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Doshu
06-29-2002, 10:22 AM
Sorry to be starting continous threads, but its great to have input into Martial Arts from people that appear to really understand them.

I studied Shotokan for 2 years, and though the Katas look impressive and train you very well in holding positions. The actual applications of these moves are a little criptic. Shotokai students have a greater understanding. Also not to over general but Kung Fu especially the hard southern styles, adopt hard stances that are difficult to hold and in a real situation difficult to applie.

As a Ki Aikido practioner it was strange to train with out fixed movements. Although the forms are fixed they are "looser".

I wanted to know which would create the better Martial Artist. Looking at it completely superfacially, without considering the actual practioner.

Cheers

Chris

jimvance
06-29-2002, 10:44 AM
Kata as a classical training method were never intended to serve as real life application. Instead, they teach correct posture, principles of movement, strategy, and relaxation under stress. Apply this same question to painting. Would copying the masters make you a better painter than just experimenting on your own? I think you need both in order arrive at a level called "artist".

Jim Vance

Bruce Baker
06-29-2002, 01:49 PM
I used to question different teachers of karate about the moves in kata, and their practical application in sparring or actual fighting ... nearly all of them relayed knowledge their teacher had given them, or didn't know.

The ones who did not know were the honest ones.

Every move in a kata is designed to kill.

There are no blocks in kata, but each move is designed to activate a pressure point that disables, knocksouts, or kills.

With the chopping off of heads in Japan, or the many internal conflicts in Asia, many of the hidden schools of empty hand (chi'uan fa better know as Kempo) steal whatever works best for their art, which in turn creates nothing but misconception for tracing the real history of martial arts.

So ... when you see a kata, whetherit be in your own style, or another style, chances are the actual applications have been lost as movements have been imitated without the knowledge being passed down to all teachers.

When you think kata, think attackers, think purpose of movement, think pressure points ... it will provide clarity to many of the lost movements which are sometimes exagerated movements of jujitsu, found in Aikido, or exagerated movements you already do in fighting but have not associated them with kata ... yet.

Once you or the teacher who teaches you sees purpose with application, it becomes much easier to translate kata into techniques.

Don't know if that helps, but playing with kata at pressure point seminars has been enlightening for all styles of martial arts that attend, especially me.

As far as Aikido, my position is that we have a variety of pressure points at our finger tips for almost all of Aikido's techniques, and sooner or later we will teach them even if we never need to use them.

ronmar
06-29-2002, 02:31 PM
[QUOTE]I wanted to know which would create the better Martial Artist. Looking at it completely superfacially, without considering the actual practioner. [/QUOT

Depends what you mean by martial artist. None of the styles you mention tend to produce effective and realistic fighters since they lack realistic sparring. Katas and "secret techniques" like pressure points attract the martial arts equivalent of trainspotters and stamp collectors. People who were bullied as kids and are looking for some secret magic way to overcome adversity. Unfortunately arcane old fashioned martial arts styles are not the answer. Good as a hobby though if your interested in that sort of thing.

What you need to learn to fight is constant pressure testing of techniques through sparring and competition, along with drilling of the basics under the direction of a good coach. This needs to be coupled with concentration on strength, conditioning and diet.

Doshu
06-30-2002, 04:47 AM
The last comment

Unfortunately arcane old fashioned martial arts styles are not the answer. Good as a hobby though if your interested in that sort of thing.

That is not really truth the techniques past to use by out Sensei are "battle tested". If a martial arts really did not "work" then people would not study them. More to the point any martial artists would tell you that the "body" ie fittness and diet are very important. But the focusing of Ki, the use of the mind, emptyness and Seikan no Itten have a great impact. Personally I did not believe that Aikido worked. As a Shotokan student I constantly was taught to believe that aggrestiveness, fittness and strength were the most important. However they really are not. My Sensei who was taught by Sensei Abbe and Sensei Tohei could easily destroy me, because atleast a foot shorter than me and not as strong (physically). So what you say has some truth in respet to hard martial arts.

However in the realms of Aiki, it is meaningless.


Cheers

Chris

PeterR
06-30-2002, 07:57 PM
Is it just me or is anyone else bothered by the moniker Doshu.

batemanb
06-30-2002, 09:03 PM
I wasn`t going to say anything Peter, but yes, it does seem out of place to me too. Not nearly as strange as the e-mail I received from Morihei Ueshiba this morning though, apparently a user on the Yamaguchi forum.

Chris Li
06-30-2002, 09:54 PM
Originally posted by batemanb
I wasn`t going to say anything Peter, but yes, it does seem out of place to me too. Not nearly as strange as the e-mail I received from Morihei Ueshiba this morning though, apparently a user on the Yamaguchi forum.

Not to worry, the proper authorities have been alerted. Soon the Official Aikikai Enforcement Squadron (OAES, for those in the know) will be knocking on the door of this Ki Federation hooligan. Will not be a pretty picture, I'm sure.

Best,

Chris

paw
06-30-2002, 09:54 PM
Chris,

If a martial arts really did not "work" then people would not study them.

Out of curiousity, exactly how does one determine if a martial art "works" without a resisting opponent?

Curious,

Paul

batemanb
06-30-2002, 10:12 PM
Hey Chris,

Let me know when they`re coming, I can track back the mail headers and locate the mail servers to pin point his location a bit more:D .

I was just passing comment that it seems strange to be seeing posts from Doshu who isn`t Doshu, and even stranger to get mail from O Sensei. I don`t recall suggesting that they stop (although I suppose that could be implied), or that we round them up and flog or stone them.

Chris Li
06-30-2002, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by batemanb

I was just passing comment that it seems strange to be seeing posts from Doshu who isn`t Doshu, and even stranger to get mail from O Sensei.

More importantly, what did Morihei Ueshiba have to say about forms and formlessness :) ?

Best,

Chris

shihonage
06-30-2002, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by batemanb
Not nearly as strange as the e-mail I received from Morihei Ueshiba this morning though, apparently a user on the Yamaguchi forum.

Hahaha !

batemanb
06-30-2002, 11:25 PM
Originally posted by Chris Li


More importantly, what did Morihei Ueshiba have to say about forms and formlessness :) ?

Best,

Chris

Not a lot to be honest, just said. "Mi name is Pierre", nothing else there other than the eye popping moniker. Not exactly sure what the purpose of the mail was.:confused:

Doshu
07-01-2002, 05:33 AM
Perhaps Batemanb it is not for you to judge what names we chose to call ourselfs. Unfortantly I am no the Aikido Doshu. However the literal meaning for that term is "Master of the way". I just liked the name. Hence I shall call myself what I wish.

I am supprised that JKD has not been mentioned. I raelly dont understand how a completely formless art can be taught. Can anyone explain this to me?

Cheers

Chris

PeterR
07-01-2002, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by Doshu
Perhaps Batemanb it is not for you to judge what names we chose to call ourselfs. Unfortantly I am no the Aikido Doshu. However the literal meaning for that term is "Master of the way". I just liked the name. Hence I shall call myself what I wish.
No one said you couldn't - young master.

No one said we couldn't comment either or have a wee bit of fun.

Personally I found you moniker somewhat disrespectful of the Aikikai Doshu (there is only one).

Doshu
07-01-2002, 05:43 AM
Well, in my ignorant mind, how a martial art "works" can be difind on many different levels. Obviously its physical abilitys to throw, punch and kick. Also its ability for spirtual refinement. In my mind Aikido works on both of these levels, that is to say that a well trained Aikidoka, can defend oneself well if needs be. Also spiritually it teachs us that these skills are not to be used for the wrong reasons. It also gives us a depth of knowledge of the universe. And the ablity to actually comprehended "ki". Which even many Master still dont really understand.

I hope this answers your question.

The only way to test a martial art it in your own mind. As long as you believe in it then it will treat you well. O'Sensei aikido had no real sparring. Mainly because of the dangerous nature of the techniques, unlike Karate, TKD and Judo, where in many cases the moves are not so damaging. Altough still very effective.



Chris:rolleyes:

Doshu
07-01-2002, 06:37 AM
I am very sorry for the offence that I have caused.
The Doshu has always been my idol. The current one will do great things for our martial art.
But I ment no disrepect. They are all great men and if I could be a millionth of an Aikidoka as them then that would be great.

A very guilty

Chris :( :ai:

paw
07-01-2002, 07:24 AM
Chris,

Well, now we've definately hijacked this little discussion.

In reverse order:

O'Sensei aikido had no real sparring. Mainly because of the dangerous nature of the techniques, unlike Karate, TKD and Judo, where in many cases the moves are not so damaging. Altough still very effective.

We live in an age where technology allows for people to train with real firearms shooting real people without too great a risk of injury (simunation rounds). But I'm to believe aikido alone is more dangerous....

Not to mention Shotokan Aikido has shiai, including one empty hands version. But I suppose you'll respond by saying it's not O'Sensei's aikido. (as for sparring, see the thread on "kata". If memory serves Peter gives a nice thumbnail on the different types of randori, and how many aikido uses)



Also spiritually it teachs us that these skills are not to be used for the wrong reasons. It also gives us a depth of knowledge of the universe. And the ablity to actually comprehended "ki". Which even many Master still dont really understand

An aiki intelligence test? If most "masters" don't understand it, who could measure it? Seems to me this is a subjective personal judgement.

I find myself in agreement with Ron. The measure of martial effectiveness is a resisting opponent.

I promise to stay on topic in the future,

Paul

Doshu
07-01-2002, 07:29 AM
Perhaps. But what I meant to say is that ki is such a vast well I dont know if subject is the right word......power or something its one of those things that you learn over a life time.

More to the point everything is opionion.

But yes my comment is wrong. ofcourse masters understand.

Cheers

Chris

Doshu
07-01-2002, 07:32 AM
I have no problem with such a hijacking. It is clear that you guys have a much better of Aikido than me. I ahve not been studying for very long. I enjoy the critism, as it furthers my own knowledge.

Chris

George S. Ledyard
07-01-2002, 07:36 AM
Originally posted by Doshu
Perhaps Batemanb it is not for you to judge what names we chose to call ourselfs. Unfortantly I am no the Aikido Doshu. However the literal meaning for that term is "Master of the way". I just liked the name. Hence I shall call myself what I wish.

I am supprised that JKD has not been mentioned. I raelly dont understand how a completely formless art can be taught. Can anyone explain this to me?

Cheers

Chris
I would just like to point out that when you use a name to post on the Internet everybody gets to judge. You might think it unfair for people to form a negative opinion of you just because you picked a name like that but of course people will. Whereas I don't get offended by its use it shows a lack of experience in that no one I know who has trained a long time would use that name and possbly a lack of judgement if you decide to keep on using it after those with more experience point out that the name is an issue.

SeiserL
07-01-2002, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by Doshu
I am supprised that JKD has not been mentioned. I raelly dont understand how a completely formless art can be taught. Can anyone explain this to me? Cheers Chris

I trained in JKD under the late Ted Lucaylucay. Go ahead, check him out, he is on the JKD family tree.

Formlessness comes from form and from formlessness comes form. Chaos theory will tell you that looked at from a different perspective one can find patterns and rhythm (form) in everything, even conflict, confusion, and chaos.

Most things in like are a craft and an art. First you learn the craft by learning the techniques, the forms. Then you can express your own art or formlessness. The best writers must frist learn the alphabet. The best musicians must first learn the scales.

JKD originally was taught to people who had already learned their form from other arts and were now looking to let go. In class, we did a lot of drills (forms) but we called them "dead patterns" because they lacked the aliveness of the art. They were just trainign in our craft. BTW, many people I train with still see the JKD patterns as I move in Aikido. Likewise, IMHO, up to Shodan we learn the form. After Shodan we learn the principles, the art, the formless.

Later we get to spontaneous execution without attachment.

Formlessness does not exist separate from form. They imply and compliment each other.

Until again,

Lynn

Doshu
07-01-2002, 05:34 PM
It saddens me to see that a name can offend so many people. As I already said I am sorry. However this is the last time. I have not come on here to be attacked simply because of my name. And if there is a problem then dont read my posts. However all I wanted to do was to talk to people who know martial arts about martial arts especially Aikido.

Do as you wish George if you feel that ganging up on one person simply because of there name, no matter how unproper is good for you, then by all means. Then perhaps Aikido is not for you. To learn non violence and not to be judgemental. I suggest you read about the great founder of our art. More to the point, I would not imagin that the Ueshiba family would hold alot of meaning to a name.

I will continue using the name. Simply as I cant change it in my profile and I dont want to have to sign on again.

I now hope that the insignificance of names can be cast aside and the forums can be about the questions posed.

Cheers

Chris

akiy
07-01-2002, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by Doshu
I will continue using the name. Simply as I cant change it in my profile and I dont want to have to sign on again.
If you'd like your username changed, just let me know. Although it won't be trivial, I believe I can do so manually through mysql...

-- Jun

batemanb
07-02-2002, 02:42 AM
Originally posted by Doshu
Perhaps Batemanb it is not for you to judge what names we chose to call ourselfs. Unfortantly I am no the Aikido Doshu. However the literal meaning for that term is "Master of the way". I just liked the name. Hence I shall call myself what I wish.


Chris,

Check out my previous post, I don`t remember saying anything about what you could or couldn`t use, or being offended, I simply commented that it was strange, see below:


I was just passing comment that it seems strange to be seeing posts from Doshu who isn`t Doshu, and even stranger to get mail from O Sensei. I don`t recall suggesting that they stop (although I suppose that could be implied), or that we round them up and flog or stone them.

My signature confirms what Peter said:D

Doshu
07-02-2002, 03:04 AM
That would be great if you could. Please change it to "Kensai".

Thanks for your time

Chris

Kensai
07-02-2002, 03:30 AM
Just figured out how to log off. So have already changed my name.


Thanks for the kind offer

Chris

jimvance
07-02-2002, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by Lynn Seiser
Formlessness comes from form and from formlessness comes form. Chaos theory will tell you that looked at from a different perspective one can find patterns and rhythm (form) in everything, even conflict, confusion, and chaos.

Formlessness does not exist separate from form. They imply and compliment each other.
That is a nice way of putting it. I would like to reinforce the idea and expound, you know, blow out my jowls and pontificate....
Form is a conscious phenomena. Form is necessary for consciousness to exist, and it is consciousness that dictates the understanding and deduction of form. The chaos theorists also say that what we call a pattern is an illusion because there are always inversely infinite variations. Nothing is ever the same in a purely objective universe. But within certain subjective (consciousness-driven) parameters, the form is identifiable.
And so it is with the concept of form within budo. It allows us to identify patterns within ourselves, and by becoming familiar with the patterns, we identify the first order of variation. We begin to identify the variation in ourselves and others, which leads us deeper into the orders of variation. Think about the term "pattern re-cognition". Eventually, the orders become so small that we cannot articulate them through everyday symbology. They become feelings and visualizations. They become so small and specific that the symbols (language) are too large and don't fit them anymore, so the term "formlessness" comes into being. It is not the same formlessness that existed before; this "mu" is full of intent, knowledge so sensitive and vast that it is not recalled linearly, but intuitively. It is at the other end of the conscious spectrum from where we first started at formlessness. We really, truly understand that nothing is the same, nothing is permanent, the universe is a giant flux of possibility and insight.
Whoa, pull back, pull back.... Okay, deep conversation over, you can have the jowls back.

Jim Vance

ronmar
07-03-2002, 01:43 PM
[QUOTE]Form is a conscious phenomena. Form is necessary for consciousness to exist, and it is consciousness that dictates the understanding and deduction of form. The chaos theorists also say that what we call a pattern is an illusion because there are always inversely infinite variations. Nothing is ever the same in a purely objective universe. But within certain subjective (consciousness-driven) parameters, the form is identifiable...blah blah blah blah blah

Thats the problem with form. People tend to think about it too much and it slows them down. Fighting is about doing not thinking. You have to train yourself to react instinctively against a resisting opponent or you are just kidding yourselves. I think some of you need to give up the martial arts and join a philosopy workshop commune or something.

shihonage
07-03-2002, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by ronmar
I think some of you need to give up the martial arts and join a philosopy workshop commune or something.

I agree.

All these "forms or formlessnesslessnessless" threads make my head hurt.

Erik
07-03-2002, 04:25 PM
Originally posted by shihonage
All these "forms or formlessnesslessnessless" threads make my head hurt.

No way! It say's San Francisco right there in your profile.

Home of the formless!

Or is that

Home of the homeless?

Now I'm all confused.

shihonage
07-03-2002, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by Erik


No way! It say's San Francisco right there in your profile.

Home of the formless!

Or is that

Home of the homeless?

Now I'm all confused.

Home of the gay homeless.

SeiserL
07-03-2002, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by ronmar
[QUOTE]...blah blah blah blah blah Thats the problem with form. People tend to think about it too much and it slows them down. Fighting is about doing not thinking. You have to train yourself to react instinctively against a resisting opponent or you are just kidding yourselves. I think some of you need to give up the martial arts and join a philosopy workshop commune or something.

I once head that where ever the head goes the body tends to follow. Yes, I would agree that thinking does slow down your reaction of doing. Incorrect thinking makes it even slower. And if you have not conditioned the mind to detect-assess-select-decide, then you just stand there looking really dumb. Mental training has always been an important part of any martial art training, except in the MacDojo chains.

Until again,

Lynn

SeiserL
07-03-2002, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by shihonage
All these "forms or formlessnesslessnessless" threads make my head hurt.

Then don't read them. Let those of us who enjoy exercising our mental muscle train.

Until again,

Lynn

Pretoriano
07-03-2002, 08:46 PM
The most beatiful post in this tread is credited to you Mr. Jim Vance, that is what I call Comprension.
To strecht the words to explain what cannot be explained.

zzling!

Pretorian

jimvance
07-04-2002, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by Ron Marshall
Fighting is about doing not thinking. You have to train yourself to react instinctively against a resisting opponent or you are just kidding yourselves. I think some of you need to give up the martial arts and join a philosopy workshop commune or something. From the above, brilliant repartee, not only do I now know exactly how you practice and perhaps what school you belong to, I also know how to beat the pants off you in ANY sort of conflict. My dojo is a lab where these "philosophical wanderings" are tested under intense fire. If you have your doubts, I will send you my address.

Jim Vance

Kensai
07-04-2002, 05:00 PM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Ron Marshall
Fighting is about doing not thinking. You have to train yourself to react instinctively against a resisting opponent or you are just kidding yourselves. I think some of you need to give up the martial arts and join a philosopy workshop commune or something.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What do you study? I mean this is really funny. And by any chance where did you think instinctiveness comes from? Do you think the Brain and its attirbutes i.e. the spinal colum are completely bypassed?

With out thinking about form and movement how can you understand them and truly learn there applications?


Cheers

Chris

PeterR
07-04-2002, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by Ron Marshal
Fighting is about doing not thinking. You have to train yourself to react instinctively against a resisting
Originally posted by Jim Vance
From the above, brilliant repartee, not only do I now know exactly how you practice and perhaps what school you belong to, I also know how to beat the pants off you in ANY sort of conflict. My dojo is a lab where these "philosophical wanderings" are tested under intense fire. If you have your doubts, I will send you my address.
I'm a little curious Jim as to what school you think he comes from and if you are right.

Basically in a nutshell Ron is completely right in what is quoted above. I don't disagree with you either other than to say that it was a wee bit verbose for something far simpler - expressed by Ron.

The ultimate goal expressed by Tomiki is Mushin (no mind) Mugamae (no stance). Form (kata) is a way of training the body and mind but learning to fight is all about breaking away from it. You can not learn to fight through kata alone but must deal with resistance and instinct. I mention Tomiki since I know Jiyushinkan is influenced by him - if you read translations of his articles you will note he is quite down to earth.

ChrisI think you completely misunderstand the post. It's about fighting not about initial training in an art. It's about letting go of what holds you back. It's about letting your training become instinctual.

jimvance
07-05-2002, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by Peter Rehse
Basically in a nutshell Ron is completely right in what is quoted above. I don't disagree with you either other than to say that it was a wee bit verbose for something far simpler - expressed by Ron.
I disagree. Ron and I are talking about two different things. He is "right" about fighting, but who said that is what we are talking about? I think the question was something like "what importance does form (kata, as I described it in the first response to this thread) have in becoming a good martial artist?" Ron insisted that form is useless, and belongs to the pencil-neck crowd, while real martial artists should lift weights and train under a "coach". (His was the second response to this thread.) His response to my later "pontification" enforced this idea, which I don't think has any bearing on the question at hand, and his attitude pissed me off. He implies that you cannot train smart AND hard.
...The ultimate goal expressed by Tomiki is Mushin (no mind) Mugamae (no stance). So what does this mean to you? In my "boring" post, I tried to explain that it was much different than the absence of something. But we have now gone completely off subject and are now discussing "combative realism" and not how kata relates to the ideals of the art.
...Form (kata) is a way of training the body and mind but learning to fight is all about breaking away from it. You can not learn to fight through kata alone but must deal with resistance and instinct. I mention Tomiki since I know Jiyushinkan is influenced by him - if you read translations of his articles you will note he is quite down to earth.You obviously didn't read my first post on this thread. I don't agree that learning to fight is about "breaking away from" kata, I think it (among many other factors, like natural talent, size, musculature, etc.) must be thoroughly ingested and assimilated on a "spinal cord" level. Most people who complain that kata does not teach you how to fight are only looking at the mechanical exterior. They took one lick off the Tootsie Pop and complain that there is no chewy center. It must be chewed, ingested, and assimilated until the principles underlying the mechanical execution are your gut responses. Most people try to use the mechanics and rely on their "old" gut responses, only to wind up throwing away the kata and reverting to what they know "works the best", you know, "street fighting". This is not budo, but the martial arts world is full of those who pretty it up and sell it as budo. I for one am not interested.

Jim Vance

PeterR
07-05-2002, 07:29 PM
Hi Jim; (I can't remove the angry smilie and did not put it in).

I did read your first post and Ron's also.

I also agree with you that kata when done right goes well beyond a series of moves - it involves the teaching and internalization of principles. The idea of mushin is that without presupposing what your opponent will do or is doing you will use those learned principles without thinking. It is breaking away from form embodied by the kata.

I must say that kata (form) alone is not very effective in preparing you for fighting. You say that fighting was not what you were talking about but I believe Budo is about that - self defence application or not. Some method for testing kata and applying pressure must be introduced.

By the way you did not answer my question.
I'm a little curious Jim as to what school you think he comes from and if you are right..
Don't worry if the statement was uttered in the heat of annoyance I'll let it slide.

jimvance
07-06-2002, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by Peter Rehse
I must say that kata (form) alone is not very effective in preparing you for fighting. You say that fighting was not what you were talking about but I believe Budo is about that - self defence application or not. Some method for testing kata and applying pressure must be introduced.I absolutely agree that kata is not the end-all of the education necessary to become a well-rounded martial artist. You and I both do kata different than most people reading this thread, and we use randori as a complement to kata.
But I disagree that kata do not prepare one for fighting. There is a thousand year tradition in Japan that says the complete opposite. If anyone thinks kata will not prepare for fighting application, then
A.) They don't understand the kata OR
B.) The kata is wrong or incomplete.
Kata are not a one-dimensional learning apparatus (technique or mechanics), especially when approached from the insights gained within randori. The mutual "kata - randori" skill development reciprocates ability from one mode to the other. I agree that the exterior mechanics of kata are not applicable to fighting alone, but when the "orders of variation" become so small through the feedback loop of "kata - randori", kata becomes almost a different thing entirely. This was the heart of my second, long, boring (to some) post.
Personally, my training in kata right now is in part identifying what is "not happening and cannot happen". This is due to the few years of randori feedback into my kata. I think that most practitioners believe that learning kata is a requirement before they get into the juicy practice that exists within randori, or shiai, or some other "freestyle sparring atmosphere". I felt this way for almost two years. This describes the mentality entrenched now within the Judo world: who can throw who down by hook or by crook. Real budo is neither competitive sport nor Japanese folk dancing. It has an entirely different quality, and I intend to pursue it. You can try to throw stones, like the Ron Marshalls of the world, or you can try to figure it out with me so we have something interesting to talk about (which I applaud you for, Peter).

By the way you did not answer my question.
I'm a little curious Jim as to what school you think he comes from and if you are right..I think you were right about being in the heat of annoyance. I don't really want to make an ass out of myself by insulting someone I don't know simply because one of their students pissed me off. And there is a little "Ron Marshall" in all of us, me included.

Jim Vance

PeterR
07-07-2002, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by jimvance
I absolutely agree that kata is not the end-all of the education necessary to become a well-rounded martial artist. You and I both do kata different than most people reading this thread, and we use randori as a complement to kata.
But I disagree that kata do not prepare one for fighting. There is a thousand year tradition in Japan that says the complete opposite. If anyone thinks kata will not prepare for fighting application, then
A.) They don't understand the kata OR
B.) The kata is wrong or incomplete.
Kata are not a one-dimensional learning apparatus (technique or mechanics), especially when approached from the insights gained within randori.
Hi Jim;

I very carefully inserted the word effective and alone in I must say that kata (form) alone is not very effective in preparing you for fighting. There has been a long tradition of including something else as a means of testing yourself and your training (and just as long a debate about it). A very interesting discussion of this is in Karl Friday's book on Kashima Shinto Ryu. My impression was that it was not very complimentary to those that just do kata.

Yesterday afternoon I watched the Shodan exam of an ex-US marine friend of mine. Very very big man next to his Japanese ukes. In preparation for his test (I was not the main person here but we all do our part) I reminded him several times that kata is combat - in other words concentrate on the intagibles not just the waza of the moment. Those intagibles, one could call them the base principles, can be taught through kata alone but it takes a much longer time. Have you read the Shishida/Nariyama textbook yet - this is also discussed there to a some extent.

Gregory King
07-08-2002, 12:19 AM
Chris
I am also new to the art of Aikido and am finding my way through its many intrigueing avenues but so far I have learnt several benificial things which have enhanced the quality of my life. Blending is a beautiful solution, harmony is a more satisfying state to exist in and by denegrating others we only make ourselves look bad. When you are met with force how much force should you return with? Really what is in a name, I recall that one of the most basic rules of Aikido is to not be lazy (are you sure you do not want to log on again?) I mean no disrespect just a beginners observation.
Regards
Greg.

ps I have read many of Georges disertations on Aikido, he seems an Aikidoka with no small amount of knowledge and integrity.

Kensai
07-08-2002, 06:22 AM
Thanks. It was not laziness, just stupidity that I could not find the log off button.

But I truely ment no disrespect to the Doshu. My name has changed to Kensai.

Train well

Chris

jimvance
07-08-2002, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by Peter Rehse
There has been a long tradition of including something else as a means of testing yourself and your training (and just as long a debate about it).Good point about the nature of what we do. It made me realize that we are working with the descendant form of Japanese military education, at least in some small degree. Their entire culture, as you well know, is completely focused around "kata" in ways that most of us Westerners would find tiresome or foolish (or to some, liberating). It only stands to reason that with the lack of a suitable testing ground, the "fighting" aspect inherent within budo would change, and become watered down from lack of feedback, or choose a different realm of interaction (such as physical/social education, as in the case of Kano and Tomiki, and others). It is neat that the kata mentality has allowed the budo niche of Japanese culture to be somewhat "frozen" long enough for it to be passed on to us, living in an age of relative peace. And as such, it still has much to offer those interested in hand to hand combat.
...A very interesting discussion of this is in Karl Friday's book on Kashima Shinto Ryu. My impression was that it was not very complimentary to those that just do kata.
...Have you read the Shishida/Nariyama textbook yet - this is also discussed there to a some extent. I am sorry to say that I have not read either of these, but will add them to my "want to read" list. You wouldn't by chance happen to have ISBNs would you?

:o
Oh, and as an aside, for those of you who wish to haze Chris about his name or earlier comments he made on this thread, please email him. This is a forum discussing a specific topic; if you want to discuss the name fiasco, start a new thread.
OK, rant over. :)

Jim Vance

PeterR
07-08-2002, 08:12 PM
Originally posted by jimvance
Good point about the nature of what we do. It made me realize that we are working with the descendant form of Japanese military education, at least in some small degree.
Several of my koryu friends like to point out that much of the dojo formality of Aikido and some other gendai arts has to do with the military culture imposed on this society in the years leading up to WWII. My current Judo training and occaisional forays in koryu dojos seem to support this.

Their entire culture, as you well know, is completely focused around "kata" in ways that most of us Westerners would find tiresome or foolish (or to some, liberating).

This goes way back to Confucion teaching methods - the source of ideas such as Shu Ha Ri. In the modern context it is a method followed by many Islamic religious schools and many but not all budo.

It only stands to reason that with the lack of a suitable testing ground, the "fighting" aspect inherent within budo would change, and become watered down from lack of feedback,

Even Musashi is GoRinSho alludes to this problem and that was within 50 years of Tokugawa taking power. He suggests that the problem was not recent.


I am sorry to say that I have not read either of these, but will add them to my "want to read" list. You wouldn't by chance happen to have ISBNs would you?

Sorry not on hand but they can be found using author's names on Amazon.

Oh, and as an aside, for those of you who wish to haze Chris about his name or earlier comments he made on this thread, please email him.
A little digression is healthy ;)

Kensai
07-09-2002, 04:48 AM
You cant complain anymore as I have changed my name. And as far as my "earlier comments" I was just sticking up for myself.

Like Peter said "A little digression is healthy"

Train Well

Chris

Chuck.Gordon
07-10-2002, 03:44 AM
A few comments ...

First, kata. Kata in MOST Japanese budo is NOT the kata found in Okinawan karate/kenpo systems or Korean, Chinese, etc. systems.

That type of kata (hyung in Korean, IIRC) is generally performed solo and is a complex pattern of attack/defense against one or more kasso teki (imaginary opponents).

Many of those kata also have bunkai (explanation or interpretation) that detail that imaginary opponent's actions. In some systems, the bunkai changes with the practitioner's growth, becoming more complex, less basic.

On the other hand, kata in most Japanese budo is paired practice, usually fairly short, often illustrating a single point or concept.

There's no real need for bunkai, because the opponent (with the exception of some sword-drawing systems) is right there.

The stated 'no kata' posture some aikidoists take is fine, if a bit mis-informed, I think.

If you do a pre-arranged attack, with a pre-arranged defense, with a pre-determined outcome, you have done kata. If I remember right (and I may be very wrong here, help me out Jun or someone who actually speaks real Japanese), the terms 'kata' and 'waza' are related. If that's a correct supposition, then if you do a 'waza' then you are doing a 'kata' ...

The difference as I see it, is that the older styles do kata in a fairly precise way.

Repetition drills specific mental responses, reactions, even emotions -- as well as the physical action. The idea is that we learn concept and theory through the pattern itself.

No one really believes that if we're attacked (and in the koryu world this is even funnier, because the odds of getting attacked by someone with a sword whilst you're also wearing one are slim and none in most of the civilized world) with A-waza, we respond with B-waza and will automatically win.

Kata are understood to be repositories of knowledge, theory and insight, not as specific responses in a 'real-world' fight.

Adjunct to kata is shiai or randori or jiyu-waza -- free-form application of those principles and theories in a fluid situation.

Most koryu systems have, at one time or another, at least dabbled in shiai (competetive practice). Some more than others, but others rejected it outright. For some, especially the weapons arts, shiai either requires significant alteration (see kendo) or is simply almost impossible without someone getting seriously injured.

As it is, when kata are practiced in a lively, focused, intense manner, we STILL get banged up pretty good from time to time.

Most systems are built along these lines:
~ Beginners learn basics (kihon)
~ From which can be built forms (kata)
~ And that can be tested with free-style or contest (jiyu waza/randori or shiai)

The various parts are designed to balance, reinforce and inform each other.

If you haven't read Diane Skoss' excellent three-book series on Koryu budo, and you have an interest in what kata really are in Japanese budo, you really ought to get your hands on the books.

The last one, particularly, I found quite illuminating. There's a wonderful essay from a real-world warrior (a Marine) who discusses his experiences in the koryu (particularly examining the impact of koryu-style kata) from that perspective.

Karl Friday's book is called 'Legacies of the Sword' ... again, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in koryu budo.

Both Skoss' books and Friday's are available, BTW, through Peter Boylan's excellent budo supply site http://www.budogu.com/.

And why should aikido folks be interested in koryu budo? Aikido is a gendai budo, one of the modern distillations of the old systems. To learn about the koryu is learning the history and underpinnings of your art.

Aikido didn't spring into being one morning, all covered with fresh dew. It was a result of Ueshiba's studies in koryu arts, in Daito Ryu jujutsu and his interactions with practitioners of other arts. By learning about (you don't have to study koryu to appreciate it!) the older systems, I believe you can inform your aikido and better understand some of the influences and forces that shaped Ueshiba's art.

And, yes, I agree with Peter R., most gendai budo (aikido included) is really taught much more along the lines of the military education system found in pre-war Japan, than that of the koryu systems (though some of the older disciplines have adopted and are now practiced in similar manner).

Most of the curent older generation of budo teachers grew up in that system, learned their budo in it and pass their budo along in the same paradigm.

Not a bad thing, but certainly, understanding the background can allow one to appreciate the rationale and methodology of some of the things that happen in the dojo.

Best,
Chuck

andrew
07-10-2002, 04:49 AM
Originally posted by paw
Chris,

Out of curiousity, exactly how does one determine if a martial art "works" without a resisting opponent?

Curious,

Paul

Kill them in their sleep?

andrew

PeterR
07-10-2002, 05:15 AM
Originally posted by andrew

Kill them in their sleep?


I really must be in an evil mood - that was perfect.

jimvance
07-10-2002, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by Chuck Gordon
...the terms 'kata' and 'waza' are related. If that's a correct supposition, then if you do a 'waza' then you are doing a 'kata' ...I am currently doing a "long-range" research project on kata, hence the interest on my part. (I have on many occasions tried to coax out some feedback here on Aikiweb, this thread seems to be among some of the best so far.) What I have found on the subject of kata and how it relates to "waza" is very interesting, and depends a lot on who you ask. I am not going to give all the information here, but I do think it is interesting to note, as it might give me some good feedback. IF you really are interested I would be willing to send you a comprehensive theory, but I don't want to bore everyone on this thread and get nowhere. I tried that a few months back and got into all sorts of trouble. Nuff said.

The word "waza" actually has two equally valid kanji, which makes it that much harder to get a real clear identification of how the word relates to "kata". This is how I define them based on the original Chinese word origin (pictograph origination). The first waza means a "trick" or "technique". I look at this in a less than favorable light, and I think should be used to describe the component areas within a training syllabus, such as "koshi-waza" or "atemi-waza". Again it depends on who you talk to, this is my personal opinion. The second version of "waza" means something more along the line of "a level of realized intent" or "the crowning and defining modus operandi of technical mastery". This is a much harder concept to understand without doing some specific research; again, if you are interested, I would be glad to send you the info, or post it somewhere you could go over it, despite its still immature conclusions. The second version is much more an ideal than an actual "doingness", but I think they describe two entirely different mentalities, and is hard to use conventional descriptors.

If you haven't guessed it yet: YES, I am an EGGHEAD! I like to look this stuff up, and try to figure it out. Please don't think that I consider myself as having ALL the answers. This very topic is one significant reason why I am interested in Aikiweb.

Jim Vance

Chris Li
07-10-2002, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by jimvance
The word "waza" actually has two equally valid kanji, which makes it that much harder to get a real clear identification of how the word relates to "kata".

I can think of at least 10 kanji that can be read "waza", many with similar meanings, and I'm sure that there are a few more :).

Generally speaking, if they have different kanji than they are different words...

If the kanji that you're talking about are the ones that I'm thinking of then I would make a rough translation of the first as "technique" and the second as "skill", although the meaning vary according to the compound and the context. The first one (assuming that I understand you) is the one commonly used in martial arts.

Best,

Chris