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Kevin Leavitt
08-08-2005, 12:25 PM
kata and training slowly is very important for imprinting good habits.

That said, you need to eventually speed things up and learn to deal with more resistant technique if you hope to be able to deal witih the multitude of factors that will come out you physically and emotionally if you ever hope to apply things for real.

Both have there place. There is more to training correctly than training slowly, methodically, and repititiously but I guess that depends on your personal goals.

Still not really clear on the higher level thing as you define it. The understanding from my point of view of learning slowly, methodically is that you will learn how to correctly apply principles and theory...slowly and methodically...nothing more. What would that have to do with obtaining a higher level?

What is the end state of this higher level?

Adam Alexander
08-08-2005, 12:58 PM
I imagine it doesn't really matter. That's how I train.

I guess that's what it all boils down to.

DustinAcuff
08-08-2005, 03:23 PM
My only problem with kata is they do not develop a response to energy given. If someone manages to resist mid technique you are lost unless you have developed the ability to feel the energy and where it is going to blend with it. I think that is one of the highest goals of aiki.

Dirk, I am not saying I don't uke or that I do not strike, but I just don't feel the need to become any harder than I am. I can do my techniques without being hard pretty easily, I have no reason to reinforce hard when to me that is taking a step away from the goal instead of towards it. My goal is to recieve uke's energy without being effected by it and redirecting it in such a manner that uke does not get hurt, I don't get hurt, and the violence and agression stop.

aikigirl10
08-08-2005, 03:32 PM
Dustin , you are right. Katas improve form, and ability but they do not improve reaction time or response to an attack. This is why you cannot rely solely on katas, there has to be interaction with other people in not only a slow moving way but also in a very fast way.

akiy
08-08-2005, 04:02 PM
Just thought I'd drop in and say that "kata training" does not necessarily mean "solo forms training" (like that seen in many styles of karate or in some aikido dojo in the form of solo weapons kata) but can also refer to traning in certain choreographed "forms" with a partner. I'd say that pretty much all aikido dojo that I've trained at use kata training as a prevalent method of training.

Here's an article entitled, "Kata Training and Aikido" by Diane Skoss that explains this far better than I would be able to:

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/skoss2.html

-- Jun

aikigirl10
08-08-2005, 08:21 PM
I guess i should have said unrehearsed[I] interaction with other people.

PeterR
08-08-2005, 08:53 PM
I find that Kata practice at the highest level is very intense, very focused and provides something that free-style practice alone can not provide. Done right it goes beyond attack and technique but instills lessons of distancing, timing and movement. When complemented with full resistance randori .... well I've said all this before.

Dustin , you are right. Katas improve form, and ability but they do not improve reaction time or response to an attack. This is why you cannot rely solely on katas, there has to be interaction with other people in not only a slow moving way but also in a very fast way.

Generally I agree about relying solely on kata but I do think your understanding of kata training is somewhat limited.

My only problem with kata is they do not develop a response to energy given. If someone manages to resist mid technique you are lost unless you have developed the ability to feel the energy and where it is going to blend with it. I think that is one of the highest goals of aiki.
Well actually the level of resistance is defined but it does exist and hence it does develop a response to energy given. Again, as with Paige, I think your understanding of kata training is somewhat limited.

DustinAcuff
08-08-2005, 11:40 PM
I know my understanding is quite limited. I am stating my beliefs and understandings at the moment. I also hope to be corrected if I am wrong.

PeterR
08-08-2005, 11:55 PM
I know my understanding is quite limited. I am stating my beliefs and understandings at the moment. I also hope to be corrected if I am wrong.
Truly I wasn't trying to be condescending or anything like that.

For example in the Shodokan (Tomiki) system you watch a high kyu grade do the tanto randori no kata. At that level he's working on the fluidity of movement, technically correct placement of his appendages and body, some concern with timing and body movement. In fact he is hoping that when his next shinsa comes along he will have an uke who knows what he is doing.

Now you look at the same kata performed by two yon dans or talented san dans. Both roles are performed in an entirely different manner and emphasis. The speed and power can be incredible and all those aspects that the kyu grades have been working on have become internalized. The best take it pretty close to the edge and considering that randori improves kata and kata improves randori it gets to the point where you can barely see the difference between the two.

Hope that helps.

DustinAcuff
08-09-2005, 12:29 AM
I was in no way offended. I feel that kata have their place and am looking at taking up Iaido if I can find some here in the near future. I just have a bad taste in my mouth for certain training methods due to past experience. And as I said, sensei hates kata because he spent the first half of his life doing them for hours a day.

Maybe I am missing something (probably am) but the skill I am referring to is the ability that sensei displays to seemingly detect energy and where it is going the instant before or during when contact is made. At first we thought it was an issue of anticipating, but after seeing this same ability repeatedly manifest itself while he is blindfoled we think it is more of a touch or "ki sense". Has anyone else seen this in the advanced practitioner?

PeterR
08-09-2005, 12:34 AM
By the way the animated gif you see beside my name is the fifth technique technique in Tomiki's tanto randori no kata.

I don't know anyone that would have a chance doing tanto randori blindfolded. Maybe kata but not at top speed.

Jorx
08-09-2005, 07:27 AM
Can't... resist.. must... post: (a post by someone from another MA forum)

The Great Kata Debate

From a combat and/or self-defense point of view, the practice of kata, forms or patterns in TMAs prompts two questions:

(i) Do kata contain valuable information?

(ii) Does practicing kata directly improve your combative/self-defense skills?



A karate perspective
Having studied shotokan karate for 14 years, I must say that, as practiced generally, the techniques in the kata have little combative value. Karate kata applications (bunkai/oyo) that I have seen taught by traditional karate masters have almost exclusively been counters to highly stylised karate-style attacks.

I will try and lay out my thinking as follows:

1. The original applications are unknown

IF (and it is a big if) there truly were applications in mind when the katas were initally constructed they are now unknown to the general community. The honest masters out there will, and do, admit this. There is a great industry (books/videos) of people trying to deconstruct the kata - all coming up with different answers.

2. So, if the originals are unknown, why bother with kata techniques at all?
Applications get assigned to kata techniques in one of two ways. Either someone takes the kata move directly and tries to work out what it might be for, or else someone sees a move demonstrated somewhere and says "hey, that's like the move from XXXX". But why bring the kata into the picture at all? Why try to fit square pegs in round holes? Why limit yourself to attacks and counters that only look like a move from a kata. Katas are unnecessarily limiting.

3. The applications, as generally taught, are nonsense

Most of the applications that I see taught are against highly stylised karate-style attacks, and clearly only work in demonstration mode. For example, the first move in bassai-dai involves a standing with your feet and hands together, then lunging forward with a 'reinfored' inside-block. I see this demonstrated against incoming stepping punches and reverse punches. Other kata applications only work when an opponent follows, say, a right kick with right lunge punch. As Vince Morris says, "but how do you know he was going to do that?".

4. The applications are anyway considered unimportant

The largest international shotokan bodies, the SKI and JKA, both do not require demonstrations of applications for 1st degree black belt. The SKI require demonstration for 4th or 5th dan and above - after you have been training for at least 15-20 years. Surely requiring 20 years of study to usefully use a kata application shows it to be the single most inefficient training methodology imaginable? Modern traditional karate (yes, an oxymoron) places 99% of its emphasis on how good the form of the kata is, not the function. Some organisations take this to ludicrous extremes - a 10 degree variation in foot or hand angle is doing it wrong. Have these people ever been in (or even seen) a real fight? My 99% figure comes from the time spent doing kata vs doing applications, and the emphasis in grading.

5. Practicing with an invisible partner is of little value

Anything and everything works on a cooperative partner. Thus if an application 'works' against a prearranged attack it gives no information on its combative value. The 'Aliveness' concept holds devastating implications for the TMA 'prearranged attack' training philosophy. If only practicing with a cooperative partner with prearranged attacks has dubious value, then practicing with none at all has much less. "But even boxers do shadow boxing" I hear you say. My response would be that you have not boxed and do not understand the purpose of shadow boxing.


Point #5 is the most damaging of all. Even IF the techniques were genuinely of value, simply practicing them as a kata will be very unlikely to help you to apply them in a real situation. I have had experience in or seen the 'new applications' developed by people like Patrick McCarthy, Vince Morris etc and while these are an awful lot better, points #1, #2 and #5 still apply.

In summary

The original applications, IF they existed and IF they were any good, have been lost. What is taught in their place is unrealistic rubbish that only ever works for prearranged attacks. In any case, the applications are practiced far far less than the solo performance of kata. Finally, there is a great weight of modern evidence that seriously undermines the training philosophy underpinning kata.

If you knew you were going to be attacked in the street in 2 weeks time would you practice kata between now and then?

If you had a ring fight (full contact or semi contact) coming up in 2 weeks would you practice kata between now and then?

If you were designing a combative/self-defense system, would you have kata in it?

Kata is somewhat useful in developing attributes which are useful in fighting (balance, coordination, stamina etc) but I submit that there is no evidence to suggest that kata is the optimum program for developing these attributes and I suspect that it is an inefficient method of doing so. In reality, kata prepares you best for doing more kata.

From a combative/self-defense viewpoint, kata has little benefit and enormous opportunity cost (the cost of not doing something more beneficial).

My question
What I said above applies to karate, TKD, JJJ and kung fu (these are what I have trained in, or have trained with people who do them). Do you disagree? Do other arts not fall into the above traps?


Don't tell me kata/forms/patterns are great for self defense/unarmed combat - tell me why and how.
------
best quote imho: " In reality, kata prepares you best for doing more kata."

rob_liberti
08-09-2005, 08:07 AM
I'm not a kata man myself, but I think they're supposed to be the first step of a training progression to take the uninitiated first into kata (so they have some tools with which to work) and then into "bunkai" - where they are now expected to start actually taking some ownership of their own training by having to come up with situations that fit parts of their kata. I wouldn't say that this is top level training, but it gets people started. Obviously (to me) they will also do some one-step and later more advanced sparring - where they would _eventually_ be expected to find their kata coming out (or showing up) under the pressure of those drills. I think the combination of that with the bunkai is kind of like the inside-out and outside-in approach to developing better understanding for those movements they find to be of core importance to their art. For some reason, I have the *assumption* (not proof what-so-ever due to no interest in actual research of this idea) that such arts probably were assuming that if someone were to attack you in a real life situation they would have a weapon (or both of you would). I just assumed that such arts were doing an entire training progression to best handle such a situation (in their opinion).

As I see it, this is the only time in history (now that we have such great police forces combined with leisure time) that there can be a good expectation that if you are going to get into a fight the person might not have a weapon. Kata might not fit training for this point in history as well but then again, no martial arts really fits into a point in history where anyone can be heavily armed - or someone can push a button and blow everyone up. So to me, sorry if I'm jumping here, but all of them really should be studied for the sake of being fun, and interesting, and of having a practice.

I am interesterd in the opinion of BJJers about do you think the trapping range skills would give you an advantage while someone is trying to get into clinching range or would it be negligable?

Rob

Adam Alexander
08-09-2005, 11:11 AM
Don't tell me kata/forms/patterns are great for self defense/unarmed combat - tell me why and how.


Why bother? You already know they don't work.

Jorx
08-09-2005, 12:01 PM
Well Jean what would happen if all the sciencists would take the same view? If Kopernik would have gone like... bla bla why bother telling people earth is round, they know it is flat!

Quoting former Leung Ting Wing Tsun head instructor of Estonia: (somehow sadly) Damn... I spent so much time and energy learning all this trapping and now it is so clear that you can just blast through that with most ordinary (wrestling) clinch.

DustinAcuff
08-09-2005, 12:59 PM
The point Jean is trying to make is that you don't believe in kata so why argue their relevance.

Paraphrasing a few diffrent sources, here is what I have come up with as to the puropse of kata:

1. Instill a clear mindedness during a crisis.
2. Develop the student's ability to use mushin.
3. Help build unity between though and action.
4. Provide a technical and physical foundation.
5. Train large numbers of students rapidly to be battle ready.
6. Discipline.
7. Provide physical conditioning.
8. Something else to perfect and meditate on as is the Japanese way.

No particular order there and only referring to material I have come across on koryu sites. I don't think kata were ever intended to be used against opponents, I think that they were instead used to build skills and mental ability. Subori or randori may not have always been possible for some reason or another. They could also have been used as warm ups or something similar.

Jorx
08-09-2005, 01:48 PM
you don't believe in kata so why argue their relevance.


Really simple: I want to explain and expose my point of view and I want others to research and understand it and think about it. Also I expect the same from others towards me.

thesis+antithesis=synthesis
synthesis (now thesis)+antithesis=synthesis
and so forth and so on... Hegel's spiral development.

aikigirl10
08-09-2005, 01:56 PM
Again, as with Paige, I think your understanding of kata training is somewhat limited.


Dont tell me my understanding of katas is limited. You dont know anything about me.This is coming from someone who does about a million kata forms and then APPLIES them to actual competition with other practitioners in shaolin. You may have a different understanding then I , but that doesnt mean mine is "limited"

Adam Alexander
08-09-2005, 02:00 PM
Well Jean what would happen if all the sciencists would take the same view? If Kopernik would have gone like... bla bla why bother telling people earth is round, they know it is flat!

Maybe the nuclear bomb wouldn't of been discovered, maybe the Native Americans would still have possession of their land, maybe slavery wouldn't have enjoyed it's popularity for a time.

Here's what I'm coming to realize. I'm thinking that my opinion really doesn't matter outside of my own mind. That the beliefs I have are for a reason and that those who require coercing aren't necessarily the individuals who'll respect my opinions like I do.

Jorx
08-09-2005, 02:26 PM
Jean I do not question your right for subjective beliefs... nor do I think one should discuss over these beliefs or subjective realitys if you will...

But we can set specific goals from the objective physical reality point of view and these we can discuss. We can pursue "the truth" which from this goal-specific-objective-physical-reality point of view exists. If we want to of course.

I naturally assumed that you being in favour of kata as a method and advising it to others (Paige) are also willing to deconstruct and explain your view rationally.

I want to find flaws in my point of view. So I can rearrange, rebuild, reform, reconstruct it. If you are not willing to help then... it's your choice.

rob_liberti
08-09-2005, 02:30 PM
Jorgen, I think Dustin provided a lot about kata to think about. Any comments on that aspect of his post? - Rob

Adam Alexander
08-09-2005, 02:50 PM
I naturally assumed that you being in favour of kata as a method and advising it to others (Paige) are also willing to deconstruct and explain your view rationally.

I"m a changed man:) I think kata is king. But, I'm not so worried about if others don't.

Jorx
08-09-2005, 02:51 PM
Okay here it comes:

1. Instill a clear mindedness during a crisis. : it is not clear which crisis Dustin Meant. I understand it like... I mean... I used to make jo-kata in my head while at dentist's. It helped:) But undoubtedly there are many various methods for the same purpose. None of them has to do with combat effectiveness is my point of view.

2. Develop the student's ability to use mushin.: yes, I think that I understand that. Maybe doing kata helps oneself to learn to switch to "mushin" mode so it can also be "switched" during let's say physical confrontation or any other situation that needs concentration. But again is it kata specific? Does for example shadowboxing have the same purpose? Lifting weights? Meditation? I for example have found that I am able to enter the "no mind" mindset when sparring. So it teaches me to switch AND is highly effective proven training method.

3. Help build unity between thought and action. : what does not?
4. Provide a technical and physical foundation.: Why does this need so many different and specific kata forms? Couldn't one just aquire the most basic form and then drill it against progressive resistance? I advocate "dry" training of technique for about 15 minutes max. Not YEARS like in perfecting a kata.

5. Train large numbers of students rapidly to be battle ready.: What is kata's value from combat point of view was the original main question. This is not an answer.

6. Discipline. Well... how exactly?

7. Provide physical conditioning. There are way more effective ways for conditioning.

8. Something else to perfect and meditate on as is the Japanese way. Legit and undeniable point but has nothing to do with martial arts or self defence or physical capability per se.

Yes I know I have a rather cocky and arrogant style of writing but that's just me and should not affect the fact that I'm trying to be rational underneath. Also I hope that noone automatically thinks I'm a selfish and rigid punk who is not worth discussing with.

Oops Jun, could you move that post too?

DustinAcuff
08-09-2005, 03:03 PM
Here's Jorgen's post copied and pasted until it is moved here:
Okay here it comes:

1. Instill a clear mindedness during a crisis. : it is not clear which crisis Dustin Meant. I understand it like... I mean... I used to make jo-kata in my head while at dentist's. It helped But undoubtedly there are many various methods for the same purpose. None of them has to do with combat effectiveness is my point of view.

2. Develop the student's ability to use mushin.: yes, I think that I understand that. Maybe doing kata helps oneself to learn to switch to "mushin" mode so it can also be "switched" during let's say physical confrontation or any other situation that needs concentration. But again is it kata specific? Does for example shadowboxing have the same purpose? Lifting weights? Meditation? I for example have found that I am able to enter the "no mind" mindset when sparring. So it teaches me to switch AND is highly effective proven training method.

3. Help build unity between thought and action. : what does not?
4. Provide a technical and physical foundation.: Why does this need so many different and specific kata forms? Couldn't one just aquire the most basic form and then drill it against progressive resistance? I advocate "dry" training of technique for about 15 minutes max. Not YEARS like in perfecting a kata.

5. Train large numbers of students rapidly to be battle ready.: What is kata's value from combat point of view was the original main question. This is not an answer.

6. Discipline. Well... how exactly?

7. Provide physical conditioning. There are way more effective ways for conditioning.

8. Something else to perfect and meditate on as is the Japanese way. Legit and undeniable point but has nothing to do with martial arts or self defence or physical capability per se.

Yes I know I have a rather cocky and arrogant style of writing but that's just me and should not affect the fact that I'm trying to be rational underneath. Also I hope that noone automatically thinks I'm a selfish and rigid punk who is not worth discussing with.

Oops Jun, could you move that post too?

Jorx
08-09-2005, 03:03 PM
Well Jean it's either then you are selfish or on the other hand extremely zen:)

A longer post about Dustins points about to be moved here by Jun in 3...2...1...

Keith R Lee
08-09-2005, 03:19 PM
And just to cross-pollinate things further, here's part of my post from the BJJ vs Aikido thread because it applies here as well. (slightly modified to fit this thread)

I think the big problem is that when one never engages in competition, and trains only in cooperative practice or kata, one begins to make assumptions of what will happen in a real physical encounter. And as it's said: "Assumption is the mother of all &%#@-ups."

As an extreme example take France after WWI. They were still so frightened by Germany even though they won they built the Maginot Line. The Maginot LIne was a series of outposts, canons, tank obstecles, etc. along the French-German border. The idea was that the Line would provide France a strong defense against any invading German army and allow them time in which to deal with the invading army. The only problem is that France built the Line across the entire border except along the Ardennes Forest which the French assumed to be impenatrable.

Guess what happened?

The Germans blasted right though the Ardennes and went right around the entire Line, rendering it useless. The French were still under the assumption that the static (dead, not live) and entirely defensive combat that had worked so well in WWI would continue to work well. However, the Germans had learned from their mistakes, adapted, and had moved on. Hence, the new German military doctrine of "blitzkreig" or "lightning war" (Man, the Prussians were really good at war. Sorry, I'm a bit of a military history dork) in which they used speed and shock to prevent opponents from providing a stable defense.

And guess what? Any martial art without resistant, "live" training or one that relies solely on kata, like many Aikido dojos, are the Maginot Line of martial arts. If something comes at a student, who has never engaged in "live" training, in the way they assume things are going to happen then they will probably have a reasonable answer/defense. However, as soon as something else happens; some different variable is entered into the equation that they have never dealt with, their assumptions are going to be shattered and the student is going to be blitzkreig'ed.

Now some new stuff.

The way I have encountered Aikido being practiced is many dojos really amounts to little more than paired kata. Both uke and shite have a defined role in the technique. That's fine for basics and learning basic form. Even after years of practice it's good to go back to basics and practice basic forms. However, never moving beyond kata to "live" training results in never having any real knowledge of what will happen when movements from a kata are applied in a fully resistant and opposing environment.

Focusing on kata alone is dead training.

DustinAcuff
08-09-2005, 03:22 PM
My belief about kata have to do with battle preperation. Kata are built on individual techniques or patterns of movement. You could potentially teach techniques faster through hours of kata. Kata could be practiced for hours which would provide physical conditioning and coordination specific to the movements used in battle and teach the student to go into a far away place inside their head. Kata would probably instil a certain ammount of discipline into the student that would be required to carry out any battle plans or deal with unexpected problems. These things combined could allow mushin to take over. Many kata could familiarize students with diffrent techniques and movement patterns.

Everything there could be done any number of ways. But kata seem to be a good foundation from which to do so in one simple thing.

Personally I am not a kata fan. I get bored too easily. But they do have their place.

jss
08-09-2005, 03:41 PM
Assuming we're only talking about solo-katas,
I think their value lies in reducing practice to the absolute minimum, by taking away the opponent. You do not have to worry about timing, the correct angle, ... You can focus on your movements and on any aspect of those movements you feel like focussing on. So after your body has learned the movements, you can focus on speed or power or foot placement or whatever. And the internal [suggestions for better word are welcome] qualities of your movements are all you need to worry about.
Of course, it's also possible to do your kata as a pre-programmed robot and learn nothing whatsoever. So as soon as you have memorized the kata, it is time to learn and practice the applications. And for these duo-katas the same thing holds true: you can practice them as a mindless robot or you can try to learn something.

And one other good thing about katas: you can do them all by yourself! If you have two weeks to prepare for a competion or something and you have limited access to training partners, better kata training than no training. (Question: better do kata training than conditioning? Depends on the event, I guess.)

Roy
08-09-2005, 03:42 PM
For me, kata is like Tai-chi. Doing the moves slowly can link vital strengths of you body. By vital strengths I mean breathing properly within the technique, rooting oneself and remaining calm, etc... not to mention its good for the health :)

CNYMike
08-09-2005, 06:50 PM
Although the merits of drawbacks of kata and other formalized cooperative training methods can -- and have -- been debated to death ("I surived the RMA kata flame war of '97 and all I got this joke about saying all I got was a lousy t-shirt"), at the end of the day, it doesn't matter.

If you are in an art that does forms, you are going to do forms. You'd BETTER do them if you know what's good for you! And if you hate doing them, you either grit your teeth and bear it because you love the art more than you love the forms; or you switch to something else.

Debate is all well and good and healthy, but from a practical standpoint, you do what the person in charge of your class tells you to do. The End.

Charles Hill
08-09-2005, 07:17 PM
Personally I am not a kata fan.

Hi Dustin,

On another thread you mention that you train full time in Daito Ryu. I thought that Daito Ryu taught only kata. What kind of non-kata training does your Daito Ryu school do?

Thanks,
Charles

DustinAcuff
08-09-2005, 08:20 PM
Lol. I don't know any Daito Ryu kata. We just practice techniques off of attacks. Formal randori is pretty rare but we are encouraged to mix it up any time we want to. We also train vs. handheld weapons, improvised weapons, firearms, blindfolded, in diffrent environments (offices, stairs, bathrooms), multiple attackers, on the ground, in cars, and pretty much anything else or place that we can think up. The more advanced guys get full blown attacks and use live blades (knives, katana, whatever).

I am definately not in a traditional koryu school. I cannot speak for Daito training at large, but the techniques and application are the same or a step beyond the norm.

PeterR
08-09-2005, 08:20 PM
So do both in the right balance.

Eric_Aiki
08-09-2005, 10:13 PM
Hi all-

There are alot of far more experienced Aikidoka here than I, but this thread reminded me of an insight I had in class recently.

Disclaimer - I hae only been training for... 3 weeks or so. Weve done a little Bokken work, some forms there, which allowed me to focus more on my own body position and less on position relative to an Uke. This helped me to improve my slide step, slide turn and really helped my shihonage. The 180 turns with bokken really helped me internalize hand position on Shihonage, or at least to the point I understand the technique now (which is limited I am sure).

Before I get to my long winded point here - in class the other day I tried the kneeling/facing technique with two people (forgive me for being ignorant of the japanese name of this right now). I asked sensei after class what the application was - I could only think of two people bowin to each other in a kneeling position, then getting into some argument - seems silly, I know. He laughed, and said that the point of the technique was rather an exercise, not a real world useable technique.

This is kind of how I think of kata - nobody is going to attack or defend themselves with Kata alone, but they can be a tool to improving ones technique. Theyve been helping me at the basic stuff. Tools to learn by, I suppose.

Mind that I only have a few weeks Aikido experience, my opinions are going to change several times over the next few years I am sure.

Thanks for hearing my opinion,

Eric

Sonja2012
08-10-2005, 12:38 AM
nobody is going to attack or defend themselves with Kata alone, but they can be a tool to improving ones technique.

I couldnīt agree more.

Part of our shodan test is what we call aiki no kata, a kata that includes all pinning techniques from ikkyo to gokyo, performed with a partner. I have been practicing this kata for the past months as my test is coming up and while I would agree that it certainly does not improve my spontaneous reaction in an attack, I still have learned an incredible amount about the performed thechniques. Which will in turn improve my technique in a spontaneous attack, as I feel much stronger about my technique and through that am less nervous.
This kata focuses a lot on keeping maximum control all the way through and shows you straight away if you donīt have that control. For me, it has been a great tool for learning.

Jorx
08-10-2005, 01:56 AM
Well paired kata is still only prearranged movements. I do not doubt that there are people who have positive experience from kata and to whom it has been a useful tool. The question is weather there is something unique in kata which makes it unreplaceable with more modern methods for these goals?

PeterR
08-10-2005, 02:06 AM
Well a rose by any other name smells just as sweet.

Kata = Drills

Some drills more closely resemble the actual even they are trying to train for, others are less obvious. Properly chosen kata/drills coupled with randori/alive training in the right balance you will have positive benefit. I really can't think of any modern sport that does not incorporate some sort of technical breakdown training.

Jorx
08-10-2005, 02:23 AM
Yes there's drills and there's drills. The difference is that kata is predetermined stimulus resulting in predetermined answer. The kata is something (especially the solo kata) where you endlessly perfect a given form. The drills on the other hand are usually very quickly increasing the resistance and the amount of variables and "whatever works" principle.

So we might make the terminology difference between predetermined/dead/noresistance drills like kata/chi sao/hubud/mindless combinations on pads in kickboxing class AND chaotic resistance/alive drills.

PeterR
08-10-2005, 02:34 AM
Yes there's drills and there's drills. The difference is that kata is predetermined stimulus resulting in predetermined answer. The kata is something (especially the solo kata) where you endlessly perfect a given form. The drills on the other hand are usually very quickly increasing the resistance and the amount of variables and "whatever works" principle.
You've just described the Shodokan Aikido training method.

Kata and Randori together - with everything in between.

Jorx
08-10-2005, 02:57 AM
That's great:)
You do not happen to have any online clips do you?

Too bad all the aikido I've seen in my 6 years incl. about 5 Hombu Dojo instructors and Finnish instructors never practiced the "inbetween" and in most places even randori was done with "kata" mindset.:(

PeterR
08-10-2005, 03:07 AM
Well for the kata go here (http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/kyogi10.html) and for the randori go here (http://www10.ocn.ne.jp/~siba/index11.htm).

For the stuff in between not really but it really is self evident and I have been to several non-Shodokan dojos that do similar in between stuff.

Be warned that the randori links have a weird browser problem.
If you replace the %5C with a backslash it will work.

Jorx
08-10-2005, 03:19 AM
Thanks Peter it was really interesting. Will write my thoughts about it later.

deepsoup
08-10-2005, 06:03 AM
Assuming we're only talking about solo-katas It seems to me that some are, others aren't, and a few don't know the difference. That would probably account for some of the confusion on this thread.

The difference is that kata is predetermined stimulus resulting in predetermined answer. The kata is something (especially the solo kata) where you endlessly perfect a given form. The drills on the other hand are usually very quickly increasing the resistance and the amount of variables and "whatever works" principle.

And yet the concept of an excercise that nominally remains the same but is practiced on different levels really isn't that unusual.

Kihon practices for example, like kihon dosa in Yoshinkan, are nominally the same excercise whether its a 5th kyu practicing them or a 5th dan. And yet you know the more experienced person is practicing that basic exercise on an entirely different level.

Its like a fractal, the closer you look (the closer you are able to look) the more detail there is to see. As you move beyond merely trying to remember the sequence of a formal paired kata, its time to get the broad body movements right. When they're down pat, you begin to realise your posture sucks, and some of the details are wrong. Spend a while correcting that, and you notice that your timing isn't quite right. And so it goes on. You see what I mean?

I guess what I'm getting at is that making a drill incrementally more complicated and 'free' is one way to push your technique forward.
Thats perfectly valid, in fact where I practice we have a quite structured approach to randori that does exactly that.

But theres also the challenge of working on essentially the same kata at incrementally higher levels of understanding.

It could be that there's a limit to that latter approach, maybe you reach a point where you understand the kata perfectly and there's nothing more to learn from it. Shu ha ri and all that.
I wouldn't know from personal experience, I don't think I train seriously enough that I'm likely to find out before I'm too old to do it any more. :)

Sean
x

Chuck.Gordon
08-10-2005, 06:24 AM
FWIW and IMNSHO:

In most Japanese budo, kata is the core training methodology, augmented, by jiyu-waza and/or randori.

Kata, in this sense, are not the solo patterns used in many of the p/k systems (i.e.; Okinawan karate or Chinese wu shu). Kata is, rather, a patterned interaction between partners that is designed to teach timing, distancing, rhythm, etc. It can encompass almost any type of practice wherein one partner makes a specific attack and the other responds in a specific manner. It can be completely formal, with its own reishiki and detailed script of behaviors (for instance, the kata 'Ippon Dori' in Daito Ryu) , or it can be as simple as a call-and-response practice of a specific technique (such as 'OK, now we're going to do ryote-dori kote gaeshi omote ...').

Most aikido training, then, falls into the kata category.

Supplemental training methodologies, such as ippon- or sanbon-kumite in p/k arts or jiyu-waza and randori in judo and aikido, expand and illuminate the core principles and methodologies contained within the system's kata/waza, by creating the illusion of unscripted combative interaction.

Many budo systems rely solely on kata-based training, others utilize more free-play training, once the student has been taught the basics (which are almost ALWAYS taught as kata).

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
08-10-2005, 06:27 AM
Addendum: In aikido systems such as Yoshinkan, wherein there is a discrete set of exercises designed to be performed solo, that teach the basics of movement, the term 'undo' more properly describes the activity, rather than 'kata'. (Again IMHO ...)

Chuck

Jorx
08-10-2005, 06:42 AM
IMO Shu Ha Ri is a counterproductive approach in MA learning and belongs to the history books alongside other interesting japanese cultural phenomenons.

jss
08-10-2005, 07:08 AM
IMO Shu Ha Ri is a counterproductive approach in MA learning and belongs to the history books alongside other interesting japanese cultural phenomenons.

Why?

Jorx
08-10-2005, 07:37 AM
Simply because there are better methods. (If the goal of course is practical fighting ability in our objective physical reality).
The "breaking" from form and thinking for oneself must begin from day one.

Form must follow function (in this case the practical output/outcome of/by an individual being).

I cannot say if this will take oneself to a different point than "traditional" training in let's say 25-35 years. What I CAN say is that it will take people in 3 months more far in their understanding AND ability than "traditional" training in years.

All of this my personal experience (learning and teaching, Aikido and MMA) and view of course but there are quite many who share it.

Chuck.Gordon
08-10-2005, 07:56 AM
Simply because there are better methods. (If the goal of course is practical fighting ability ...

Agreed. For the scant few people who really, truly, need to learn practical close quarters combatives, yes, there are better and faster methods.

However, we're talking about aikido, yes?

is that it will take people in 3 months more far in their understanding AND ability than "traditional" training in years.

Depends on what the 'goal' is and what abilities and understanding they are seeking. I've been doing budo and other martial sports (was doing MMA before it was called that, BTW) for 30+ years, and spent quite a bit of time haring off after some wondrous combat effectiveness.

Probably found it (I've survived a misspent youth, stints as cop and soldier, and some 48 years of living in total, at any rate), but also learned that practical ability in real combatives can be attained more easily through non-traditional methods (though when you do that, you aren't doing budo), and that diligent, dedicated training IN trad. budo can provide internal AND external understandings and abilities that quick and dirty CQB training cannot.

As I said, it all depends on what you want. If you want CQB, trad. budo's not the place to look.

Chuck

rob_liberti
08-10-2005, 08:00 AM
I think we all agree that 100% resistance cannot work, and 100% non-resistance cannot work. Are we just finding new ways to say that? If so, let's move on unless someone thinks the absolute ends of the spectrum are the only correct way.

I believe that all kata is supposed to evolve into live understanding. I think "dead kata" is pretty much missing the point no matter what system you are in.

Where I see kata as pretty good is if you are teaching 60 people something new and a bit dangerous - especially weapons, you can't show them all a few moves and then say go for it! 2 people would die, 12 people would be seriously injured, etc... So you make kata, get everyone _basically_ on the same page, and go around to the majority of the sempai and get their kata to be more alive and let the trickle down thing happen as you change partners.

I don't know the shu ha ri thing that well. I think I'm just starting to really get into the ha level, and I really have no idea what I'm in for in the ri level. So I guess I'll comment about it further when I know what I'm talking about... As I see it, you know in basketball when you play HORSE (or PIG) and someone makes a crazy shot, and then you have to make the same shot or you get a letter. I'm starting to feel that way about most aikido seminars. I kind of feel like the teacher does some technique (regardless of what style of aikido) and I just try to copy them. If we were playing HORSE I think I would win many games. But, just like someone who could win every game of HORSE and still not be a great basketball player (although probably a good shot maker when there is no one between them and the net) I kind of feel the same way about aikido. I think I have a lot of skills to actually put together and relatively few seminars that I've ever been to work on that part. I suppose it's up to the individual to come up with the next level of drills and get even much more alive training, but it would be nice to see a developed system for that out specifically coming from a hombu style background.

Rob

Chuck.Gordon
08-10-2005, 08:01 AM
IMO Shu Ha Ri is a counterproductive approach in MA learning and belongs to the history books alongside other interesting japanese cultural phenomenons.

Shu-ha-ri is not only NOT countrproductive to traditional budo training, it is essential.

See my post above about CQB, however. If you goal is combative skill, yes, shu-ha-ri may indeed not be the path for you. If you want to learn trad. budo, however, it is part and parcel of the methodology and systemology of the practice.

Even, however, in the unarmed combatives a taught in modern militaries (the US Army's current method is based deeply in BJJ), students FIRST learn via kata, then move that basic knowledge of technique application into free-play.

In order to train lots of people how to deal with physical violence rapidly and efficiently, there are much better methods than those of traditional budo.

But to learn traditional budo, there is no better method than learn-integrate-break, as embodied in the kata-based systems of aikido, judo, kendo, et al.

As far as talking combat-effective vs trad. MA, it's an apples-oranges thing.

Chuck

Ron Tisdale
08-10-2005, 10:15 AM
I agree so much with what Chuck wrote, I'll just leave it at that.

Fighting is fighting, budo is something else. You decide for yourself if it is less or more.

Best,
Ron

Jorx
08-10-2005, 12:14 PM
Okay fellas... I think it's time for another topic:)

Roy
08-10-2005, 12:53 PM
Re: "Traditional budo" and "Fighting art"

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I think that a budo that encompasses a "little" kata for self study etc... Will encourage both, a combat effectiveness, and strengthen, and/or distill a greater understanding of form. I also think that self study with kata form, will encourage a calmer state of mind; similar, to yoga, etc... But evidently, there is always dojos that are, and always will focus to much on kata; thus, those dojos will probably lack in combat effectiveness. You need a good balance

Ron Tisdale
08-10-2005, 01:05 PM
Hi Roy,

But evidently, there is always dojos that are, and always will focus to much on kata; thus, those dojos will probably lack in combat effectiveness.

Afraid I disagree on that statement. Yoshinkan aikido has a relatively heavy focus on kata. It has been said by many that it's effectiveness is fairly strong. You also mention kata for 'self study', but in aikido, kata is not 'self study' in the sense that there is a partner. Ebudo has some interesting thoughs on kata in aikido here:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10973&highlight=kata+shioda

Diane Skoss has some interesting thoughts on the same topic here:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=5

Best,
Ron

Roy
08-10-2005, 05:07 PM
Oops! I think I'm getting confused with the term kata. I see kata as doing a set memorized forms by yourself. Please disregard my post.

DustinAcuff
08-11-2005, 12:11 AM
I would like to announce that after some profound meditation over a bottle of coke that I have uncovered the true purpose of kata...they are simply supposed to look good when preformed with a partner to dramatic music like "Eye of the Tiger". That is the entirety of it. :)