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Thread: Sparring vs. Kata

  1. #121
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    Excellent post, Nathan, I would split hairs with you on one or two things, but by and large you make a very good point.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    Eric Joyce posted the following off-topic question in the following thread:

    Aikijujtusu vs Aikido



    This thread contains a lot of commentary on this subject, but let me add a bit more to it that hopefully is not repetitive.

    Though kata is basically a teaching tool, some of the what it is taught is training and conditioning in proper body movement, distancing, timing, blocks, and attacks. Increasing the intensity, speed, and power in a kata (at the appropriate point in training) against an increasingly uncooperative opponent is necessary at some point in developing effective methods. Also beneficial is limited free-style exchanges incorporated into a given kata, or spontaneous variations based on a kata. One of the most important aspects of correct kata training though is to create a realistic *mindset* and control of energy, breathing, and physical condition. Most people when confronted with a real threat begin to breath rapid and shallow, and tense up both physically and mentally. These are some seriously negative conditions that a trained martial artist trains to condition themselves against. In kata, you try to sink into a zone where you believe (more or less) that you are actually engaged in a life threatening conflict. This is an extremely important and useful conditioning tool for real life encounters if trained correctly.

    The problem with shiai training is it greatly reduces the perceived threat level, and becomes a mindset of working within the rules of the competition to win. Another problem is engaging in shiai before becoming highly skilled at the kata will cause the exponent to fall back on old habits when things aren't working in their favor, such as using only muscle, speed, and/or weight. This becomes counter-productive to the conditioning found in kata. Also, techniques must be changed to be more safe during shiai, and rules must be established so nobody gets hurt. These can also ingrain bad habits, since you "do as you train". Furthermore modern shiai encourages a Western strategy of "vying for position and opportunity", rather than the more Japanese strategy of setting the opponent up to lose due to a decisive action. So now you are mixing two opposing strategies as well.

    Mixing kata training with some degree of free-style exchange (at the appropriate times, and in the appropriate amount) seems to me to be the best of both worlds. But structured competition mixed with kata appears to be the worst combination. The more rules there are, the more misguided the "combative" mindset becomes.

    For those that are kata purists, and wish to verify their training method is correct and techniques effective, there is really only one way to find out. Fight. Not in a controlled atmosphere, but in a situation in which there is a clear threat to life, or serious bodily injury. This will provide the the kata exponent with honest attacks, and honest reactions.

    I've heard of some going to bars and picking fights with drunks to test themselves, but this seems to me to be the least ethical method. There are, however, professions and details in which one can place themselves in situations in which their abilities can be tested on a regular basis: military, military contractor, police, federal agencies (US Marshals, ICE, DEA, FBI, Border Patrol, etc.), bouncing, security, any position in which one interacts with the violently mentally ill, and even loss prevention agents (subduing shop lifters). Even if you study a weapon art, the most important parts of a real conflict (IMO) do not involve the weapon anyway.

    To be clear, I'm not suggesting budo-ka go pick fights with the general public, but rather, for those who wish to be "kata purists" AND develop practical skills, to consider professions or side-jobs in which such conflicts are sometimes unavoidable. Technically, there is no better (legal) feedback! Those who study with teachers who have tested their skills can often walk away with pretty effective methods themselves (based on the teacher's experiene), but when it comes down to it, there is no substitute for direct experience. Such testing need not be a life-long career choice - just at least long enough to provide well-rounded feedback (IMO).

    It is true that those who embrace shiai tend to develop better practical skills than those who embrace kata these days, but my personal opinion is that this is not due to a superiority in shiai practice as much as it is a neglect of proper kata training combined with real world testing.

    Hope this helps clarify my point of view better,

    Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I understand what your saying, but doesn't Judo kinda do this with the appropriate amount of balance between: kata, randori and shiai? I know Judo has become very sport oriented and follows certain rules in competition, but certainly the strategy of vying for position and opportunity can shift to finishing the opponent in one decisive action during a combat situation. The key is how well the judokas are trained to handle the stress of combat (in randori or shiai) in order for them to execute that "practical kata" we were discussing previously.
    Last edited by Eric Joyce; 7th January 2009 at 02:30. Reason: typo
    Sincerely,

    Eric Joyce
    Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu

  3. #123
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    Eric

    Yes and no.

    As a judoka, I can attest that judo training is an excellent base for combatives. Combined with kata, and realistic combative training, it is perhaps among the best out there for a practical, realistic, and adaptable art. Nothing in the martial arts I have experienced has mimicked the pace and dynamic of a real world hand to hand fight as judo shiai. I would take a purely sport focussed judoka over a purely kata trained classical martial artist or "modern combatives" type as my backup any day of the week.

    Position is critical in close combat. "Position before submission" is true of Judo, BJJ, as well as armed combatives with weapons in the mix. Judo, though not directly addressing this, trains many fundamentals that are directly applicable.

    That being said, shiai exists for shiai's sake, and it ingrains very bad habits among many judoka who simply do not see it as primarily a combative art. Depending upon the judoka, and his ability to see beyond the competition mat, this could have deleterious effects on "real world" fighting ability.

    I have met both types on the judo mat. Some of the best competitors are the best "real world" fighters I have ever met, and have proven it.

    I sometimes wonder what judo would be had Kano been a professional soldier or police officer rather than an educator. In some ways it would be very different. In others, I think the most important ones, it would be the same.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  4. #124
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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 12th June 2014 at 04:33.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkF View Post
    [b]

    Nah, it isn't worth it. And I'm beginning to think Dan was right. God help me, but I found myself agreeing with him.
    *****

    BTW: Kit, when I was a kid, believe it or not, I wanted to enter the academy, but the height minimum was 5'7."

    But then, the other side was much more fun in those days so I don't feel too bad about it.

    Your buddy,

    Mark
    Sorry for the interlude, but re-reading through the old posts and wanted to bump this one. Made me chuckle again.

    Rest in Peace, Mark.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  6. #126
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    Hi Kit and Nathan,

    I just re-read some of the old posts (thanks for the quote from MarkF (RIP). Great amount of information which I will read in more detail tonight. Good discussion too
    Last edited by Eric Joyce; 7th January 2009 at 15:42. Reason: typo
    Sincerely,

    Eric Joyce
    Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu

  7. #127
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    Default recommended book

    I would strongly recommend the following book:

    Karate and Ki: The Origin of Ki- The depth of Thought. Kenji Ushiro

    This book specifically addresses issues related to Kata. Nathan's position would be elaborated and expanded.

    Respectfully,

    Marc Abrams
    Dr. Marc Abrams
    www.aasbk.com

  8. #128
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    As an add to Dr. Abrams, the book also notes sparring is part of practice at Shindo Ryu dojo and describes how kata came through in sparring for Ushiro Sensei.

    Andrew De Luna

  9. #129
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    Andrew:

    Ushiro Sensei has a logical progression from kata, bunkai kumite (moves from kata in sparring situations) to kumite. He is a strong advocate that if you cannot apply what you learn to kumite then you are not doing something right. The interesting thing is that training under him has made my application of Aikido much improved and capable of being utilized with strikers.

    Marc Abrams
    Dr. Marc Abrams
    www.aasbk.com

  10. #130
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    I would like to respond to Meynards challenge. First, let me point out that Soke Angiers’ curriculum is completely based on old school techniques. Don has not changed his style since first being taught by Kenji. Believe me when I say that I have tried to elicit change. For a long time, I wanted Don to reverse the first list and get the guys up to speed with hands, feet, and the ground work portions of the curriculum. He sat me down one day and told me that if I wanted to teach my ‘stuff’, I was more than welcome to teach it any way I chose. But, he went on to say, that he started from the beginning in order to build a foundation necessary for what would come later. He felt that if students started their training incorrectly,the foundation for weapon work would fail. It’s difficult to work on one technique ad nauseam, or practice rolling till you bleed, but that is the price one pays for later perfection.

    Students with a small amount of training, those that are young and of whole body, want the challenge to perform more technically advanced work. However, they lack the technical training and ability, or patience. In reality, if a student had trained in these systems adhering to the original design structure, they would have started rolling and falling as a child, competently acquiring the basics as a teenager, and training many hours a day. If a student is only training twice a week in the evening, to accomplish the basic technical moves takes a much longer amount of time.

    The style of Aikijujitsu that Soke Angier teaches, as James discussed,is a weapons-based system . Soke Angier spent many years as an undercover police officer, working with every imaginable bad element found on the streets. This gave him the unique opportunity to determine firsthand which strategies and techniques were successful, and which needed revision. From this he learned to stick to his own convictions; play his own game. Never, ever get sucked into playing your opponents game. Soke Angier had the basic concept that your hands were made to facilitate tool usage. He felt you should have plenty of tools, be proficient at using them, and know their capability.

    Now, to address the issue of open competition. If weapons were used, it would be more in line with the strategic conditions of Yanagi Ryu. Some, but not all of Soke Angiers students have trained in the submission styles and MMA. Some came to the school I ran in Glendale. There were a number of high ranking practitioners of Jujitsu, some from Gene Labells, others from the new MMA groups that were just getting starting.

    I firmly believe that people need to be in tune to the current trends in both sport and competition martial training. I applaud the current direction and evolution of the MMA and the resurgence of quality Jujitsu. It brings to the forefront credibility in all aspects of what hand- to-hand conflict can be. Keep in mind, however, this current trend toward hand-to-hand was not used as a primary method historically.

    Whether in Europe or Asia, everyone carried multiple weapons. If one was to be successful, training required practicing with a variety of weapons. If you take a look at the the older systems of training that are weapons- based, you quickly realize that sticking out an arm or a leg was ill advised. Damage was usually severe.

    Aikijujitsu is a weapons-based system, primarily, with its curriculum developing students’ core movements based on body mechanics. No matter how monotonous and repetitious it might seem at the beginning, ultimately you progress to proficiently in the fundamentals of Aikijujitsu.

    Aikijujitsu as taught by Soke Angier is a well principled curriculum, complete with all the disciplines one would expect in a martial system. Having that said, he and his students don’t mind “mixing it up;” the end results might be different than you’d expect. For instance, how about a sharp, pointy item piercing an artery or some other target of opportunity as a primary strategy, instead of just “punching it out.” Like I said, Don likes to mix it up with some nasty “in fighting” just for fun now and then.

    I hope I have corrected the misconception that the beginning curriculum; the joint and body manipulation; is not the primary objective but a tool to build the body mechanics necessary for further instruction and a better foundation for the core of the system. As I’ve stated, it is indeed just a tool to cement the foundation necessary for the advanced principles.

    Toby. Why is it that out of all of us old guys I am the one without any hair? Perhaps I looked into the mirror to much.

    Respectfully to all....

    One mans opinion.

  11. #131
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    Default Regarding the issue of Yanagi-ryu and sparring

    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 12th June 2014 at 04:34.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kit LeBlanc View Post

    BTW isn't the accepted modern academic reference ASIAN instead of ORIENTAL?
    Yes. Oriental is considered... distasteful, particularly since the introduction of E. Said's famous text - "Orientalism"

  13. #133
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    FWIW...

    It should be noted that Meynard was only training with Angier sensei for about 2-3 years before he started going to Tim’s. That’s barely getting the basics in body control. Especially since the whole first year is mostly ukemi and solo exercises. It didn’t surprise me at all that they wiped the mat with him, he was just really a beginner at the time. He felt that his technique should work against any opponent, regardless. Rules or no rules he said it should be able to adapt. (Incidentally, I went to observe the training there with him once and they imposed a lot of rules including no dynamic locks, digit locks, and several types of strikes were prohibited… all things basic to Yanagi ryu) When he failed he basically blamed the art and the training, rather than himself.

    Barely having a grasp of the basics and then trying to pit techniques you haven’t “mastered” against people doing a completely different system with a different set of assumptions in their training is premature regardless of what style you do.

    Put a BJJ guy outside against a teenage girl with comparable training in naginata and I’d put my money on the girl.

    You can’t expect to do well when you are taken out of your element, especially when you are a beginner. On the same token, if, after a respectable amount of time training you are so single-minded that you cannot adapt your art to whatever you encounter then you deserve the wake-up call. But rather than change systems take what you’ve learned out of the box and see what it can do. It is called jujutsu after all.
    Richard Elias
    Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin ryu
    Yanagi Ryu

  14. #134
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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 12th June 2014 at 04:34.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    as always, great deal of information to digest and to think about.. more reasons to go Kata & Ohyo training. Thank you very much Scott sensei et al. I will certainly utilize all the information I can get for my next article!
    Ben Haryo (This guy has low IQ and uses a dialect which vaguely resembles Bad English).

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