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#372510 - 12/03/07 11:32 AM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Shonuff]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Sho

I find the practice shows gains with my training.

Can't speak for anyone else of course---but for me, it helps.

Its by no means all that I do--when I'm actually in training , I do the raodwork, the bagwork, the partner work, jump-rope, focus mitts/shields, sparring, strength training, matt-work, drills--and kata.
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I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#372511 - 12/03/07 01:29 PM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Shonuff]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Sho,

At this point I don't study or practice kata, I use them as lifelong friends. Simply put, if you're in an Okinawan derived karate system and you don't use kata, they you're not doing karate.

I've trained people for quite a while and I don't find the simple you can pick things up faster by not doing kata true.

The primary purpose of kata is energy development of technique in movement. The purpose of basic technique application is to learn how to fit those techniques in given space and then how to apply the energy developred in kata within those applications. Of course there is much more involved than these opening studies if the individual is willing to put the time into their study.

I do not believe cross training has any value in making one perform a system of practice better. While I've undergone tons of additional training, it was never to make my Isshinryu better, but just to have someone to train with, and regardless of what they taught I was willing to jump in and work on what they were doing. I did learn from those studies, but not necessarily to make my primary study any better.

It's more a question of degree and how you frame your discussion.

If all you want to do is make a handfull of techniques work, no you don't need kata. But if you want to explore an almost infinite depth of technique potential, there are few tools better than kata to define all of those studies together.

If you take systems of great magnitude, such as daito ryu aiki jutsu, it has been said to learn them might take 30 years because the full system incorporates thousands of techniques.

Karate and Kata's offerings have similar depths.

If you want a tea cup full of techniques you can do anything. If you want to explore the ocean you need kata, and a great deal of other training too.

I find our art is as simple or complex as we make it.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#372512 - 12/03/07 02:01 PM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Victor Smith]
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
Kata fulfills a trinity of training.

Medical, the physical postures, movement and internal system increases the health and vigour.

Skill, the combinations are structured in an ingenious training pattern to enhance skill level in quite a complex way that could never be found in simple combinations.

Boxing, techniques are arranged so that the body is afforded maximum protection for every inch of movement as opposed to simple movements to hit and grapple another person.
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#372513 - 12/03/07 03:55 PM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: jude33]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK

Jude,
Indeed I did join in a discussion in the Ju Jutsu section on a straight arm lock, known in the Ju Jutsu that I do as Soto Hiji Ude Dori, which is basically a straight arm lock applied from the outside and which forms one of the locks in a Ju Jutsu locking Kata we do, there is also a version performed on the inside (Uchi Hiji Ude Dori)which is found in this same locking Kata and another Kempo Kata that we do in both our Kempo which is also practised in our ju Jutsu.

We do Kata in our Ju Jutsu as it is the only safe way to learn and practise the techniques, the point being that Ju Jutsu, as well as Kempo and Karate, has Kata. At the same time a lot of modern Ju Jutsu contains techniques that have been borrowed from Karate (and elsewhere).

As regards Karate Kata I have recently returned to learning some new Kata (at least for me), having previously had a diet of Shorei ryu (of which I have only continued with Sanchin in various variations) and some of the Japanese Karate Kata (which I dropped a few years ago) and have seen quite a range of so called Bunkai (some quite dubious I may add).

To understand where I am coming from with this I probably need to give you some background; Originally I started with a Shorei Ryu style (It was Goju but not partucularly organised Goju) and moved more towards Kempo Jutsu and continued looking at applications and as a result became involved in and trained for a number of years in Ju Jutsu (whilst maintaining my training in Kempo), dabbled in Aikido (which I still occassionally do) and picked up some stuff labelled Te/ti/di on the way and this has resulted in my more recently looking at the classical Shorin Ryu forms and some old variations.

One thing that I do notice now with a lot of material that is passed of as Bunkai to Karate Kata these days is that it is reverse engineered Judo and modern Ju Jutsu. That of course does not mean that there are not hidden techniques in Karate Kata.

Having been a Kata judge on occassions I never fail to notice the requirements are not effectiveness of the kata or how much they represent traditional forms, but how pretty they look!!!

This is a shame as Kata is to me at least a living text, a way of preserving old techniques of the past and a way of practising solo when a training partner is not available and as a way to sharpen certain movements. At the same time it also provides me with a deeper insight into what I am doing, can provide me with alternatives and confirm or otherwise certain things. I think now that I have matured as a martial artist that I recognise the importance of Kata more now than I ever did.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#372514 - 12/03/07 04:44 PM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Gesar]
jude33 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1539
Hi

I would tend to agree that some reverse engineering seems to be based on japanese arts .
My studies are limited. I think what Shonuff is looking for is to discuss techniques found in kata.
I think there a lot of hidden moves in kata. I also think that certain kata have to be taken back to as original as can be found( if that is possable)

Jude

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#372515 - 12/03/07 09:55 PM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Gesar]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Chris,

I don't know about reverse engineering, logical analysis of any technique (and what a techinque is defined as is very, very fluid) shows a very wide range of applications.

Isshinryu is literaly filled with technique potential that creates an arm bar of sorts when you simply apply it, but then the paradigm of Isshinryu striking is different from most other karate systems and their striking approach doesn't lend itself to the same answers.

If you can insert a kata application into an attack, not change the kata flow and the opponent ends up in an arm bar situation, it works for me. That other arts might end up in the same place doesn't mean they got there the same way.

It is of interest how few have followed up on looking at that potential that way.

Of course the same arm bar application can also move into the arm break potential application too.


Edited by Victor Smith (12/03/07 09:56 PM)
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#372516 - 12/04/07 12:19 AM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Victor Smith]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Shonuff:

As a teaching tool, the PROCESS of learning kata is excellent. Understanding the smaller pieces which comprise the kata entirety is a deep endless mine.

Kata is not necessary for learning survival, but for learning how to find deeper concepts, learn the principles that make the movements work...kata is mandatory.

Kata is the microscope of context for the problems that will occur in conflict.

Jeff

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#372517 - 12/04/07 01:23 AM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
This post is for non-kata people as well. A thread of kata-loving people talking amonst themselves won't get far by agreeing with each other's bias.

I certainly don't have 'the' answers. I only have mine at any given point in time....and by 'my answers' I mean 'best guess today'. All I try to do is find/share 'the' questions which hopefully provoke thoughts that haven't stirred before.


why study kata? personally, I don't take the stance that a kata-based training method will progress someone's skill quicker and more efficient than a non-kata based system. I can't take that stance (as much as I'd like to), because I don't feel it's true.

however, measurable benefit and subjective benefit are not always the same thing. There are a list of subjective benefits (for me) to continue studying a kata-based system. none of which are measurable by all.

first distinction people get hung up on with kata topics is what I think is the confusion of giving credit where it's not due.
I don't believe kata in and of itself begets all the credit for skill development. isolation drills can give you technique, but 2-person drills gets you skill.

since someone can do isolation drills and 2-person drills without ever even looking at kata, I don't hold the argument for kata training as being superior in those areas.

if thats true, then why even add a kata level of abstraction to training? can't someone just train technique and 2-person drills and get further along by not wasting training time by doing forms?

thats where the subjective reasoning without measure comes in to save the day. but in short, there is no hard proof to point to and say - "here ya go, this proves kata-based training is better for skill development."

beyond the very subjective and personal reasons, such as: I grew up with the kata I still do today, so I like the connection to childhood/youth impressions.

beyond that (which admittedly is a bias), I do think forms serve another role. and I'm hoping to draw in non-kata people to argue this next point...


in non-kata based training - first an ideal technique is isolated and trained, lets keep it simple and say a jab in front of the mirror. The instructor is correcting you towards an ideal body mechanic. Then you may do interactive drills to self-learn all those little micro-adjustments needed to implement the basic idea of a good jab. Then you progressively make things messy by taking on training-partner resistance while trying to keep as much to an ideal/optimized body mechanic. You refine adhoc situations into an efficiency that approaches the ideal as training years progress. (not to mention ingrained and optimized strategy, etc). you learn to implement the principle of a good jab, as oppossed to memorizing the ideal of a jab.

thats how I'm using the word 'principle' by the way, an ideal technique that has the ability to adapt to the situation automatically and instictively, while keeping within the bounds of good underlying body mechanics....not memorized, but learned. (level of contact, intensity, etc being separate factors for the sake of this talking point).

is that a fair view of the goal of non-kata training?


ok, here's my question for the non-kata person which is also my subjective answer to the kata-based people 'why (I) do kata':
What process/mechanism do you have to take your tried and true principles and develop ideal body mechanics into an isolated drill? You are distilling something into a common denominator, are you not?

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#372518 - 12/04/07 02:45 AM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Ed_Morris]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Sorry, for whatever reason the quote function isn't working for me, but here's the only thing that I would say might slightly be wrong, but similar to what you are stating from a non-kata perspective.

Principles are generally shown in application first. Tehcniques to be practiced are demoed against someone and then the class follows suit in partner drills. For your jab example, you would have someone try to punch you and throw the jab in application. Basically showing what works by someone more proficient. Then it's off doing limited partner drills under supervision from the get-go, and then work on the mechanics of delivery by looking in the mirror.

When shown from a point of application from someone who can perform the technique, you already know and can see that it works in a resistant environment despite your inability to apply it as well.

So I would say your description is basically correct, but the sequence of study is wrong.

First show application of the technique in a resistant drill as example; then work on performance from the start in trying to apply the technique with a partner; and then work on the mechanics as a basic exercise. This again applies to usage and not warm ups containing the basic techniques and practice movements in the beginnings of the class.

For instance, if I was teaching someone to low kick, I would demonstrate the kick in application then have them kick me or their partner and correct them from the point of applying the technique. After which, I would have them work on drills to speciically address problem areas in delivery...and then go back to partner drills. After this basic knowledge is gathered then isolation drills can be done with some understanding of what the person is trying to accomplish and what target areas and distance need to be accomodated when just throwing the technique out there for training efficiency.

In that respect, 75 percent of your time, or more, should be spent in application or partner drills, while the balance in making sure of delivery of the rechnique, perhaps in front of a mirror. After the technique is understood in that manner, then training solo can start in earnest since there is now an understanding of what you are looking for when adjusting the technique for application.

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#372519 - 12/04/07 03:50 AM Re: Why do YOU study kata? [Re: Shonuff]
GriffyGriff Offline
Good Egg,
Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 414
Loc: Earth
Read "Barefoot Zen"
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I am NOT homophobic... I am NOT afraid of my own house!

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