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Walter Kopitov
24th October 2001, 15:20
Does form follow function or does function follow form? If you do a technique correctly you will end up with the proper form (stance, grips, etc.) or do you focus on the proper form and then your technique will be correct?

Walt

Walker
24th October 2001, 15:41
Both!
Plus a bunch of other things.:(
Everything and nothing
hanging by a gossamer thread.:cry:

asiawide
24th October 2001, 16:05
Well.. I'm not sure but as everybody knows, there are some
small but important 'points' in every techniques. The techniques
without them are just a series of 'FORM's. I can copy the
forms of masters. But mine is totally different from what the
masters did since I don't know the points of techniques.

IMHO, there are bad teachers because of this. With 'Ukemi Kumi',
such teachers can perform really great and wonderful techniques.

ps.
You can build a nice house on concrete cornerstones.
But concrete cornersontes are not the house itself though
it's very important.

INFINOO
24th October 2001, 17:16
If a tech works how can the form be wrong? If the form is proper but the tech fails is it proper form? I would say no. Or maby right form wrong time, and place. Variation or henka are always a good things:D If not it can be be like trying to fit a box in a round hole, somtimes. I like the idea of reverse enginering in Aikido.It can aid in the understanding process. Especially, if you want to really understand a tech and perhaps some day teach the same. One must really know the corners so to speak. Its can be good to break tech down peice by peice , step by step. Forward, backward, and inside out. However if this step isnt linked together at some point, the final tech may look very choppy. Kind of like a viewing a still frame 6 frames per second moter drive sequence shown on vidio, which is 30 frames per second. By the same token, a still photo frozen in time of a given tech can relay information about form that a continuous sequence will be lost in by the veiwer. For instance at what point "where did it go wrong" or "why did that work and feel so good". For me the bottom line is does it(tech) work at a given moment or not. Kind of like if it looks stupid but works, it might not be stupid.

Gregory Rogalsky
Director Rogalsky Combatives International

Johan Tibell
24th October 2001, 20:30
Originally posted by asiawide
Well.. I'm not sure but as everybody knows, there are some
small but important 'points' in every techniques. The techniques
without them are just a series of 'FORM's. I can copy the
forms of masters. But mine is totally different from what the
masters did since I don't know the points of techniques.

IMHO, there are bad teachers because of this. With 'Ukemi Kumi',
such teachers can perform really great and wonderful techniques.

ps.
You can build a nice house on concrete cornerstones.
But concrete cornersontes are not the house itself though
it's very important.

I agree with you. In weapon practice the "secrets" of the art can be found in partner practice (kumijo for example, jo against jo) while kata is more for show of although kata contains the basic strikes blocks etc. but the blocks in kata when practiced as kumijo is often different from when performed solo.

:nin:

For example sometimes you make a high block with the jo above your head and both hands in the middle while doing kata. In kumijo one hand is moved to the end of the jo to give the block some stability.

Best Regards,

Johan Tibell

asiawide
25th October 2001, 07:54
You're right. Many people (include me) just memorize kata
and do it. Even worse, many people (include me) concentrate
on making clapping&hitting noise of stick while doing kumijo.

Walter Kopitov
25th October 2001, 19:27
Form and function should be practiced and taught at the same time. Like the wings of a bird, they can't fly with out both. Understanding the function keeps the form from devolving and having the form keeps the function effecient.
Walt

Johan Tibell
25th October 2001, 19:49
Originally posted by Walter Kopitov
Form and function should be practiced and taught at the same time. Like the wings of a bird, they can't fly with out both. Understanding the function keeps the form from devolving and having the form keeps the function effecient.
Walt

Yes, I agree with you but what I was trying to say is that kata (mostly) doesn't contain the "secrets" to a particular weapon school, they're for demonstrations (doesn't apply for all different ryus of course) and for teaching the very basic movements. The dynamics of fighting withthe paticular weapon is taught during partner practice.

In that sense you can sometimes say that kata is almost just form. Again this doesn't always apply.

*Wards himself in his superman costume against the flames*

Best Regards,

Johan Tibell

George Hyde
26th October 2001, 14:24
Hi All,

Hope you guys don't mind a non-aikidoka jumping in, but this is an interesting topic.

I recall (I forget from where) that after demonstrating a technique, Ueshiba was often asked by his students to repeat it so that they could see how it worked whereupon he was apt to respond, "there's no point - it will be different every time".

I believe this speaks of form and function. Clearly both are interrelated, even interdependent one might say, however, the 'individual' existence of each is only apparent in training - both becoming one (or mutually exclusive) in application. My approach is to watch the form, copy it, and then to attempt to execute the technique whilst focusing entirely on the function (or 'objective' as I prefer).

Ueshiba's comments above suggest to me that in the execution of a technique, precise form is determined by the circumstances and may necessarily involve henka. Circumstances, and therefore form, should not be predicted thereby making unnecessary demands on one's conscious thoughts. This of course leads to mushin and one's total detachment from the mechanics of the technique. Examination of correct form is essential to gaining mastery, but there must come a time when conscious observance of it is totally discarded.

As to what follows which, I'd have to say function follows form. But exclusive attention to it will rob it of its functional purpose.

Just my thoughts - I hope that as an 'outsider' I don't give the impression that I'm preaching.

Later,

Johan Tibell
26th October 2001, 14:43
Well said. :)

Best Regards,

Johan Tibell

Walter Kopitov
26th October 2001, 15:20
Function should be the primary focus with form almost secondary. If the function is understood then the form should take care of its self. This way you can respond creativly in a surprise attack and how ever you respond will be correct in form and function to the situation. If your focus is mostly form then the form may be perfect but it may not function due to the chaotic nature of conflict.

Walt

Johan Tibell
26th October 2001, 15:28
Form is used to teach the function. I don't think anyone actually thinks there is a special form for anything when the technique is performed in a "real" situation.

Best Regards,

Johan Tibell

Aikieagle
27th October 2001, 23:45
i think, our training is like clay. When we first start we are this big lump with no form OR function, just clay, useless and empty. But we make something of this formlessness and functionlessness. How do we do that? We chip away and mold the clay until we find the "master piece".
This idea of perfection is how we should view the technique, i dont think worrying about its functionality or its form will help you learn a technique when first starting. That would be like adding clay to a sculpture that has too much already! After a while, you are not satisfied with just "completing" a technique and stepping the right way, you want to make it look better and more complete than before. The more a tech. is practiced, the form and function is REALIZED by the student(with the aid of the teacher of course...).
Form and function are the same thing, so how can one grow more than the other? We practice form to make sure that we are as functional as possible, by not adding wasted or un-needed movements, right? We clean our form to make it functional. Functionality is a form in that its term dictates what is and what is not functional, so there is a seperation of what is needed and what is not. Like a form! ;) Forms in MA werent designed just to look pretty, there is a function for them and must be realized by the students. Otherwise there is no function NOR form. So like other MA's, there is a reason, a FUNCTIONAL reason, for why we are to prefect our form. There is a reason why you use your hips, to generate power, there is a reason why we blend, to use the given energy by the uke to off-set his attack, there is a reason why we bow to each other, to give each other thanks. So the question is not which comes first, but which is seen first by the student? Our views and perceptions dictate what is seen first, not whether it comes first. It all depends on the person. one person my be a "pull no punches, fight everyone i can" kind of person and most likely he will pick up the functional aspect. Some one who is interested in the "mental spirit " may view form as the important thing.
But reality is, non of these is important, as least not by themselves. Only when they stand together do they become fully seen. Otherwise, we pick and choose what we see and what we dont, that is a limitation put upon by the student him/her self. To get the full view is what i think will come with the most reward. That is how you will get good form AND good function at the same time. :)

Cesar

rupert
5th November 2001, 10:10
For me, form is where you start but function is what you seek. Function is everything. The form is just a reference point, but along the WAY, its meaning might change as your understanding via function increases. Once you have function, you can go back to the form and it has more meaning. Now, your form might have 'function,' depending upon how you practice of course:)
At the end of the day though, it is function that you need. The form is more useful for passing the art on.

Rupert Atkinson

Gil Gillespie
5th November 2001, 14:53
Walker's great little post may have rendered the rest of this dialog meaningless until rereading reveals that there is no chaff in this thread (except for mine, of course); everybody added to this gumbo a spice that would be sorely missed!

Form and function "twist and turn like a double helix, at once divided and connected, separate and in concert." (The quote is blatantly stolen from Ellen Goodman's column of 10/25.) But separating them in significance is not quite a chicken-egg metaphor: function does predate and define form. All that we study is based on the quickest, most efficient and safest way to triumph over a physical enemy, the function. But the significance of the form is why these are known as martial ARTS.

Greg, I have to take issue with your opening. A technique can work with the form being wrong when it's just pure gorilla, or pure luck, or weak opponent (read: overly helpful uke), etc. The form can be correct and the technique fail if the intangibles are overlooked: energy, internal power (we'll leave "ki" outa this), martial intent, and TIMING.

Even the purely kata (form) arts have the underlying bunkai (function) that keeps the double helix spiraling.

Richard Elias
5th November 2001, 16:24
If you practice a functioning technique enough, it becomes your form. If you practice a form so that it works, it becomes functional.

Form gives shape to the function, function gives meaning to the form.

They are two sides of the same coin.