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Thread: Question about the purpose of kata in Koryu Bujutsu

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    Default Question about the purpose of kata in Koryu Bujutsu

    Hello,

    As it is said in the title, what is the purpose of kata? Imprinting forms in the body, teaching principles? Were the basics learnt within the ryu or there was a foundation that everyone was supposed to posses?

    Have a nice day.
    Maxime Mouysset

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    If you do a search on "kata" you should find enough information to answer your question, and then some.

    This has been an ubiquitous topic over the years.

    Kevin Cantwell

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    To paraphrase professor Karl Friday, kata training is mostly misunderstood in the western world and amongst the people familiar with modern systems (as contra koryu).

    Excellent introduction to kata training from the view point of classical bugei (koryu) is prof. Fridays article "Kabala in Motion: Kata & Pattern Practice in the Traditional Bugei", which can be found at least in the book "Sword & Spirit: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan, volume 2" (ISBN: 1-890536-05-9), by Diane Skoss (ed.) and in prof. Friday's book "Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture" (ISBN: 0-8248-1879-2).

    In the first volume of the Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan by Diane Skoss (ed.) there is also article by Hunter B. Armstrong "The Koryu Bujutsu Experience" which discusses the aim of the kata training in classical bugei and the differences with more modern systems.

    One excellent post here on E-Budo by William Bodiford, which explains quite well the kata training from the view of Kashima-Shinryu can be found here.

    Hope this helps!
    -Mikko Vilenius

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    Many thanks. It gives me a very good basis for my research.
    Maxime Mouysset

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    http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=222

    "Some practitioners of modern martial traditions dismiss kata and shu-ha-ri as being too confining or old fashioned. In truth, this position is flawed because they misinterpret the purpose of kata. Like so many armchair experts, they have not been properly trained beyond the shoden level in kata and are commenting on a subject about which they simply are unqualified and therefore unable to comprehend. Like most observers outside the experience of deep study, they see the kata as the art itself instead of a sophisticated teaching tool that is only a surface reflection of an arts core concepts. The kata, in their flawed interpretation "is" the art. This is like the flaw of assuming a dictionary to be a complete representation of language. Unfortunately, numerous older martial traditions in Japan unintentionally reinforce this misinterpretation by overemphasizing the kata. Often with these schools significant core elements and knowledge have been lost to antiquity so that all that remains is the omote or outer shell of the kata. With nothing left but the kata to embrace, these schools often reinterpret their mokuroku (technical syllabus), making the kata the primary driving force of the ryu. When this happens the ryu inevitably degenerates into a simplistic dance where the ura and applications of the kata become of secondary focus. These traditions are effectively dead. They are like skeletons attempting to represent a total person."


    Kata is any type of pre-arranged exercise. Maybe you don´t use the word kata but, is a fact, you use it. Boxers use, MMA pratitioners use it and you used at school to learn how to write and read man. Those pre-arranged situations of learning gives you the tools and strategies to REALLY develop the skills to deal with a one-on-one situation but...

    Let´s get clear:

    THE DOJO/GYM IS A LABORATORY, i hope that everybody agree. In your training you should be encountering, in a progressive approach, more and more adrenaline stress ´til reach the higher and closer level of reality. That´s it...if your training got this, ok...if not..ok...not everybody trains for the same purpose, some trains for social interaction, some for competition, for sport, for love of the MA...nothing prepares you for a real fight, nothing...your training, that will be the ideal, needs to adress a way to present "reality" factors as your skill progresses.

    So we agree about first doing basic drills and then, progressively, adding more and more ingredients of "realistic" combat situations. First learning the basics of the movement and mechanics of "what you want to learn"" (shooting, climbing, drawing, flower arrangement...) and then making the basics skills evolve to adapt, first to your body structure, then to your own idea of what are you looking for and then, final step, confronting a stressfull situation from the very basic stress to the higher stress( first sparring with a friend at the dojo or ring, climbing indoor at a local competition, doing your ikebana at a local flower arrangement championship. The the same thing against the "TIME" factor, so you need to do it in less time but with the same level of proficiency and the, just to get over the middle steps, agains the higher stressful situation (climbing outdoors in deat valley at midday with strong wind, world kick boxing competition, shooting your weapon in a "90%" real situation at a SWAT training camp with people shooting at you, doing your Ikebana at the Tokyo Flower arrangement championships....) Generally speaking and not specifically about LEO, cops and soldiers, just to have a general view, ok?.


    The thing is that people still believe in kata as "an individual fighting with the air" (and of course in Koryu there are very few "solo" kata). This is a flawed view of the Kata; this shows a lack of understanding of what´s going IN and ON the situation of Kata study. KATA IS NOT A WAY OF FIGHTING, just tell any Karateka about it. Kata is A WAY OF KNOWLEDGE TRANSMISSION AND CODIFICATION OF THEORIES AND PRINCIPLES...no more but no less, and that is a really intrincate subject to talk about. And again, just using an example, calssical MA Kata are ALWAYS worked by pairs: look at Judo and Aikido for example, the same with Kendo (and those are forms of Gendai Budo) but the same with MMA, BJJ, Wing Tsun and so on...they have Kata but under different names.



    And other thoughts about it:

    http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1940

    Why i´m re-writitng this again?
    Well just to safe some time guys...sorry...i´m not in the mood...again, my most sincere apologies if i´m going in the wrong direction.

    Sincerely,

    Óscar Recio
    "Any man who refers to himself as a "master" or knowlingly allows his students to refer to him as a master, isn´t one"
    Takamura Yukiyoshi
    http://www.dojotanabe.com

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