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Jorx 08-25-2004 11:49 PM

The GREAT kata debate
 
As posted on the Underground forum by Nowhereman2200.
Seems to make pretty much sense.
For us Aikidoka remain these questions:
Does this text or some of it apply to "paired kata" - the method most commonly used during Aikido practice?
Does this text or some of it apply to weapons katas in Aikido?
Are we witness to a downfall of ANY Traditional Martial Art which claims highly improve one's self-defence skills?

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.
------

Bridge 08-26-2004 03:18 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
My experience and knowledge are very limited compared to everyone else on these forums but...

The person you are quoting has experience in Shotokan kata, which are nothing like the originals in any case. They tweaked them so that they would look "good" and would start and end in the same place. They also tweaked the techniques to suit an American audience, so emphasis was on strong looking techniques with butch square stances with lots of thrusting and tense techniques to look like you are putting strength into them. Or at least that's how it felt when I was practicing Shotokan!

IN my wado ryu karate experience; the kata are more flowing and the emphasis is on flowing techniques punctuated with a change of pace with a bit of focus on some sharp techniques. These kata seem to always end in a different place to where they started. Wado ryu people don't often win kata competitions. But they are nice kata to do as you learn to join techniques together, following one technique with another (perhaps the same or completely different) and focus on stance, rythmn, variation of pace, posture, balance and transfer of weight, develop appreciation of relative movements of diferent parts of your body as you move from one technique to the next.

In Seiki Juku karate (like kyokushin) it's similar story though the kata are a lot more complex and moves are more broken down into lots of little techniques. There are also lots of slow control techniqes mixed with strong techniques and fast whipping techniques.

As I've been told, kata originated as a means of summarising someone's fighting technique/approach rather than a theoretical fight situation. So that they could communicate their strategy and approach to students. Which is why kata application is important.

I don't think kata was ever intended as a sole training tool to prepare one for combat.

I've yet to experience learning many aikido kata. But my experience so far has been that there's more emphasis on flow and body condition.

It's like learning to write joined up I guess.

ian 08-26-2004 04:21 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
An illustration for aikidoka:
the 13 jo kata can also be done with two attackers. Even when you have learnt the 13 jo kata, doing the defence against two attackers (as a 'paired' kata) feels completely different because you have to move your body in relation to the attackers.

Kata is good for learning the basic movements of a technique and ordering information.

Contact is necessary for understanding the technique practically.

I think naturally martial arts produce kata to retain the form of the techniques - I have done the same in aikido, though I know it is nothing like the real thing. Kata is a tool, just as all martial arts training is - understanding how to use this tool is the key to getting realistic training. [I feel like I'm constantly saying understanding a martial art is about understanding the training method].

Devon Natario 08-26-2004 07:23 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

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.
This is why one kata was studied for ten years. Maybe you should take a little time and research Hanshi George Dillman. This may introduce the secrets you are looking for. It will open your mind to many things, once you start learning the meridians and how to properly use them Kata will seem a whole lot more understandable.

Quote:

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.
Good points, however, you are training your body to move a certain way. Like walking. At first it's hard to move that way, but after time it becomes natural. This is the intent of practicing movements. Not to be able to react to a hostile partner, but to first make your body move on its own. In any instance of learning- I use this analogy- Crawl, walk, run. We must learn to do each in sequence, or we fail.

I have boxed, and shadow boxing is training the movements, developing speed, developing timing and combinations. It's the boxers way of kata.

Quote:

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.
Again, before you assume, do research of Dillman Karate International. Black Belt Magazine has tested his theory against hostile people and he has shown that his techniques and theories work. This is why he was entered into the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

With Dillmans theory, I can not take the essence of Kata away from an art. It's what they study to become proficient.

One can say the same thing about any art. Aikido doesnt practice for real. I have yet for my instructor say, "Try to kick my butt." It's always, always a predetermined fashion of fighting.

Same goes for BJJ. One can say, that it's sport, and because theres no fish-hooks, eye yanks, or groin pulling allowed that its fake, one can say Judo is all sport, one can say whatever they want to say. But those people are more closed minded than any other.

If you think an art is impractical- then it probably isnt for you. But someone else may take that art, and whoop up on you with it because it fits them.

I personally hate Kata, but I understand the concept behind it, and I will never dog it out. Ive had the experience of going to one of Dillmans seminars and getting knocked out with two hits to my arm. Im a believer that kata works for them.

SeiserL 08-26-2004 08:15 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
IMHO, what's the debate?

Some people can make Kata generalize and transfer and others can't. Its not a matter of does Kata work, because its a great way to train and preserve information. It probably would not have survived as a training tool if it did not have some effectiveness.

Even the best reality people I know have a history of Kata. Some of the worst and sloppiest I know, don't.

There is a time to practice form/Kata, a time to vary from it, and a time to let them go.

I enjoy Kata and think it has helped me greatly. But, I tend to see the practical application in almost anything.

p00kiethebear 08-27-2004 05:36 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

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.
This argument would have value if you assume the only thing the school does is kata.

Our school (kenjutsu) practices solo kata, and then has sets of kumitachi that take all movements from the kata and apply them in "real" situations.

The practice is teaching your body how to naturally move under certain circumstances and do it effectively. A boxer drills himself to react certain ways when a punch is thrown. Just as we drill ourselves to react in certain ways when a cut is made.

Quote:

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?
yes, yes and yes.

Your arguments are also assuming that everyone here is training for combat effectiveness.

If what your looking for is good effective self defense then you need to get out of your dojo and goto this website: http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com (thanks to Aleksay for bringing this website up more than once.)

Chris Birke 08-27-2004 06:13 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
I say one day out of five for drills. If you skip that day, you're missing out on a lot of learning.

People who do lots of kata tend to look better.

//

No nonsense self defense is great and all, but training for self defense and training for combat effectiveness are not the same thing.

Nonetheless, both involve dedicated training and not abandoning your dojo.

Personal safety is impossible, as the more you sacrifice for its sake, the less you have reason to sacrifice for. The balance is very relative, and dependent on many things. For example, if you train BJJ, your odds of getting attacked by a skilled martial artist go way up.
Just like the odds of getting raped go up if a person dates.

However, a woman trained in BJJ is more safe on a date than one who has not trained at all.

Also, do not assume that just because "No nonsense" advocates awareness as a top priority, all other things become equal.

Jorx 08-28-2004 01:00 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Nathan Gidney wrote:
Our school (kenjutsu) practices solo kata, and then has sets of kumitachi that take all movements from the kata and apply them in "real" situations.

Kumitachi is a drill... and has much less to do with "real" than "real".

Every japanese somewhat-historical movie I watch there is ALWAYS sparring with bokkens. Where is that sparring now? Most of the sword schools (be it Aikiken within Aikido, Iaido, Kenjutsu) have fast preset drills as most advanced exercise. Kendo is different because that is also a sport with sport rules...

How many Aikido schools are out there where people (okay let's say before 5 years of practice) do something else than "okay you attack me this way, I counter this way"... oh yes wait... there's randori and jiu-waza... but within my 6 years of Aikido experience, having seen and been taught by senseis from 5 countries (including Japan) I've never seen any sensei to encourage (even higher level students) to incorporate anything else than "a simple-single attack -> solution -> repeat" (even for randori and jiu-waza).

So my personal opinion is that most of this long and well argumented post also applies to the main training method of Aikido... the paired practice.

I'd like to quote Luis Gutierrez (One Dragon Martial Arts www.onedragon.com):

"Train swimming in the water. Dry land swimming is useless. And yes, training for synchronized swimming is super hard, will allow you to navigate in water and be graceful as a fish in a bowl but it won't win a sprint or endurance race or even keep you in one. If God forbid you have a boating accident, it will increase your chances of survival but not as much as the guy who swims daily in the ocean for speed and endurance, in stillness and in motion. Sport may call for more training in endurance and "street" for more of sprinting but it's all there in you building the attributes, delivery systems, and tactics athletically…for the short run and hopefully for the long haul."

(full article at http://www.onedragon.com/article_07.html)

To me it seems that the very most that Aikidoka do is training for "synchronized swimming".

Devon Natario 08-28-2004 02:31 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
It all depends on how you train. Not all Aikido styles are traditional- some are eclectic.

Jorx 08-28-2004 02:52 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Devon Natario wrote:
It all depends on how you train. Not all Aikido styles are traditional- some are eclectic.

Well that's a quite usual answer. But the styles "real face" is not made up of a minority of eclectic schools. It's not made up of couple of masters who can do unbelievable stuff... it's made up of the usual dojos and usual practioners. Usual officials flying in from Aikikai to grade dan levels and the dan levels they grade... etc...

acot 08-28-2004 10:29 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
The 'real' point is that Aikido, Karate, and other MA are not fighting. Nothing can replicate real combat. To be honest I don't want it to. I need to get up and go to work on monday and I don't need injuries to haul around with me. Aikido works in everyday life likely better then it will in a very rare and special event where its combat effectiveness comes in to question.

Greg Jennings 08-28-2004 10:36 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Jorgen Matsi wrote:
Every japanese somewhat-historical movie I watch there is ALWAYS sparring with bokkens. Where is that sparring now?".

I tend to agree with a lot of what you say, Jorgen, but I can't support the idea that drills have no value.

Every system has drills. It's too time consuming to learn without them. It's about learning, not about stump-the-chump.

Every system has a sparring mode that isn't all-out, no-holds-barred. You cut the speed/power or you take out the killing/disabling techniques. Can't have it both ways.

That is to say that if one is training for self-defense, one should practice all-out, with follow through, some and practice the harmful techniques some. Just not at the same time.

Contact sparring with bokken? Get a grip, guy. I'm tougher than the average bear, but I have no desire to get my skull bashed in. I have to work the next day to feed my kids.

You know, there is good, hard training, and then there is a Walter Mitty complex.

Jorx 08-28-2004 11:15 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Greg Jennings wrote:
Every system has drills. It's too time consuming to learn without them. It's about learning, not about stump-the-chump.

Every system has a sparring mode that isn't all-out, no-holds-barred. You cut the speed/power or you take out the killing/disabling techniques. Can't have it both ways.

Contact sparring with bokken? Get a grip, guy. I'm tougher than the average bear, but I have no desire to get my skull bashed in. I have to work the next day to feed my kids.

.

I'm not in favour of contact sparring with bokken... I just say that the old times show that it's impossible to learn to fight with sword without sparring with bokken. If training with bokken gives you peace of mind that's a whole different world. Same goes for empty-hand. It's impossible to learn to actually apply any techniques in combat situation if you have not practised these movements many times against a partner who resists. Who acts naturally = unpredictably.

I love drills. But the drills need only to have some boundaries not pre-arranged movements.

But I honestly think that when you cut down on speed in sparring / drill you cut down on reality. Of course there is a chance do "go easy" and that most certainly benefits as well.

And I'm really tired of "Aikido benefits in everyday life... helps keep calm etc". So does yoga. So does fishing. So does a full-aggressive-approach-sport-based MMA gym. You can't prove otherwise. It is a MARTIAL art which lot of people take up (also?) because it promises skills in self-defence.

Now if anyone wants to go now that Aikido is a TRUE martial art, it's not supposed to be for fighting / combat / self defence then it shouldn't be called martial art... call it self-improvement-art or whatever.

How many senseis are out there who answer the newcomers question: "Is Aikido good for self-defence? Will I be able to defend myself effectively on street with this technique?" With: "Maybe... but not before at least 6-7 years of practice?"

I surely believe that training in prearranged movements helps you only with prearranged movements. You don't get real timing or balance sense out of it. You tend forget to expect the unexpected.

When was the last time you (I don't mean particulary you mr. Jennings :) ) had a reality check? When was the last time you put gloves on and with your friend said "Ok, let's go easy at first..." What happened? Were you be able to use the things you train in class?

acot 08-28-2004 11:39 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Since while your in the street you have no idea who or what you are going to fight then why does it make sence to practice for such a situation. They might be a better fighter or worse you don't know. So what is the point of training with a fighting frame of mind. It doesn't make sence. Your going to beat up a guy and he is going to back to his car and get a gun. Now what do you do? (run). The point is that unless your looking for trouble these situations are rare, and it is pointless to train for endless hours on something you might use for 3 seconds of your entire life.

Erik 08-28-2004 01:20 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Jorgen Matsi wrote:
I'm not in favour of contact sparring with bokken... I just say that the old times show that it's impossible to learn to fight with sword without sparring with bokken.

I believe this is a fairly inaccurate statement. I think the reason they used bokken is because no one thought of the idea until the 18th century. At which point I'm sure heads were slapped and Japanese was uttered to the equivalent of "Jeez, I wish we'd thought of that sooner".

Don_Modesto 08-28-2004 02:05 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Jorgen Matsi wrote:
(i) Do kata contain valuable information?

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

If the answer is other than yes, I think we're straying into semantics.

In order to acquire a new repertoire of techniques, we have to move our bodies in the new ways. Isolating these skills is kata. You either do it somehow, or thrash.

Quote:

...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.
Sounds like your principle influence is Nakayama. His videos and books are particularly uninspiring. As you mention, others have rejected this and are busily creating their own BUNKAI; a lot of it seems to involve grappling interpretations rather than punches and blocks.

Nakayama campaigned for KUMITE. Kendo and judo had it and there was peer pressure on the JKA to have it, too. Delimiting competition to punches and kicks makes judging much easier than allowing locks and pins. It's not the first time an art has been prostituted to popular appeal.

Quote:

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.
As someone already noted, they are a tool to be used productively or not.

Quote:

4. The applications are anyway considered unimportant
Kata has become a dance competition in modern karate. As you say, meaningless.

Quote:

5. Practicing with an invisible partner is of little value….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.
Again, kata for teaching centering, coordination, KIME...this is to the good. Indeed, I take time out when my students have difficulty in aikido to do a few minutes of solo kata so they can isolate footwork without the confusion of resistance. The issue is emphasis. I agree that too much time is spent on dance-kata. But I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Quote:

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 never practiced the opening you mention in Bassai, but it came to me spontaneously once on a busy street in Tokyo. I was jaywalking between cars in a traffic jam in Shinjuku one night when out of nowhere this rugby-built individual came careening at me. Boom! He was right on top of me. I didn't leap forward as in Bassai, but my feet did come together crossed and my hands went up. He caromed off me and landed on top of a taxi. Voila! Mushin--from kata training.

Quote:

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 I wanted to incorporate some technique and I wasn't getting it with all the distractions attendant upon paired training, of course. Again, I'd do it a few times, not for hours. What's the tool and what is its utility?

Quote:

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.
There is some merit in your last sentence but, as above, we disagree on emphasis. In any case, any social entity is going to involve legacy: You dial numbers on your cell phone, right? Show me the dial; there is none, there's a keypad. The term "dial" is a legacy; it no longer refers to technology but to functionality, the term now has new meaning. Similarly, kata may not convey its original meanings but other meanings for it can be found (as they have been with sword-style attacks in aikido.)

Thanks for the thoughts.

Chris Birke 08-28-2004 02:11 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
"Geez I'd wish we'd thought of kata", or geez, "I wish we'd thought of using bamboo?"

//

I think its important to remember some of the other benifits of kata.

1. Discipline
2. Conformity
3. Ability to Follow Orders
4. Confidience Building
5. Solidarity

Whether or not doing tons of kata makes you a better fighter is unimportant for many teachers when you see that it improves these 5 things.

p00kiethebear 08-28-2004 06:27 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Kumitachi is a drill... and has much less to do with "real" than "real".
This again, depends on how you train. If all you do is follow the movements then all you are really doing is dancing with a sword.

However when sensei really tries to hit me, i better have studied the kata and learned to move correctly or risk getting clocked on the head. (never has happened in our dojo of course as sensei is very skilled at stopping inches from our face)

In sword, if you move too early, your opponent tracks you and kills you. If you move too late, he kills you because you were too slow. The kumitachi again serves as a way of training yourself to move at the correct time. And when we work with sensei, he knows when we do and when we don't.

disabledaccount 08-28-2004 07:13 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

Nathan Gidney wrote:
However when sensei really tries to hit me, i better have studied the kata and learned to move correctly or risk getting clocked on the head. (never has happened in our dojo of course as sensei is very skilled at stopping inches from our face).

Ha! That's funny! When our Sensei hits us he generally means to drive home the motivation behind a certain movement. Sometimes it's a matter of motivating us to move correctly. Either way, I'm grateful for the experience. However, learning ukemi in our dojo is occasionally a little harrowing.

Ouch! :crazy:

Lyle Laizure 08-29-2004 05:02 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

if you train BJJ, your odds of getting attacked by a skilled martial artist go way up.
Chris, I don't understand. Why exactly would this be the case?

Chris Birke 08-29-2004 09:03 PM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Because you are going to be exposed to far more skilled martial artist than you would be otherwise - this increases the chances that one of them will be an ass and try to start a fight. Your enviroment makes it more likely.

Rupert Atkinson 08-30-2004 12:11 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Kata is a useful way "to train and presever information" but first, you need useful known information to train. Otherwise, kata would be no more useful than reciting a poem in a foreign language that you did not understand. You could spend years trying to get the pronunciation right and never really know ...

It seems it took the original writer 14 years to figure that out. To be honest, I spent rather a long time myself barking up the wrong tree - but in my defence - I was guided there by most of my teachers ...

paw 08-30-2004 06:07 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
"Aliveness" is a term used to describe the training methodology of the StraightBlast Gym International.

Respectfully, I don't think anyone on this board has trained with the StraightBlast Gym at all, let alone long enough to be qualified to discuss their training methodology or compare and contrast it with any other.

The StraightBlast Gym has a specific goal, hence their training method. I can say from experience that the StraightBlast Gym (SBG) produces excellent martial artists and solid athletes (what they would probably call, "martial athletes"). Frankly, there really isn't any debate about that. The SBG's "record" speaks for itself.

I'm not sure any aikido dojo would have the same goal as the SBG, which fundamentally means they could or most likely should have a different training methodology.

...that my two cents.


Regards,

Paul

billybob 09-01-2004 09:31 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
y'all covered it pretty well, so i'll take a viewpoint and address briefly from there:

neuropsychology: we learn by strengthening connections between adjacent neurons; this has been demonstrated experimentally. repetition creates stronger connections and thus more likelihood that certain neural links will be preferred. we call a correct response 'good training' and continuing to repeat old mistakes as 'bad habits'.

the limbic portion of the brain can not speak, nor can it program a computer. it can distill the rules out of complex systems that would leave the neocortex stammering. what we call 'natural' response in a life threatening situation is action of the limbic brain, that the neocortex may only be dimly aware of. kata strengthens certain associations, hopefully good balance, etc.

if your life is threatened you have no time for kata - you do have time to respond naturally - limbically.
you may do one move from the kata - then run like hell. you intuitively apply what you have gained through study - or you die. of course, only the survivors of life threatening situations are around to advise us!

billybob

read 'A General Theory of Love' by Fari Amini for more on neuropsychology.

Michael Neal 09-01-2004 11:44 AM

Re: The GREAT kata debate
 
Quote:

i) Do kata contain valuable information?
Yes, it is the best way to learn how to do a technique.

Quote:

(ii) Does practicing kata directly improve your combative/self-defense skills?
Yes to a degree but without free practice (randori) kata skills are limited.


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