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#293101 - 10/12/06 04:09 PM "Reverse Engineering"
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Anyone up to discussing this? Definition of, as applied to karate, history of, problems with, etc?

#293102 - 10/12/06 04:23 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: harlan]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Yep, first was all the grappling inherent within kata and karate in general. And next, of course, were the AK-47 disarms....

If you look at the stars long enough, you can draw lines to make anything you want out of them.

#293103 - 10/12/06 04:29 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: harlan]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA


I like the idea of "back-engeineering" things.

Of course the problem is that its very hard to figure out exactly what a given person used a given movement for.

Of comes down to "could have been used for X"
and that is as close as we get.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#293104 - 10/12/06 05:03 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: butterfly]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

reverse engineering (as far as kata analysis) hinges on the assumption that the kata taught to us is in more or less the form they were handed down as. The other assumption is that kata was for a specific purpose.

based on those two assumptions, people make their own 'interpretation'...the process they must go thru is 'reverse engineering'.

ie: starting with the form...they arrive at it's interpretation by trying to satisfy it's assumed purpose.

opponents to 'reverse engineering' say derriving meaning from kata is less literal and more flowing. kata teaching as a way to move vs. the literal 'if they do this, I'll do that' responses.

#293105 - 10/12/06 05:19 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: Ed_Morris]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
But Ed, even if kata was supposed to be a biometric aid to movement, wouldn't this have been a purpose unto itself?

And, even if there were changes and alterations to kata, then those changes were done for a purpose, even if done in ignorance. So you are left with the same central theme: Kata is a tool for education. The question isn't that kata was used or had a purpose, but whether kata serves the purposes that people propose it does. Or are some just delusional while others have insight where none but a few can peak into the cracks?

Whatever you imbue kata with, I just question it's necessity now since no one seems to be able to prove its efficacy against other forms of training. I don't even argue that it has some kind of validity and may have been a good way of handing something down for subsequent generations when there were no other options for permanent records. Similarly, you have peoples with no writing singing names and stories to keep their cultures alive...and passing this down. But, unlike verbal cultural relics, we have kata in the here and now and some imbue it with almost magical qualities that I have yet to witness or have proven to me are any better than modern training exercises.

#293106 - 10/12/06 08:25 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: butterfly]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
What's the difference between pulling apart a small section of the kata and training combos like you do in Ashihara, (or Shorinji Kempo)?

#293107 - 10/12/06 08:47 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: eyrie]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

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

I have no problem with dissection of movements and the like. I find it curious to look at an answer, and trying to find the exact equation to fit it, since the answer is already given.

But, as for Ashihara, it doesn't have "standard" kata. They were all devised by Ashihara himself. He made no bones about his dislike of traditioinal kata. He has even written that the practice of traditional kata will not help you with respect to usefulness in a fight. BTW, I wasn't aware of this or cared about it until I read it in one of his books he published on his style. So, I had no connection to liking or disliking classical kata, even then.

In any case, there are kata within Ashihara that I don't like at all...and I don't practice or teach these, though I can do a couple of them if called upon. I just happen to think my time is better spent elsewhere. However, each kata is supposed to be used with a partner, much like judo partner drills and that's their benefit I suppose.

The two people that I really respected within Ashihara, one of whom is no longer in this style, did not really practice kata either. I find it...unecessary. And as kata goes, for instance, one section of ours would be done in a slight boxer's crouch and would have a left jab, right straight, slight lateral movement and a left upper. Hardly anything that would require deciphering or changing to fit a response to a particular attack. It is what it is and that's it. In essence, straight forward shadow boxing.


#293108 - 10/12/06 08:59 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: harlan]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
Reverse engineering is not a process relegated to understanding Kata. You see it applied in a variety of arts and sciences. Researching medieval Trebuches, determing the pigments ground by Divinci or Rembrandt or how the pyramids built. Now I'm not planning to build a pyramid anytime soon but some study may effect how I go about a room addition or a deck. The information gain may be, or at leat seem usless.

As an art student I often got permission to copy paintings by different masters in the collection of the Museum of the Art Instiute in Chicago. Not that anyone would see it but the time that I spent under those master can be seen in everyone of my cartoons. Contraposto.

Study and the pursuit of understanding may be both pragmatic and pleasureable. I could judge my success by the sale of my painting,or the quality of my work as judged by others. I could base their value on the numbers of competitions I have won or what museum collections I am included in.

I'll leave it up tp others to decide. Whatever I do I want to enjoy the learning and growing.

I am a fan of obtuse quotes. If I may paraphrase Sakuo Sakumoto, "Kata is a room with four corners. A teacher will give you three. You have to find the other yourself".

So I look at Itosu's schoolboy Kata. I can't say I chose to study them. I showed up somewhere and there they were. Maligned by Pure okinawan practioners, considered useless by practioners using more progessive methods. I ponder, and practice the Pinans and in his creation I meet the man. I get a chance to go inside his mind and thoughts. He created something for ...well...dare I say it?...Me.

Just as very few would see Carrivagio in my cartoons even fewer would see Itosu in the way I carry myself. If the day should come by some intersection of time, stupidity and chance, I may be forced to defend myself. Based on many factors and fate I may or may not get my as$ beat. One thing for sure though, the poor [censored] will not see Itosu coming.

I'm not a student of language, especially japanese. I remember reading at one time the definition of the words in their original language. As I don't read Japanese I will share their definition. Kata means..."how one behaves".

Whatever that means.

#293109 - 10/12/06 09:15 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: butterfly]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, I think we're talking about solo kata rather than paired. BTW, even within arts like judo, jujitsu and aikido, it can be argued that what they do is "kata", albeit in paired format.

I think we're talking about deconstructing (reverse-engineering) specific sequences in kata (form) in terms of valid combat applications.

Whilst I agree that it is curious to look at the answer and try to find an equation to fit it, but people do it. It is merely human nature to do so.

All I'm saying is that kata is a sequence of movement "shapes". These "shapes" can and should change as required., within the context of paired work. OTOH, it can also be argued that such sequences are a valid and natural consequence of each other and flow from one shape to the next.

For example, if we know that hitting a certain spot causes the person to lurch forward slightly and create a opening somewhere, then it would be logical to assume that the next movement in the sequence is a follow thru to exploit the opening which has presented itself.

So whether you practice the entire kata following the lines of embusen, or whether you practice a small section on its own, shouldn't be any different. It's just a different sequence of movement, which may or may not be related to the preceeding sequence.

I don't think anyone is saying that the entire kata is to be used to deconstruct the meaning.

But I could be wrong....

#293110 - 10/12/06 09:27 PM Re: "Reverse Engineering" [Re: butterfly]
JKogas Offline

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

If you look at the stars long enough, you can draw lines to make anything you want out of them.

Isn't THAT the damned truth!


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