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#104573 - 08/25/01 08:51 PM Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
Koryu Uchinadi Offline
Tanmei
Member

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 65
Loc: Brisbane Australia
As a mnemonic practice, kata, by itself, was never developed to teach the art of fighting, but rather, to culminate the defensive lesson already imparted.

In an effort to combat unwarranted acts of physical violence that plagued their plebeian existence, early Chinese pioneers of quanfa (the precursor of Uchinadi) developed hsing/kata. In addition to providing its (now) obvious physical & holistic value, each ritualised form served as a collective template with which to address both specific and generic acts of physical violence.

By identifying which acts of physical violence needed to be addressed, and then cataloguing them into individual lessons, innovators were able to, 1. Re-create each act of violence in a safe-learning environment, and, 2. Explore which defensive responses might best accommodate each issue. In order to actualise this process pioneers established two-person drills (what else could they do??) to flow back and forth so that each learner might experience both the individual act of physical violence and its corresponding defensive theme. This simplistic, yet unique, concept provided the opportunity for each learner to progress progressively or exponentially, depending entirely upon nature & nurture. Those learners who excelled at this practice achieved a functional spontaneity enabling them to virtually negotiate just about any act of physical violence or variation thereof.

By eliminating the attacker (i.e. The act of violence or contextual basis to which the defensive response applied) in the two-person training drill, what remained was a solo re-enactment of its corresponding defensive counter. Learners were required to memorize not only the defensive counters for each act of physical violence used in the two-persona drills, but also their solo re-enactments. With their own individual names (double Dragons going out to sea, Guardian closes the gate etc.) each re-enactment was ultimately ritualised into individual templates.

Early pioneers of this tradition commonly introduced the individual act of physical violence first and then used the supporting two-person drills to build competencies. The ritualised re-enactments/templates provided each learner the opportunity to not only practice movements on their own but also to express individual creativity and physical prowess. More importantly, however, the practice became as much mental as it was physical. Taking the practice into the realm of the mind revealed the location where all battles must be first fought and won before it could be effectively used elsewhere. Finally, teachers who used this format could visually observe and evaluate progress by simply calling out the individual names of specific templates in any order during training. What made hsing/kata unique to specific schools (i.e. styles) was the varying signature geometrical configuration of these individual templates.

At the height of their sophistication, pioneers had identified no less than thirty-six (36) habitual acts of physical violence (HAPV), seventy-two (72) variations on these common themes and a total of one hundred and eight (108) individual defensive application principles.

Fundamental training included reception (how to best receive an attack…erroneously referred to as blocking) developing the simple tools of penetration (fist & foot etc.), posturing & mobility. Supplementary training focused upon developing strength, physical fitness and improving individual skills. This entire process was enhanced when learners discovered the need to improve their knowledge of the human body, its unique function and common anatomical weaknesses. The art was further enhanced through understanding what biomechanics best supported the transfer of both low intensity (for pressing, seizing & squeezing etc.) and higher velocity kinetic energy transfer (collision-style impact).

The fundamental defensive themes used to impede motor function include:
1. Seizing nerves,
2. Arterial venous obstruction
3. Attacking connective tissue structures (membrane, tendon, ligament & cartilage)
4. Twisting bones & locking joints
5. Take-downs,
6. Strangulations
7. Throws,
8. Grappling,
9. Ground-work,
10. Counter attacks
11. Impacting anatomically vulnerable zones,
12. Attacking, seizing & digging into the cavities of the body unprotected by the skeletal structure

Uchinadi old-school kata practice, unique to the later part of Okinawa’s old Ryukyu Kingdom, trace their roots to Fujian quanfa and this heritage.

Best of luck in your training

Patrick McCarthy www.society.webcentral.com.au

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#104574 - 08/25/01 10:32 PM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
Gojute Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/02/01
Posts: 24
Loc: Anderson, South Carolina, USA
Mr McCarthy,

First let me say it is an honor.

I agree with what you have stated, however I do have a few questions.

When you suggest "a collective template" are you suggesting that all the Okinawan Kata are these "templates"?

The two-person drills are the most logical means of testing and expanding the knowledge of these templates. This simplistic progression did afford the best opportunity, but are you limiting the responses to individual techniques or to the whole kata itself?

Fundamental training, supplementary training, and anatomical weaknesses aside; do you feel the "Fundamental Themes" were the basis of how to break down these individual techniiques or are you proposing a step by step process of counter vs. counter through the kata?

Do you feel this "old Ryukyu Kingdom" or "Fujian" method is representative of todays katas or has minor changes over time obscured the necessary nuances found within the kata to recreate this method?

Lastly, concerning this other side of the two man drill... could it not be the responses of another kata?

Sincerely,
Ron J. Brookshire Jr. (Gojute)


[This message has been edited by Gojute (edited 08-25-2001).]

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#104575 - 08/26/01 02:40 AM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
Koryu Uchinadi Offline
Tanmei
Member

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 65
Loc: Brisbane Australia
Dear RB
Thank you for your reply. The honor is mine.
RB: When you suggest "a collective template" are you suggesting that all the Okinawan Kata are these "templates"?
PM: What I mean by the term “collective templates" is that old-kata kata methodically brought together both specific and generic technique to resolve both specific and generic acts of physical violence. The ritualised composite is, for argument sake, the template with which to negotiate a specific act of violence, which might also (if and when functional spontaneity is established) be used against generic acts of violence, too.
RB: The two-person drills are the most logical means of testing and expanding the knowledge of these templates. This simplistic progression did afford the best opportunity, but are you limiting the responses to individual techniques or to the whole kata itself?
PM: Thank you for sharing my insights, they are not so clear to everyone. The only limitations that exist (IMO) are those we place upon ourselves, or allow others to place on us. The context, outcomes, mindset and delivery system usually dictate the process. The late American anthropologist, Joe Campbell, once wrote, “Every generation produces people who, in an effort to keep their ritualised practices a living experience for the people they serve, re-interpret the common principles on which they rest. In doing so, more innovative ways of imparting the same goals are established.”
RB: Fundamental training, supplementary training, and anatomical weaknesses aside; do you feel the "Fundamental Themes" were the basis of how to break down these individual techniiques or are you proposing a step by step process of counter vs. counter through the kata?
PM: It’s always been the human body, its unique function and common anatomical weaknesses that ultimately dictate how seizing and impacting best impede motor performance; this has always been the dispassionate aim of self-defence with moral people. Defensive themes (such as choking, throwing, impacting etc.) are fundamental to the outcomes a defender seeks: Restrain, stun, shutdown or make unconscious. The process I have brought to light had long served as the standard by which to address self-defence.
RB: Do you feel this "old Ryukyu Kingdom" or "Fujian" method is representative of todays katas or has minor changes over time obscured the necessary nuances found within the kata to recreate this method?
PM: While the surface of kata looks pretty much the same these days as it once did (give or take the fluidity, stepping & sliding and vivid body movement that once brought it to life) and its defensive strategies remain intact, the formula once used to interpret its it application principles has all but vanished. Kata is the biggest enigma in modern karate and too often taught indiscriminately. How many times have you learned kata but had no idea of how its techniques are applied or what acts of violence they can be used to address? This is like learning a song in a foreign language; If you cannot speak the language in which the song is being sung, how is it possible to understand the meaning of its words” There’s a provocative saying the early French Mathematician, Henri Poincare, once said, that could equally be applied to this issue: “Science is built upon facts in the same way that a house is built with stone, yet the mere collection of facts is no more a science than a pile of stones is a house.” Everywhere one looks today people have amassed a collection of kata, with no understanding of it application principles, or even worse yet, are inundated with myriad RULE-BOUND and impractical applications.
RB: Lastly, concerning this other side of the two man drill... could it not be the responses of another kata?
PM: I suppose one could conceivably make anything from such techniques, and add to that which in some regards already has too much, however, to the best of my knowledge, it is not.
Kind regards

Patrick McCarthy

PS I have also cc this to your other query elsewhere for your convenience.

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#104576 - 09/01/01 10:15 PM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
omegapoint Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 150
Mr. McCarthy:
There is a thread on the MA's forum that ties in directly with this one. Maybe you'd like to post your views on Kata there?
This post is great but I think the majority of the people on this forum need to sharpen their keen powers of observation. I don't think any of them (except Gojute and I) know you posted this. Just thought you'd like to know...Bye and thanks, sir.

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#104577 - 09/02/01 07:32 AM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
Koryu Uchinadi Offline
Tanmei
Member

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 65
Loc: Brisbane Australia
Dear friend,

Thanks for your advice. Happily accepted but where's the other venue?

PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by omegapoint:
Mr. McCarthy:
There is a thread on the MA's forum that ties in directly with this one. Maybe you'd like to post your views on Kata there?
This post is great but I think the majority of the people on this forum need to sharpen their keen powers of observation. I don't think any of them (except Gojute and I) know you posted this. Just thought you'd like to know...Bye and thanks, sir.
[/QUOTE]

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#104578 - 09/02/01 08:33 AM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
omegapoint Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 150
It is here sir:
http://bbs.fightingarts.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000065.html

If that link fails to work, then the "Martial Arts Talk" section can be accessed by scrolling down the page and clicking on the "Hop To" window near the bottom. I also placed a question to you on e-budo's "Karate" forum regarding kata and grappling interpretations for bunkai. Thank you sir, have a great day!



[This message has been edited by omegapoint (edited 09-02-2001).]

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#104579 - 04/26/02 05:01 AM Re: Kata: The Enigma of Uchinadi
omegapoint Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 150
Cosmetic plastic surgery was invented to mask the superficial ugliness of people who train for the sole purpose of using their body as a strangulation test device and punching bag.

GJJ self-defense techs involving consenting players, is a kata mnemonic based on the fact that intricate standing locks and chokes can be done on a sucker who bum-rushes you as you walk out the club and clocks you square in the chin with the uncontrolled limb. "Stand still and bend your arm. I'm gonna break i--OUCH, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!"

Muay Thai is about beating your body to death so that by the time you are 55 you can't strain too hard when you pee or you may rupture a disk. I once saw a 70 year old Thai Boxer get mugged in Thailand. He used his awesome knowledge of kicking with osteoporitic shin bones to stab his assailant in the arse with (after breaking it during a leg kick). He got beat down some more, now he only eats soup, but they stole all his ducats so he eats nathan.

A Greco-Roman/Freestyle guy I use to know practices "neck-bridge forms" and "curly-shuffle" kata. All this to be in gay bliss with his jock smelling, spandex wearin' leotard latent opponents. He finally came out the closet and I gots to steppin'!

Do you really know reality?

[This message has been edited by omegapoint (edited 04-26-2002).]

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