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#190634 - 10/03/05 09:20 PM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: Victor Smith]
znra251 Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39
There are a couple of things i'd just like to say about team kata.

Firstly, it is a serious and difficult part of training. This is not three people doing a dance to music or anything like this as some people seem to think. This is a performance by a team of three of a traditional karate kata, chosen from the WKF major kata list ( - this is a major traditional world body, not some pissy little freestyle tournament!) the criteria for judgeing the kata are exactly the same as in individual, just that the competitors must be in time with each other.

For what its worth we will be competing in plain white gi's with an association logo and possible a manufacturers crest on the back of the neck, none of these green and blue multiple stripes numbers i'm affraid!

The type of competitions we will be entering are things like the KUGB student championships (KUGB are the biggest traditional shotokan organisation in UK formerly part of the JKA), the KUGB Nationals, The British Universities Championship, Welsh Open, British Open (possibly) and the AMA internationals. no freestyle and no music.

I'm not quite sure why everyone has such a negative opinion of team kata, perhaps it doesn't resemble a fight all the time, but then hey, why don't we all go and become kick-boxers/boxers, get to do a lot of fighting there. The reality is most people like to claim they train like a fight and yet really they just train imitating a fight in some way without understanding it.

Which brings me on to my second point - Team Kata requires a competitor to perform to a high standard with severe constraints (ie 2 other people to synchronise with)

Having been in a fair few violent situations (not necessarily fights), usually stood by the door of some shithole, i have learned that a fight where you are free to move, strike and react in an uninhibited way NEVER occurs. Walls, glasses, bystanders, other people looking to get involved, these factors often make you think and correct positions, perhaps not take an oppotunity to strike etc. Team kata constrains a competitor in this way, it teaches discipline, comitment, stamina and awareness, Zanchin. Awareness of the two other members of a team is a similar sort of awareness to say knowing what the other members of a door team are doing, knowing where a violent persons friends are, knowing where you cant move to and knowing when you cant move

This was actually a serious question which three serious and commited martial arts students had hoped might get an informed response (Thank you Victor, your advice was helpful and insightful. I didn't know team kata had this kind of history)

If you dont like team kata go away and don't reply, afterall, the question was how to train for it, not discuss the relative merits of it.

Also, if anyone is interested have a look at the videos on the former world champion Junior Lefevre's website - this is the type of team kata we do, not some dance. (Worth remembering Junior has been world, european and Belgian Kumite champion on numerous occasisions and still thinks team kata has something to offer!!! (Don't think he just wants medal, he's got bucketfuls!

Anyone with serious advice or questions please continue this thread, otherwise, go and discuss beating people up or training in another thred


#190635 - 10/03/05 09:52 PM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: znra251]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
Come on.Everything within the forum is up for discussion. Your idea of team kata sounds fine to me,but the only exposure I've had with it is XMA junk,not good.
I don't feel you were attacked persoanlly,but everythings merit is in question on these boards,and rightly so I think.
I'm glad you enjoy what you are doing and that's all that really matters.Your response was overly defensive I think.Kind of like the guy who keeps starting all of the pro tkd threads.Who cares.
I like the info from Victor as well,interesting.

Just practice Kanku dai and enpi together over and over,videotape it,critique any mistakes and do it again.
Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

#190636 - 10/04/05 07:26 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: znra251]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
WKF team kata is serious sport.
Kata allowed are available in a list (tokui list) including the traditional kata of the 4 main Japanese karate styles recognised by WKF (Shotokan, Wado ryu, Goju ryu, Shito ryu). In the past, interpretations of other than these 4 styles were allowed (Sakomoto - Ruei Ryu) do not know if this is still the case.
In finals, bunkai(3) have to be demonstrated of the presented kata (one criterium is effectivenes and understanding of shown techniques).
Coordination and level of execution is important and judges are instructed to focus on left or right corner person in comparison to front person to make decision (usually front man is the best in executing the selected kata, so have to focus the rear persons). If coordination is off, you are lost, so video taping performance in training is good training reference. If execution level differs individually, you'll have a problem too. Execution level should be simular (better 3 at same level of display than one excellent and 2 sloppy, judges will notice).
Timing signals after hajime are forbidden, so no hard breathing or sound or stomping to indicate cadance or pauze in between techniques (judges are trained to see this).

Good luck.

#190637 - 10/04/05 07:28 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: znra251]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Gary, I too feel that your attack was a little unjustified, especially when both myself and Kin said that we understood the new light shed on group practice via Victors and additionally by yours. The only exposure I've had of group kata has been of the same kind as Sanchin31's. Unless I'd aired my views on the subject, I would not have been enlightend to the higher purpose of those.

So mine wasn't an attack on you personally, but those who I feel make a mockery of the fighting arts which I study, if you practice in the same vein as the likes of XMA, then yes it was definately targeted at you. However from your post it seems like you are training for the purposes mentioned by Victor, so hats off to you mate.

Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#190638 - 10/04/05 08:43 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: Gavin]
znra251 Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39
sorry if it seemed like my last post was an attack but i find it rather irritating to be criticised for something so different to what i am actually doing, because people simply dont understand it or haven't been exposed to it.

Hopefully when karate is accepted as an olympic sport (next 20 years hopefully!!) then real team kata may generate an audience and people will be more aware of it, rather than xma or all this BS.

Sorry if my post was harsh, i just wish people would understand before they criticise.



#190639 - 10/04/05 10:03 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: znra251]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts

I've seen the videos on the website you provided.

As ignorant as I am of some of the benefits pointed out in this thread... in the videos, I see many signs of changes to the original kata in order to make them more visually appealing. stances were lengthened, techniques over exagurated, vein-popping kiai's, etc.

It's the criteria of the judging that I am questioning, not the practitioners. The practictioners are just performing to an arbitrary judging standard, which has placed superficial movement exactness first and have eliminated from the criteria a displayed grasp of the kata's technique principles. I'm sure many of the participants eventually run into the question 'is there nothing more to kata?' and either eventually seek out instruction in the applied application of the movements they know so well, or they gather their trophies and retire by 30.

If someone of a few decades of experience were to perform a kata straight out of a Seito M. O. Shorin school, would they even have a chance at competitions like this? no, because despite the skill displayed within the kata, it just wouldn't look as pretty. If you put the cutest little mutt in a dog show, the poor little guy wouldn't win because his trot was perhaps lopsided a bit. It's this unnatural judging of exactness that I disagree with. It cultivates an imperfect perfection... 'Overbread Art' if you will.
The problem is in grading...for example, how do you grade someones proficiency in their utilization of hara in techniques? and could you ever find judges to agree? I suspect it would be difficult in finding qualified judges/sensei that would even find merit in comparing people's kata with one another. to do so, removes the internal personalization of kata and rather stresses the external appearance. the participants must train to meet this criteria...performance over substance.

I'm not trying to talk anyone out of doing what they love to do, I'm not sure what I'm trying to do - I guess just voicing a reminder to younger people who do these competitions to just realize there are other parts to the MA world that are worth investigating when they tire of competing....the effects of which are much longer lasting and profoundly deeper than receiving a trophy.

sorry for posting my opposing view, I have that right...I also have the right to be wrong. It's the only way we learn.

#190640 - 10/04/05 10:46 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: Kintama]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
"Changes to the original kata". That's a subjective statement as there is no norm to original. Competition is a concensus on what is accepted as "good" performance.
The focus in kata competition is to perform kata in order to win the competition. The theatrical performance must be within limits to what judges allow. But generally there are no bonusses for good theatrical performance. On the other hand, what is the expression of somebody in utter concentration and awareness (zanshin) ?
Many MA trained their appearnce as to intimidate their opponents. I've read many accounts that Miyagi was very initmidating during training and some students could not look into his eyes.
On the other hand, it is said that the ultimate fighting stance is no stance and a apparent relaxed state.

#190641 - 10/04/05 11:06 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: znra251]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5849
Loc: USA

Yes I did come down rather harshly on team kata.


As an aside--I seriously hope karate will never become an olympic sport.
The standardization of the art to fit an "olympic" model will do great harm to one of karates biggest strengths.

What you need to understand is that many people have strong opinions about the path that karate should be taking.

And people have strong opinions about their karate--not surprised that folks were tough.

Speaks very well of you that you gave what you got--and in a polite and well-thought out response.

You have NOTHING to say your "sorry" for--least not to me.

Edited by cxt (10/04/05 11:08 AM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#190642 - 10/04/05 11:49 AM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: CVV]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts

"Changes to the original kata". That's a subjective statement as there is no norm to original.

absolutely true. my bad. I usually say in quotes 'original'. words like that are troubling... like 'traditional', 'old-school' etc.

not only subjective, but relative to the date they are spoken. That wordage is also a little suggestive as well...almost insinuating that the speaker has the answers or 'better' answers. I suppose with some things I do come across that's when I forget to realize that people often have different goals, so of course the answers will be different. sorry to derail from the original question.

in all seriousness, if you wanted tips on how to train for sychronicity...why WOULDN'T you ask a related field of study/Art ? people improve their throws from Judo and ground game with BJJ, etc. can you imagine the principles you could apply if you talked with a broadway choreographer? I'm dead serious.

#190643 - 10/04/05 03:33 PM Re: Training for Team Kata [Re: Kintama]
znra251 Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39

I've seen the videos on the website you provided.

As ignorant as I am of some of the benefits pointed out in this thread... in the videos, I see many signs of changes to the original kata in order to make them more visually appealing. stances were lengthened, techniques over exagurated, vein-popping kiai's, etc.

affraid the long stances are just an (essential) part of the shotokan style, as opposed to say goju or wado with shorter stances.

vein popping kias! depends what the aim of a kia is, if it intends to be intimidating then the louder and more threatening the better,

As for the Belgian Team (its them in the video) changing techniques to be more visually appealing i wouldn't agree. The kata is performed almost exactly as Sensei Nakayama presents in the JKA Best Karate Series. As Chief Instructor of the JKA he a an authority on Shotokan Kata, as well as an original student of Funakoshi Sensei (i believe)

Perhaps the only change is from a knee raise and pivot to a slow reverse cresent kick, although i think this has probably always been the ideal, just few people have both the flexibility and balance which this team do.

The criteria for judging are also relatively broad, with the exeption of the opening round shitei (compulsory) kata then WKF rules permit variations based on style and association, the only requirement is it doesn't differ significantly from the 'general' kata. Judges decide on a number of issues which kata was the 'best' the techniques themselves are of course part of it, but much more important aspects are considered.

Check out the actual criteria, i think they're available in the kata regulations section of the WKF website,


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