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#173791 - 07/31/05 07:35 PM Kata,bunkai,and self defense
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
The ancient masters of karate passed on their fighting techniques in movements called kata.Kata consists of a series of techniques,performed in a set sequence.A given self defense movement might involve only two postures while the kata may have twenty or more.The small groups of movement are linked together to form the whole kata.
It is my opinion that students learned the kata and sometimes didn't stick around to learn the meanings to the movements. Character was a big issue then(I feel)that kept the hidden bunkai secret until the teacher thought the student to be worthy.
To many, kata possess aesthetically pleasing quality and the bunkai is not important.The outward quality of kata well suit their needs,but many feel the need to explore their kata further for real self defense value.
I assure you,kata possess genuine combative applications which can emerge with good instruction and lots of repetition.
Let's keep kata alive and continue to pass down the art and the self defense.Thoughts?
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Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

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#173792 - 07/31/05 08:08 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: SANCHIN31]
kickcatcher Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 200
Loc: UK
My thoughts are many. “Ancient” is a bit of a misnomer. Karate was formed in the 1800s, before that the Kata would have been Chinese forms. It is reasonable to assume that either the original meaning was not always passed to the Okinawans or that they chose to do their own thing. Either way, this led to Okinawan kata having a different feel to them than the ‘typical’ Chinese forms from whence most came. This change shows how it is important for martial arts to evolve to fit macro environmental conditions. Among contemporary conditions is a wealth of alternative communication medias and a extensive knowledge of coaching (as opposed to instructing). This means that it is no longer necessary or efficient to use kata as a learning medium, particularly for self-defence where the threat has changed. If you want to learn self-defence, ditch kata IMO.
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#173793 - 07/31/05 08:29 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: kickcatcher]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
I think one would have to have many years doing kata and learning bunkai to be an authority on them.Who's to be the decider of if any style evolves or not.Who says karate does not evolve with kata?
It is my experience that the best practitioners of martial arts are those who study and practice kata the most diligently.
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#173794 - 07/31/05 09:15 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: kickcatcher]
Raul Perez Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 2805
Loc: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
Quote:

My thoughts are many. “Ancient” is a bit of a misnomer. Karate was formed in the 1800s, before that the Kata would have been Chinese forms.




I disagree and would like to know where your sources say that Kara-Te was formed in the 1800s?

You can trace the beginning of Kara-te back to roughly 1477 when Sho Shin turned the island into a confucianist state and imposed the weapons ban. From there a great trade with china came and Tode Jitsu (Tang Hand) was formulated from the indigineous okinawan arts combined with the Chu'an Fa (chinese fist methods). You could possibly trace it much farther than that.
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"I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey"

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#173795 - 07/31/05 09:27 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: Raul Perez]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
Good job Raul!
Also many karate kata's origins are not known,they go so far back,so I call them ancient.Alot of kata do have Chinese origins,such as seiunchin,but the bunkai is the same no matter who it originated from.
However, the history of kata was not the point of the thread.
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Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

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#173796 - 07/31/05 09:58 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: SANCHIN31]
Ubermint Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
Quote:


It is my experience that the best practitioners of martial arts are those who study and practice kata the most diligently.




There are plenty of martial arts with no kata at all.
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173797 - 07/31/05 10:13 PM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: Ubermint]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
Quote:

Quote:


It is my experience that the best practitioners of martial arts are those who study and practice kata the most diligently.




There are plenty of martial arts with no kata at all.




That's true.You do not have to do kata to learn self defense or to be as good/better than those who do kata.
There are many arts that do kata and have their own reasons for doing so.
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Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

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#173798 - 08/01/05 01:05 AM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: SANCHIN31]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Different styles also give forms (kata) a different priority. In AKK, the forms are there to practice certain key concepts. The higher forms are based off SD techniques, so if you know the forms, you can continue to practice the SD techniques if you have to quit going to the dojo.

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#173799 - 08/01/05 03:15 AM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: SANCHIN31]
kickcatcher Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 200
Loc: UK
Re the history issue. You may care to take the approach that karate started day one 1477 and was defined thus as materially different from Chuan Fa (“kung fu”). That could be seen as the absolutist opinion (hint not likely to be popular with genuine historians). Or, the alternative view which I buy into which says that although karate can to an extent be traced back, it was likely a gradual process building up as basically a spreading of Chuan Fa which over time became distinct from mainland (Chinese) practices. This date of the watershed is open to debate but saying it’s 1800s is not historically ignorant. I suggest we put this issue aside as it will defocus the tread. However, I will reiterate my point for clarity: What I was getting at is that kata as we think of them is not that old and that the kata themselves are substantially different from what would have been practiced when Chinese masters were still the primary source of reference for Okinawan MAists. This undermines the “Ancient” justifications so often argued in kata’s favor.
Quote:

I think one would have to have many years doing kata and learning bunkai to be an authority on them.


Can we assume that you are an authority and that everyone else’s opinion is less valid? Please let’s not fall into this trap, remember that a fair smattering of kata’s keenest supporters are comparatively inexperienced –it works both ways.
Quote:

Who's to be the decider of if any style evolves or not.Who says karate does not evolve with kata?


Well I suppose musical kata is an evolution. Lol. No, but the natural extension of “kata has evolved” argument directly counteracts your previous “kata is ancient” argument. It’s beginning to sound like you’re inclined to rattle of a mixed list of logics supporting kata without a unified construction.
Quote:

It is my experience that the best practitioners of martial arts are those who study and practice kata the most diligently.


Well we should be glad you’re sharing such a vast experience. A pity of course that you aren’t sufficiently experienced of the likes of Helio Gracie, Kano (see note 1 below) and Muhammad Ali, then perhaps you’d see the ridiculousness of such an argument.

Interesting comparison can be made between the evolution of Jiujitsu kata and karate kata. In jiujitsu the kata developed as a safe way of practicing LEATHAL moves –mainly because weaponry, particularly swords, was the focus. When unarmed SD became the focus this tradition of kata carried forwards even though the moves were NOT LEATHAL in the same manner. Kano’s genius was that he identified this inconsistency. A similar pattern can be applied to Karate. Arguably the evolution of American Kickboxing from karate demonstrates a similar Darwinian logic. However, in mainstream karate people still insist on performing kata even though the moves that materially make up karate are NOT LEATHAL in the training context. I realize that this fact may be have a knee jerk unpopularity with some, but let’s keep things in perspective –when’s the last time someone died sparring reverse punch?

Note 1. Just to preemptively extinguish any misguided debate on whether Kano was a diligent katiast. He wasn’t, he openly disregarded the jiujitsu kata emphasis and carried over only an extremely limited (and sidelined) notion of kata to Judo which at any rate is fundamentally different from kata in karate.
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Judokakakakaka!!!!!!!

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#173800 - 08/01/05 07:32 AM Re: Kata,bunkai,and self defense [Re: kickcatcher]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
I guess you are more interested in the "instant" martial arts for self defense kickcatcher.
I can only speak about karate and kobudo in depth. There is more to it than SD. I think modern karate has 3 main interests on wich it lives : karate as a sport, karate for self defense and karate as a phylosophy or way of life. Traditionally, THE learning tool in karate or kobudo is kata, as wel for the SD as the phylosophy part. Combined with partner drills (yakusoku kumite) and strengthening/conditioning exercises made the technical curriculum of karate/kobudo. As evolution to integrate into Japanese society and ,more important, to be succesfull in the world the sport factor was implemented. Kihon was introduced to help evolve quicker in new aspects like kata for competition or free fighting, wich evolved into sport fighting. With all this evolution, there is still room to grasp back towards the older approach to study and evaluate kata as means of SD and phylosophy through training with or without partner. Your remark towards use of reverse fist in SD is ridicolous. When analysing the style I practise (goju ryu) there is no emphasis on this technique.
Saifa : only one technique gyaku zuki
Seiunchin : no fist punching techniques, but
uppercuts and backfists
Shishoshin : no fist punching techniques
Sanseru : 4 gyaku zuki
Sesan : about 10 punching techniques, but could
be interpreted also with open hand
techniques
Sepai : almost no fist techniques
Kururunfa : no punching techniques, 2
rising fist techniques to the throath
Suparinpei : multiple fist techniques in short
stances, could be interpreted as
finger strikes.
I understand the SD part of karate primerely as having confidence and stamina. The kata (and partner drills derived from kata) and strengthening exercises will build up this confidence in anticipation of a real conflict and the stamina to react. By conflict I mean bar fight kind of thing. I do not think karate is suited for disarming tactics or urban gang warfare.
Primarely I train because I like it. The research into kata and it's applications is continous. The understanding of technique through self study and testing in free fighting is for me the challange I enjoy with alike minded friends. The SD is not the primary goal. Enjoying the training is.
This approach is more towards moral apects as to pure SD routines. But perhaps this was what it was ment to be after all ?
But as there is room for my interpretation, there are also others whom persue karate training( and thus kata) more towards the ability of fighting.

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