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#233201 - 02/23/06 01:03 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: oldman]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Quote:

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.




Does that make kata some sort of mirror then????
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www.SHIKON.COM
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

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#233202 - 02/23/06 01:11 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: Gavin]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
The practicing of an art teaches us about others and it teaches us about ourselves. It is more like a window and a mirror. If we look through a window when it is sunny we see others . When it is dark we see our reflection.

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#233203 - 02/23/06 01:18 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: oldman]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Cool explanation! Thanks mate!
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#233204 - 02/23/06 01:19 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: oldman]
Galen Offline
Member

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

The practicing of an art teaches us about others and it teaches us about ourselves. It is more like a window and a mirror. If we look through a window when it is sunny we see others . When it is dark we see our reflection.




No offense Oldman, as I do respect your opinion greatly, but this makes absolutely no sense to me.

If I were a beginner and my instructor said this to me, I would think he had a screw loose. Heck, I have been in the arts of 20 + years, and if my instructor said this to me, I would think he had a screw loose.

Therefore...you have a screw loose...

Seriously though, can you specifically explain what you mean, in terms that make sense relative to kata? How exactly does the practice of kata act like a mirror?? Or a window??

Galen
_________________________
Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

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#233205 - 02/23/06 02:08 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: Galen]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
Galen,
Let me first say I'm not offended. In previous posts you talked about the attributes that a person can possibly gain by practicing Karate. A person can aspire to be a Fighter or develope qualities like character or virtue, not that they are mutally exclusive. I apologize if the comment is obtuse or too poetic. Karate is like a window/mirror in the sense that the art becomes a paradigm through which we view the images we percieve regarding other and ourselves. How people approach the puzzle and challenge of hard training tells you a bit about that person. We are able to see them the most clearly when we don't project our conditioned ieads of who they are onto them. If my window is clean (free of conditioned ideas and predjudice) I will have a clearer understanding of them and make fewer erronious assumptions. The window is lense through which I view life and others. It might also be called ones "Schemas"
The art only serves as a mirror if I choose to use it that way. I use the word mirror as a metaphor. It is a way by which we gain awareness about ourselves to clearly and more accurately "see" or understand who we are. Lets say a new BB comes to our school. As I observe him practice I become aware that his technique is quite good maybe even better than mine. Along with that might come a twinge of jelousy or envy. Now I can Blame and hate that person for coming to the school and even feel fear that I may lose some standing in my little community. No one may even now that is going on inside of me. I might not even know it. If I'm using my practice as a mirror I will follow those revelations as I become aware of them. The awareness give me the freedom to choose how I will respond to this persons arrival instead of reacting out of my petty fears conditioned by my past experiences. The Idea of gaining insight to our state of mind is not particular to the practice of karate. You see it in many arts, the goal being the exploration, integration, and expression of an individual alone and in community.

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#233206 - 02/23/06 04:21 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: oldman]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I have to say Mark, that is a great explaination of inner growth as it relates to kata/MA practice. Read it a few times, and each time added some windex to my mirror & window.

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#233207 - 02/23/06 04:35 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: Ed_Morris]
McSensei Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 1068
Loc: Kent, England
Heck, I just learn kata to help me learn how to fight.
_________________________
http://www.semtexgym.co.uk/

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#233208 - 02/23/06 08:44 PM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: McSensei]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
you can get both aspects (the 'Do' and the 'Jutsu') of kata at once if you Zen task it.

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#233209 - 02/24/06 12:22 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: oldman]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

It is more like a window and a mirror.




May I humbly just add that kata is the hammer and fighting skills / techniques are the nails?
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#233210 - 02/24/06 08:14 AM Re: Karate master and student conversation... [Re: founderofryoute1]
Galen Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 381
Before I start, I just to let everyone know that I am very much a fan of kata, for a number of reasons, that I wont go in to just yet. My intention here is not to inflame or incite, but only to challenge old paradigms, and maybe, at the end of the day, re-examine our perspectives a wee bit. Never a bad thing, at least by my reckoning.

And away we go…

Quote:

In previous posts you talked about the attributes that a person can possibly gain by practicing Karate.




Just to be clear, this particular conversation started around kata and its value. Just so I am clear, are we expanding the scope to include all Karate study? Personally I would rather keep the conversation to kata. Its more in line with the original post, and it makes the conversation a little less convoluted.

Quote:

A person can aspire to be a Fighter or develop qualities like character or virtue, not that they are mutally exclusive. I apologize if the comment is obtuse or too poetic. Karate is like a window/mirror in the sense that the art becomes a paradigm through which we view the images we percieve regarding other and ourselves.




Apologies if I am being obtuse (and again I am relating this to kata), what I see here is an description of the belief of the effect of kata, as opposed to an explanation of how this is achieved. I think ‘how’ something is achieved goes an extremely long way toward convincing someone that the ‘what’ is true.

To draw an analogy, its much like telling someone who has had NO experience with airplanes that this huge metal thing can fly.

Yeah, right.

Its not until the novice either sees it fly or has it explained to them that they can start to believe and understand. With kata, since they cannot ‘see’ this effect, the only recourse is explanation, and again, I just don’t see the explanation here.

Quote:

How people approach the puzzle and challenge of hard training tells you a bit about that person. We are able to see them the most clearly when we don't project our conditioned ideals of who they are onto them. If my window is clean (free of conditioned ideas and predjudice) I will have a clearer understanding of them and make fewer erronious assumptions. The window is lense through which I view life and others. It might also be called ones "Schemas"




True enough, however can this not be said of other endeavors in the martial arts as well? This ‘window’ perception is not exclusive to kata training. I can ‘see’ this understanding of others through anything they do, to varying degrees. Sparring, self defense, even just their interactions with their fellow students and instructors. Heck, if we choose to look closely enough, this ‘window’ is present in every aspect of the human condition. It is not mutually exclusive to the martial arts.

Quote:

The art only serves as a mirror if I choose to use it that way. I use the word mirror as a metaphor. It is a way by which we gain awareness about ourselves to clearly and more accurately "see" or understand who we are. Lets say a new BB comes to our school. As I observe him practice I become aware that his technique is quite good maybe even better than mine. Along with that might come a twinge of jelousy or envy. Now I can Blame and hate that person for coming to the school and even feel fear that I may lose some standing in my little community. No one may even now that is going on inside of me. I might not even know it. If I'm using my practice as a mirror I will follow those revelations as I become aware of them. The awareness give me the freedom to choose how I will respond to this persons arrival instead of reacting out of my petty fears conditioned by my past experiences. The Idea of gaining insight to our state of mind is not particular to the practice of karate. You see it in many arts, the goal being the exploration, integration, and expression of an individual alone and in community.




Well said, however, again I don’t see the connection directly from this to the practice of kata, specifically. I think we have drifted a little from the original discussion, so in all honesty, I am not sure I see the relevance of this point in the context of the practice of kata.

As you said yourself,
Quote:

The Idea of gaining insight to our state of mind is not particular to the practice of karate.


. With this in mind, why then should I study karate? In truth, if this is a goal of training, can I not gather this understanding through other venues? Wherein is the justification then for the study of karate in general, and the study of kata, specifically?

Your ‘window / mirror’ analogy is not without merit. In fact, it is very well said, but again to relate it to the study of kata specifically, it falls short of offering justification for practicing kata.

Mr Morris…

Quote:

you can get both aspects (the 'Do' and the 'Jutsu') of kata at once if you Zen task it.




Zen task it????

One of the things I rally against in the martial arts is the ‘mystifying’ of arts. To a beginner, this sentence means absolutely nothing. To me, a practitioner of 20+ years, it means absolutely nothing. Please do not make the mistake of automatically marrying the martial arts and the Zen philosophy. My instructor used to say “Karate is moving Zen”. He never explained it. He just said it. Spoken word without explanation is little more than rhetoric.

Could you please, for my sake if I am the only ignorant one here, please clarify precisely what you mean? Many thanks.

McSensei

Quote:

Heck, I just learn kata to help me learn how to fight.




Can you please explain, in very clear and obvious terms, how you believe practicing kata makes you a better fighter? More than that, how does practicing kata make you a better fighter than shadow boxing would, or standing in a corner practicing individual technique, alone and in combination? Further, why not just fight?? If the goal is to be a better fighter (as you statements seems to infer), then what better way to get good at fighting than by fighting?

Why practice kata above other aspects of the arts? What does kata offer that I cant get elsewhere?

I know I sound argumentative, and again that is not my intention. I have seen far too many instructors in the Karate specifically practice and teach kata religiously without being able to explain to their students the real value. All of the justifications I have heard here thus far are not specific to kata. These benefits can attained through other aspects of the arts as well. If this is so, then why would eliminating kata from a system of karate be such a bad thing?

At the end of the day, here is my challenge (and please, if you do intend to respond, I would ask that you do so without the ‘mystical’ rhetoric that so often accompanies discussions on kata; or if you must engage in such digressions, at least offer explanation as to what you mean):

Pretend you are talking to a raw beginner, with no martial arts experience, and if you can, explain why kata is important. What benefit does kata offer than is not found in any other aspect of karate training?

Thanks for listening, and sorry for the long winded post.

Galen
_________________________
Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything!

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