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#253533 - 05/12/06 03:07 AM Kung Fu forms - important?
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
Was discussing the importance/use of forms in MA training in another thread. Thought I'd open a thread making this more kung fu specific.

Are forms usefull, essential, optional, or a waste of time?

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#253534 - 05/12/06 06:21 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
The answer is the same as in the other thread...it depends on what you want and how you practice.
Traditional people will say they are essential, they are how the style is transmitted and contain all the principles and techniques you need to know.
Sports and self-defense only people will say they are useless and a waste of time, just practice simple techniques with resisting opponents.

I practice traditional martial arts, and I am of the opinion that they are important and necessary. I also believe that it is important for the techniqes from the forms to be drilled with resisting partners and applied in sparring, so that the form does not become just a "dance".
There are some forms which have significance beyond just fighting, and it is important to pass on and cultivate those forms, too, with the proper spirit intact.

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#253535 - 05/12/06 08:17 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: WuXing]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Good post Wuxing.
I'd agree that forms are valuable part of training traditional MA's. I also think that the form alone will not make you a better martial artist, you must work with others to really understand the meanings within the forms. The only way you can make the technique from the forms work in fighting is through practice drills, sparring, etc.
I can see that forms are very important within the IMA's. They contain practices for cultivation of better health, mental function, and energetic balance within the body.
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#253536 - 05/12/06 02:09 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
monji112000 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 177
Depends on your goal.

In some schools Forms are a large part of the stle. Some have 30+ forms.

They are good for a cardio workout, and leg streanth (low stances).

Good forms =! good fighting.


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#253537 - 05/12/06 02:12 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: monji112000]
Fisherman Offline
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Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Quote:

Good forms =! good fighting




Good forms + good methods to train the essence of the forms = good fighting
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#253538 - 05/12/06 02:29 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
ShaolinNinja Offline
hates silicone bubishi

Registered: 10/09/05
Posts: 301
Loc: Ireland
I wouldn't say forms are 'essential' insofar as you can definitely learn martial arts without them. They are a useful tool though. They teach biomechanics, posture, correct movement, in a word technique. There are certain things they definitely do not teach: spacing, reaction, sensitivity etc. Therefore they must be combined with a host of other training methods.
They are useful for people who don't train full-time and don't always have a partner around to train with, as they allow you to practise on your own.

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#253539 - 05/12/06 02:35 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Fisherman]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
I guess I like forms because they offer me guidelines and a sense of certainty. Whenever I find myself doing movements in sparring that feel weird or just unseen, I go back to forms and see if they have that movement somewhere, and it it's there, I ask if it makes sense applying it the way I did.

I remember taking Judo as a little kid. We didnt'have any forms. It was just technique by technique. I think I remember as muhc as 3 techniques, even though I sepnt couple years learning it. Another style I learned 5 years ago, I remember just about everything, cuz I can still do the forms in there.

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#253540 - 05/16/06 03:09 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
Tezza Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 775
Loc: Kent, U.K.
When I first started I would have to admit I saw no point of our forms in Wing Tsun (i.e. Siu Nim Tau) as we practiced them over and over again. Although I then went on a Seminar, which solely was based on this form. And I learnt that it was the abc (dictionary if you like) of Wing Tsun. It taught you how to relax and how to better particular techniques and especially your stance.
We were also taught the applications of each move, which really enlightened me because I noticed that every single movement was meant as a move for a particular situation.
So in my opinion they are very important and play an important part in your training.
Although this is only my opinion and everyone has their own view on this.
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#253541 - 05/16/06 07:03 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
the_terminator Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 18
Loc: MD, United States
My view is to practice the forms will make you a better fighter, and that it is also good to use to workout as they use the different techniques that the style has so you can then become better in the style.
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#253542 - 05/22/06 01:31 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: the_terminator]
IExcalibui2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
Forms on the outside look very much like a dance and doesnt contain much juice. But if you do the form with alot of strength and energy then you will be rewarded. If you do forms just for the sake of doing it then it isnt of much importance. Forms are genius works in my eyes. They look like nothing but in them are basically the manual of the entire art. Forms show you (depends on whether you can see it or not) the types of strength that you can use in a fight or what not, and the power of the techniques within the art. I for one would say forms are important, they hold alot of information...you just gotta try and find it

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#253543 - 06/09/06 10:21 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: 18lohans]
Kian Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/09/06
Posts: 9
Yes, forms are the most important thing you can work on.

While it's true that technique in a fight situation will generally differ from your forms, the forms are what teach you the techniques in the first place, and allow you to practice them and get them down perfect.

Also, forms train you to know exactly where different parts of your body are without looking at them, which is an invaluable skill in a fight.

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#253544 - 06/09/06 11:39 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Kian]
Stormdragon Offline
Who Dares Wins
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 3409
Loc: Salem, OR
Just curious, are the Chinese kung Fu forms structured around a similar premise to that of the Okinawan forms? Do they have similar depth to the applications?
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#253545 - 06/10/06 12:03 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Stormdragon]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
What are the premises of Okinawan forms?

I have noticed that the depth of the application being taught often depends on the teacher. A good teacher should have the capabilty to demonstate what the form is trying to convey in its technique
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#253546 - 06/10/06 12:37 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Fisherman]
Stormdragon Offline
Who Dares Wins
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 3409
Loc: Salem, OR
Several really. Okinawan kata were you used by high class okinawan bodybuards, civilians for street defense, police, etc.
So, they include traditional style jujutsu grappling techniques, okinawan wrestling or tegumi, striking techniques of all sorts, control and restraint techniques, and dirty fighting.
So then, they were used for reastraint, controlling and capturing someone, defending yourself in a domestic self defense situation, and all out combat.
For the most part they were primairly designed for use in combat against untrained or poorly trained attackers. They were based on many chinese systems such as Tiger Boxing, White Crane, China, and Kempo.
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#253547 - 06/10/06 09:11 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Stormdragon]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
The arts have similar roots so I could see where they would have similarities. I can also see where differences would arise in the different styles.
Different styles of MA evolve differently to fit the purpose of their use. Kungfu and Okinawan karate may have similar roots so they may have similar priciples.
From what I have experienced, kungfu doesn't have so much grappling techniques, however, there is quite a bit of chin na involved. Chin na are excellent restraint tactics. I see kung fu as a primarily striking influenced MA. There are asweeps and other takedowns but I have rarely seen full force throws and grappling. Mybe the Okinawans got this from Suai Chiao?
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#253548 - 09/24/06 04:58 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Kian]
tailiugug Offline
Newbie

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Utah
First of all the form is only as good as the knowledge and teaching habits of the instructor. if you only learn a form or as dance the best you can get out of it is body motion training and perhaps balence, but if you really learn the forms you will find that you are fighting 7 to 12 men usually 9 this is true with most asian arts. Forms a are fighitng methods, and you have not truely leared your form untill you see each and every man you are fighting. on top of this there are generaly levels of technese to the form each man can have a "finish" or manipulation to the basic fight sequince. also pay attention to where your attackers have fallen after there defeat you should allways step around/over them. You will benifit greatly in your art for playing your forms in this way, your body and mind will unit as one
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#253549 - 09/28/06 11:56 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: tailiugug]
shaolinbobert Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/28/06
Posts: 3
I believe that forms are very important. Not only for continuation and remembering the style, but for actual fighting. That is to say, you arent going to attack someone using a whole form, lol. that would be rediculous, and only a very poor Martist would do that.

However, fomrs stress muscle memory, its like doing songs in Dance Dance Revolution, for any of you who have seen people who are flat out awesome at it. It becomes instinct to move from one place to another. IF you are familiar with the infinite number of ways to avoid a punch, then you will never be hit, just as if you are familiar with the infinite ways to strike someones throat, they will always be dead.

This level of perfection is nigh unattainable, however, I have to contend, both based on history, experience and scientific research, that muscle memory in conjunction with physical conditioning leads to more successful fighting. In my Shaolin-Do class, we do everything. Kung-Fu has it all, in fact, some argue it has too much. Why do you think the monks spend a lifetime learning and practicing it? There is a reason most schools teach only portions or specific styles. It takes insurmountable dedication to be a truly devistating fighter. Forms help reaction time. A beggining practitioner of a style may know few forms, and not even those well, so they may say forms are garbage, when in fact, they are garbage.



Edited by shaolinbobert (09/28/06 11:58 AM)
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#253550 - 09/28/06 11:15 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: shaolinbobert]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Quote:

IF you are familiar with the infinite number of ways to avoid a punch, then you will never be hit, just as if you are familiar with the infinite ways to strike someones throat, they will always be dead.




It takes more than just knowing how to do these things. It also takes a signifigant amount of time training them. Not everyone punches the same and not everyone is going to stand there and let you take a shot at their throat.

Quote:

In my Shaolin-Do class, we do everything. Kung-Fu has it all, in fact, some argue it has too much.



Having experienced Shaolin-Do myself and having moved on to other things I can assure you that you do not do everything and Shaolin-Do does not have it all. I wouldn't say it has too much, just more than it needs in some areas and lacks in others.
I agree that the physical conditioning and muscle memory attained in forms can be benificial, but it is not the end all be all of an art. You have to learn how the forms are used in a fighting situation and train it. It is not the forms themselves but he principles of movement inherent within that make them good for fighting. If you don't know how to train the principles then you are missing the better part of the picture .
Quote:

Forms help reaction time. A beggining practitioner of a style may know few forms, and not even those well, so they may say forms are garbage, when in fact, they are garbage.



What?
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Chris Haynes

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#253551 - 09/29/06 11:20 AM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: Stormdragon]
ThomsonsPier Offline
Member

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 475
Loc: Reading, UK
I'm not versed in any Okinawan forms, but I have noticed movements from the forms rearing their heads in various techniques. When practising in opposition to someone, I often find myself recognising sections and movements from the form I'm currently learning.

If we then repeat the exercises with the focus upon using the form motions, they tend to become a lot easier and more effective.

Besides this, the forms are a large part of why I enjoy the martial arts and keep me motivated to learn more. In that sense, at least, they're compulsory.
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ThomsonsPier

War. It's fan-tastic!

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#253552 - 09/30/06 11:45 PM Re: Kung Fu forms - important? [Re: ThomsonsPier]
senseihonor Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Hi -

I'm glad to hear someone mention the word "focus". As well as what has already been mentioned here, I think forms/kata, within any MA teach focus - something invaluable, regardless of what kind of situation (self defense/kumite/sparring/street fighting/MMA/etc.,) you might be in. You may not be able to extract or use the bunkai (application) from a form, but you (hopefully) won't ever lose the focus you've gained from practicing kata.

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