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#233191 - 02/22/06 07:22 PM Karate master and student conversation...
founderofryoute1 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 88
Loc: Birmingham, UK
An imaginary conversation between a master and student
(This is karate related)

Master: “Kata were recorded in order to teach self defence.”

Student: “Why don’t kata look like you are fighting an imaginary opponent?”

Master: “Kata act as a document for techniques. They are not supposed to be taken so literally.”

Student: “Why does one often have to adapt the movements found in kata in order to use them for self defence?”

Master: “Kata document principles not specific techniques.”

Student: “Why do kata teach many body habits that are unlike the body habits required in pugilism?”

Master: “Kata contain adaptable principles and not specific principles of various pugilistic methods.”

Student: “In that case how do you know that kata definitely related to pugilism?”

Master: “In documented history kata have always been associated with self defence.”

Student: “How do you know that kata were associated with self defence prior to documented history?”

Master: “I don’t know, but I believe that kata were recorded in order to teach self defence.”

Student: “Why do you believe that?”

Master: “It’s what my master told me.”

Student: “And why did you believe him?”

Master: “It’s what his master told him.”

Student: “But that doesn’t make it true.”

Master: “Granted, but you can either choose to believe it or choose not do karate!”

Student: “Isn’t there another way?”

Master: “I suppose you could admit that you don’t know what kata are for.”

Student: “Why didn’t you choose that path?”

Master: “How much confidence would you have in me as a master if I told you I didn’t know what kata are for?”

Student: “I’d probably ask why we bother practising them.”

Master: “And I would probably be inclined not to teach them and then I wouldn’t even be teaching karate. We’d be no different from, say, kickboxers.”

Student: “So karate exists because people doing it choose to believe that that kata were recorded in order to teach self defence.”

Master: “Exactly.”

Student: “So this belief really defines membership of the traditional karate community.”

Master: “Exactly.”

Student: “Funny, I never realised that karate was based on a belief. It’s a bit like a religion.”

Master: “Well there you go and now you know.”

Student: “Why didn’t you tell me when I first started practising?”

Master: “If I tell you that something that I believe is just a belief then this seems to devalue it. But you like karate don’t you so what’s the problem?”

Student: “You’ve got me there.”
_________________________
Martin Clewett - Ryoute - Double Hand Grappling, Grip Grappling and Double Circle Grappling

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#233192 - 02/22/06 08:18 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: founderofryoute1]
traq Offline
Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 131
Loc: SoCal
this concept of kata vs. fighting technique is common among beginners, especially those who really just want to fight and not necessarily learn karate.

all I can say is if you keep at it long enough you'll figure it out.
_________________________
Adrian USKO Riverside dojo/ Madison Elem. after-school

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#233193 - 02/23/06 07:11 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: founderofryoute1]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Interesting website, some pretty dark and moody tunes and cool side burns!!! Welcome to the forum Martin!
_________________________
Gavin King
www.SHIKON.COM
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

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#233194 - 02/23/06 08:06 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: traq]
Galen Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381
Quote:

this concept of kata vs. fighting technique is common among beginners, especially those who really just want to fight and not necessarily learn karate.

all I can say is if you keep at it long enough you'll figure it out.




While I see your point, you are acutally making his case for him.

To tell a beginner "you may not understand now, but if you keep at it, maybe one day you will" is a copout on the part of the instructor.

If an instructor cannot explain something as basic as the importance of kata, they either dont understand it themselves, or are too much into the dogma of the all knowing, all wise teacher, who chooses not to answer questions asked of him.

Why do we practice kata?

This is a fair and completely justified question any beginner should bee completely comfortable asking.

Any instructor worth his salt should be able AND willing to offer an answer that makes sense to the student.

Galen
_________________________
Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

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#233195 - 02/23/06 09:14 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: Galen]
Kysogkram Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 137
Loc: Denmark
Im an Ashihara Karateka, so my observations may not apply to a more traditional Karate. All our Katas are easily understandable and Bunkai is an essential part of learning the Kata. We're expected to know all attacks for a Kata.

The way I view Katas will of course be influenced by this. To me a Kata demonstrates the "perfect" way of fighting. It's used to train proper movement and technique, which then in turn may be executed in a faster and more simplistic manner, in a real fight.

Of course this will be different in other styles as Bunkai doesn't necessarily seem to be obligatory, so I can see why it may be less obvious why you actually do kata.
_________________________
meh.

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#233196 - 02/23/06 10:47 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: founderofryoute1]
fmorris Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 17
We allow a lot of contact where I train. Why would I give someone technique and allow them to use it on others with full force if they do not have the discipline or the respect for our traditions to learn forms? We freely admit that forms have little to do with how we fight, but they have alot to do with our practice as martial artists.

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#233197 - 02/23/06 11:14 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: fmorris]
McSensei Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 1068
Loc: Kent, England
"We freely admit that forms have little to do with how we fight, but they have alot to do with our practice as martial artists."

If they have little to do with how you fight then why do them.
If your form practice has no functionality then you may as well be line dancing.
_________________________
http://www.semtexgym.co.uk/

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#233198 - 02/23/06 11:44 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: McSensei]
fmorris Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 17
I don't remember writing that they had NO functionality. They just don't work like a fight. If you think any form works like fighting or sparring, even those that are designed to, you may someday be in for a rude awakening. If you don't believe it, try practicing only form and and spar with someone who practices fighting. Forms do teach a lot of useful basic skills involving striking ang blocking, the use of the body and power generation, etc.. You could read the post more carefully for other reasons to practice them.

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#233199 - 02/23/06 12:36 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: fmorris]
Galen Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381
Quote:

Forms do teach a lot of useful basic skills involving striking ang blocking, the use of the body and power generation, etc..




Ah but let me ask you this...why should I practice kata AND sparring? The things you offer here as benefits of kata I do agree with, however, these are not things exclusive to kata. I can also gather these benefits through sparring, bag work, shadow boxing etc.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that sparring, bag work etc. teaches these things far more effectively than kata. If my only goal is to learn how to fight, sure kata can help, but not nearly as much as sparring can.

Galen

p.s. Dont get me wrong, I love kata and believe whole-hardedly in the fact that it should be taught, but not for the reasons you state...
_________________________
Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

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#233200 - 02/23/06 01:00 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: Galen]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
I believe kata should be used primarily as a tool, and a practice, the purpose of which is to ultimately allow the student to reveal themselves to themselves.

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