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Old 08-26-2004, 07:23 AM   #4
Devon Natario
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Dojo: Northwest Jujitsu/Coeur D'Alene, ID
Location: Coeur D'Alene
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 109
Re: The GREAT kata debate

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.

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.

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.

Devon Natario
Northwest Jujitsu
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