Kata, Karate, and You.

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Gone, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Fin Smith

    Fin Smith Disciple

    Anyone wanting to learn more about the relevance of kata would do well to watch the awesome performance and precision bunkai of the Japanese team at the recent 2012 World Senior Karate Championships. Their bunkai of Unsu shows the relevance of the discipline, and the Italians have a hard act to follow, but acquit themselves well with Gankaku (Chinto).
    Watch 10:30 - 28 mins. Well worth it.
    Adam Bendell likes this.
  2. Gone

    Gone Guest

    True, I haven't posted any of myself yet so nothing has been added to that particular trend from this end, lulz.
  3. Dave76

    Dave76 Deheuol Gwyn Dragon

    Mr.Bond and Fin Smith like this.
  4. MadoreGojuRyu

    MadoreGojuRyu Master

  5. Mr.Bond

    Mr.Bond Big Ass Dog

    Most days we would finish with Katas. Starting from white to black, or broke into two groups depending on belts.
    So about 25% was kata. We worked out for about 90 to 120 minutes. Sparring 25%, the rest warming up, self defense, and kicking and punching up and down the floor.

    My Sensei incorporated opponents after purple belt to understand what the moves in the Kata's were for. Bunkai.

    I did impress a girl once while doing Heian Sandan at some aerobics room back in late 80s....She came over and asked me what the H---L I was doing, in a nice way....So I did Hein Yodan and Hein Godan also. She told me after all that, that she was moving away!
  6. Jinen Kym

    Jinen Kym Initiate

    The start of this thread started with training in the 20's -30's. I think you'll find the father trained in a style that became goju because the styles weren't named till 1936. I personally have no interest in kata's. I prefer the Okinawan way of doing 2 man drills rather than Japanese stylized teaching method. Having said that the Japanese influence is an important part of martial arts so I have reintroduced some traditional (Kyokushin) kata to give my students an understanding of them. The main thing is for them to show the character of our style as it is performed. That is showing power in techniques. As Mr Speakman (Kenpo5.0) correctly puts it "Directional Harmony" using mass with the strike, striking at the settling of the stance and use of breath. I have many students who know more kata than myself from previous experience but they performed it putting everything in correct place (fist height, straight wrist, good stance etc) without any focus on the delivery. I do appreciate the value of them for many styles but unfortunately many lazy McDojo operators use them to convince the public of their authenticity and build their reputation by entering lot's of students in to kata comps for the publicity.:banghead:
  7. Ian White

    Ian White Samurai

    Kata is a tool and like any tool only as good as the person using it

    Learn from it take it and absorb all you can.
    Vldz likes this.
  8. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    This to me has always seemed ridiculous. A lot like advertising a boxing tourney but the competitors do sit-ups or hit the heavy bag or some other exercise. If kata supposedly gets you ready to fight* then go compete by fighting, not competing by showing how you get ready to compete:rolleyes:
    *there have been many debates here on that, I'm firmly on the "Nope, sorry it doesn't" side
    Judah likes this.
  9. Mr.Bond

    Mr.Bond Big Ass Dog

    Another thing that I have noticed is that many "new" styles and McDojo's have invented these Gymnastic based Kata's that only Mary Lou Retton can do. Lots of jumping and spinning that would get your butt kicked.

    To me, the katas are good to keep the style coherent with other schools in the same style. I did Shotokan, so my katas met the "requirement" of the Shotokan style and when I went to another Shotokan school, there was a common denominator etc.

    We also did stuff that were not necessarily "Shotokan", but the Katas were the glue of the style.
  10. The10man

    The10man Disciple

    The first guy in the videos above would get laughed off "stage" at one of our tournaments. He would get extremely low scores as his stances, strikes, blocks, kicks, etc etc etc are (to put it nicely) crap. I say stage, because that is not worthy of the word ring. I disagree though that there is no room for Kata in competition. How can you evaluate your progress unless you compete, and why compete differently than you train? I compete in Weapons and Open Hand Kata, and Kumite. Kumite is and has always been my strong suit. Knowing my weakness is Kata, competing makes me train to get better. Our "Basic Kata" that all ranks must learn include the Pinan version of the second kata and our Katas are very similar to Shotokan Kata.
  11. Mr.Bond

    Mr.Bond Big Ass Dog

    10 Man, I did not say that there should not be Kata competition....just that I don't like the gymnastics of these new kinds of katas.

    My opinion only.
  12. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    If kata is an end unto itself, like doing the foxtrot or mambo, then sure why not have it as a competition. But if kata is done as battle, fitness, et al prep, then it would be like advertising a boxing tourney but having them hit the heavy bag or shadowbox as I mentioned before. Even most weapons have been simulated as training weapons without major distortions in weight or size and a minimum of protective gear can be worn to enable tourney fights.
  13. The10man

    The10man Disciple

    You did not. Others did and still are. There is a major difference between a proper Kata and a dance. If the two could be not be told apart by the most untrained layman then it is a dance or gymnastics, not a Kata. As I said in our tournaments we have 3 Karate divisions. Open hand Kata, Weapons Kata, and Kumite. The Kata competition as I said is to compare yourself and your training to others your rank. I think you miss the essence of Kata in general. It historically has been used to teach students to think past the one-two type drills. To understand how their body moves. If in a real fight you will have to move. Terrain, surroundings, number of opponents/allies, etc will all come into play. That is not the time to find out the best way to do a 180 degree turn to deal with someone who is joining the fray. There are also "secrets of the style" if you will. Bunkai interpretations specific to each style. Once you have achieved Dan ranking you can use that knowledge to further train and add to your arsenal. I hope to never use my Karate in the real world, but I am glad I have a vast array of techniques that I learned in Kata and improved through competition available to me. It is not a competition of who can hit the heavy bag the hardest or anything like that in my experience.
  14. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    My master instructor always said, "practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect."
  15. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Across the board most of us consider kata a training tool, basically a catalog of techniques and an exercise. It's debatable as to just how useful a tool it is to prep for fighting/combat application of techniques, but that is separate from talking about performing kata as a competition. You don't go to a boxing match and walk out saying "Wow, did you see that guy at the focus mitt competition?" any more than you go to a race and see an oil change tourney. It's practice for something else, as Eric said "practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.". So a kata competition are people competing against one another to show who gets ready the "best" for technique application or learning how to move? Doesn't make much sense, does it? Iron Chef isn't about who looked best in the kitchen, it's who produces the best dishes and so on ad infinitum.
    On a side note, the funny part about not considering it the same as dance even tho everyone is performing the same choreographed moves is that the judging criteria are almost exactly the same for competitive dance and judging kata, with the nomenclature sometimes being different, but the defining elements to be judged being the same.
    Eric Dufurrena likes this.
  16. Void_Karateka

    Void_Karateka Pauper Karateka

    As I understand it Kata is meant to be a dance. Maybe not at its absolute core but on the outside definitely. In a time when anyone ranked within a noble house could jump off his horse and cut you down for practicing martial arts (above your station if you're a farmer or equivalent peasant) it was necessary to hide some schools of training and techniques in kata. The applications of said techniques were more than likely lost over time or severely bastardized and deformed by incorrect transmission. But back to your point RJ in terms of competition especially you're correct there's very little but semantics to differentiate the two when being judged.

    As a massive advocate of kata and kata bunkai especially I can agree with this to some point. In some respects I can agree with finding out how the body moves. from my work with kata it has personally given me a deeper understanding of transitional movements in between techniques and shifting my weight to remain effectively grounded for transmission of power in strikes. However in terms of it fully preparing for confrontation it is lacking in comparison with sparring, FC competition or actual combat afterthought. Kata can never take into consideration the inevitable strike that rocks your head and turns your legs to jelly. It is never transmitted (unless demonstrated by another person) in the kata where the opportunity to apply your techniques are and under what particular circumstances they can be used. That is where 2 man partner work comes in and why the most effective kata study comes from more than a single person. And as for comparing yourself and your training to others of your rank kata is probably the worst gauge of it to be brutally honest.I have seen and know countless people who have fantastic kata in comparison to me but their actual ability to fight and cope under physical pressure is under par and in many cases the greatest performers of kata tend not to be the ones massively concerned with bunkai and its applications.

    The worst words any karateka can ever come out with in my opinion. The problem in today's modern martial arts world is people using the phrase "you can when have achieved your black belt". I was working on and taught the principles to the bunkai (oyo, henka and kakushi waza) with each kata I learned the movements for. I will not say that you can just jump into the gokui of an art without foundation but in terms of kata and bunkai it is ALL foundation that should be carefully coached from day one. Getting to Shodan indicates that you're ready to fully engage the fundamentals you've gained from your kyu journey. In terms of kata it means you will be applying the principle Shimeijurasan in both kata form and kata application and further deepening your knowledge of the kakushi waza to the point that the kata becomes transparent.

    Reading this back it looks like I'm having a personal rant against 10man. I'm not and I apologize if it comes across that way.

    To me kata is a massive part of Karate and a necessity but kata competitions I simply can't see a use for. In fact the only thing I see kata competition being useful for is perpetuating the egos of the organisations setting up the events.

  17. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    I was thinking, maybe I'm just talking out my arse, but I think the reason Kata was and is still practiced may be because people learn things in different ways, and, not only that, but a lot of people really love performing kata, so, in essence, even if it isn't the "ideal" way to practice martial arts, if it is fun for you, you might be more inclined to practice harder, or even just practice at all. What if kata were created to combat boredom way back when they started, not having tournaments they could go to or a lot of people to train with. If you don't have much opportunity to spar (whether because of lack of students to spar, or maybe not wanting to spar a lot to cut down on injuries), kata keeps you kicking. (oooh, that's my new tagline!! "kata keeps you kicking!"

    I, for one, love practicing kata, keeps the mind sharp, too!
    RJ Clark likes this.
  18. Pedro

    Pedro Baek Doo San

    Man.. this kata is in essence Won Hyo form of Taekwondo. It's really nice to see how one art influences the other, as we are told that TKD was influenced by shotokan. Check it out
  19. MadoreGojuRyu

    MadoreGojuRyu Master

    I just spent 10 days in Okinawa training with the top and most respected karate masters in Okinawa and all of them stress kata. Kata is the basis for karate, Sanchin being one of the most influential kata of them all.
    Vldz and The10man like this.
  20. monk

    monk Disciple

    katas are like programmings the can be broken and they are easily studied a fighter can watch ur kata and defeat u before he even starts to fight i believe in a free style form let wat u knw flow thru ur body let ur mind relax and just fight and ull see ur own form and might be an even better form

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