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Peter Boylan
09-29-2014, 10:23 AM
Kata take a lot of heat for being stiff and rigid and not really training someone the confusion and unpredictability of combat.

I think this criticism is misguided, and I wrote this blog post about why.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-simple-genius-of-kata.html

What do you think? Am I on to something, or am I barking up a dead tree?

Rupert Atkinson
09-29-2014, 07:05 PM
I have always liked kata. But I didn't really understand Japanese kata until I did Wing Chun. Wing Chun kata are not really kata at all. The forms are a collection of ideas and principles - and they have provided me with enough food for thought to keep me interested and discovering new stuff for almost 30 years. Before WC I just thought kata were lists of techniques, but they are not. Within them are hidden ideas. Many teachers, however, just show them as waza, and they think that the more waza you have the better you are. Aikido has a limited set of waza and the aim has been to delve deeper - I think this lack of waza in Aikido is actually a strength as the curious mind will soon discover many variations that can only really come about by getting a better handle on the principles. But, if the mind is not curious, then you will not get very far at all. It is important to learn the kata, retain them as they are, teach them as you were taught them, yet to go off at tangents to explore. We have to re-disoover stuff and the most effective way is for the self to do it. So the question is - what is the main principle ofthe technique that has been 'designed' for you? Such as in the Kendo kata. Or the Judo kata. Or Jujutsu. Why were those waza chosen? What useful principles lurk within? How can I apply them in other situations? And what other principles are not there? Etc. Etc. We have to search. Tao Te Ching rules OK :-)

Erick Mead
09-29-2014, 08:08 PM
Aikido has a limited set of waza and the aim has been to delve deeper - I think this lack of waza in Aikido is actually a strength as the curious mind will soon discover many variations that can only really come about by getting a better handle on the principles. But, if the mind is not curious, then you will not get very far at all. It is important to learn the kata, retain them as they are, teach them as you were taught them, yet to go off at tangents to explore.

This.

miser
09-30-2014, 08:03 AM
I think you're right. It's not like katageiko precludes sincere practice, nor the internalisation of techniques. For those who've spent time learning an art with paired kata, I'd expect they'd have had the experience of their partner having made the wrong movement, but they themselves followed up with a move from another kata instinctively.

Whether there are better training methods available is going to depend on what the kata are being used for, but just because they're choreographed doesn't mean they can't be brought alive.

Peter Boylan
09-30-2014, 02:56 PM
Whether there are better training methods available is going to depend on what the kata are being used for, but just because they're choreographed doesn't mean they can't be brought alive.

I would say it not in spite of the fact that kata are choreographed that makes them useful training tools, but precisely because they have been thoughtfully and carefully choreographed and designed that they optimize what you can learn. Random, free practice is fine and fun, but you get more out of a carefully considered training plan, and kata represent a type of well considered and designed training plan.

phitruong
10-01-2014, 07:59 AM
kata is an order framework in the world of chaotic movements. most folks need the framework to learn. we need pattern of some sort to wrap our mind around in order to train the body. i learned lots of kata over the years. i have lost count how many. some complicated. some simple. rarely i got explanation on the principles behind those kata. i didn't understand those principles until i learned aikido and internal stuffs. now i learned to forget the kata, threw out the framework along with its limitations. learn the kata, then throw away the kata. learn the limits, then remove the limits.

played with some systema folks. they have no kata, no fixed framework. yet, they can impart the principles pretty quickly. seen lots of folks, who learned kata, had hard time with this approach. nothing for their mind to hang on to. they tried to use patterned movements they have learned, and they struggled with systema exercises. the mind fought for a place to hold on. those who threw away the pattern thrived, not many.

it's interesting how the mind affects the body movement, and vice versa.

takemusu aiki