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#104659 - 09/12/02 05:11 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
sanseiryu Offline

Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 18
Loc: los angeles ,california
[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 find this interesting, simply because of the idea that there might be anything at all devestating or interesting about the Taikyoku series of kata.
To say that yes, the Taikyoku series has something to offer the beginning student is correct. To say that you could study them for years without exhausting their potential seems to be a bit much.
Remember what these forms were intended for. To teach elementary children the basics of karate movement, the basic blocks, punches and stances of Gojuryu to children in a safe manner. A better place to start would be the Gekisai series, which was developed to teach karate movement to high school students, who were better able to learn the more complex techniques found in Gekisai than elementary school kids.
In order to gain acceptance in elementary and high schools, karate had to be defanged, dangerous techniques dropped in favor of a physical fitness oriented regimen. i.e. Higaonna changing Sanchin from nukite to closed fist form. The results were Pinan, Fukyu, Taikyoku and Gekisai.
Now today, there is so much made of so called hidden techniques, vital point attacks, elaborate, made up bunkai. That it really becomes silly. A block is not a block, a strike is not a strike etc. If you punch someone in the nose hard enough, it will stop him in an instant, that's a vital point I think. If you kick someone in the nuts with the point of your shoe, that's a vital point.
Now I do study and practice the bunkai and variations for each movement in Gekisai on up through the rest of the kata. I enjoy it and think it can be very useful. However, variations on the simplest bunkai invariably results in a more complex series of movements that only work in a classroom situation with a willing opponent.
I think that anything you can come up with in the Taikyoku series can already be found in Saifa alone.
George Yanase

#104660 - 09/13/02 11:45 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Gordon Travers Offline

Registered: 06/22/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Toronto, ON Canada
Good day

Well first let me say; yes I was overstating my case. The point was being made in response to the question about the value of basic kata. I think people undervalue these basic “kata: when they have a great deal to teach us.

Now I find a couple of things interesting about your comments

Well the Taikyoku series was designed to teach school children, so was the full twist punch, and yet almost every karate-ka I have ever see or trained with still does the full twist punch without question even though it is structurally unsound and was introduced to school children so they couldn’t hurt others when striking. Speak to an engineer and a doctor about it they will confirm the ¾ punch is better structurally and biomechanically. So we do need to explore deeper sometimes and understand why something was done.

The Taikyoku series is not defanged as you put it, at least I don’t see how it could be. It uses several basic techniques used in many kata. The same principles apply and the same applications can be used whether done in a Taikyoku or a black belt form.

From my count we have 9 basics or techniques - not counting the opening, which I really should so it is 10 and 3 stances in the Taikyoku series. In Gekisai Dai Ichi we have 9 basics or techniques and 3 stances. It seems to me the Taikyoku series stacks up just fine then. The problem is one of perception not reality.

In terms of your comment about pressure points and hidden techniques lets look at your punch in the nose or a kick to the “nuts” comment, I think it is important to raise karate above a size and strength issue to a point where skill is the deciding factor.

So why kick to the “nuts” when this is at best a very difficult place to kick given the automatic response to protect this region. The key is when you protect this region you open up the inner thigh for attack and a kick to SP11 will have a great effect, but better yet why not focus on the knee and attack SP 10 because once the leg is gone the fight is over. I could discuss the nose and the region around it at length as well, but lets move on.

Lets just consider the lowly Gedan Darai, from an application perspective it is a block, a strike, a release and a throw. None of these are difficult and all are useable outside the classroom, if they weren’t why spend years doing them?

If you dismiss studying the application of a basic and applying it to the bunkai in your kata then why study karate – become a kick boxer and just punch and kick with enough strength these are effective techniques.

Kata is a road map that details how to attack your opponent and gives the sequence of attacks based on the bodies normally response to the initial attack. That is why they are placed together is a specific order.
So while I see value in just plain old punching and kicking to become truly effective and raise karate above a size and strength issue to a point where skill is the deciding factor one must study one must study the road map or kata (even the lowly Taikyoku series) basic anatomy, vital points and pressure points and bring them all together to become an effective karate-ka.

Wishing you all the best
Gordon Travers
York Karate-do
Advancing The Arts Through Research
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42 Goodmark Pl Unit 10
Toronto, ON M9W 6S2
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#104661 - 09/13/02 03:02 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
sanseiryu Offline

Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 18
Loc: los angeles ,california
Thanks Gordon for your reasoned response. As an Okinawan Gojuryu practitioner, I don't practice the Taikyokyu series, although I do practice what is called Kyozai kata which is an introductory kata in our organization. Just a variation on the typical h-pattern kata. It's fun for the kids, quick to learn. Do I spend any time teaching applications with it? No. It's primary purpose is to teach movement in combination with techniques. In fact I don't teach it to the adults as it is only a kata I began to teach after seeing it done in Okinawa at Hokama Sensei's dojo. We concentrate on the 12 Gojuryu kata. Miyagi was known to have taught Saifa as the first kata to children before introducing Gekisai kata after WW2.
You stated that Taikyoku has all of the techniques found in Gekisai. I question the usefulness of the Taikyoku because it is so repetitive. Chudan and Jodan are exactly the same, just a different block. Gedan just trains shiko dachi, haraitoshi and oizuki. Mawashi at least throws in an elbow, backfist, block and a reverse punch after the mawashiuke. Kakeuke is just a clone of mawashi uke. All of these techniques are covered in our classes during kihon ido. Gekisai Ichi also includes a sweep, arm bar, shuto, soto uke and add in Gekisai dai ni, you also get neko ashi dachi, all of the things you state are in 5 Taikyoku can be found in 2 Gekisai. These are of course just the obvious techniques.
As for striking certain areas of the body, our best weapon in the dojo, the one we train a lot, is a whipping, smashing shin kick to the thigh. The shin, ankle, calf, knee are other areas we target. We are shown vital areas and pressure points, but if the area that you strike hurts the opponent, it is not necessarily a classical pressure point. When you gave a friend a charley horse when you were a kid, did that mean you knew what and where a pressure point was? Doing "pressure point knockouts" against someone standing still, allowing you to "knock them out" is a far cry from someone intent on kicking your ass. So in those cases, a headbutt and knee stomp are sure and effective techniques (seiunchin and sanseru) to use rather than strike sp** but only after the hour or the horse and only against a monkey stylist. :-)
3/4 punch is more effective than full twist punch? Having studied Isshinryu for a couple of years, I was a fan of the vertical or 3/4 punch. You ever watch an Isshinryu person break boards? He uses a full twisting punch. Ever see a boxer knockout an opponent in the ring? It's not a vertical or a 3/4 punch. It is usually a hook, uppercut or straight/cross punch. Now I do use the vertical punch as well, it has it's uses, but to say it is more effective is not realistic. An uppercut works better in a situation where an uppercut is called for. A hook punch is more effective when a hook punch is called for.
I did not state that we do not work bunkai, I stated that we train in bunkai for every technique in every kata plus variations on the basic bunkai. I just think that there are those who try to come up with some ridiculous bunkai just to be able to say, look at what I discovered. A new bunkai. I think that bunkai should be quick, simple, easy to learn and foremost, effective. If it takes you an entire class to learn it, I don't see the value in it.
Great discussion Gordon,
Regards George Yanase

#104662 - 12/09/02 10:48 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata

In regards to the last post . . .

I have been in Isshinryu for a little bit, and have NEVER seen any Isshinryu-ka/sensei use a twisting punch, particularly in demonstration (the only place where breaking boards is really welcome).

Just thought I'd throw in my two cents on this comment.

#104663 - 12/09/02 04:09 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
isshinryu kid Offline

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 618
Loc: Knoxville tennessee u.s.a
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Vash:
*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][/IMG]
[/QUOTE]I Mean no insult to anyone.But If you took taekwondo which is the worst style anyone cld take,with all of its high kicks & waste of movements.& this is supposed to be self defense I Dont think so, I think your problem is this you wanted to be where could be treated with attention.But you see when you take an easy style like tkd you cant expect to take ISSHINRYU & think its gonna be easy. Ya see tkd where vests for protection in ISSHINRYU you trained to take punches. & In ISSHINRYU you strike each others arms to tuff'n them.In ISSHINRYU your blocks are strikes. & all of the kata in ISSHINRYU are blk belt kata & yet very basic. The Bunkai/applications of each kata can can save you or another persons life. It is a learning process that each student must go thru. Learning what moves that are in a kata is a neverending journey. But is well worth it.& It sounds like after taking a minor style like tkd, You were'nt ready for something like ISSHINRYU.& BEFORE you say something ISSHINRYU again You might want to think to yrself if its right for you.ISSHINRYU is for anyone who is not afraid of pain.

#104664 - 12/09/02 05:31 PM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
isshinryu kid Offline

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 618
Loc: Knoxville tennessee u.s.a
[QUOTE]Originally posted by sanseiryu:

(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
[/QUOTE]I Dsagree the verticle punch is more powerfulthan the twist punch,example being the vertical punch by its self wld be the same as donig it in a kata.But while you're coming up & turning you're legs at the sametime. & then the power goes to your body.& The this power goes to your shoulder. as your arm is tucked under the shoulder with a ISSHINRYU FIST & then strike. So Its feet,legs,body & up to the shoulder & strike. Now thats Power,& its body dynamics. Its done with fluid movements, going slow & easy. With form & exactness of movement of every kata.& with working on the punch bag.That is why the vertical punch is more powerful than the twist. The twist punch is mostly a stationary. you can still use it in some cases,But if you want to get the fight over with, use the vertical punch its awesome. ;-)

#104665 - 12/11/02 04:07 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Omega-Point Offline

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 54
Loc: san antonio, tx., usa
Some one asked where the Fugyugatas came from. Fugyugata Ichi is Shosin Nagamine's (founder of Matsubayashu Shorin) invention and contribution to karate-do. Fugyugata Ni is Gekisai Ichi of Goju Ryu who Nagamine also trained under. Other beginning kata such as Shorinkan's Kihon Kata 1-3 are instrumental in teaching the beginning student the flavor and technique of Kobayashi (Shorinkan) Shorin Ryu. The Taikyoku Kata as practiced by styles like Shotokan and Kyokushin, also serve a similar purpose for these Ryuha.

Basic kata introduces the new student to a styles fundamental stepping, stancework, striking, and other inherent principles. They teach one to look, adjust, then execute, rather than hurrying and rushing things. Intermediate kata are suppose to introduce broken rhythm, varied stepping, angling, body and foot movement, sweeps, throws, locks, chokes and even groundfighting (or tuite).

As one progresses the nejia (internal arts) influence in karate forms is suppose to teach relaxation, fluidity, whipping power, sinking power, increased breath control, qigong etc. Done properly the kihon kata can also enhance structural and energy-related "ki". That's just an opinion though.

A lot of karate is external (hard) and remains hard. Some karate is softer with a rough edge, and this ratio never wanes. Many styles start off with a combination of external and internal principles, and eventually reach a measured "softness". Economic movement and energy distribution are facilitated with advanced kata and karate training. Seemingly "effortless" and logical tachniques are the aim.

Anatomically, the 3/4 twist punch is safest, and the most natural. If you hold your arms out in front of you without any undue twisting of the wrists, you will find that your hands rest at a 45o angle. The vertical punch is also structurally sound and fast, but a lot of styles don't pay attention to biomechanics and make improper (and unsafe) fist-forms. Striking with the foreknuckle and middleknuckle is harder to accomplish on some targets. The 3/4 twsit punch doesn't take the full-force of impact straight down the length of the radius. With the 3/4 twist structural integrity is enhanced and force distribution travels in more of a spiral vs. a linear fashion. Less chance of injuring your weapon.

The full-twisting punch is a "safe" punch. Moreso for your opponent than you. This is the adapted Okinawan "koryu" punch- the 3/4 and vertical variety. It has less velocity and is safe for sparring and kids karate. The funny thing is that the full-twisting motion actually is less stable than both the vertical and 3/4 variety, as the ulna loses contact, and structural support, from the last 2 digits. The ulna and radius actually cross each other as the wrist is twisted to 90o. The twisting action activates both antagonistic and protagonistic muscles in a way that actuallly slows down the punch. Speed is essential!

Isshin Ryu is a solid style. I don't know very much about Goju, but it seems to be a very good style too, depending upon which Goju you are speaking of. Folks are under the impression that all Ryuha and fighting styles are equal in efficacy. That is just ridiculous. It's kind of like saying all cars are of the same quality. They will all get you "there", but will they be dependable and last the duration?

I guess with enough innate ability and diligence any style can be effective for self-defense. Some styles are just more practical for the general populace and easier to understand, use and learn. Too bad the average person that enters MAs doesn't really understand the subtleties. Remember "RRIF- Reading and Researching Is Fundamental" and "K.I.S.S- Keep It Simple Stupid".

There was a time when TKD was a very effective MA. After all it is of ShuriTe lineage. Things have changed since the 60s and 70s though. Flashy strikes, and acrobatic stuff, which has its place in MAs, is not made for reality. It is hojo undo, or supplementary training, and not meant to make someone a realistic technical fighter. It does serve a purpose as eye candy and for athletic training. That being said TKD is almost 100% sport with little combat effectiveness to be seen. The lack of hand techs in Olympic TKD is ridiculous. The "fighters" might as well be double amputees or paraplegics (no offense intended). It's how Judo is compared to old school JuJutsu, but nowhere near as effective for self-protection.

Basics are key in anything. Teaching them in kihon forms is a good way to teach the student to use his mind and body. It's a little less boring than non-kata kihon training. Controlling the "tempo" of a confrontation requires rhythm training for a lot us. This is a byproduct of basic kata training. If you don't know of rhythm or how to utilize it, then it will be hard for you to control the tempo or what I call "B.P.M.s-Beatdowns Per Moment", heeheee. Initially it will seem unnatural, but the student finds that as familiarity sets in and time passes, the mental and physical merge. A more automatic vs. voluntary action is reached. "Mushin" as detailed in Japanese budo becomes more of a "reality".

These are all my opinions and not truth whatsoever. Interpret it as you will... Peace!

[This message has been edited by Omega-Point (edited 12-11-2002).]

#104666 - 12/11/02 09:00 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
isshinryu kid Offline

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 618
Loc: Knoxville tennessee u.s.a
[QUOTE]I Just read wht I said earlier,& Iwas rather dissapointed in my self. By sounding arrogant & Im sorry to all of you for that.But as I might or still believe that the vertical punch is faster & thus more powerful.Their are many reasons for the twist punch,As Im sure my goju & kobayashi shorin brothers & sisters can attest to.& Again Im very sorry for wht I said erlier.So wht ever works for you use it.

#104667 - 12/11/02 09:17 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Just a quick note on Isshinryu striking.

As one who's tried everything at one time or another and trained with many who can make anything work, yes with due diligence any striking technique is fine.

Isshinryu, on the whole, tends to focus on the vertical fist. It's method of delivery, however, is not similar to the vertical punch in the twisting punch delivery, though the hand is vertical on impact, Isshinryu's arm doesn't twist during delivery at all.

Historically Isshinryu's founder went back and forth with which strike he taught. Most of the Okinawan students were using a snapping twisting punch. When he began to train the Americans, he choose to use his idea (actually his instructors Kyan Chotoku's favorite punch) as the main focus, but in Sanchin kata he still taught it like Miyagi with a twisting punch.

Then at different times he would revert to the twisting punch (most of the Okinawan's wouldn't change) and back again. In 1964 when he taught in Pittsburgh for 6 months he was teaching the twisting punch.

But enough history. Even the vertical punch isn't necessarily vertical. When you work with partners their body striking area may require the punch to shift from 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock or further to get an optimum strike.

Likewise, the Isshinryu vertical punch also offers a unique opportunity the twisting punches rarely offer, to strike with the standing ridge of knuckles, instead of the two knuckle strike most often seen.

BUT, it's the person and their training. Isshinryu's punch has advantages, but so do the rest.


Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

#104668 - 12/11/02 10:03 AM Re: Basic Kata vs Advanced Kata
isshinryu kid Offline

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 618
Loc: Knoxville tennessee u.s.a
[QUOTE]OMEGO POINT I Have nothing but RESPECT for wht you've just said.I Cld not said it better myself. PS Three cheers for omego point.

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