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#394965 - 05/13/08 03:30 AM Kata Embu
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jUiAafxswQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQeltFd_EKI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_6Mf2RwGYY

Two person kata flow drills.

I like these, I think they are a nice advancement on 1,3 or 5-step kumite. A nice base on which to build deeper application training.

What say the rest of you?

Does anyone else practice this or anything like this?
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#394966 - 05/13/08 06:50 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Shonuff]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Sure. We do. It's considered basic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLG2YpNerYs

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#394967 - 05/13/08 10:58 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Shonuff]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Yeah, i've learned flow drills for a few different kata.

I'd say as a rule they are pretty common in Goju, although at least in my experience i'd have to disagree with Harlan about them only being basic.

We are currently practicing and learning drills like this for Seisan, Saifa, and Sepai.

We have always practiced the standard Gekisai one that Harlan posted.


Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/13/08 11:00 AM)

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#394968 - 05/13/08 10:59 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Zach_Zinn]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
I didn't say they were 'only' basic. Just basic. And like any basic...once you get it down...you can go from there.

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#394969 - 05/13/08 11:00 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: harlan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Hi Shonuff

We seem to have common likes in the martial arts.

I'm writing an article on the anatomy of our embu as we speak. Essentially they are built on a foundation of the taisabaki that comes from essential bunkai.

The embu can be performed solo or by 2 people: in that sense there is only 1 sequence to learn and it contains all the essential taisabaki pertinent to the kata. It differs from the "traditional" 2 person gekisai bunkai harlan posted (I've known that one for 25 years) because it doesn't rigidly adhere to the kata - rather it attempts to value add.

I personally don't believe the "traditional" gekisai 2 person kata is of much use precisely because it is so similar to the kata itself - practising a form with minor variations makes you wonder why you wouldn't just do the kata. IMHO it is also not very realistic. It was our frustration with this form and our experience of 2 person drills in weaponry (tenshin shoden katori shinto ryu and various Chinese systems etc.) that led us to reconsider the concept from the ground up.

What we have tried to do with our embu is to create a forum for real bunkai practice in a dynamic environment. You're actually applying the taisabaki etc., not just repeating a (rather pointless) variation.

I also like a circular form (ie. your opponent starts the same sequence mid-way through).

Lest you think we thought these up overnight, we developed them over a 12 year period. You'll notice the gekisai ichi is fairly simple in its taisabaki, where the seiyunchin is more complex and starts looking like a real fight.

The single person sequence, remarkably, retains the same "feel" as the original kata, even if it departs sequentially.
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#394970 - 05/13/08 05:26 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
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Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
I'm gonna play devil's advocate here and bring up the argument that is always brought up with yakusoku kumite/renzoku drills or whatever.

Alot of people argue that this training creates a "reactive" mindset where you wait for the opponent rather than learning to control the situation, I don't agree fully but I do think there is some merit to this idea.

Personally the way I was taught these drills was fairly dynamic, and once the pattern is there there is room for variation and different intensity levels, which in part I think answers the above claim pretty well.

In the time i've been teaching them, I've found I prefer to teach them in small "pieces" of 3 to 4 techniques.


Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/13/08 05:27 PM)

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#394971 - 05/13/08 06:37 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Zach_Zinn]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
For me, as far as "flow" drills go I personally only use them for body conditioning (arms and legs) and grappling sensetivity drills. Not rule bound push hands but more of position grappling. For learning to fight and training striking I personally believe they engrain bad habits.
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#394972 - 05/13/08 07:11 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
I see little value in long complicated to learn flow drills of karate technique from kata, prefering to work in short sequences against common methods of assault, then to principle led semi fixed and free work.

I really like simple flow drill work to condition the body and mind, a whole kata is not simple.

Im absolutly not convinced the classical kata were ever trained as a continuos motion set, however I do see some value in that (if thats your thing) method just not enough to do it myself.

It certainly looks good when done well anyhow, just not for me. (I accept I work to a slightly lower 'skill' level than many karateka work to, im cool with that as we focus on other areas instead).

Still impressive work shown in the clips.
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www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#394973 - 05/13/08 07:14 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Quote:

For me, as far as "flow" drills go I personally only use them for body conditioning (arms and legs) and grappling sensetivity drills. Not rule bound push hands but more of position grappling. For learning to fight and training striking I personally believe they engrain bad habits.




I've never quite understood this line of reasoning, if the above is true, how is it any less true for solo kata practice? I assume you do at least a little of that?

Do you assume the same would be true of say Judo or Jujitsu kata that goes for a few moves? I don't.

I think it could ingrain bad habits, or it could be used to hone technique, obviously it's never a substitute for more free from practice, one of the best ways to train this stuff (imo) is to take a small bit, and practice "by the book" as you gradually move into new territory, and turn it into less fixed drills/sparring.

I personally don't know anyone who trains this kind of thing as a rigid, unchanging form, but hey maybe i've just not seen it.

In short, I think this stuff has it's place, but it also has it's limits.


Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/13/08 07:18 PM)

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#394974 - 05/13/08 07:33 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Zach_Zinn]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Our embu are composed entirely of standard bunkai. The idea is to ingrain the bunkai. If your bunkai are bad, you ingrain bad habits.

Otherwise you ingrain your bunkai which I would have thought is what you're trying to do with ippon kumite bunkai. The problem with ippon kumite is that it has severe limitations - it is a static, not dynamic environment. Many bunkai were intended to operate in a dynamic environment which is hard to replicate with a standard step + punch etc. methodology. Sometimes you need to be mid-kick etc. when facing your attack.

Does embu have limitations? Yes, it is an adjunct, not the be-all. Having said that, weapons systems like Katori Shinto ryu train very effectively with just 2 person drills...

In terms of bad habits, I can see why the "traditional" gekisai 2 person drill might ingrain them: the person doing the kata is not employing much (if any) taisabaki in movement, but is performing the kata literally. The kata was, imho never meant to be a 2 person drill in itself, and trying to make it so is really stretching things.

In my personal experience, embu has vastly improved my sparring and that of my students and colleagues. It has provided some "framework" or point of reference, some instant responses. For a change we're actually using kata techniques in sparring, not just jumping around, slapping attacks away aimlessly.

Having a point of reference hasn't limited my sparring - it has given me a starting point. Most importantly, I'm applying taisabaki in sparring. This is now ingrained. It is very hard to ingrain taisabaki - ippon kumite as a static environment just doesn't cut the mustard. And doing free sparring only tends to reinforce what you're doing already - you don't grow/change/adopt new techniques.

Shorter drills are fine. We like one, relatively short, embu in our syllabus that "packages" the essential taisabaki for each kata. It's all horses for courses...
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