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#372984 - 01/22/08 06:58 AM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: Ed_Morris]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
That shotokan had a different evolution than eg Matsubayashi is without doubt. But immediatly linking it to point sparring is not correct imo.
Why didn't wado-ryu change ? They have the comparable syllabus and also did point fighting at university.

I heared that Giko Funakoshi introduced the longer stances as training tool for leg development. Nakayama introduced the ippon kumite as standard for the JKA, not the entire Japanese karate society. JKA clearly states that they strive for the 'one hit one kill' principle and ippon kunite was a sport format to spar with rules to decide the winner.
This sport format was not the format they used at the university championships, wich was in the beginning more a last man standing contest.

What I do believe is that Nakayama with the JKA instructor programs build up a curriculum that strives to this 'one hit one kill' explaining irimi mostley as movement in a straight line towards the center of the opponent.
But JKA is not the only shotokan group and shotokan is not the only karate-style that is practiced on Japan mainland.

#372985 - 01/22/08 09:43 AM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: CVV]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
good points (no pun), however you seem to be making the argument that the stances in kata were changed since longer stances were considered benefitial as a training tool. when you make such a change globally to all your kata in a syllabus, it runs the very real risk of loosing utility - since utility is likely not the deciding factor to such an overall and sweeping change.

I don't buy it. I think the assumed range of kata interpretation changed to sparring range in order to justify a link between point spar and kata. look at the old 1950's and 1960's footage of kata interpretation: they are interpreting kata as if their arms are swords and the long stances are used to close the distance - waaaay too far away of a range to even begin to see the useful principles. when that kata<-->sparring link reasoning was shown not to hold water, the reasoning changed to 'longer and lower stances has training benefits' and left at that.

nobody can argue that long and low stance training builds strength and flexability - it's a sortof built-in pilates benefit. also, no one argues that there are some techniques where it calls for getting below an opponents center of gravity, or dropping yours. so natually *some* stances are low/long.

it's the overall change - almost as if a kendo look and feel was artificially grafted into all Shotokan kata, add to that an almost neurotic attention to geometric detail which leds to the robotic-ness of movement and it became the staple impression of early post war Japanese Karate (prior to the development of the full-contact systems that soon followed).

so today, for the traditionalists, that nagging question must still be there for the people trying to interpret their long and low stanced katas into a close-range application: how come the footage of Funakoshi and others of his time show higher and more natural stances.

maybe others disagree, and maybe I'm 180 degrees wrong, but I think interpreting okinawan kata with that kendo-like mindset and sword-range misses the whole point of the principles within the Okinawan forms.

but we can agree to disagree - we're all just contributing opinion.

#372986 - 01/22/08 10:35 AM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: Ed_Morris]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

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

Wasn't it Funakoshi that said something like "higher stamnces for experts-lower stances for beginners."

Something like that.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#372987 - 01/22/08 01:24 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: cxt]
CA_Isshinryu Offline

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 98
Loc: California
I'll be honest and say I have not read this thread. I have found the following article and provide a couple of sections from the Abstract:

The researchers suggested that there are three key elements when working with violent adolescents. First is the role of the sensei (teacher) as an "exemplar of restraint," a parent figure, and someone with faith in the student. Second is the teaching of the do (the ethics and philosophy of martial arts) along with the physical training. Third is the use of the kata (noncombative physical forms), which stress technique rather than conflict.

The psychotherapeutic aspects of martial arts were outlined by Weiser, Kutz, Kutz, and Weiser (1995), and included a focus on enhancing self-esteem through the use of physical activity, group experiences, relaxation training, concentration, assertiveness training, and rewarding honesty in communication. Layton, Higaonna, and Arneil (1993) also found that the practice of kata in two different styles of karate (goju-ryu and koyokushinkai) lowered aggression...

#372988 - 01/22/08 03:47 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: CA_Isshinryu]
Bushi_no_ki Offline

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1669
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Can we please leave the dead horse and dead dog alone.

#372989 - 01/22/08 04:44 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 604
Loc: London, UK

I'm not saying there were not changes made to Shotokan As Funakoshi demo'd it and how the JKA teach it today. What I am saying is that the changes are superficial, and ultimately with a bit of study make no difference to what is contained within the art/kata.

I am in total agreement that the JKA are guilty of practicing Shotokan out of distance, but that is a superficial mistake easily rectified by the individual if not by the lumbering tradition obsessed JKA.

I don't accept the changed for sport argument because as CVV said, no one else changed who took part in the same sport. Also there was no points fighting scene when the changes were brought in, they happened before.

What I do think fuelled the changes was the desire to spar with only a knowledge of the basics and a lack of desire to engage in serious kata study. Shotokan was e-optimised for long range strikes as one generates more power when one has more room in which to accelerate.

I know it is an alien concept for modern MAists, but there are other ways to fight percussively other than at close quarters and the Shotokan moved in that direction. Much as how the Kukiwon has turned WTF Taekwondo into it's own animalafter learning Shotokan from the Japanese, so before them the JKA turned Shotokan into their own art, an art that exists almost completely seperate to the kata they have inherited.
Kata which they kept in tact and so preserved the principles and strategies which transcend superficial stylisations.
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

#372990 - 01/26/08 05:34 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: cxt]
dsv_kempo Offline

Registered: 05/04/05
Posts: 3
Hi - have been away a while, there are a number of valid points / conjectures floating around this topic, and I thought I would this link as a point of consideration to some:

keep punching (and kicking)

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