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#292670 - 11/11/06 01:35 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: ANDY44]
RoninKurosawa Offline

Registered: 04/24/06
Posts: 37
Loc: United States
Whatever i say is only reletive to me and my own understanding but i'll say a small amount.

Just to be clear on where i stand on this issue i'll first say that I do not train kata, I train shadow boxing, as well as solitary and one on one drills. One on one sparring in my opinion is the most important thing in self defence.

Methods that i incorperate in my way are Wing Chun: Basic wing chun drills, Bagua: Catwalk and Catwalk with my own drills, Western boxing: One on One sparring and training in a more western sense, I also incorperate Large joint locking where as small joint locking is unrealistic in my opinion. Those are basicly my methods I also train not just wing chun drills but wing chun its self.

All of these things i combine sometimes train them seperately sometimes united that is my way, all of this is my own expression of fighting.

To me Kata waste so much time and energy on a goal that could be acomphished just as well using shadowing boxing and simple drills. Not to mention that to automaticly apply a technique in actual combat you need to devote large amounts of time to Sparring with actual people or with resistence in that sense.

In self defence wise and only in self defence, my question and retorical answer is simple and direct. Why spend so much time and energy towards a goal as a martial artist when you can achive it far more quickly and with much less stress on the body by other methods such as shadowing boxing, drilling, and sparring.

And that retorical question is only meant as a strictly self defence question, in other words if you like doing kata for fun or traditionalism that is fine and i might even do the same for those reasons.

This will most likly be the only post i put on this subject since i am not here to argue and i have put my entire ideology and opinion in this one post, there is no reason for me to add anything else on this subject.

Everything i say i say of my own beleif and personal opinion so do not take any of this the wrong way i say it with a humble mind and positive spirit.

I hope these words may contibute to this thread in some way but until we meet again i hope you all enjoy life and do not take anything seriously instead become neutral without being neutral.

#292671 - 11/17/06 03:03 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
Demonologist437 Offline

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 159
Loc: Hodunk, Illinios
If I may do so, a humble Karateka would like to first thank Mr. Chen for starting this thread. After reading into Bruce Lee's philosophy and the various other martial methods out there, I am beginning to get an idea of just how big the world is out there.

If I may say, I am coming to believe that martial arts when used to defend oneself or one's loved one's/dependents, the martial arts is about defeating the person.

If that is true, we should train in the most efficient way to do so.

Honestly, I did scoff at first when I read that line in one of the books published with Mr. Lee's words in it. But, after having reflected on them, my own place in the martial arts, and on other martial arts in a general sense, I perhaps would apologize to Mr. Lee for that scoff if I could.

Though I am still reluctant to totaly give up my forms, I find myself edging closer to it every day. Whatever purpose I recieved from them seems more like a memory than a current and defined fact. More and more, I find myself thinking about technique outside of the context of whatever form I seem to be working on. Instead of thinking about my techniques in terms of "Chinto" or "Heian", or "Nihanchi", I instead think of them in terms of that guitar player I saw at school, or the errant line my English teacher mentioned, or the occasional martial arts/martial arts inspired video I find on the internet. Or, in terms of the writings of such amazing people such as Mr. Lee, Kensei Miyamoto Musashi, or Matt Furey.

In other words, I have been thinking more and more about my techniques in terms of all I see around me and how they all connect and relate back that single fundamental spark that was the precursor to setting ablaze the universe. Not to pat myself on the back or be prideful, but it's really how I am starting to see my technique.

So, it is making less and less sense to me to see technique in terms of my kata, or even as technqiue at all. Even then, I find my mind thinking less of "Hm, that would make for an interesting reaction." but rather "You know, that is very much like or seems to have relation to one or more of my basic concepts for grappling/striking, or Kyusho-Jitsu."

Again, if I state all of this as true, and that is where my heart as amrtial artist is going, how much longer can I retain the will to continue the practice of my forms?

Well, because there really is some internal fear that I will somehow shrivel as a martial artist if I quit practicing them together. Also, I would fear the gaze of my old sensei, if I came to them and it somehow slipped out that I no longer find it necessary for me as a martial artist to continue kata practice.

Honestly, I clicked on the JKD section to find a solid reason WHY it is should quit practicing all of my katas; sans the Qi-Gong ones that I do believe have much practical medical application.

So, I would venture to add: Is it possible that, I cannot know what is best for another person?

I ma not you, and you are not me. What right do I have to tell YOU how YOU should train? I can make suggestions, and show you what has worked for me and many other people to get you started. But really, can I tell you what is right or wrong for you, or anyone?
"Success is a process, not a destination. Have faith in your ability."~Bruce Lee

#292672 - 11/17/06 06:57 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Demonologist437]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
The bottom line is, do what you enjoy doing. If that's kata, so be it. Number one overall thing you should definitely do is to enjoy yourself. If training is not fun, why do it?

What gets me are people who tell you that you absolutely HAVE to do kata in order to become a complete fighter and that just isn't the case.

Do you need kata to help beginners who aren't ready for total resistance? Of course not. You'd use PROGRESSIVE resistance and variable intensity, dialing up and down the energy of any drills you're doing. But these aren't solo drills, there is no reason for them. Every single phase of training can be done with a partner, and should be.


#292673 - 11/17/06 09:52 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Im not quiet old enough to be called Mr. but thanks anyways and your welcome for the conversation.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

#292674 - 11/17/06 02:32 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
Demonologist437 Offline

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 159
Loc: Hodunk, Illinios

As a martial artist, I just try not to just ignore those words of Mr. Lee because really, that's the third time around we have heard "The highest form is no form." or, "Focus only on striking your opponent."

-Miyamoto Musashi says "Think only of cutting." about, what maybe thirty times a page from "Book of Water" on? In addition, there is his lengthy message about "Attitude no-Attitude" which basically states that, you should not get hung up on forms, but simply use whatever method will defeat your enemy; be it a a formalized technique or not.

-Yagyu Munenori said around the same time: "The final state of any discipline is where you forget what you have learned, discard your mind, and accomplish whatever you set out to do without being aware of it yourself. You begin by learning and reach the point where learning does not exist."

And then of course, Mr. Lee's "Forms are not the way..."

I believe, that we Karateka should not get too worked up about perhaps changing our methodology a little; or as Mr. Lee said discarding a little to provide the best methods possible.

Again, if this idea of "End point and goal being style of no-style," or "Do not worry about anything other than cutting." has come up this many times AND uttered by some very competent martial artists, maybe we shoudl look a little more closely.

As I said, I'm still not quite there yet as to totally releasing my kata. But as I also said I would not be surprised if in the next week.

So, perhaps in the not-to-distant future Mr. Chen may be able to count one convert from all of this voluminous posting.
"Success is a process, not a destination. Have faith in your ability."~Bruce Lee

#292675 - 11/17/06 06:34 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
RoninKurosawa Offline

Registered: 04/24/06
Posts: 37
Loc: United States
My attitude is like yours Jkogas, I'm not completely against forms I'm just bothered by people who think that there is no other correct way to train for self defence.

Forms are useful in terms of memorizing alot of techniques at one time which is what i think they are meant to be used for. But now days instead of going back to simplicity people seek to complacate everything, they think for it to work it has to be very complex but isn't that the oppisite of what common sense would dictate as effective.

I even like forms in some ways, I think they are beautiful and good for your health but they arn't the best way for self defence training at all in my opinion.

Its obvious to me for something to work to its fullest potencial it needs to be simple and direct or simple complexity like directly indirect or indirectly direct.

Its not that people shouldn't train forms its that they should not let forms rule their mind and beliefs on martial arts. For instance for JKD you are surpose to know different forms and methods so that you can cut them down to their essentials in order to make all the knowledge you have acumalated most effective.

Well I'll see you guys later, I have to watch Avatar the last air bender in not long which is one of my favorite shows.

#292676 - 11/19/06 11:10 PM Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Demonologist437]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello :

Good words, honest words.... politely and I hope respectfully, I disagree with the core/fundamental belief-premise though.

Too many forget the gentleman was a traditionally trained practitioner for many YEARS... and consistantly so before he reached his current written conclusions and almost mythic status

<<martial arts is about defeating the person.

Them or ourselves... I earnestly wonder?

Perhaps then like now, kata was many things to many different people/philosophies of training? As a method of proverbial "bread crumbs" I found & still find kata amusingly efficent & obscenely effective at conveying information from one person to another.

Whether I comprehend all the layers whispered, hinted, or glaringly on the surface will depend on my commitment & persistance at genuinely wanting to understand the many paths available. It will also depend on how well and on what levels I perceive different aspects.

Kata is not the "only way", but it is an breathtaking tool if I keep ~chipping away~ and wanting to understand its molten lava core.... Others will unfortunately feel differently.... live and let live...

Perhaps kata are merely a teaching method to explore how to produce power from positions/structures of seeming vulnerability/weakness? "....Hummmngh, I'm toast here, I wonder what happens if I breath differently..." any effect? "...Yikes, I ate that one... lets try again and see if I tighten up differently if that position can be as easily overwhelmed..." this type of thing...


#292677 - 11/22/06 01:35 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Ronin1966]
Demonologist437 Offline

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 159
Loc: Hodunk, Illinios
Well, if I may then respectfully bring a few thinsg to ind then:

For one thing, yes Mr. Lee was "Classically Trained" for a good deal of time before reaching his conclusions on the martial arts.

But what does that have to do with anything? Many great men for a time followed in one direction(generally, with most fo the crowd) before breaking from it, and either creating something excellent or going down in history as a

Additionally, though I will admit kata can teach you something, it at best teaches you the raw idea as opposed to exact technique. I understand that in part that is why we train so hard, so that our ability to perform techniques in the re-al will improve, but that's half my point.

If the techniques we learn from kata are so rigid that we need to train extensively just to make them functional in a real situation, why not just jump ahead a step then and teach the form that you could actually use/apply, which even then usually amounts to the concept behind the technique.

As far as conveying a large amount fo information, I point to the source of kata's techniques: the basic concepts behind why the techniques work in the first place. rather than teach someone a whole rigid form, spend the time explaining to them, "If you punch forward while pulling his arm back towards you you get collision of forces/two-way action."

Giving somebody a concept and then a technique that goes along with it can work just as well, correct?

And, could not just trying to explore the basic concepts themselves take up quite a lot of time for the devoted?

Yes, kata can be okay. I'll admit, I still practice mine. Not as much as I used to though, and in a way rather removed from most fellow karateka. I quit thinking about "Well, he punched here and so I parry, kick, and smack him one in the jaw." but instead opt for "What is THIS movement, and how can I use it?"

But then again, even that is something you can get from anywhere. Watch the birds and you'll find martial secrets.

Personally, I know the whole kata thing can be rather polarizing, and I'll admit I was on the kata=martial arts for some time, but the name of what i do itself was what changed me:

Martial ART. Art means expression, and there can be no expression without "Creation"; to paraphrase Mr. Lee.

If we are all practicing the same static, many hundred year old forms, and practicing for the most part the same techniques as our sensei and sensei's before us, or ascribing to the same "methods" as everyone else in our respective style, where is the creation?

I mean, we all punch. And we all have combinations. But, if I go up to my sensei and say, "No, to me the down-counter is this.". Or totally eliminate all of the upper-body movements from a kata and proscribe it to people as the original, tried and true form my sensei would probably go into shock.

But, if I can express myself and create legitamte technique from it all, why not?

Further, I do not believe kata teaches you flow very well. Flow is not simply "A-B-C" but, "A-Z-F". "Flow" and "Fluidity" means to move seamlessly from one situation, one technique, to the next. And usually, it's not the next technique "In line", so much as it's their next movement/whatever changing condition may be in effect.

But, enough of my rants....

Personaly, at the end of the day, I believe very much that the "Kata/anti-Kata" discussion is like abortion.

Nobody makes a desicion on abortion based on "facts"; it always has to do with personal beliefs and opinions. The same for kata.

Honestly, I do not totally blame of some of the Japanese martial artists/Chinese Martial artists for trying to preserve their arts. After all, "Bujutsu" nearly died around WWII, and since many "Sword-Charlatans" have popped up proclaiming they are teaching "True battlefield combat arts".

And then, we all knwo how lovely all of the Communist tyrants were to China.

So, you know what, I say whatever you will.

Wow, I went all over the place...
"Success is a process, not a destination. Have faith in your ability."~Bruce Lee

#292678 - 11/24/06 04:31 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Demonologist437]
KJ63 Offline

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 128
Loc: Midwestern U.S.
My two cents…
The biggest issue I have with kata is that you are attempting to reverse-engineer someone else’s movements and techniques. Or at least what you may think they were attempting to do with each of the movements. If you want to do a kata that has real value, then take 20 or so of your best techniques (the ones that actually work for you and not the ones that worked for someone else at another time and place), and make your own. You won't have to spend as much time with the how and why, and have more time for the actual application, and transition or flow. I believe that many of these, if not all of these kata started that way, and I believe it is why many of them have changed, because something in it may not have worked the same for someone else.
You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.

#292679 - 11/24/06 06:10 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: KJ63]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Excellent assertion.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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