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#279364 - 08/15/06 07:11 AM Kata - Bunkai/Oyo
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
I wanted to start a converstaion on the subject of 'using' kata, particulary for practical application in self-defense.

First off how much 'fixed' applications are taught in your dojo, how is this done? What kind of assaults ae used in your partner work? What intensity?

Secondly, re-engineering of application is widespread in Karate practise, why is this? Why didn't/don't many Sensei pass on/know the origional applications from history? Is this a bad thing, or is this how it is meant to be?

Should kata have fixed applications, or are they a simple learning tool (my belief) to illistrate the principles of movement/reaction of the human form, in combat?

Look forward to your thoughts on this important subject, for me kata and what we do with them is 'karate' - withoubt it we are doing something else.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#279365 - 08/15/06 11:45 PM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: shoshinkan]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Interesting questions, I'll only answer a few. What assaults are practiced? As many as your partner can imagine. But there really aren't that many. A person sticks something out. You avoid it, control it, and put'em down for the count. I can't say for all styles, but many applications were passed on, we just didn't listen. An okinwan may have said this is how it is done, and then once in 3 years said, or you can do this and show application. Many didn't listen or didn't understand what they meant or that they were showing the "code" of kata and how to crack it. I heard someone somewhere say kata is like a Swiss Army Knife. Kata does show principles of movement and concepts, but it does show fighting technique that if applied in the correct manner from the correct angle can be used very effectively without alteration. That is if you are studying kata the way it is supposed to be. In addition to this there are small adjustments which must be made in other instances to adapt principles and techniques contained in the kata to real life attacks.

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#279366 - 08/16/06 02:45 AM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: shoshinkan]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Shoshinkan:

Like Medulant, I contend/accept that the ~translation~ from teacher to student perhaps was poor? Possibly within our lifetime that became a literal factor, ie "we" did not speak their language at all sufficently/at-all in order to get that level of understanding possibly?

Physically I can practice and eventually uncover whispers, things hidden completely in plain sight. Yet a few well choosen and specific words might open new perceptions, an awareness which once opened could produce such epiphanies <sp.?> far sooner!?

<<how much 'fixed' applications are taught in your dojo

There are certain structural mechanics which cannot be ignored, within all small movement patterns of a kata. If my arms are medium/high it is extremely unlikely (merely for a random example) that I am a-typically coping with your legs kicking my head....

Unless my body is structurally positioned to withstand that weight, which is why very specific stances and not others are utilized. If my arms and legs adhear to the correct starting and ending positions (ie without alteration) within a sequence of movements, therefore are identical to the empty handed form... anything theoretically would be potentially fair game.

Hense the "WHY" it is a lifetime study...

As for intensity, you need to start slowly, very slowly so that the mechanics can be studied. If I go maximum intensity from the very first moment I enter a class ever, the issue becomes simple instinctual survival NOT technical improvement and exploration, honing....

Intensity is fine, provided both/all partners verbally express that wish AND, and know each other well enough so that even "hard" nobody goes primal ~red zone~ and looses their control. This is called practice for a reason.

<<Secondly, re-engineering of application is widespread in Karate practise, why is this?

Incorrect perception by teacher or student would be one of my more favorite hypothesis. Incorrect transfer for any number of reasons. Shallow comprehension. Any of these or a thousand others might explain the ~negative side~ of the proverbial equasion? On the positive, there are so many fascinating potential and completely viable possibilities for tiny movements that require temporary shelving at some point to eventually re-explore. Otherwise literal insanity sets in...

Knowing the "original", frankly I do not know is necessary. It would mean, in some ways that having only "one" answer would become in some respects possibly a dead thing; kept from the past without understanding any manner of WHY concerning those movement patterns? Merely cookie cutter copying... from one ~generation~ to the next

Consider, I create and invent something, tell you and DEMAND you never, ever alter, change any facet of it ever. Simply do it, over and over, and over. All fine and good, but what happens when I am a different sex, very different mass, radically different age, anthetically different temperment, etc., etc. If, I am restricted to merely copy the movements of someone who was thirty years younger, an angry person, obscenely powerful and I am none of those things.... ONLY maintaining their practice would mean I am copying it, not understanding what they were telling us

In this regard reverse engineering is obscenely correct & dare I say required/mandatory.

<<Why didn't/don't many Sensei pass on/know the origional applications from history?

Well human lifespan comes to mind... if I were a able to be say 150 years old, or 200, I am sure my art and the practices I explore might look radically different in some respects. If I could be, several hundreds of years old... I am confidant I would still have dozens of nuances and subtleties for every single movement.... I would have had lots of people to practice with/upon!!!!

This how it is meant to be...

<<In combat...

Now, I accept our practices fundamentally are about maintaining our personal boundries against someone(s) who cannot/will not be convinced otherwise. Now having said that, I am not fundamentally compelled that they were supposed to be USED. Learn, understand how to produce the maximal power we are capable and learn how to not get drawn into others stupidity to me sounds like ancient core wisdom!!!

Merely my perspective, hopefully coherent... I could surely be mistaken,

Jeff

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#279367 - 08/16/06 06:04 AM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: Ronin1966]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Nice responses people, I shall digest and post again some more thoughts, be interesting to see where others are at on this subject.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#279368 - 08/16/06 08:43 AM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
The potential to utilize kata technique really is limitless.

I ran across this video, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3308028374750317361&q=tai+chi the first 3 1/2 minutes are really more principles of chinese wrestling than just tai chi, but as they looked interesting I started working them with the guy's last weekend and last night.

The scary thing is those same techniques are all present in the Isshinryu Chinto kata, pieces of which I've used similar ways, but just not as a unified whole as shown.

Outside of my maintining Chinto is the most Chinese of all Okinawan kata, and I can find aikido, bagua and more in it, what's the answer.

Chinto is more thought of from it's percussive potential, or projection potential, but for quick wrestling style takedowns? There are some differences, but they are relatively minor.

All movement is just potential, and if you can make it work, its no longer potential but you're reality.


Edited by Victor Smith (08/16/06 08:44 AM)
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victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#279369 - 08/17/06 11:21 AM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: Victor Smith]
Just1Mike Offline
No, the OTHER Mike

Registered: 12/15/05
Posts: 148
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Quote:

The potential to utilize kata technique really is limitless.




Victor, I agree whole heartedly (sp?).

I feel that kata training is like finding yourself being chased home by an attacker. You make it to your door to find that you don't have your keys. At your feet is a decorative rock. Do you use it to break a window or glass to get inside safely? Do you throw it or tell yourself that it's just a decoration and nothing else? It seems that the only limits we have as far as useful kata are the ones we place on it ourselves. What's in YOUR Kata?


Good Luck!
Mike.
_________________________
PSN: BanditsPledge Live: Schutzwaffen

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#279370 - 08/18/06 06:00 PM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: shoshinkan]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Quote:


First off how much 'fixed' applications are taught in your dojo, how is this done? What kind of assaults ae used in your partner work? What intensity?




We show general applications but they are not always fixed.
It's just to show the movement of the kata in an application. We refer to it as bunkai. There is not much variance in attack (usually straight forward zuki), but sometimes also specific like a grab from behind etc.. .
As to partner work, there is the general bunkai, for some kata, kata with partner in one line. Yakusoku kumite, where principles from kata and/or fighting experiences are drilled with partner. Kakie (sort of push hands) restrained to kata movements. Randori and jyu kumite.
Intensity can go from play to full force but always controlled. Seniors will almost never wear protection. (only used in sport fighting).

Quote:


Secondly, re-engineering of application is widespread in Karate practise, why is this? Why didn't/don't many Sensei pass on/know the origional applications from history? Is this a bad thing, or is this how it is meant to be?




From all sources that I know, Miyagi sensei (founder goju ryu) referred about bunkai with: 'think, you will figure it out yourselve'. You must learn by instruction and experience. Just drilling it is a good tool in the beginning but when you transcendent into understanding the underlying principle, you get a different level of experiencing karate. Here is where the fun begins and you test, experience, build your own fighting knowledge based on the set of kata and fighting experiences you have gathered. You can share them with people more or less on the same level but you can not immediatly transfer this to a beginning or medium level student.
The focus nowadays is no longer on pure self-defense (at least not in most of the schools I know). It's more about feeling good about yourselve, be confident in what you do and learn some basic self-defense if needed. But normally there is no need to be ready to fight daily.
In that regard, the knowledge regarding dirty tricks or real fighting knowledge to maim or kill, is no longer needed. So it is not emphesized nowadays and a lot has been forgotten. Also, the timeframe should be considered (e.g; sand throwing while kicking is nearly impossible nowadays on concrete raods, however 100 years ago there were only dirt roads).
Through research what is offered, from more than one view/style/fighting art/phylosophy/... you can build up your own knowledge and lear to apply it. When you can refer this knowledge back to a certain kata movement, this klnowledge is encoded. This can also be worked out from kata movement itself, by drilling it from different perpectives, e.g. in kakie while pushing or while pulling, a movement will have different emphasis. Or by changing the en,busen, stepping back iso forward or sideways iso straight.

Quote:


Should kata have fixed applications, or are they a simple learning tool (my belief) to illistrate the principles of movement/reaction of the human form, in combat?




Kata should at least have purpose.
We practice a kata that only has stances. It's for beginners to practice the most common stances and know their name. But overall when fighting application is involved, it's nice to show what it's all about. As long as it has 'real' potential.

Quote:


Look forward to your thoughts on this important subject, for me kata and what we do with them is 'karate' - withoubt it we are doing something else.



When kata are no longer the roots of your training, it's no longer karate imo.

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#279371 - 08/18/06 07:19 PM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: CVV]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Nice post CVV, enjoyed reading your thoughts, very similair to my own.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#279372 - 08/21/06 05:03 PM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: shoshinkan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Hi Jim,
first - I don't think kata defines what an Art is or isn't. Indigineous Okinawan Te probably didn't have kata. Where are the Japanese Samurai and European knight kata?

I'm guessing kata practice didn't begin on okinawa till around the turn of the 19th century...so what was everyone using as a training method till then?

I know you weren't asking for history theories, but I'm getting to your question... Even in China, kata practice doesn't come into play till after mechanized warfare. why? maybe as technology places more and more space between the opponents, close quarter combat runs the risk of being lost?

people writing about martial history love to use the 'too secret' when there is missing peices in history. it's not documented so therefore it must have been a secret. flawed conclusion jumping. maybe it really was secret and as well protected as recipies for gunpowder...or maybe more likely that kata just wasn't important and for demonstration purposes.

Maybe importance of kata is moreso today than it ever has been. I have the feeling emphasis on kata wasn't a big deal until the perception of regaining something lost preserved within it, took hold.

ironically, in trying to figure out how the kata is applied and trying different things, it leads the student to discover what doesn't work. or a shorter path is by having someone show it.

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#279373 - 08/22/06 05:08 AM Re: Kata - Bunkai/Oyo [Re: Ed_Morris]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Interesting post Ed,

I see your historical reasoning, and I tend to agree that the Okinawan 'kata' seem to have been formed around the turn of the 19th century. Proberly based on the older Chinese practise of doing so.

A difficult area of research at best.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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