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#105362 - 03/02/04 01:16 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brian Mullen:
So you all are saying that self defense sets and one-steps are "kata", give me a break. Shadow work is NOT kata, hitting a heavy bag is NOT kata.

Kata is much different than learning a selfdefense vs a grab,choke,kick,punch etc...!
Can you "picture" yourself defending against a grab,choke,kick,punch etc while doing a Kata?? Yes, But we do not train vs these typs of attacks by doing kata. we learn how to defend doing one-steps and self defense etc..

You are right when you say that bagwork and shadow-boxing are not kata. They are training tools like kata is, though. If I do bagwork, shadow-fighting, kobudo and kata will I somehow be a less able fighter?

Most good karate-ka do all those things, plus other supplementary exercises (hojo undo), aerobic training, jiyu kumite (free sparring) or full speed 2-man drills, weightlifting, self-defense drills/*-step sparring, and forms. A good style or stylist will have adequate representations of their styles fighting techniques reflected in the bunkai of each individual sequence in kata. He or she will understand that beyond the patent descriptions of kata as a means to understand form, balance, mushin, maai (combat distance), etc., kata is a veritable catalog of individual defensive and offensive generalities. In other words it puts yourself in the position to execute a myriad of offensive and defnsive options. Repetition of this type of training makes it a part of mental and muscle (physical) memory. Done long enough it becomes an automatic response based on the situation and mindset of the martial artist at the time.

The truth is that kata training is a mystery. It seems so irrelevant when you start out in karate or chuan shu ("kung fu"). Sparring and self defense training seem much more gratifying because you are getting accustomed to a foreign way of addressing combat training. Sparring gives one a sense ("false" to some degree) as to what it is your art allows you to do. It does give the practitioner a sense of the external practicality (albeit limited) of your training. It's results, NOW. What purpose is it serving? To teach one how to fight or give one a shallow semblance of self-preservation? This is why beginners seem to hate kata and enjoy sparring. With time the spirit of the thing will reveal itself to you. To respect this eventuality is to respect your teacher, your time invested and your overall ability to judge what is right for you.

Knowing karate doesn't mean you understand what the arts kata truly represent. There are thousands of so-called BBs of karate out there. Probably only 20 % or so understand what karate/kata training is and can do for you.

Conveying the message of your system through kata takes decades of diligent training AND study, from a teacher-pupil perspective and from a singular vantage point. Personalizing the techniques to fit your being while preserving the catalog of philosophies and strategies inherent in the ryu is the ultimate aim of traditional arts. This is done almost solely through the understanding of what your kata are teaching.

So what I'm trying to say is in order to learn what kata is truly about a sensei or sifu has to understand what it is his arts forms entail, and have the ability to convey that message to the student. If your sensei is doing weak forms, ones with too much "drift", then your are right. That kata serves no true fighting purpose at all. Additionally, if you don't practice your kata in segments, through 2-person drills then it will be hard to apply them in the real world. Kata can be one-, two-, three-step sparring and self-defense drills too. That's how I train in it, at least.

Bruce Lee was a good forms practitioner. He learned Wing Chun for about four years and then he stopped. Wing Chun is an art that takes at least a decade of learning in order to begin to use it to its fullest. It is lacking in some ranges, but it is a very solid, yet minor, Southern style. He obviously was taught fairly well and it got him to JKD heaven [IMG][/IMG]. Without it would he have been the same Bruce Lee? Would he understand his own combat weaknesses and know what holes to patch? That foundation gave him a decent vantage point to start from. Would people outside of Hong Kong train in Wing Chun? Without it would we have JKD?

Boxers hand spar, limitedly, for a living. They have rules, protection, referees and rings. It's about money and not self-defense. It is an awesome hand science. Probably the best in terms of hand-eye coordination, speed and endurance, with very effective power distribution. For all its positive points, it does not address the ranges that true karate/MAs does. It allows no leg techs (not even stepping ont the lead foot), grappling with submissions, vital point strikes with the bare hand, elbows, head butts (not legally anyway), groin strikes, throws, etc.. They train hard and all-out for what they do, but it's INTENT is different than karates. As an aside, I do think that every karate-ka should train in boxing for awhile.

Every one can only comment based on their experience with a subject. Fighting is universal and personal, all at the same time. Understanding intent, the original intent of karate, boxing, judo, kickboxing, so on, is the key to understanding their training methodologies.

Have a great week!

[This message has been edited by Dr. Krunkenstein (edited 03-02-2004).]

#105363 - 03/02/04 08:58 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
mrhubbs Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Carmel, NY 10512
There are many valid criticisms of kata as a means for training "fighters." (I agree with nekogami about the difference between a fighter and martial artist or stylist, as he put it.) I enjoy kata as part of my training, but I recognize that I can improve my ring and street abilities without them.

My biggest objection to your line of thinking, Brian, is the use of Bruce Lee as a barometer for what is valuable in the arts.

There is no doubt that Bruce Lee was a talented man both mentally and physically. He was a progressive thinker. Having said that, he was not unbeatable or unstoppable. He did NOT have all the answers and (IMO) would have been soundly thrashed by more martial artists than fans of kung fu cinema would like to admit.

Unfortunately, I think that some members of our community have taken a man who may very well have been an outstanding martial artist/athlete and turned him into some sort of god...a martial messiah, if you will.

Please don't make that mistake...of anyone.


#105364 - 03/02/04 09:41 PM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!

[QUOTE]Originally posted by mrhubbs:
There is no doubt that Bruce Lee was a talented man both mentally and physically. He was a progressive thinker. Having said that, he was not unbeatable or unstoppable. He did NOT have all the answers and (IMO) would have been soundly thrashed by more martial artists than fans of kung fu cinema would like to admit.


Blasphemer!! Heretic!!!
You must be hunted down and cleansed of your evil!!!
We will have to tie you down and force you to watch Longstreet, the green hornet, and enter the dragon over and over again while chanting,"Be water, be water." [IMG][/IMG]

#105365 - 03/04/04 11:56 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
chinto01 Offline

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 102
Brian it appears to me that you underestimate the value of kata in your training. Kata is the mother of karate is what some people believe. Without kata karate is just a bunch of punches and kicks. While I agree with you that Bruce Lee was a great martial artist however I feel that he was not the final authority on the use of kata in a real situation. Kata is the means by which a teacher passes on his knowledge to a student. It is also a way for a style to maintain the forms which the founders thought were important. Each kata holds in it self -defense techniques. Thechniques were put together in a series for the student to practice. Over time the student will become proficient with these techniques and begin to apply them. It is important to remember also that these techniques will need to be slightly modified to each self -defense situation. From kata kumite drills are derived also. Bruce Lee demonstarted he technique in a controlled enviroment where the variables were minimal. It would be interesting to see what would happen if approached in a real situation. Please do not dismiss kata yet as there is a ton of knowledge in them. And once you find that you will have opened up to a completely new method of training.

#105366 - 03/04/04 01:47 PM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
goldencrane Offline

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 432
Loc: Kansas City Kansas USA

" Kata gives you all the answers, it up to you to find the questions "

#105367 - 03/05/04 09:52 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
goju Offline

Registered: 12/23/03
Posts: 18
Loc: Canada
Brian I suggest you gain a few more years in the arts before you start lipping about kata..

#105368 - 03/10/04 09:25 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5849
Loc: USA
Maybe a a good question is why so many systems use kata?

If you make a list of extent systems that use kata and a list of those that don't you will find that the kata list is much longer.

Since most of the systems that use kata are pretty old--they date back to when martial arts were not hobbies, but done to protect your life.
The very fact that they still exsist seems to support that kata do work.
Otherwise they would have disappered.

(Of course the oldest extent MA is Shou Chou (sp) a form of Chinese wrestling that uses punchs and kicks as well--I don't think it uses kata)

I think that kata, at base serve as a excellent "tool kit" of techniques.

One of a number of training methods that complement each other.

#105369 - 03/14/04 12:48 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!

Kata...repeating movements is pointless.

Studying it's movements is worth it.

I used to think like some of you...

It's worth it just be patient.

#105370 - 04/10/04 10:10 PM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
danielsan Offline

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Ridgewood, NJ, USA
Perhaps it may have been mentioned but i think of kata as 100% needed for everything. They are the building blocks, the baby steps to developing instinct and technique alike, both in the dojo and in the street.
Think of kata as the controled environment, where everyone can learn. The sign of a true master is when they take the katas, and harmonize them with their own self to improve their abilities. You could not fight without kata.
To fight without kata is to put some novice against an expert and say, "win!" Kata is not a fight, or war manual. It's a schoolbook to teach learners. when one spars, they are interns, and when they survive on the street, then the have "earned their paycheck."
Forgive the chesey analogy. Thats all i have to say.

#105371 - 04/11/04 12:03 AM Re: Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Here we go again. In a sense I think Bruce Lee did as much of a dis-service as a service in his quotes about kata. I think too many people read into what he is saying then what he actually meant. Also, there a very few people who are at the same level that Bruce Lee was at when he made the statements. How can you be free of form, if you have no form to be free of? The Yin and Yang philosophy would indicate that in order to be formless, one must have some sort of form to begin with. I see Kata as being a necessity, if not to learn from, but to vary from. In order to be totally free from kata, one must know kata extensively(I think anyway). Ed Parker of American Kempo said that learning basics were like learning ABC's, and that combinations are the words we create. then kata must be the sentences and the thoughts of our art.In my school we teach form, vs function. So all students must practice their basics and learn form. However we also teach self-defense(function) in which the form must be amended to become funtional. I can't imagine how the basics of a person would be without some sort of form or kata. MY Sensei use to say "any collection of movements are Kata, whether its a series of Martial Movements, a dance or even putting on your clothes." My interpretation of what Bruce Lee said is this, at the advanced stages of your training, SET TECHNIQUE is not needed, but rather a reaction to the action that has been presented to you. Being free of from to me is not being locked into certain techniques. But you must have a well to draw from and a bse to grow from. this is where form is important.

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