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#434192 - 11/19/11 09:51 PM Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae?
EFRAIN Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 194
Loc: Clifton, NJ USA
Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae need to be modified/edited for modern day Martial Arts? Do you think it has to happen in order for "Katas/Forms/Poomsae" to be more effective in overall Martial Performance in modern day real world?

#434193 - 11/19/11 10:13 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: EFRAIN]
duanew Offline

Registered: 06/28/08
Posts: 326
Loc: MN
What makes you think that kata's aren't effective in over all performance in the modern world?

#434194 - 11/19/11 10:21 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: duanew]
EFRAIN Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 194
Loc: Clifton, NJ USA
Well, I don't think that they are ineffective, but some forms have technique's that don't seem useful.(Not getting into detail about what moves because it is better demonstrated)

That is why I ask. I want to know about individual opinions then I can make a judgement about what is useful and what is not depending on replies I get, at least in my opinion.

Bow out with respect from,

#434197 - 11/20/11 10:07 AM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: EFRAIN]
duanew Offline

Registered: 06/28/08
Posts: 326
Loc: MN
I can only speak for the kata I practice-If you don't see the usefulness you're looking at it wrong.


#434199 - 11/20/11 04:19 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: EFRAIN]
gojuman59 Offline

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
Originally Posted By: EFRAIN
Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae need to be modified/edited for modern day Martial Arts? Do you think it has to happen in order for "Katas/Forms/Poomsae" to be more effective in overall Martial Performance in modern day real world?

I'm not gonna bash any arts, but there are some kata/poomsae that do seem to have movements that are questionable.It seems that the questionable techniques are in the "newer forms."
I feel very fortunate to study one of the traditional martial arts, Okinawan Goju Ryu. Our movements in kata when applied correctly are very effective. They aren't for show, but for self-defense.I'm fairly old school in that I believe that kata should remain unchanged. This isn't to say that newer, better ways to train aren't out there.There are many training methods used now that weren't used in the past.It's just than kata represents our art and the techniques are the core of it. We move forward in modern times finding new ways to train, but our kata are our legacy that is the bridge from the past to our future in the arts.


#434200 - 11/20/11 04:56 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: gojuman59]
choonbee Offline

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 195
Katas have been difficult for me so far, and now I have two more to learn.
But that's why I do them. Because they're difficult for me.
Our katas in Tang-soo-do are a combination of practical self-defense moves and some obcsure moves that I probably wouldn't use in a fight, but all of them will get your body accustomed to moving in new ways, which will benefit me in more areas than self-defense. Plus, learning them requires continuous mental effort and concentration as well as physical effort, which adds important dimensions to training, in my opinion.
I don't think that I could train exclusivly on katas at this point in my life, but they have their place in our training, and are worth the effort.
Insert profound martial arts quotes or tough guy phrases here.

#434203 - 11/21/11 03:48 AM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: choonbee]
Zach_Zinn Offline

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
No, I think that if you do any form of training (kata included) and it seems like nonsense you have two choices:

1) Find someone who can make it not nonsense.

2) just don't do it.

Unfortunately I think most TMA people go with #2 due to simple lack of understanding of what kata is, what it's for, and how to actually train with the material.

#434207 - 11/21/11 11:50 AM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: Zach_Zinn]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 921
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
The issue is not the Kata its the way it is taught. Whether it is a Classical/Traditional/Modern in ethos, Its whether is works in reality. I have used both Modern and Traditional Kata in Genuine Street situations and know that they work. I have also used Modern and tradtional Kata in Kumite and found that again they work.
Its trusting the kata the form. I allow my students to use the kata to spar with so it becomes one with them. why teach kata then not permit them to use it in various situations. It totally in Karate ALL that is needed IS kata, everything else is jsut a diversion
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.


#434241 - 11/28/11 12:19 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: EFRAIN]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA
I believe much has to be edited.

This is a very complex subject. There are dozens of kata, each with many movements, and so generalizations are difficult. But let me summarize quickly. I agree with the concept that many kata seqeunces appear to have no useful corresponding empty hand application. I would argue that is because they don't.

This statement requires elaboration.

First, we need a definition for what I mean by the term "sequence." It is a series of movements that comprise a "direction" in kata. (It is sometimes useful to use the term "directional sequence.") There are scores of "directional sequences" in kata (I am referring to Chinese kata taught to Okinawans) where the full set of movements simply do not map to empty hand fighting, as we understand empty hand fighting. Simply put, empty hand fighting is the set of movements that will stop a larger attacker motivated to injure us. First and foremost, these applications require more than a single counter attack. They typically require two, three, or even more.

So how do "kata applications" vary from the sequences on which they are based? How are they "edited"? First, and most common, we find that extra movements are added to the actual kata movements to meet this requirement. For example, extra strikes are added, as well as takedowns, and follow up techniques to the attacker once he is on the ground.

In other words, the movements in the kata, are not enough, by themselves to fully accomplish what is needed, stopping an opponent. One of the ways in which bunkai has begun to evolve is based on the obvious assumption that when a larger opponent attacks, it is exceedingly rare that a single strike will stop the fight.

As anyone who trains in modern striking arts (Muay Thai, PMA, boxing, etc.) fully understands, multiple strikes are the norm, not the exception. Yet in many kata "directional sequences" there is often a single strike, if there are any at all. Strikes have to be added, to make the applications effective.

This contrasts significantly with kenpo, which is not only a system that is kata-based, but also appears to have at least some roots in Okinawan karate. In Kenpo, most fighting sequences are practiced that contain multiple strikes and kick strike combinations. And in kenpo these fighting sequences are the kata.

The second way in which kata "directional sequences" diverge from bunkai applications, is that we often found only snippets are used. This is most apparent with longer sequences. For example, if a sequence requires stepping in one direction with four steps before turning, we find that more realistic bunkai applications will take the first step or two, and utilize those for an application. What we rarely find is the full sequence utilized in a single combination. Again this contrasts with kenpo where each combination is meant to be done in full, and why, as compared to karate kata, there are typically so many more hand techniques for a given stance.

What we typically find for applications for the longer sequences in Okinawan kata (as well as the Japanese/Korean kata that descend from these kata) is a combination of these two principles. A short segment of a directional sequence is used, and additional strikes/takedowns not found in the kata are added to make a useful self-defense combination.

One of the aspects of kata application I find interesting is when you compare empty hand kata to many kobudo kata, especially kata for kama, tonfa and nunchaku. In these kata, believed to be native to Okinawa, in a given stance, there are numerous movements of the weapons. Not one, not two, but often many.

Yet in empty hand kata we find a different paradigm. A single stance often has one movement, sometimes two, infrequently three, and rarely more. This to me makes no sense. In the weapon kata, where the weapon is more deadly than the empty hand, (especially with kama), it appears to be assumed that there many blocks and strikes, in a relatively stationary position, and far, far more in a directional sequence. Yet in the empty hand kata, there is far more movement in stances, each with few "techniques" when compared to weapons kata.

If we accept the paradigm of Okinawan kobudo kata utilizing many sequences per stance, we should also accept the paradigm that in empty hand fighting, one needs to train extensively with multiple strike combinations in order to stop a larger attacker. And this is where kata are often fundamentally lacking. You have to add counters to make them effective.

Despite these obvious concepts, we find across traditional karate systems so many who cling tenaciously to the slowly withering concept that the movements in empty hand kata map fully and completely to effective fighting. They don't.

And interestingly, when you come to a forum such as this and ask about bunkai, it is very common to get one of the following responses.

1. You shouldn't even be asking. If a teacher is not providing this, then a student should go elsewhere. (This ignores the fact, that most karate schools do little, if any application for the scores of directional sequences found in the kata they practice.)

2. You can find it on youtube (with no links given).

3. You can go to a web site and order a DVD for $30-$50. (Of course the most common model is that these DVDs are created by individuals that developed their own applications.)

4. I can't show you the applications I know because they are secret. Or... My teacher won't let me share the applications I learned with anyone outside my school.

And when you are lucky enough to find something, you will generally find that the observations made initially are the norm, not the exception. These applications typically do not represent a full directional sequence, and most often add movements not found in the kata.

I began training 35 years ago, and had the good fortune to train in "bunkai" heavy systems. I have run a dojo for 12 years that is completely kata based, i.e, all our empty hand applications come directly from kata.

There is a great deal of application out there on you-tube, and there are lots of videos available that can provide karateka useful insights in utilizing kata effectively for fighting.

But the notion that systems practice bunkai for all sequences in all kata is not accurate. And for those who claim it is, we are generally not provided any evidence because of the "secrecy rule". And if we could get video, we would likely find that the concepts of small snippets, often combined with extra movements added is the norm.

Cayuga Karate
aka Kakushiite
aka Kakushidi

Edited by kakushiite (11/28/11 02:54 PM)
Edit Reason: same as above

#434242 - 11/28/11 12:47 PM Re: Do Katas/Forms/Poomsae? [Re: EFRAIN]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

If you don't see gains from the training you do--then don't do it......really does not matter what specific section of training you are talking about.

If you "have" to learn because it a requirement but you like the rest of the training---then that would seem to be the answer. Gut out the stuff you don't like to get to the stuff you do.

I see gains from my practice of kata/forms/etc, so I do them.

Unless you can show me how a "modern" punch is somehow unique and so different that my training vs "punches" in general is no longer going to help me than I don't see why it would need to be "modified" at all in that regard.

As far as I can see you have to ajust or "edit" pretty much any and all of your techniques as its unlikely that anyone attacking you is going to be EXACTLY your height/weight---chances are your going to have change things a bit given whom your working I'm guessing its simply a matter of degree.

Edited by cxt (11/28/11 12:50 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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