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Thread: Kata

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    Default Kata

    The subject surfaces from tome to time. Martial artists if this era cannot grasp the need. One such discussion I had with a martial artist was I told hiom simply, that kata is a training routine. Almost no different than any other practice discipline. And the latter, the discipline, is where kata is also misunderstood.

    Can anyone include the much importance of Kata in martial arts today?
    Richard Scardina

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickster View Post
    The subject surfaces from tome to time. Martial artists if this era cannot grasp the need. One such discussion I had with a martial artist was I told hiom simply, that kata is a training routine. Almost no different than any other practice discipline. And the latter, the discipline, is where kata is also misunderstood.

    Can anyone include the much importance of Kata in martial arts today?
    "If you do not learn basics, you do not get your much deserved black belt. Go and play freestyle/MMA as much as you want, but you will never reach that goal of learning all the best stuff we do."

    See what he says from that.

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    Learning kata can be compared to getting dressed in formal attire.

    If you take your time, you will learn to get your shirt buttoned properly, your tie will be tied correctly, your suspenders will have the right tension, your shoes will be tied not too tight, your cuff links will match and will be placed correctly, etc., and the outfit will coordinate well. If you get dressed with patience and thoughtfulness you will get is all just right. You will look sharp and all the chicks will dig you. If you rush through the dressing process with little preparation, experience or control, you will wind up looking like a schlub in a monkey suit and you will get a date with a hunchback.

    Overtime, and with lots or practice, you wil be able to look great with less and less time and with less and less consideration. The process will become second nature and you will be able to look great effortlessly.

    The same applies to kata. They help you focus on the individual parts of martial techniques. YThrough kata you polish your movement, and develop critical skills such as understanding mai-ai and zanshin, being able to identify openng in your opponent's movement as well as youe own, etc. Skipping such training will not allow you to learn to move properly and efficiently without thought.

    Ev

    Ev
    Evan London
    Dojo-cho, Jinenkan Inazuma Dojo
    Orange, CT
    www.Jinenkan-Inazuma.com

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    Kata is not needed to learn how to fight or defend oneself.

    Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch let me preface it by saying that I've been training in a kata based system for the past 25 years with 22 of those in ShorinRyu. So I'm not one of those kata is useless proponents.

    If someone came to me and asked to be taught how to defend themselves I wouldn't teach them kata. I'm doing that now with my daughters and how I taught at the police academy. But, if someone came to me and asked to be taught ShorinRyu plus learn to defend themselves they will be taught kata.

    Kata, imo, is a living historical text only good for the styles that is being transmitted. Also many techniques in kata have different applications. For example a middle block can also be an arm break. That's what differentiates it from just form practice.

    So if someone say that kata has not validity well, first off they do not know what they're talking about. Tell them that's an integral part of your style and within it the kata has alot to offer towards self defense.

    Anyway, my two cents.
    Tony Urena

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    Default My 2 cents...(long post and boring)

    Tony,

    Could you expand in which context we are using the word "kata"? Sorry to be picky my friend, is just because i'm confused if we adress to the concept of Kata from the perspective of traditional Martial Arts or as a pre-arranged exercise...

    Sorry to ask this question, maybe sounds silly but from the replies i´m a bit "out of place" to try to focus my answer properly.

    Just my 2 cents guys...

    First:

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

    Second:
    (a short essay about Kata)

    Kata vs Pre-arranged routines?

    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 againt 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?.

    SO when MMA practitioners are training for a fight they are USING KATA, but they don´t call it Kata they call it "training routines", BJJ guys do the same when practising how to pass the guard from different positions or how to escape from a mounted position: a guy is working with you in a SAFE enviroment with a pre-arranged situation (somebody is with you and you are trying to learn how to escape/strike/evade/choke/kick/bite/spit/......from that PRE_ARRANGED situation).

    Realistic training will kill EVERYBODY too fast, or anybody would be surviving a "realistic training" when training with edged weapons or firearms?? (as per example, Arnis or Eskrima or any LEO).

    The thing is that people still believe in kata as "an individual fighting with the air".

    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.

    The importance of Kata is, IMHO, paramount to really achieve a level of performance, understanding and proficiency on wat you practise. Kata, well taught builds the "skeleton" or the "bones" of what you are doing...the "imprint" of movements, theories and mindset (specially weapon Kata) that you could be transferring to an empty-hand situation but, most important, Kata is a Dictionary you could adress to find out things...deep layers of knowledge could be found in the Kata, is how the Kata is taught and learned that would be helping you as long as your process of learning evolves...

    More comments about this subject:

    http://www.swordforumbugei.com/phpBB...205&highlight=






    Respectfully,

    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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    I differentiate kata from training routines. First off, I'm talking about single person forms developed in karate's infancy.

    While one can argue that boxer, MMA and like are perfroming forms they are not doing what I define as kata.

    There are two elements that separate it from just repetition of techniques. 1. It's historical context that convey the styles principle and contexts and 2. bunkai.

    A boxer or MMA does not practice a series pf techniques then break it down into different applications. They just practice the specific techniques.

    That's one of the reasons why you have many argue against kata.
    As you know a good karate sensei will teach kata, hopefully break down certain techniques then allowed to be worked in pairs. Hopefully eventually with the some force and resistance. Your anti kata people will say it's a waste of time. They just want to practice the technique without resorting to kata.

    I hope I got my point across.
    Tony Urena

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    Tony,

    Thanks a lot for your inputs...i'm sorry i replied before i fully understood what you've been asking for.



    Sorry
    "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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    Very good point in asking us to defind kata!

    In my art kata involve two or more people interacting in a pre-set sequence of attacks and defenses. It starts with beginners moving slowly in order to learn the physical details of sequence and evolves into faster movements as practitioners focus on different aspects of the movement such as power, speed, distance, timing, strategy, etc.

    Ev
    Evan London
    Dojo-cho, Jinenkan Inazuma Dojo
    Orange, CT
    www.Jinenkan-Inazuma.com

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    Kata---either solo exercise or multiple person type....is simply one of a number of methods of training.......I find value in the practice.......if people don't they should embrace whatever training methods they find of value in and show gains for them.....I just get very very tired of people BMW'ing about kata.

    If you hate it....don't do it....just quit bellyaching about it.

    If your teacher is making you do it......if you find the class otherwise valuable....simply suck it up and train how the teacher wants you to do it.
    If you don't....then simply quit and let it be.

    NOT THAT ANYONE HERE DID THAT.......just a very general comment.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxt View Post
    Kata---either solo exercise or multiple person type....is simply one of a number of methods of training.......I find value in the practice.......if people don't they should embrace whatever training methods they find of value in and show gains for them.....I just get very very tired of people BMW'ing about kata.

    If you hate it....don't do it....just quit bellyaching about it.

    If your teacher is making you do it......if you find the class otherwise valuable....simply suck it up and train how the teacher wants you to do it.
    If you don't....then simply quit and let it be.

    NOT THAT ANYONE HERE DID THAT.......just a very general comment.
    Nicely put. I've always made similar statements.
    Tony Urena

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    Quote Originally Posted by Óscar Recio View Post
    Tony,

    Thanks a lot for your inputs...i'm sorry i replied before i fully understood what you've been asking for.



    Sorry
    No need to apologize. It was a valid question and I think the thread and its posters is of value. You have here a variety of practitioners and experience who are sharing knowledge and their opinions. Isn't that what these forums are for.

    I think the only down side is that we lose diction and emotion. So what we need to do is have these discussion over some cold adult beverages.
    Tony Urena

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    The thing about Kata that I love is that if I can't get to the dojo regularly I can go in my backyard and still train in the martial arts.I would say once you learn a kata it stays with you always so no matter where you are or what you are doing you can find a place and still train your mind and body.
    Anthony R. Coyne

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    Some scholars decree, that the Chinese took their term from Indian vedic/sanskrit..Nata. Therefore, the Japanese had re-formed it per its spelling or translation. hoever the simularites are more in the Chinese pictogram which read "shirng", and read "kata" in Japanese. The two are the same, with the same basic meanings, but read in two different words in the two languages..


    Some say that Katas are good to build muscle memory. I dont completely agree that Kata is muscle memory. One can get muscle memory from any workout activity. In other words, one can train the body for muscle memory, but it is too specific and/or limited. Katas were used as a exercise, when no such equipment that can do the same job existed. It would seem that Katas were a way to record and perserve techniques/methods. However, as it may have been this case, performing the Kata may serve as a "reminder" of what that technique is.

    Katas, being a rehearsed routine, may be no different as one working on a bag, learning from actual fisticuffs - per what one is capable of, weight training, sparring, etc. So all of these "routines", done by other arts, could be considered as "Kata"?

    Kata is form. Not neccessarily pattern although the term Kata could be used to say pattern in some cases. It is your form for whatever it is you do. The word Kata may have been around longer than Karate or Judo.

    Looking further upon Kata being your form. Either you go fishing with proper form in order to catch, , or your form if you are shooting a basketball in order to score. People think only that Kata is related to Karate, and is only that what some would call it pointless dance steps that all tradition martial arts have.

    Kata is in a sense is anything in I guess you can say every martial art. Either in BJJ or Boxing, or Karate, or in playing an instrument, or even dancing, or running. It is your form, your technique. It is what is practiced in order to hopefully better yourself in whatever it is you are trying to master.

    I tend to think it is not only limited to martial arts. I tend to think, or have re-thought, that Kata is "me". The way my master taught me, to "develop me". Ignornace leads to misconceptions.

    Kata, to me, is like the term Kung Fu, is a misnomer and misconception. My Japanese instructor, (as with many older Asian instructors when you been around them for awhile - they open up to you more personal)started to tell me more about his personal life, boyhood, language, history, and he had a good friend who was a professor with Asian Linguistics, and a incredible fluent linguist of several languages. My Japanese Karate teacher said, in accent; "Kata apply to anyone do anything". You have Kata to be better in anything".

    At one time from being a martial artist for so long, I started to "dismissed" Kata as not having any "real value". As I became older, the physical AND mental benefits started to surface surpassing my previous expectations.

    Whew - what else can I include?
    Richard Scardina

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    If I may ask another question (however impetuous it may sound):
    Why so many kata?
    Kusanku contains elements from all five Pinan kata (some sources tell me they were derrived, others state it's an abstract coincidence), Matsukaze, and perhaps many others.
    I understand that inevitably certain teachers would like to preserve certain techniques, stances, and principles, but when you consider it, the kata Sanchin is simply a repetition of movements in the tense and grounded Sanchin stance, there few variations offer little to the (or at least my very inexperienced) mind.

    Ultimately with all of the kata out there, perhaps we're groping for a higher quantity of kata when the same principles and techniques are in a kata whether or not we feel that they embody the spirit of the kata.
    Let me explain:
    The Pinan kata are a good method of building up to Kusanku, it makes it easier for a beginner to get into karate. This, I hope, is true in every case.
    But once we've graduated to Kusanku (a requirement for some Shodans), the Pinans then become obsolete (in the sense that the starting and stopping of going through each Pinan takes more time then doing Kusanku). I, then, wonder what the point is of the universe of kata that I have not seen.

    If a kata like Kusanku can cover every variable of technique and principle, from shin-snapping, neck-cracking, and body-breaking implications, why then do we need kata that repeat the same philosophies as Kusanku?

    Just to be clear, I have basic knowledge of Kusanku. I've done it a few times, I've practiced some of the bunkai for it, the main question I'm asking is:
    If Shuto (or a punch, a cat-stance, or a crescent step, etc) can mean a parry and a strike, a grab and a strike, a simple strike, an arm-bar, or anything like that, why then do you see it in so many kata?

    I mean no disrespect to anyone in asking this, I've stated that I do not know a great many details, nor do I have any certifications to be making claims that any kata are invalid because of monotonous repetition of similar elements. I simply desire to know why there are so many kata.

    Ju Roku and Matsukaze both contain similar elements, as well as ones completely foreign and new to me, but why repeat?

    Thank you for any kind insight,
    Respectfully,
    Johnathan Pierson

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    PiersonJ,

    I dont consider your questioning/discussion, disrespectful.

    As for so many Kata

    Being that it is form, or to improve the individual.

    Then so, how can any ONE (Kata) do this for EVERY person?
    (Almost on likeness that ONE martial art has everything and is for everyone)

    Also, such Kata, are the beginning foundation for another.

    For example, a baseball pitcher cannot merely start throwing in a pro status, if he hasnt practiced the foundations and basis of general movement pertaining not just to pitching, but to the entire sport.

    And such are not limited to "one"
    Last edited by Richard Scardina; 22nd January 2009 at 04:31.
    Richard Scardina

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