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#104649 - 02/17/02 11:24 PM Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Anonymous
Unregistered


*The following is simply a question. No insult is meant in any way to any one.*

First, I must say that in the several "styles" I have studied, all but one (my current, Isshinryu) have had "basic" kata/forms. We were given very little information about them, and more often than not, the reason for having the basic kata/form made having the kata/form useless.

Once, I asked why we had to be given these kata/forms. I was told that each contained many basic techniques which were the necessary for the more advanced techniques. I asked why we couldn't just be taught the basic techniques, since the kata were often difficult to understand. I was told that it was the most efficient way. (Of course, the conversation was not this intelligent. I was about 10 when I asked about it.)

So, I went on trying to figure out the "simple" things in these "simple" kata/forms. Eventually, it became so frustrating that I had to quit. Thankfully, a friend of my father's was an extremely decent martial artist (a third dan in Tae Kwon Do, with seven years in Mui Thai). I learned a lot from him. Yes, he did give "basic forms" (the first three followed the same "H" pattern, substituting different techniques), but these were only to get your muscles used to the "basic" techniques. No more than an hour was spent on these, though, as he felt their use was severely limited.

Eventually, this too ended. So, after a three year hiatus, I took up Isshinryu. I expected basically the same thing: confusing introductions to even more confusing and convulated advanced learning. But HA!, there was none to be found. The separation of the "basic" techniques from the more "advanced" kata (which I feel are not marks of status, but encyclopedias of martial knowledge) helped me to learn faster and easier than I had ever before.

But then, it could be because I had passed my early childhood, and the sensei had a tremendous knack for making one learn.

*Now, I must say that this post (which is more an article/novella) is NOT pushing the style of Isshinryu. Though I rather enjoy it, I would only suggest one take a look at it. The reason I stick with it so is because it fits ME. It may not be for you.*

To end this tirade, do you all feel that "introductory" or "basic" kata are necessary teaching tools, or perhaps better teaching tools, are the complete opposite?

Again, I wished and meant NO offense with this. It is just something I felt would create an interesting discussion. And perhaps answer a few questions I've had.

Thanks in advance! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#104650 - 02/18/02 06:25 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Vash,

You raise an interesting question, why are there basic kata?

Historically, in Okinawa, the basic kata were a modern development (post 1900). Prior to that one simply trained in the kata one's instructor chose.

Often (in what later became the Shorin traditions) one began with Seisan Kata, or Nihanchi Kata.

In the early 1900's Karate was introduced into the Secondary School system (which was not for the masses, most of whom did not send their children to school at that time). It appears the focus of instruction was to prepare young men for military duty, and the simpler kata concept was to actually teach them group instruction (as in military training).

The kata developed, were more 'H' pattern kata, but the techniques really wern't simple. But eventually as karate becaome more open those kata (and others developed by various instructors) made their way into the curriculum.

The reality is there are no simple techniques, there is just karate. Those kata simply have fewer techniques.

Later developed Okinawan systems such as Goju Ryu began to stress Sanchin (both the simplest form of training, and among the most complex to do properly).

But there was no consistently applied approach.

In the mid 1930's the Okinawan instructors actually designed a much simpler kata series (12 of them) planning for public, health instruction (Perhaps taking tai chi as a model). But WWII intervened, and outside of being designed, the were never publically utilized (except as training sequences in some Shotokan groups and then as advance drills, go figure).

It appears, instructors such as Shimabuku Tatsuo (Ishsinryu's founder) choose to remain with the manner he originally was taught, and while he experimented with the Pinan kata for a time, personally found no reason to include them long term in his developing Isshinryu.

There may be a reason for that. The American Marines he taught, having all been through boot camp, didn't need to learn how to follow instructions, they already were experts from their military training. That gap bridged, he could concentrate on what he was most interested in.

Myself as an Isshinryu instructor (and a youth instructor for 25 years) I've found a positive value for using the Fyugata Sho from Matsubayshi Ryu, as an introductory kata for my students.

But I don't consider it (or any kata) simple. I use it because with fewer techniques, the newbie can understand kata quicker, and have a small sense of accomlishment, making it easier to roll them into the more complex classic kata of Isshirnyu.

Some in Isshinryu use such tools, some don't. The only real goal is what you produce in the long term.

Just an opinion.

Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu www.funkydragon.com/bushi

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#104651 - 02/18/02 09:39 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Anonymous
Unregistered


First, thank you for the reply. It was very informative. Now, on to some more questions . . .

Do you consider the "basic" kata necessary for teaching, or are they just another tool which can be used when the situation calls for them?

In teaching children, are the "basic" kata more helpful in learning technique(s) than separated basics?

To clarify: When I term the introductory kata "basic" or "simple", I am in no way implying the techniques therein are less effective or complex than those found in the "advanced" kata. I use the term because the introductory forms I was taught throughout my ATA Tae Kwon Do (which is another topic entirely) training seemed to be less challenging to learn than the more advanced hyung. I should also mention that in ATA, I was never intructed in bunkai.

For me personally, the separation of techniques from kata, the upper- and lower-body basics, plus the isolation and explanation of the techniques in our kata, helps me to understand the techniques I am shown.

Of course, that is just me [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG] And I am only speaking from about 10 years in martial arts (pre Isshinryu), five of which were wasted with ATA, two with an amazing instructor, and then a three year lull.

Thanks in advance [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#104652 - 02/20/02 08:06 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Vash,

I've taught Isshinryu both with and without 'basic' kata. Both approaches work just fine.

The reason I begin with Fukyugata Sho, isn't to make it easier for beginners, but rather to allow full group participation, with the beginners very quickly able to do the kata with the most advanced students.

I find training 'classical' Isshinryu beginning with Seisan Kata is a much longer road for beginners to belong to the class.

But fostering class participation doesn't make it a better tool per sae.

On the other hand a good 'basic' kata is invaluable for advanced students. You can work on special breathing, timing, etc. drills to develop concepts to carry over into their more advanced kata, and the simplicity of the form allows this develpment without worrying about the more advanced techniques at the same time.

Just a thought,

Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

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#104653 - 02/21/02 03:14 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
As Choki Motubu said...if one knows Kusanku, don't bother with the Pinans.

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#104654 - 02/21/02 08:18 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Anonymous
Unregistered


To Sensei Victor Smith: Personally, I've found that doing the basics in a series is very good for getting everyone in the class to participate on basically the same level. (I'm not a sensei by any stretch of the imagination, but I help with the children's class occasionally.)

Also, from what style is Fukyugata?

Thanks in advance [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

To joesixpack: I agree with that (which is kind of obvious from my side of the conversation with Sensei Smith). I feel that by going through the regular kata of Isshinryu, I gain a better insight into both technical application and my own physiological reactions to certain movements.

Thanks for the replies!

[This message has been edited by Vash (edited 04-15-2002).]

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#104655 - 03/13/02 12:43 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
SaiFightsMS Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 10
Loc: Dayton, Ohio USA
The Fyukyukata's are known by differing names in differing styles. Some of the names use are: of course FyuKyukata Ichii, Ni; Ten No, Chi No; Geksai Dai; Taikyokyu. They came into being in the 40's. Many styles do similar versions of these katas. So I am not really sure if the founder of each style came up with the same ideas independently of each other, or it was a joint effort, or there is a root to some training the underwent in their own early training when many of the founders of the styles we know today trained with some of the same masters.

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#104656 - 09/09/02 12:12 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
sanseiryu Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 18
Loc: los angeles ,california
(I feel that by going through the regular kata of Isshinryu, I gain a better insight into both technical application and my own physiological reactions to certain movements.)

Hi Vash, from reading several of your posts, I see that you have the Isshinryu superiority
complex :-))). I had it too when I began Isshinryu years ago in the military. After having studied Shudokan karate, going into Isshinryu was a surprise. No more elongated zenkutsu dachi stances up and down the gym floor doing oi-zukis, everything lower, longer, extended, more power, etc...Hated the Heian katas, but did like the power and strength that developed from this training. Then started Isshinryu after being stationed elsewhere and wow, no more deep stances, different fist formation, different blocking, different katas, Seisan? isn't this kind of a long kata for a beginner? Faster techniques, kihon techniques based on stepping combinations with blocks and punches right from the beginning, gee, what a revelation. Fast forward several more years later, now studying Gojuryu. I have gone through the this is the best style syndrome with each style I have trained in. At my age I probably won't be making a change again. So now the style of Gojuryu is the "best" for me now. What is a fact is, a kick is a kick and a punch is a punch. I don't think my vertical fist punch is any better or worse than my high chambered Gojuryu twist punch. I don't think my meat of the arm block is any better or worse than my bone block, in fact, at times I think the bone block works better, since I've been told that it hurts to feel the impact of one of my blocks on an arm or leg because of the bone.
What matters is the person and the training behind the kick and punch. I've seen abysmal
karateka in all styles, I've seen brilliant karatekas in all styles. Isshinryu is not the "best", it just may be the "best" for you, for now.
George Yanase

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#104657 - 09/10/02 07:44 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Gordon Travers Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Toronto, ON Canada
If I only had the Taikyoko forms to work with I could spend the next 5 years studying, learning and developing and still not have exhausted what they have to offer.

I have spent the last 2 black belt classes I teach covering nothing but the first Taikyoko and we still have so much more to cover and learn. However I will move on to something else because of the nature of learning and teaching in North America.

We have so many forms because people always want something more something new and more importantly because they are not taught the true meaning of the form. Kata in modern karate has degenerated to where it looks like modern dance, a series of aesthetically pleasing movements instead of a meaningful form. This reduces the art to the lowest common denominator.

Kata is more than blocks and strikes (in fact I see no blocks whatsoever) it is a road map detailing how to cause serious injury and death to your attacker.

In respect to my art – Goju I feel it is important to note that the Bubishi systematically describes how to extinguish human life in very specific terms, by seizing, pressing, squeezing or traumatising specific vital points. If we combine this with the essence of Whooping Crane which consisted of striking the 36 vital points with energy developed from Saamchin we have a style that was extremely violent since the sole purpose of the practitioners was to maim or kill.

My focus in kata is application – bunkai the search for meaning and with this in mind any one kata is more than enough and the basic forms like the Taikyoko’s have a wealth of information for someone who takes the time to study them.

Just my thoughts wishing you all the best
Gordon Travers

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#104658 - 09/10/02 08:32 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gordon Travers:
If I only had the Taikyoko forms to work with I could spend the next 5 years studying, learning and developing and still not have exhausted what they have to offer.

I have spent the last 2 black belt classes I teach covering nothing but the first Taikyoko and we still have so much more to cover and learn. However I will move on to something else because of the nature of learning and teaching in North America.
[/QUOTE]

Even so, the study of any sequence of movements can be translated into devestating retaliations and attacks, both in self defence and fighting ("mutual combat") situations.

This sort of study is enriching in that it makes you apply very general or universal principles of kata or fighting, and makes you even come up with new or forgotten manouvres.

Nevertheless, I would like to study a mix of old Okinowan kata such as Gojushiho, Passai, Kusanku, Sanchin, Pechurin, Sepai, Seisan something diverse like this, and their original Chinese or Okinowan bunkai as well as what could be called "movement studies"

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