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#105802 - 06/09/04 05:23 PM Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Yojimbo558 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/00
Posts: 253
Loc: Marina, Ca. USA
Hi Brian,

Your statement of "Kata has no use in a real situation!!!!!!!!!!" Is a comment that is both not uncommon for someone with very little experience.

What's the purpose of Kata? While Kata enables the practioner to focus on their timing, precision, balance and focus...the purpose of Kata is to preserve techniques.

If you look at older pictures of Funakoshi, you'll see him executing throws and grappling techniques within his Karate. The Japanese who'd taken up Karate, boasted that they would out do the Okinawans in their own system. After that you'll note the later pictures cease to show Funokoshi openly sharing them with the Japanese.

After WW II, during the Occupation of Japan, America banned the practise of numerous martial arts, numerous Bujutsu styles went underground and continued to train & pass on their arts.

While many of the Budo schools were allowed to continue to teach due to Americans not understanding the movements they were seeing and equating them as being not unlike shadow boxing.

During WW II, the Japanese played one over on the Okinawans in order to ensure their stiffest resistance to our troops by stating that the Americans that were coming weren't just coming to conquor them...but were cannibals. Okinawa represented the most brutal fighting in the Pacific.

After the war, soldiers during the Occupation began training in several arts while they were there. While there were many who learned various forms of Karate and brought it back to the US and elsewhere...there were numerous fine points and purposes about the katas that wasn't passed on to them.

As I said earlier, Funokoshi stopped fully sharing with the Japanese & later after WW II, many of the instructors didn't share with us the purposes of some of these katas. This is why friends of mine who study Shorenji Ryu Kenpo Karate & Goju Ryu Karate have become very excited by adding Jujutsu to their studies. For this is where they've learned what several of the application movements in their kata's were for.

If you have a good instructor, then you've got someone who has learned what the purpose for the movements within the katas are for.

With the older styles, katas tend to be two person or in some cases more, so that you learn by doing the technique on someone ( and receiving it in turn ).

In your previous thread you chose to quote Bruce Lee...and as you saw, this generated a lot of responses.

Wing Chun was developed by the Shao Lin as a short cut. The various rulers in China always seemed to look to the monks for support in either overthrowing a regime or in maintaining their own. However the monks while aiding in combat afterwards didn't want to commit to a committed alliance, seeing themselves beyond these matters. This attempt on their part to remain neutral, scared even those who had been aided by them and as a result, the Govt. made numerous assaults on the Shao Lin.

Because of all of the hand-to-hand & weapons forms in their system, it was considered that it would take 11 yrs to produce a warrior by their standards. Wing Chun wound up being a short cut where numerous weapons etc were dropped from the curriculm so that the Shao Lin could call upon Monks that would be capable of facing the Regimes warriors in 8 yrs instead of 11.

As was pointed out earlier, Bruce...who was very talented...but did not finish the system.

While many point at Bruce's comments referring to fixed positions and preset forms as proof of why its a waste of time to even look at other avenues...they themselves overlook the fact that Bruce kept an open mind. From Gene LeBelle & others he learned and incorporated techniques and strategies from other styles into his own.

If you're going to reference Bruce, then the most important lesson to remember (( in my opinion )) was his adapting and adding to his knowledge he learned from others into his own system.

Today it is no to hard to come across 1st & 2nd Degree Black Belts who've either created their own systems..."that have dropped all of the useless portions and only kept the stuff that works." These same people are those who've never finished their systems and in nearly all cases remain unaware of what the purposes many of their kata were for.

It's not just a matter of what you want, but what are you willing to invest in learning and becoming proficient in your martial arts.

By your own statements you are barely in the beginning. This isn't a criticism. Once when I was giving a seminar in Pueto Rico, I was asked a question. "What's the best martial art?" You could feel the tension as people who practised Jujujutsu, Karate, TKD, Judo, Aikido & others waited for my response.

The answer was simple, I told them that, "The best martial art or arts, is the one or ones that can captivate and maintain your interest."

Perhaps this particular school just isn't for you. If it isn't filling you with a drive and desire to get in there, then perhaps you should open the phone book write down the addresses & then visit each of the schools. Take a month or two, and watch a few classes from each of them. From that you'll be able to judge based off the classes & instructors what method & system seems most appealing to you. But just because you don't get something doesn't mean it's useless.

Eric

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#105803 - 06/09/04 09:09 PM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Eric,

Quite an interesting post. If I may i'd like to add several comments.

First, consider Funakoshi Sensei stopping fully sharing with the Japanese after WWII. As he was 50 or so in 1922 when he went to Japan the first time, after WWII he would have been in his mid 70's. Regardless of his shape he was elderly and what he could share would have been greatly diminished at that time.

As I understand it he spent those years just visiting sites. The control of the schools was really in others hands. The groups chose what their art became. I still believe with Judo's ascendency in Japan (remember Kano was the supporter for the Karateka to move to Japan in the first place), and many of the karateka in university, already were schooled in Judo in prior school, there may have been little need in their minds to explore the grappling arts. Let karate be percussive, it separtes them from the judoka, and many of them already had it too.

As for training Americans (and other foreign nationals) when you consider the short time availble for students, there was little more they realisically could have taught besides straight kata.

On Okinawa, the application of kata, was well known to be rarely taught to short term students. Instead kata practice. I don't think anything was being held back, but karate on Okinawa didn't develop as a combat art, no need for it as Okinawa was a relatively calm place. Instead the in depth use of karate techniques first requires a really good techincian who really believes in their technique. Show somebody many of the applications without years of work and they can't sell it. I believe the older approach was not to share it until somebody could actually do it.

And for those who want quicker answers, let them do them. It's not a race. Different arts serve different purposes. Consider the Shaolin arts with hundreds of forms, so nobody could ever learn more than a piece of them. But what the Shaolin adept could study still works.

The complexity of the issue is compounded when people want simple, quick answers. Those don't exist. The Gracies didn't get their skills in a few short years did they. It took a long time and lots of work.

That's the secret to all of it.

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

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#105804 - 06/10/04 03:00 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Yojimbo558 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/00
Posts: 253
Loc: Marina, Ca. USA
Hi Victor,

My friends who practise Karate in Puerto Rico are quite senior, one of them is the 2nd highest ranking individual in his style in the Caribbean. Both are Godan's and are very skilled. What shocked Adalberto was when he went to train in Japan and found insights and advanced techniques that weren't shared when he brought his sensei to Puerto Rico.

I've noticed an interesting difference over the years between Japanese Bujutsu & Budo styles. In the Bujutsu styles, the student understands the technique, because they are doing it and implementing it on an uke be it hand to hand or with weapons. While the Bujutsu styles do have some solo forms, the bulk are partner practise...and as a result they know the purpose of why they're doing what they're doing.

The Budo styles tend to have predominantly solo katas and in most cases the student isn't informed as to whether certain movements are for chokes, throws, locks or even in response to a spear or other weapon defense. As mentioned earlier, the purpose for the kata was to preserve the technique by remembering the movement...while avoiding catching the incriminating eye of our American Occupation forces, which had banned numerous styles.

You mentioned Judo...which is a great art...but what's amusing is that if you look at the history, Kano lost control of his system and today, it has become exactly what he set out to stop.

Kano originally was horrified at what was going on in Japan. At the time the thought was Japan had moved away from its warring past and that Japan would never be a major war again. This period saw numerous Japanese Bujutsu systems converting to Budo, where they began dropping numerous techniques from their curriculum...deeming many of these killing techniques no longer having a place in their society.

Kano began with the desire to bring the Bujutsu Systems under one roof so as to preserve and maintain the Ryu's, and prevent their information from becoming lost. Several Bujutsu styles did go with him...but as time went by, and rules were passed again and again to make competitions safer -- eventually the newer students began confining themselves with just the techniques that were accepted in matches and ignored the older ones.

If you look at old pictures of Judo...you can see the older practioners utilizing atemi's & incorporating some of the techniques that he'd hoped to save. In those older pics...you can also see the younger students practising and ignoring these aspects and focusing purely on the tournament aspect.

This led to the Bujutsu Styles leaving while Kano lost control, and his system which is now one of the most widely spread systems on Earth...lacks the very principles and techniques that he had hoped to preserve.

Eric

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#105805 - 06/10/04 05:10 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Eric,

A few quick comments this morning.

One thing to keep in mind, the Okinawan's really weren't creating their art in the classification formats of the Japanese systems.

That Japanese classification can be used to describe the Okinawan arts doesn't mean it is an accurate description.

Where Japanese arts often arose on the battlefield, and then later became pure arts without purpose (guns really ruined things for sword, spear and bow and arrow after all), that isn't anything close to why the arts developed on Okinawa.

In most cases, the Okinawan arts were simply individual practices that only in later days had 'system' names wrapped around them. Creating systems was really not in the founders ideas, instead working with individuals sharing as appropriate, was the purpose. They were not for any battlefield purpose, even though later soldiers did study them.

The antidotal stories don't describe any real reason for them. They arose out of human interest, not any specific needs, as least as far as general oral history seems to share as I can find it.

When these arts became open, translated into Japan, when the instructor traveled and taught (such as Funakoshi) and created instant instructors (his first students reached black belt in one year), the control of spending a long time learning the art was lost. So short term'er's did what they felt best with far less experience.

In the different case of Kano, Japan losing the war drove a point about the need for martial battlefield efficiency. Rumor has it that was one of the reasons Usheiba softened his Aikido, not being able to compete with Atomic bombs. In Judo's case, turning to Sport, and the Japanese Olympic games, to give it the bie push, gave that art a focus, and yes things went that way.

But no art is a fixed thing. They all move with human experience. That one used it for one purpose and later ones use it for another, is the way human evolution takes place. The art would not move if people really didn't want it to move that way.

If somebody wants judo to move back to Kano, they only have to spend several decades in hard work, getting their own practice that way and then begin teaching those practices which they've honed themself.

See how simple things are? <GRIN>

I'm sure you're right, those who have had a chance to learn some skill and then study in Okinawna and Japan, would be exposed to many things the earlier student's didn't recoginze.

But experience is just that, movement in time and accumulation.

Pleasantly,

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

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#105806 - 07/01/04 10:35 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Brian Mullen Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/04
Posts: 60
Loc: kcks USA
Hello Yojimbo

I appreciate you input on my views of how important katas are to becoming a "fighter".

Now yes I am still a newbie when it comes to martial arts, I have now been training for about 12-13months, and from the input that I recieved in my other post, I see a little differently but.................I still agree with my original statement, If your purpose is to become an accomplished "fighter" Kata wouldnot be that important.

But I do believe if you want to be an accomplished Martial Artist, Kata is VERY important. If you reread my post i never said that I did not understand why Kata was important, I said to learn how to fight you wouldnt need the forms. In a street fight you wanna react without thinking, and in my opinion you would resort to one of your one steps or sets etc.....! I understand that everything you do as a martial artist is "hidden" in your respective kata's. but on the street when you really need to survive, the practice that you did on the sparring mat, heavy bag,etc....will come into play first. Now, again I understand that kata does have it place, ( just not in the ring )!!!!

Hopefully, I have'nt offended anyone,these are just my views on the matter. and It really shouldnt matter how long a person has been in karate, thats the wonderful thing about livin in this country.

God Bless America

Brian

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#105807 - 07/01/04 10:47 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Brian, Hit the floor and give me 50. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#105808 - 07/01/04 05:31 PM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
reaperblack Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 558
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Essentially I agree with the statement made about kata not being recalled in a fight, if you aren't familiar with the bunkai, and you don't practise them. The very essence of kata is that it does have a purpose, not just that it looks good or trains you to flow. This of course depends on the style and their katas, some of them are so watered down that they no longer mean anything. I practise shorin ryu, shorin kan and although the bunkai for some katas aren't precisely the way that you might think they are there, and they are in sets. Like this strike is done and these three movements are the counter, end conflict. If you have a good instructor who knows and shows you the bunkai you may develop a different opinion of kata.

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#105809 - 07/02/04 11:10 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Brian Mullen Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/04
Posts: 60
Loc: kcks USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by schanne:
Brian, Hit the floor and give me 50. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG][/QUOTE]

Sir Yes Sir [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

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#105810 - 07/04/04 02:42 AM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I don't think its a question of the kata...rather how its practiced and how its taught. If taught for the purpose of doing it for your test, and get all kata required before your black belt, you are right, those series of movements are wasting your time. However it does train muscle memory. But if kata is used and taught with specific purpose, one can surely use it in a fight. the first principle we were taught about kata was to perform the kata as your would be fighting. Trouble is, many instructors don't tell you whats going on, so sometimes its hard to see how to use it in a fight. It also depends on what you call a fighter. If you mean in the ring, or in the cage, its not useless as you are practicing your basics, but maybe not as a necessity.So its more how you use the kata and how its taught, rather than just being a kata thing.

In talking about Bujitsu vs Budo I just had an interesting point shared with me. Budo or Bujitsu is not just a Japanesse concept, as many leaders like Robert E. Lee, Alexander the Great, George Patton all had a sense of Bujitsu. Budo while being different then Bujitsu is more a Japaneese concept but still the knights of Europe took their jousting from a product of battle, to a sport of sorts(or contest). So they in essence practiced Budo vs. Bujitsu as well. And even to the extent of todays "war games" its still a form of Budo.

I am not disagreeing that Bujitsu and Budo have changed and their is a marked difference between the two, but thought this idea of both Bujitsi and Budo not being just Japanesse is an interesting concept.

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#105811 - 07/07/04 01:25 PM Re: Brian -- Kata & it's Purpose
Ogoun Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 96
Loc: Fort Myers, FL
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brian Mullen:
Hello Yojimbo

I appreciate you input on my views of how important katas are to becoming a "fighter"...

...In a street fight you wanna react without thinking, and in my opinion you would resort to one of your one steps or sets etc.....! I understand that everything you do as a martial artist is "hidden" in your respective kata's. but on the street when you really need to survive, the practice that you did on the sparring mat, heavy bag,etc....will come into play first. Now, again I understand that kata does have it place, ( just not in the ring )!!!!
...
Brian
[/QUOTE]

My personal experiences proved otherwise. On several occasions, I have reacted w/o thinking during a sparring seesions and a street fight. My reaction and techniques came directly from the kata. At that time, the training focus on doing kata, and kata only. We probably did each kata a minimum of five to six times a night. Once you clear your mind, muscle memory from training in kata will take over.

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