressure, but in a controlled environment where, hopefully, no one is going to get really hurt. (Although I did see a Black Belt end up with a broken rib at our last home tournament.)

As for kata, locally there are divisions for "traditional forms," performed "by the book," the way you would for a test in your own home school, and "creative forms," where people change stuff, add all the (in my opinion) useless gynastic moves, etc. It's just how the promoters decide to create divisions.

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#103970 - 04/30/04 12:41 PM Re: Do tournaments hurt martial arts?
WADO Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 900
Loc: denver co usa
You are misunderstanding what I am criticizing. When the olympics went to their new boxing judging for example where five judges have a button and if three are pushed within 2 seconds a point is scored, not based on the old style of judging. Effective agression and ring generalship. The styles of fighters changed first people stopped punching to the body because it is more difficult to see, and with a knockdown counting the same as any other punch fighters stopped training for power. When these fighters turned pro they were less well prepared for the sport. In Karate backfist to face and side kick are easy to see so people practice them, with no risk of being thumped fighters have moved away from conditioning, when they move to higher levels of competition they are less well prepared, as a backfist to the face needs to be pretty darn good to score and usually leaves the fighter open to being thumped. If karate is viewed as a sport the fundamentals are more important than flash.

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