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Old 03-31-2009, 08:33 AM   #28
JimCooper
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 66
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Re: The GREAT kata debate

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote: View Post
Does this text or some of it apply to "paired kata" - the method most commonly used during Aikido practice?
Not really. This was written from a karate perspective, and as such, two-person training is not regarded as kata. The person writing would specifically mean one-person pre-arranged groups of techniques.

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote: View Post
Does this text or some of it apply to weapons katas in Aikido?
Yes. While there is some value in doing a technique a lot of times and trying to get the form (ie posture, balance, timing etc) right, there is no particular advantage to doing that in a kata, as opposed to other ways.

I believe that kata is only really valuable if you are doing it as a sort of visualisation exercise. That is, you must "see" your opponent. And you must understand what the kata means.

Also, for weapons kata (and to a more limited extent for unarmed kata), you do get the opportunity to do techniques at full speed and power that would be too dangerous against a training partner.

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote: View Post
From a combat and/or self-defense point of view, the practice of kata, forms or patterns in TMAs prompts two questions:
The OP misses one point, which is that most MAs taught today are not particularly traditional. For example, I have trained for a long time in Shotokan karate, named for the man who first introduced karate to Japan from Okinawa. He specifically stated that the karate practised after WWII was not like the karate he first introduced (in the 1920s), and worlds away from the karate he himself was taught. So "traditional" karate is only 50 or 60 years old - this goes for any of the other styles as well, not just Shotokan.

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote: View Post
(i) Do kata contain valuable information?
Presumably yes, as they were considered dictionaries of technique for various styles. (In the karate of 100+ years ago, a person would know very few kata, certainly less than I had to "learn" for my dan grade.) But this is a moot point unless you know what the information is.

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote: View Post
(ii) Does practicing kata directly improve your combative/self-defense skills?
Only if you practise them that way. You should NOT imagine being surrounded by enemies, for example. All kata I've ever seen become meaningless in that context. And certainly for karate, the old guys who did know what they meant said they were not intended for that purpose. Generally speaking, small groups of movements (down to just one), are meant to be a response to an attack, (often several attacks, if interpreted different ways).

However, having said all that, the problem with karate kata, is that the real meaning has been forgotten. It was never taught to the senior guys in Japan, so they made up bunkai (applications) that are obviously rubbish. I have trained with some people that are attempting to put the meaning back into kata, but to my mind, they are a much less valuable resource than they once were.

I've not studied aikido weapons kata to any great depth, but if there is direct knowledge of what they mean, passed down from Ueshiba, maybe they are of more value. However, if the explanation starts with being surrounded by enemies, I'd start being sceptical :-)
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