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#230515 - 02/14/06 09:47 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: WuXing]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
anybody can learn the movements to kata over a weekend. Look at the guy recently that sells 200+ kata clips which he 'knows' and performs. (@20 years = 10kata/year ).

btw, sparring and kata are simply not compatable. using sparring practice to develop self-defense principals is sorta like using car racing video games to learn how to drive.

sure there is no set amount of time per person, per kata...and what does it matter what others do anyway. I'm not trying to suggest a right/wrong amount of time for everyone - since I could never begin to guess what the different reasons people don't choose to learn kata beyond their dance movements are.

Taking it to the extreme, how about study and practice of a single sequence for a month. how about a single principal for a year?

Is it better to be mediocre and diverse or proficient and specialized? I guess thats the real question of the thread.

#230516 - 02/14/06 10:16 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: Ed_Morris]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
I tend to look at it this way. I see the Kata as a reflection of the art and a reflection of an artist. I also look at it as a language. Like you said you can learn the movements in a short period but is that "Knowing a kata". I would like to think that over time what I am doing is developing a greater fluency in that language. There are people that know a form and people that (Know) a form. Much of the knowledge that an experienced practicioner could demonstrate would be lost on the first type of "Knower". My desire is that people who "Really Know" would see that my efforts to learn, apply, and understand the intent of the designer and the depth of their creation is sincere and based in a genuine respect for what they left to us.

#230517 - 02/14/06 10:40 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: oldman]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA

#230518 - 02/14/06 10:54 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: Ed_Morris]
makiwaraman Offline

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 50
Loc: Guildford, Surrey,UK
Training in shotokan we are expected to learn the pattern of a new kata every three months 9th-2nd kyu this is to fast and means its little more than a dance as you can not begin to break it down and interpret your own applications in that time. I am happy to miss every other grading at least but feel it should be one a year each at least. Jim must be brainwashing me as I now seem to think like him.
Regards Maki
We are necessarily imperfect and therefore always in a state of growth.

#230519 - 02/14/06 10:56 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: oldman]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
then once you have found the people who really know, its all about working out how to really use that information!

Jim Neeter

#230520 - 02/14/06 11:10 AM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: Ed_Morris]
WuXing Offline

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
It's better to be proficient and diverse
I'm not saying that the way that kung fu school did things was correct. Not nearly enough time was spent on anything. That's part of why I'm not there anymore, and why I've taken a few of my forms to focus on exclusively for the last year. But what it showed me was that, contrary to the way some martial arts teachers insist on a minimum time period for everything, it is possible to become proficient fairly quickly in some things. It all depends on the focus of training. It seems in many cases that teachers are just trying to "stretch" their curriculum to make it seem like there is a lot there. Because of the length of time that it is assumed must be spent on things, people look for levels of depth and complexity in techniques that were never imagined by the creators of the style. They assume this depth must be there, otherwise why would the tradition be to spend so much time on it? This is not a bad thing...people have made the most out of a limited amount of material, and created applications that are useful and effective.
Also, when we say a month of training, what does that mean? It would be better to put the time in hours of training, or days maybe. Musashi said 3,000 days spent forging the spirit, 10,000 days polishing it. If you're training 20 hours a week, how much can you advance in a month? That's as much training as a person who does 5 hours a week gets in a whole month. So should the 20 hr per week person spend four months on the same thing that the 5 hr per week person does?

It is better to have a strong grasp of what you're doing before you move on. One month per sequence or concept is probably adequate. Training used to be much slower...a year might be spent just doing stancework in some styles. Curricula also was often just one or two forms. Are we better off now, in the modern world, where we have access to knowledge of many different styles and forms? Would it be better to return to the year-long horse stance training?

I don't really know what's best yet. I've experienced the extreme of fast training...I've experienced more common slower training, too (one kata every few months). I haven't tried one year per stance/form yet.
I would say, be as diverse as is possible without sacrificing proficiency. In other words, cater curriculum to individual needs and talents. It's important to be proficient before moving on to something new, however long that takes.

#230521 - 02/14/06 12:25 PM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: WuXing]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
To understand why the old timers in karate would say one would have to spend a year(actually in shorin its 3 years per kata and 10 for kusanku) you must understand their training, the purpose for it, and the complexity of okinawan kata. To assume that okinawan kata are less complex than kung fu kata is ignorant. Okinawans were simple people, but there was genious in the simplicity of their kata. In the old days, pre 1900s, a student would begin with naihanchi. It would take three years to develop the strength and technique necessary to develop relaxed power. In truth naihanchi is all that is needed in a fight. It contains all principles of kusanku which contains most of shorin. The thing is if we don't consider application training there are various levels of just performing the kata that must be mastered. The basic level is simply learning it and then being able to perform it well with the count. The next level is developing the timing of the kata through different counts. Through this training different combinations and sequences of technique can be developed for continuous fighting. You can isolate combination hitting, power hitting, and point hitting from the kata and train these. You can analyze the kata from inclose striking range, clinching range, and on the ground. The final level of kata performance is combat speed in which the kata is performed at a very fast speed while maintaining the integrity of the technique. It would take at least a year of training to developing these levels of kata performance and then when the application work with a partner is added it would take 3 years at a minimum. The same can be said for the rest of the classical kata of okinawa. Just look at Matsubayashi Gojushiho which is an entire system of Udundi or palace hand. If you can become proficient meaning apply principles from this kata for real less than a year after beginning training more power to you.

#230522 - 02/14/06 01:30 PM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: Ed_Morris]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I believe that Shodan can be attained in 4 years with a 2-3 day a week class. Like I tell my classes you learn in class you train out of class. Some people it takes 8 years to get their shodan others 4 years depending on how they train at home. I can only show you the path its up to you to decide how long and how hard you want to train. The people that train 5-6 times a week (including class room time) and 2-4 hours a day it shows. Time in grade is not the same for each student, students that approach Martial arts like a aerobic class and only workout 2-3 times a week ony in class it shows and they are graded accordingly. But some of the truly inspired students its shows also and I won't hold them back because of class scheduled testing.

I've seen 2 years promised planned black belts they come to class pay to test & march right on through. They look like green belts overall, in 4 years they might look like a BB.

And I've seen 5-6 days a week 4 years BB they looks likes there on his way to Mastering the art and himself there is a difference just like there is in a Ford and BMW.

Some people expect to learn everything in class but my experience is that you learn from venturing out (at 3rd kyu -)and training with other martial artist. Whether its weight lifting, jogging, kata, bunkai, self defense and sparring.
Its good to check yourself and train often outside dojo.

4 Years don't mean anything its how many hours in those 4 years have you have spent studying the art. I've promote several within 4 years and some BB from other systems in 2 years its how they train. IMHO.

It usually take 6-8 years to attain BB in our system. At Black Belt you know the Basic, you've Mastered very little of it.

eidted for grammar BRS

Edited by BrianS (02/15/06 12:21 AM)

#230523 - 02/14/06 01:34 PM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: medulanet]
WuXing Offline

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
If everyone's karate training was the way you described it, then that would be great. If training included practicing partner drills from the kata over and over again, exploring the kata from different counts and angles, and different applications for the techniques...then yes, you could spend a year on a single kata. Because you would constantly be learning more, even though the movemements are the same. And getting better at applying the techniques through extracting sequences and practicing with partners. Honestly, many people have trained this way in traditional Okinawan karate? Usually the kata is taught without much explanation, or with simplistic and brief explanation of application. It is practiced over and over again, emphasizing the details of hand or foot position and stance rather than the overall principles it is meant to convey. Why should anyone have to spend a year doing this for a single kata?
I guess the issue for me is, if karate is not taught and practiced the way it was in the 18th and 19th centuries, then the timeline for learning that was used back then doesn't apply. It is either clinging pointlessly to tradition, or worse, extending the length of training time to retain students beyond what it would really take to learn what you're teaching.

medulanet, from your words you sound like you'd be a good teacher who understands the real principles of Okinawan karate. Teaching the way you describe would be great, changing up the kata, praciting different combos, drilling with partners on techniques from the kata. Most schools nowadays use up most of class time doing kihon up and down the floor and some sparring, devoting less than half the class time to kata and bunkai (if they have bunkai at all). For the 1 year kata training to make sense, the training must return to the way it was before the school children program, and the Japanese budo transformation. Similar to the way Chinese martial arts were taught and practiced, with small numbers of devoted students.

#230524 - 02/14/06 02:24 PM Re: A new kata every 4 months? [Re: WuXing]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
WuXing, I agree, but I will take it one step further. If a karateka's goal is truly of martial interest and they are just performing the kata as you describe they should just give it up. There are much more efficient ways than simple kata performance. My former teacher trains kata the way you describe and although I have an enormous amount of respect for him there is very little I can learn from him these days due to his training methods. What I did then and what I do now is like night and day.

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