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#395095 - 05/26/08 10:29 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
You are right about that Dan.

Sorry I misunderstood the intent.
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#395096 - 05/26/08 11:10 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: BrianS]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
No worries Brian.

Shonuff and Zach -

There are only one or 2 moves in goju kata that I "reverse" in bunkai and I'm not sure what to make of these. I think this topic would make a fascinating separate thread, because I wonder whether -

(a) the kata were deliberately designed that way "as a code" (something I think is a bit overstated nowadays); or

(b) the kata were deliberately designed that way for an application I haven't seen; or

(c) the kata were deliberately designed that way for training or symbolic purposes (eg. stepping forward on the last move in gekisai dai ichi), not for any particular bunkai; or

(d) the kata have been wrongly passed down in respect of a particular move (sanseiru has some intriguing variations in this regard, and I wonder whether one move in particular should actually be done "in reverse").

Suffice it to say, I'll start another thread when I can get my thoughts together with concrete examples (or maybe one of you would like to pre-empt me?).
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#395097 - 05/27/08 01:23 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
BrianS Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Dan,

Just wondering,but do you have any video's of applications that aren't theatrical or against passive opponents?
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#395098 - 05/27/08 02:31 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
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Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Just my own take on evasion/tenshin/tai sabaki what have you:

Many of the turning motions in Goju kata i've learned as throws, takedowns or something similar, so I personally don't see these as implying evasion themselves specifically.

I see whatever there is of "defensive" movement (really even this is pretty offensive obviously) implied by most kata techniques themselves.

Taking the simplest as an example, the first technique in Gekisai by it's very nature involves evasive body movement to some degree, the thing is in my view you do not often need to consciously make big steps to "move out of the way" of strikes, you make small movements that put you in an advantageous position to attack his attack and break it.

Many of the techniques you see in neko washi dachi involve a different, maybe "softer" form of evasion as I've come to understand it, but it still to me is not really stepping out of the way as much as it is getting small and blending with whatever is being thrown.

I don't think it's possible to know how kata was meant to be interpreted in any reliable way, so to me it's more important that I have a good methodology for comprehending it that yields functional results and drills for training. It's been my (admittedly limited) experience that when you have this people tend to coem up with similar, though individualized versions of kata applications, probably exactly as it should be.

For the record, I do not consider myself to have a good grasp on application at all for kata other than:

Seisan
Saifa
Sepai
Seiunchin
Gekisai (if you wanna count it)

Even on these i'm certainly no expert but I do feel i've been taught enough that they have become the ones I focus on. Just for myself those four koryu kata I think are more than enough for me to study for some time. I am also 'junior' in terms of time in the style and as a dan rank.

And in fact Sanseiryu is probably my least favorite kata, and sorry to say I haven't given it much thought beyond the techniques it shares with Seisan, and maybe the last technique of the kata.


Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/27/08 02:47 AM)

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#395099 - 05/27/08 03:31 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: BrianS]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

Dan,

Just wondering,but do you have any video's of applications that aren't theatrical or against passive opponents?




I'm not sure what you mean by "passive opponent" - Jeff was kicking and was caught mid-kick by Nenad. He could have tried to block the counter, however that would have started to stray into the yakusoku/embu territory. In fact our gekisai ichi embu covers precisely this scenario: you're mid-kick and notice it is being deflected and that you will be countered with a punch which you then suppress using the third last move of gekisai ichi.

I'm also not sure we're on the same page re: theatrical: it just so happens I spoke with Jeff last night and reminisced about that demo. Jeff said that he took a blow but that it was (his words) "superbly controlled" by Nenad. I agree. In the actual video (not the gif obviously) you can hear the impact. Jeff of course also rode the blow well.

The theatrics only extended to Jeff throwing himself backwards a bit further than he might have. In other words, without any "theatrics" he would have fallen closer to Nenad or might just have stumbled back. It hardly nullifies the effectiveness of the bunkai nor makes it "passive".

Does this answer your question? I have loads of bunkai on youtube without any theatrics from my "attacker"...
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#395100 - 05/27/08 05:40 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Zach_Zinn]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

Many of the turning motions in Goju kata i've learned as throws, takedowns or something similar, so I personally don't see these as implying evasion themselves specifically.




Yes, but how do you deal with the initial attack in order to apply the throw, etc. I presume you make some sort of step or twist or other body movement (however small) - this is either in the kata (or an abbreviated move in the kata) or it is the reverse of the kata (or an abbreviated version of the reverse) or it is not in the kata at all.

Remember that just because our gekisai embu has some "larger" moves as tenshin doesn't mean that I view all tenshin as "large movements". The are ultimately quite subtle. I found that many students didn't seem to be aware of what they were doing in the context of setting up a throw etc. Focusing on tenshin/taisabaki has given them the means to categorise, standardise and understand this science.

Quote:

I see whatever there is of "defensive" movement (really even this is pretty offensive obviously) implied by most kata techniques themselves.




Exactly. But what to do with, say, the leg catch in sanseru? It is performed with a step forwards. Have you ever attempted a leg catch moving into your opponent in sparring? I'll bet you've only ever done it after the point of full extension has been reached - ie. when the kick has passed its point of maximum outward speed and is beginning to or is about to retract. This scenario pretty much only occurs when you have stepped back and caught the leg. This is one of the few examples of a "reverse" step to what one does in goju kata. By and large the kata movements correspond with what you actually do. But sometimes they don't...

Quote:

Taking the simplest as an example, the first technique in Gekisai by it's very nature involves evasive body movement to some degree, the thing is in my view you do not often need to consciously make big steps to "move out of the way" of strikes, you make small movements that put you in an advantageous position to attack his attack and break it.




I don't disagree at all. The first move in gekisai is really obviously evasive. The fact that you might make a smaller (very subtle) move in sparring to achieve your result is incidental. The kata will tend to "magnify" or enlarge turns, moves etc. as I discussed previously.

Quote:

Many of the techniques you see in neko washi dachi involve a different, maybe "softer" form of evasion as I've come to understand it, but it still to me is not really stepping out of the way as much as it is getting small and blending with whatever is being thrown.




Call it blending, call it what you will. This is the science of tenshin. It isn't about "stepping out of the way". Tenshin is about using your body to set you up for a counter as well as "dealing with the attack" - in much the same way that "blocks" aren't really about "stopping" an attack - they are about deflecting an attack and setting you up in a better position. Simply stopping an attack is usually insufficient. Simply getting out of the way is also usually insufficient.

Quote:

I don't think it's possible to know how kata was meant to be interpreted in any reliable way, so to me it's more important that I have a good methodology for comprehending it that yields functional results and drills for training.




Sorry, I don't agree. Everything I've seen in the internal arts has primed me to see forms (xing) as encyclopaedia - instructional guides. The fact that certain moves are "larger" etc. usually has a purpose for training etc. I think most kata moves have a reason and understanding tenshin is crucial to this. Only occasionally do I find something that is not readily explicable - the sanseru application above for example. This could be for any one of the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.

The fact that the science of tenshin is largely not dealt with by karateka is, I feel, regrettable and is at odds with, say, the internal arts methodology where it is assumed (and is consistently applied/interpreted). I'm afraid I think that karate suffers from "knowledge attrition" to this extent. In other words, the fact that many (most?) karateka are not really consciously aware of what exactly they are doing in a defence/counter is a minus, not a plus.

Quote:

It's been my (admittedly limited) experience that when you have this people tend to coem up with similar, though individualized versions of kata applications, probably exactly as it should be.




I'd say people are coming up with the same kata applications because they have the same methodology. Some of this is an unconscious application of tenshin gained from experience/trial and error. On the other hand, I've seen the same application "mangled" by someone with poor footwork (taking an extra, unnecessary step, or putting your foot in the wrong place, moving a tad to the left instead of to the right, etc.). I believe the knowledge and understanding of bunkai is enhanced by examining tenshin (body evasion). I'd go so far as to say it is essential for a thorough examination and improvement of technique, much like a runner can examine his stride or a tennis player can examine his serve to find ways of improving performance. Karate is a science - not hit and miss.

Furthermore some bunkai is, IMHO, blatantly wrong in the sense that it is at odds with basic biomechanics/self-defence. A classic would be the use of an age uke in the shiko in sanseru. I hate to bore you with my blog again, but I don't want to repeat it all. Take a look at http://dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com/2008/04/sanseiru-kata-and-its-variations-part-2.html. Please tell me you don't do the application I'm talking about!

(As an aside, the practitioners depicted in the videos in my blog are all excellent karateka who I greatly esteem. One group do an excellent summary of sanseru bunkai - except for this one move which is, quite frankly, wrong IMV).

Quote:

And in fact Sanseiryu is probably my least favorite kata, and sorry to say I haven't given it much thought beyond the techniques it shares with Seisan, and maybe the last technique of the kata.




Maybe lots of people feel this way, hence the less than ideal bunkai. I've also noticed people modifying their kata to match their (mistaken views on) bunkai till you get a move vastly different from that in the "standard" kata of IOGKF, Jundokan, Goju kai etc.

Schools such as tou'on ryu perform the kata so differently you wonder whether we have any reliable idea of what the kata should look like. For example, tou'on ryu make sense of the leg catch by going right down to the ground and scooping at the ankle. I think this has "hairs" on it, but it does make some sense of the move.

My best guess is however that the move was probably meant to involve a step back.


Edited by dandjurdjevic (05/27/08 05:54 AM)
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#395101 - 05/27/08 06:50 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Help a newbie, please? I'm enjoying listening in to you seniors, but am in the dark about the bunkai of most katas. I don't recall a leg catch in bunkai in Sanseru...is the bunkai broken out in detail somewhere...as a common point of reference?

(if it was, and I missed it, apologies...please point to the post?)

thank you

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#395102 - 05/27/08 06:55 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I'd like to clarify one point:

I think it is commendable that a karateka unconsciously moves with the correct tenshin/blending etc. in applying a technique. But for teaching/coaching purposes one must, in my view, be able to analyse and understand why something works and what you have actually done.

I've seen many karateka performing admirably with the correct tenshin (whether this be a movement of the feet or simply twisting the torso etc.) in order to deflect an attack and set up a counter. Some of these karateka have come to this point by trial and error. A minority have studied the science and applied it.

In this respect karate is no different from boxing, tennis or even art - being "schooled" or "coached" is no guarantee of good performance. Some "naturals" get there without it. But being schooled sure helps.

I was first made aware of tenshin and its importance by Graham Ravey in 1988. He was then freshly returned from being Higaonna sensei's uchi deshi. Clearly these were things going through Higaonna's mind at that time (and since). I've see his students admirably applying this knowledge.

On the other hand Ravey sensei (now head of his own organisation, the TOGKF) called tenshin/taisabaki a "forgotten art" and often made reference to the fact that "much has been lost" in karate.

I agree with him and nothing has changed my view after all these years, hence my comment about "knowledge attrition".

The problem is that karate comes with a "train, don't ask" culture...
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#395103 - 05/27/08 06:57 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: harlan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

Help a newbie, please? I'm enjoying listening in to you seniors, but am in the dark about the bunkai of most katas. I don't recall a leg catch in bunkai in Sanseru...is the bunkai broken out in detail somewhere...as a common point of reference?

(if it was, and I missed it, apologies...please point to the post?)

thank you




After the 3 punches there is a breakout, sweeping the left hand along the right forearm.

In most schools the next move is a sukui (scoop) catching your opponent's leg...
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#395104 - 05/27/08 07:01 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: BrianS]
jude33 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1539
Just to keep on topic. I think most techniques in drills in karate are made more effective by
The practice of hojo undo combined with modern weight training methods. Body conditioning is also done with the drills I practice.


Brians remark.
Quote:

I think jude does something more along the lines of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpdmNWPYPgE&feature=related



Incorrect.
Perhaps it is better to apply the trad teachings to a persons own methods of training.

I think this way

This is how goju ryu is meant to be trained and some other strains of karate.
Quote:


Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu places great emphasis on Hojo Undo or supplementary training for strengthening and hardening the body. The more common pieces of equipment are the Chishi, the Kongo Ken and Nigiri Game




One of the reasons for the use of strengthening and conditioning could be said to be

(1) keep injuries to the body to a minimum

(2) rehabilitation of existing injuries

(3) the strengthening of the tissue to reduce repeat injuries.


Quote from the judo log of Brian.
Quote:


2. I hate being injured.
3. I do love judo and competing.
4. I have always had questionable knees. My first knee injuries were in high school. They have troubled me from time to time ever since





So by that way of thinking troubled might indicate a minor injury.


Hojo undo strengthening the body ?

Part of goju ryu training yet it seems it hasnít been applied or explored and taken further or even used for rehabilitation purposes? or even trained?

Could I ask if you post a training log for strength training on the forum?

Jude


Edited by jude33 (05/27/08 07:05 AM)

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