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#292640 - 10/13/06 07:59 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
ANDY44 Offline
Revolutionary!

Registered: 07/01/06
Posts: 814
[


Edited by ANDY44 (10/13/06 08:47 AM)

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#292641 - 10/13/06 10:53 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: ANDY44]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Not a reply to Andy--his was just the last one here.

In reading thu the posts I am impressed with the amount of good information and arguements presented---on BOTH sides

Wish folks had spent a bit more time in throughly reading thu and responding to the information presented.

In my opinion there was a bit to much of people just stating and re-stating their postion and too little actual debate--but overall--good discussion.

Thanks for having it---deep bow!


Edited by cxt (10/13/06 10:55 AM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#292642 - 10/13/06 12:23 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
nahate Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/06
Posts: 54
Loc: No VA suburbs of Wash DC
If in trying to explain the results of kata training I used language that seemed like gibberish that is because words are incapable of capturing something that is so purely physical. And unfortunately the very inadequacy of words for this task gives cover to all kinds of charlatans and mountebanks who want to impress the gullible "grasshoppers.” I have been alternately amused and chagrined by some of what I’ve read or heard. But if words could communicate clearly what kata does, we could dispense with kata altogether and just follow written instructions.

Kata is clearly not the quickest way to self defense. It is however, in my experience, the most complete. If my first post seemed to disparage ancillary methods, I apologize. I heartily endorse resistance training as well as working against live partners. You won’t get much useful skill without these. I have also profited from makiwari and heavy bag feedback. If I swung the pendulum too far, it was in reaction to the notion that kata is a vestigial relic, some quaint but unnecessary martial appendix in need of removal. As I am nearing the halfway mark of my fourth decade of nearly daily kata practice it may be that I am the quaint relic. My experience and understanding of kata differs from what it may have been in my earlier decades. But we train to grow and make progress. I think I have some insights of value if you can empty your teacup a little and allow me to decant.

Anko Itosu in his famous precepts prescribed lowering the shoulders and firming the tanden while punching. After about three years of such training, he claimed the body would become transformed. In Patrick McCarthy’s The Bubishi, Zeng Cishu, one of the early White Crane masters recommends “a constant but pliable tension around the serratus and latissimus muscles and observes that tigers pull down their prey with their entire body, using their talons merely to make contact. The pelvic tilt, the lifting of the pelvic floor, proper breathing, all these are not encountered in everyday activity and would therefore not likely be used in a self defense crisis. But training in kata develops an awareness of these integrated body dynamics and ingrains them so that they become natural responses. It is the inclusion of these types of body dynamics that sets the Asian martial arts apart from their western sport counterparts. And yes, I am aware that boxing and wrestling do have subtle dynamics that are taught and practiced. They do not however play as important a role and lack the profundity of classical Asian arts. Although training in basics and against objects should include this body awareness, the techniques are isolated and transitional movement is largely absent.

Sparring can mean many things and can provide feedback and promote confidence. What I described in jest, but unfortunately too frequent accuracy, related to competition type sparring with the opponents warily circling each other looking for an entry or escape from a long distance technique. Deriving bunkai from kata can suffer the same distortions as understanding the topic of a phone conversation by hearing one of the talkers. Our guesses can often be completely wrong!
Conditioned by sparring, we may see a forward step in a kata as an attempt to penetrate someone’s guard or a backward movement as an attempt to avoid a strike, when either would more probably involve controlling the attacker while countering.

When I worked as a police officer, my striking was limited to kicking down doors. But it was the quick and strategic transitional movements that were second nature from kata practice that enabled me to gain and keep the upper hand with resisting offenders.

Nobody knows for sure where and when kata first appeared. The best speculation is that it was developed to enhance partner drills based on chinna skills. Without the need to be concerned for a partner’s safety, techniques could be practiced with fully effective power and the practice could continue after everyone else had gone home.

Katas have been the primary vehicle through which martial movement has been learned, developed, and transmitted since the history of karate has been documented. While it is not the fastest way to develop fighting prowess, nor is it complete in itself, it retains the dynamic essence of karate and deserves careful consideration as the centerpiece of karate training.

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#292643 - 10/13/06 01:10 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: nahate]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
Quote:

If in trying to explain the results of kata training I used language that seemed like gibberish that is because words are incapable of capturing something that is so purely physical. And unfortunately the very inadequacy of words for this task gives cover to all kinds of charlatans and mountebanks who want to impress the gullible "grasshoppers.” I have been alternately amused and chagrined by some of what I’ve read or heard. But if words could communicate clearly what kata does, we could dispense with kata altogether and just follow written instructions.




If you can't put it into words, we'll just have to trust it as mysticism. I'd rather not put my faith solely in such a device, but it does suit some people clearly. I use kata training to develop my understanding of techniques.

Quote:

But training in kata develops an awareness of these integrated body dynamics and ingrains them so that they become natural responses.




Qualify this statement, please. How does kata differ in the development of body mechanics from bagwork or partner drills?

Quote:

It is the inclusion of these types of body dynamics that sets the Asian martial arts apart from their western sport counterparts. And yes, I am aware that boxing and wrestling do have subtle dynamics that are taught and practiced. They do not however play as important a role and lack the profundity of classical Asian arts.




Western martial arts are only less profound in your mind. Coming from the "East" myself, I don't subscribe to such mysticism. The dynamics of western MA appeal to me equally as those of eastern MA.

Quote:

Although training in basics and against objects should include this body awareness, the techniques are isolated and transitional movement is largely absent.




If you're not using transitional movement in your bagwork, you're not training it right. Who said it's a good idea to train bagwork statically? Have you read the thread on defensive movements in bagwork on the JKD forum?

Quote:

Sparring can mean many things and can provide feedback and promote confidence. What I described in jest, but unfortunately too frequent accuracy, related to competition type sparring with the opponents warily circling each other looking for an entry or escape from a long distance technique.




This is a good tactic, it can keep you out of range of an edged weapon and helps you keep wary of your opponent's movement. It also helps you tell when an opponent is going to attack, which is absolutely essential as a part of close quarters combat.

Quote:

Deriving bunkai from kata can suffer the same distortions as understanding the topic of a phone conversation by hearing one of the talkers. Our guesses can often be completely wrong!




Wrong by who's standards? I use what works, not what people tell me is right and I tend to think that bunkai when used properly will reveal techniques which can be applied in reality, whether the "ancient masters" knew it or not. Besides, the kata I train in Jujutsu are directly related to their practical applications; there is no bunkai in my kata. I believe the same is true of many of the original Okinawan Karate kata. In karate, things have become obscure because the meaning of kata has changed over time. Karate is rediscovering itself and in the process is subject to speculation.

Quote:

Conditioned by sparring, we may see a forward step in a kata as an attempt to penetrate someone’s guard or a backward movement as an attempt to avoid a strike, when either would more probably involve controlling the attacker while countering.




Now you're talking bunkai. You can't tell whether that's true unless you've used the technique on someone else. Most people who train kata don't do so with a partner and would benefit greatly from doing so.

Quote:

When I worked as a police officer, my striking was limited to kicking down doors. But it was the quick and strategic transitional movements that were second nature from kata practice that enabled me to gain and keep the upper hand with resisting offenders.




Are you saying that someone who trained sparring or heavy bagwork would not have been able to kick down doors? There are plenty of LEOs who have not trained in kata and are yet able to handle resisting attackers. I suggest asking around about this one.

Quote:

Nobody knows for sure where and when kata first appeared. The best speculation is that it was developed to enhance partner drills based on chinna skills.




Kata have been around since the 1400s in Jujutsu. My school originating in the 1600s trains kata as its primary mode of teaching. These kata are simple, one or two techniques in a row and always trained with a partner. Kata were trained in Okinawan styles of Karate too and from what I understand they started out as something trained with a partner, the same way as Jujutsu. MA training was more combat-like back then, with more contact between practitioners. In fact, from what I understand it was more like the contact levels found in MMA gyms today. There are some people who suggest that the "bunkai" of today derives from the throws which partners would apply on one another in the kata as it was practiced back then. I believe this to be the case. A small number of Karate schools still practice traditional kata in this fashion today.

From what I understand, it's mostly since eastern MA came to the west that kata have become solo exercises.

Quote:

Without the need to be concerned for a partner’s safety, techniques could be practiced with fully effective power and the practice could continue after everyone else had gone home.




You can't benefit from applying full power when punching or kicking the air. Punching and kicking can only be developed when used against a resisting surface. Punching and kicking the air with full power can cause joint problems in the long run.

Quote:

Katas have been the primary vehicle through which martial movement has been learned, developed, and transmitted since the history of karate has been documented.




Not from what I understand. Some of the other guys here will also disagree this statement.

Quote:

While it is not the fastest way to develop fighting prowess, nor is it complete in itself, it retains the dynamic essence of karate and deserves careful consideration as the centerpiece of karate training.




Uh huh.


Edited by Leo_E_49 (10/13/06 01:15 PM)
_________________________
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(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)

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#292644 - 10/13/06 01:38 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Leo_E_49]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
just playing devil's advocate all the time Leo, is not very imaginative.

try this: state your disagreement and contrast with your experience....you DO have experience with kata learning, don't you?

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#292645 - 10/13/06 03:05 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Leo_E_49]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
LEO

Yes and no.

Kata in classical japanese arts usually refers to a 2 person exercise.

Kata in okinawan, or the chinese equvilent is generally seen as a solo exercise--not really a matter of date.

They use different terms for the partner stuff.

Kata are however probably one of the oldest extent training methods, and argueably the widest spread--argueably.

I say again that kata was never supposed to be seen/used as a "stand alone" method of training--either in Okinawa or China.

It was supposed to be used with along with:

-Strength training
-Body conditioning
-Endurance training
-Hitting stuff-various bags/makiwara
-Resistive 2 person drills

etc and so forth.

As Pat McCarthy suggests and I agree, kata, were mainly methods to practice techiniques that had already been learned in 2 person drills/bag etc.

You can teach the kata first and then pull the techniques out for practice on the bags/with partners etc---but I think it works better the other way.



Edited by cxt (10/13/06 03:14 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#292646 - 10/13/06 04:07 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Ed_Morris]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
Quote:

just playing devil's advocate all the time Leo, is not very imaginative.

try this: state your disagreement and contrast with your experience....you DO have experience with kata learning, don't you?




I'm not playing devils advocate here. I'm saying that kata is not useful for fighting training. I disagree that it alone or as the focus of a training regimen can be used as training to teach someone how to fight. It's good for other things but not for fighting training.

I've about 17 years under traditional martial arts, so I guess you could say that I trained kata. However, I came to realise the importance of sparring over kata in the case of applying my techniques to a combat situation. I've never studied a martial art which doesn't have kata. I've written essays on various of my own opinions about what amounts to bunkai, revealing many practical applications for techniques and stances the WTF TKD Taegeuks which more than a few people agree are valid.

cxt has pointed out the difference between Okinawan and Japanese kata because I was not acquainted with the Okinawan style. My understanding is that as a partner drill, kata can be more directly related to combat. However, partner drill style kata should progress into actual sparring and randori in order for such techniques to be fully understood. I believe that practicing kata without a partner does not give a complete understanding of it. Fighting is inherently a multiple combatant activity. It takes two to tango as they say, pretending that solo training prepares you completely for this is only fooling yourself.

Kata is valuable but people make kata out to be what it isn't. They pretend that it is the best method for learning how to deal with a hand to hand combat situation. I maintain that while it is a good method for progressing to an understanding of what can be done in such a situation, it's far from the epitome or centre of MA training if your goals are to be able to fight against an opponent.


Edited by Leo_E_49 (10/13/06 04:12 PM)
_________________________
Self Defense
(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)

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#292647 - 10/13/06 06:33 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Leo_E_49]
Rumble Offline
Member

Registered: 05/20/05
Posts: 92
IMO I dont believe in Kata or forms. In kata and forms there is too much memorization and thinking of set patterns and routines that lead no where but in actual fighting combat you dont think or follow set patterns you REACT to the unexpected. Or like Bruce Lee says dont think FEEL.lol


Edited by Rumble (10/13/06 06:36 PM)
_________________________
Talk is cheap take it to the pit.

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#292648 - 10/13/06 06:39 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Rumble]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Quote:

IMO I dont believe in Kata or forms. In kata and forms there is too much memorization and thinking of set patterns and routines that lead no where but in actual fighting combat you dont think or follow set patterns you REACT to the unexpected. Or like Bruce Lee says dont think FEEL.lol




Kata does exist.
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#292649 - 10/13/06 07:02 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: BrianS]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Quote:



Kata does exist.





You are correct. Neither does chi.




-John

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