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#292600 - 10/11/06 11:14 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I didn't take anything personal, just spicing up conversation.

JK: I agree. I'd put the percentages at 80% false advertising kata as self-defense but at most half-decent cardio exercise. 10% crap. and 5% trying hard not to be crap. the other 5% you won't find at the mall.

but is that the flaw of kata? no. like you said, it's the flaw of how it's taught/misunderstood.

your only arguments are in guestimate statistics and statements such as 'most places train kata like crap'...and I'd agree with you. that makes the training crap. doesn't make the kata crap.

and whats the big deal anyway? kata is a teaching tool.

remember in Rocky when the old-timer coach bounds up Balboa's favored arm so he can learn how to punch with his other? same conceptual thing. if taught right, kata is about good habits. if taught wrong, it's about learning bad habits or no habits at all.

so what myth are we destroying here? the one that says 'kata sucks' ?

#292601 - 10/12/06 03:00 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
ANDY44 Offline

Registered: 07/01/06
Posts: 814
The question you posted on the karate forum was
Are you braindamaged?!

I dont take offence to such remarks however

These are my thougths and suggestions. If you would like to follow them then fine if not that is fine.
Heian shodan found as a Kata in KARATE seems to me to have certain attacks and the the defences to counter the attacks all in one kata.

Some of the defences could be used as actually strikes to damage the limbs being used by an attacker as well as blocks then counter attacks to the torso/ head.

The problem I have found with the blocks then counter attacks to the head/ torso is that it leaves the defender open to counter attack where as the strikes to the limbs if done a specific way doesn’t. More hit and move tactics.
In comparison to a specific technique done in modern MMA's UFC to disable a certain limb I find the method available in Heian shodan isn’t open to direct counter attack and can be equaly effective. Given this technique is in a so called basic kata it would seem your critiscism of kata is unjust and unfounded.

Kata practice might there fore be required for any practicing karate ka or martial artist wishing to find technique that will work. If you wish for me to explain the said technique then no chance. what I would suggest you do is

One. for a technique used in MMA's UFC that disables a limb by striking.
Two. study Heian shodan and all its applications including and see if a comparitive technique can be found.
When the technique is found then;
Three. practice the technique on a pad bag etc
Four. Find a partner and practice the techniques in different situations angles etc.
Find a MMA venue and use it

Thanks Andy

Just a small friendly foot note
If you cant be bothered to try what I sugested then you realy have very little right to critiscise Kata in any martial art. Applications perhaps but not the actual kata.

Edited by ANDY44 (10/12/06 06:46 AM)

#292602 - 10/12/06 08:38 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Kata and forms are the same thing.

That's the mistake alot of kata based schools make. Self deense is seperated from the kata. The kata should be the foundation for the self defense. There are a multitude of techniques to work on just in the basic kata like the taikyoku series. The first is basically a low block kata in an H pattern,lots of schools teach this in one way or another. Then the square off for one step sparring where one guy steps in with a long punch or kick and you are supposed to block it,that's a loada crapola. It's the instructors fault for trying to teach what he doesn't really know.
Throwing a jab shadowboxing and in kata are two different things.The kata shows you where and how to hit as well as what to do before and after which can be adapted to many different situations.Learn that in boxing class?
I don't think TMA schools need to change their kata,just the way they train it.Another thing they need to change is sparring and physical fitness in my opinion.
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#292603 - 10/12/06 10:56 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

I certainly wouldn't fault you-----there are a ton of crappy schools out there.

But I can't be responsible for them, I can only be responsible for me.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#292604 - 10/12/06 11:31 AM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: cxt]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
CXT wrote


I certainly wouldn't fault you-----there are a ton of crappy schools out there.

But I can't be responsible for them, I can only be responsible for me.

Call me John.

Trust me, I understand that completely. But it's not *you* that I'm referring to when I speak at random regarding my experiences and observations – because that’s all I can truthfully speak about, not knowing you personally. And I wish I DID know you better. I’d love to see and experience what it is that you do.

To everyone else

This or any other debate on an internet forum is going to be limited because no one can actually see or experience first hand, each side of the argument. We sit back and sling words at each other, perhaps throwing in a “Youtube” video in the process. Its little wonder these debates rage on as they do because no ground is ever gained on either side. Truthfully, no ground NEEDS to be gained. But all opinions should be heard so as to let each individual take what’s out there (regarding information) and make his or her OWN mind up.

As CXT said, “I can only be responsible for me”. That’s true for us all.


#292605 - 10/12/06 12:14 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: JKogas]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
It's nothing special but im happy to post some very simple kata work that we do at my dojo,

I hope it illistrates a functional self defense led way of training kata, it certianly seems to upset
'traditionalists' and please people looking for a bit of reality.

I am sorting out a video to show it trained 'real time' under pressure and shall post that soon.
Jim Neeter

#292606 - 10/12/06 12:42 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: shoshinkan]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

I am not even sure if it is a question of usable technique being presented. I think that this should be noted first. All things have good in them and utility isn't in the derivation, but in the practice. I will preface however, and say my exposure to traditional/classical kata and it's extracted principles are fairly low.

What I have seen though, it is less the conceptual viability in the extraction of ideas or principles, but in the training of them. Just as a point of reference from a karate background, one can do the kihon stuff and practice archetypal stances for strengthing etc...I have no problem with it. However, in a defensive punching practice where you are learning to slip a punch or parry one and deliver a counter, I often see someone being presented in their front stance with reverse punch chambered at the hip or high on the chest and then delivering a punch with a loud yell as the defender blocks and moves...but acknowledging all the time that the attacker's punch is going to stop an inch or two from the defender's sternum.

This is the defense against a punch practice which has severe short comings and I link the same problems to kata: 1) No contact, means no penalty for wrong technique; 2) Distance and timing are now off since impact zone is back several inches from where it should be and this also means the block/parry is done at the wrong instance; 3) No one is going to encounter someone somewhere who will punch them in a front karate stance and yell as they are doing it; and 4) This means that if you do this standard practice, you will have defenders who will practice without keeping their chins down, their hands up, and will reinforce this awkward technique that lacks so much similarity to the way a real punch might be offered, that it begs the question of training this way.

That, to me, is the real malediction of this type of rote training which includes kata. That the responses are programmed with muscle memory to reflect improbable use, right out of the box.

I know, everyone says that you extract the usable stuff from kata and play with it. My contention is that if you have the usable stuff and know it...present that and play with it outside the confines of stringent movements that, if I understand ardent kata proponents, are different from how they would apply them. This then means that kata is an additional step that is not necessary and will take up more time than if the defensive movements and their permutations were applied in a more realistic manner against opponents who react differently than the standard format presented.

BTW, I do accept and acknowledge your reasons for study of kata since you said this is historical and cultural to your research. I just think that there are better ways of doing things and even if I give kata its due, it seems to be an extra step, where none now is needed.


#292607 - 10/12/06 01:00 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: butterfly]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
understood, I have thought for a good while now that using 'karate' attacks in standard fixed kumite format to be less than usefull for self defense training, as most know I use the common methods of assaut with tempo change, intent and close range application - as best we can anyhow.

I guess my problem is I see all of that as 'kata' training, my textbook of principles is delivered by the kata, as you noted I train in karate and that has historical and cultural links I enjoy, well it does to me anyhow.

Nice post Butterfly and you make some good points.
Jim Neeter

#292608 - 10/12/06 01:35 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: Chen Zen]
nahate Offline

Registered: 04/20/06
Posts: 54
Loc: No VA suburbs of Wash DC
The kata myth is being reinforced rather than destroyed here, at least the one that misunderstands kata as a mnemonic string of techniques or moves. Kata is in reality not about moves or techniques. It is about movement and technique. It is dynamic, not staccato bursts of unrelated actions.

The misunderstandings about kata are the result of poor instruction by those who never had solid grounding in their art. That is why so much that passes as kata today is best described by T.S. Eliot in his poem The Hollow Men: "Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion."
There may be much moving the limbs around in air, there is little of martial value.

Miyagi Sensei taught beginning students body conditioning and kata solely. No free sparring was attempted until someone had at least ten years training according to one of his students, Toguchi Sensei. Premature and overuse of sporting and so called "realistic" methods is counterproductive and hinders genuine knowledge. If I can bounce around on my toes on the periphery, I don't need to be fighting at all.

Bunkai suffers because people perceive combat to be like sparring. Most of the kata in GojuRyu involve close quarters and serious fighting,seizing and controlling and unbalancing the opponent and ending the confrontation with devastating force against vital areas. There are no tournament championship winning techniques here. And self defense techniques extracted from the kata will be less effective if the practitioner hasn't internalized and metabolized the movement principles crystalized by the kata. You won't learn these skills faster using focus mitts and sparring. You won't even grasp what they are.

A person first trains kata under a good instructor, then the kata trains the person. Anyone with four healthy limbs can kick and punch. Let them start sparring early in their career and they might get better at punching or kicking within that setting, but they've learned nothing from or about genuine karate.

I have heard race horses described as athletes. But if I try to imagine what running is like for a horse, my imagination cannot truly capture four-footed locomotion. Classical karate uses the same familiar bipedal body but in new and unfamilliar ways. The inwardly experienced orientation to martial movement, the instinctive awareness of alignments and force vectors and neuromuscular recruitment developed from kata are alien to anyone lacking the kata experience and cannot be learned from any other source. If kata training hasn't profoundly altered the way you use and experience how your body moves in space then martial arts concepts such as ki, mai, and tae sabaki, will appear esoteric and your understanding and application thereof will be confused and misguided.

Heavy bag work, partner drills, and the rest are important. But kata does not exist to sharpen these ancillary training methods. They are employed to bring life and realism to kata training.

"The secrets of the kata are in the kata." So said Chojun Miyagi. So say those who have trained and been trained by genuine kata.

#292609 - 10/12/06 01:47 PM Re: Chen Destroys the kata myth [Re: nahate]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

Perhaps you're right about my misunderstanding kata. Then again, it has never been proven to me scientifically or otherwise. However, I can see the results of the more modern approach to sports science and medicine.

I will also say that no horse ever won a race by running slowly around a practice field.


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