Kihon usefulness?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by JHughes, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. JHughes

    JHughes New Member

    i've been thinking very carefully about the application of line work in karate. standing their in a karate stance no movement, not flowing i can't help but ask is karate line work of any real usefulness?

    line work is the sole practise of technique from specified stance (zenkutsu dachi). however since it is not practised at a person is it useful? could you do mae geri one hundred times in a rigid stance (zenkutsu dachi) for example and be able to do it on a person just as effectively on the street?

    here i have developed an argument onto whether karate line work is useful, if i have missed anything please say.

    well yes providing that they use conception and imagination to imagine that their is a person in front of them (even Bruce Lee shadow boxed).

    No i don't think practising technique based on rigid stance like zenkutsu dachi most people will find that, that is not very effective way of fighting, also to base your reflexes on something that doesn't represent real life, even when imagining someone in front of you won't get reflexes up to good standard as quickly and effectivly compared to other ways like pair work.

    Karate has come from a wide range of tradition, culture and dicipline whether or not its effective or not is irrelevant, you should do it for its culture that you go in too when practising karate.

    conservative views on martial arts should be looked into yes but practised every day (or eveytime you practice) is another matter. martial arts should hold effectiveness, line work simply does not hold that effectiveness of flowing, continuity and practicle application.

    conclusion: its cons outways its pros. martial arts should focus on its task, fighting and should not always hold to its culture and traditions but rather focus on the person and their abilities and ways to express themselves. after all it is martial art.
  2. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Is your question - is practicing the basics in the air useful?

    If so, the answer is yes, yes, and again yes.

    However, if it is not combined with the other parts of an effective training regimen (hitting inanimate objects, drilling with people, sparring with people), then no it's not useful.

    And that's that.
  3. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Don't equate kihon and line work with fighting. It's not - if you're a lower grade I can understand why you think this, but if you're a higher grade and/or you have any experience with freestyle kumite, you'll know that line work isn't fighting.

    However, line work is immensely important. As the head of our association barked at us yesterday: Bad line work, Bad kata; Bad kata, bad kumite.

    We do them for a reason. Line work teaches you techniques, builds muscle, and builds physical and mental endurance (especially when you have to stand in one spot for ages - manji gamae anyone?); kata teaches the application of line work and how to combine techniques, and further application. Kumite is the flowing, interpretive translation of your kata in to fluid fighting.

    Hope that helps :)
  4. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    go stand in a corner and repeat 100 times: "kihon means basics, not line work".
    why does everyone get so obsessed when they see people practicing movements while stepping forward???. you're away from your opponent, you step, you punch him. repeat x5, turn around, repeat. it's just a simple drill, and it's like 1% of what kihon in itself actually means. kihon is basics, fundamentals, it's the whole theoretical building block from which karate-do is constructed. kihon is the way you stand, the way you move, it is your balance, it is your raw speed and strength, focused and controlled to form kime.. kihon is also two-person drills, conditioning drills, bag drills, it's all kihon. kihon kumite? defending a strike and counterattacking. jiyu kihon kumite? same thing, but in kamae te and with free techniques(which you learn in *gasp* basic kihon, specifically *gasp* doing line drills).
    more importantly, did you even try talking to your sensei about this, and hearing what he could have told you, instead of coming to an internet forum to give as fact a moderately uninformed opinion to total strangers?
  5. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Heeey, come on now! The guy's just trying to understand. One thing about modern martial arts is that less emphasis is put on the philosophy and the building blocks, which means it's harder to make the distinction between 'basic' and 'fighting'
  6. JHughes

    JHughes New Member

    don't get me wrong i see what your saying. i just find that in terms of a street application i find that line work a bit rigid at times. I mean when we all
    do it and its great. but at i find my self not always using when i get into fights. obviously i've practised it a lot. perhaps it has had a bigger impact than i thought but i just can't help but put whats their in context with street application.

    P.S. By the way i am not trying disrespect anyone in this forum simply trying to raise questions on some of the very basic assumptions that we can make.
  7. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Look up some shadowboxing clips and see if you can apply the idea of fluidity, relaxation, and no-mind to your kihon practice. The rigidity and strictness of kihon in the Japanese and Korean arts is counter productive to me. The free-form, uninhibited manner of practice espoused by western boxing practitioners and Muay Thai practitioners suits me better.
  8. JHughes

    JHughes New Member

    Thank you, I will.
  9. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Rigid line work isn't there to tell you how to fight on the street. It's there to teach you techniques. Look at the kata and especially the kumite for that.

    You'll never step forward oi tsuki jodan in the street.
  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Kihon in its modern form exists simply to allow more people to drill techniques at the same time under the eye of the instructor.

    Almost everything that kihon teaches can be taught better by Kata.

    Kihon combinations as they are generally practised will build a better foundation towards modern kumite than Kata, because kumite is geared towards a one on one match at long to medium range. Kata on the other hand is geared towards an assault, not a match, at medium to short range. Kihon tends to reinforce inappropriate interpretation of the majority of Karate's techniques.

    Kihon has a worthwhile part as about 1/10 of training time with the remainder spent between pad work, Kata (done as a shadow boxing memory ex) and lots of paired work. Unfortunately most Karate clubs spend about 40% of the time on kihon.
  11. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    So why practise it in the dojo?

    And as you say - look to Kata and kumite practise to teach you techniques.
  12. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Fish - you're getting pedantic on terminology. I think you know that the OP was referring specifically to line work.

    With regard to talking to an instructor. Fine, if you get the chance. But a large number of Karate instructors don't understand where line work comes from and what its predominant original (and present) purpose was/is.
  13. Brian S

    Brian S Valued Member

    Building a good foundation is an essential part of karate training. Don't build your house out of straws on a sandy foundation.
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Letting the Japanese army/schools drill a large number of students in one go?

  15. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Yes. That and training Karate foremost as a form of exercise rather than for a combative application.

    The problem is that line work is very good at achieving the training sensitive zone for aerobic exercise for large numbers of people with minimal danger of physical injury. It is not so good at building strong stances, appropriate posture/balance, strong strikes, good distancing skills etc (ie all the foundations of Karate) as good resistance work with a partner.
  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    sorry, i realize i came off as extremely aggressive, wasn't my intention. my apologies, jhughes. on that topic, the title says kihon usefulness. then the main post body says line work. i interpreted that as calling all kihon "line-work", which it isn't. and i get extremely frustrated when people generalize karate like that, especially when the guy doing it is, if i'm not mistaken, testing for his shodan in some weeks.

    to make a more civilized answer: i reiterate, line work is an extremely small fraction of "kihon", as in "basics" or "basic training". if you only do line work, of course you're going to get beaten up. do two-person drills, reflex training, speed training, strength training, bagwork, even a little makiwara if you're so inclined, and add those physical components into your technical kihon. then, practice kata. break down the kata, you have kihon sequences, many of them actually complex line work. adapt those into bunkai, and you get two person drills, to which you add kumite training, to learn to judge distance, control, to actively test your reflexes and speed, to learn footwork, etc. then take what you learned, and just repeat ad infinitum. the sum of those parts, kihon, kata and kumite, are what makes up the physical part of karate training, if you take a single one of those, or a single part of one of those, it's relatively obvious that you won't find much usefulness. using your logic, one could probably argue about the effectiveness of boxers jumping rope, for example. it's something that in its most common form has little to do with fighting, but properly done and with enough variations yields tremendous results for boxers. same with "line work": you learn a technique and a stance, and you do them at the same time. then you stop and do other things with those techniques you just learned and drilled.
  17. Anari

    Anari Valued Member

    Kihon’s as fundamental building blocks are extremely important. Look at it this way… Punches and kicks are simply a transfer of energy. Blocks are a redirection of that energy. The more effectively and efficiently you can transfer energy; the stronger the current (punch or kick). Kihon’s teach us to “lock” into proper stances (bone alignment) for the most optimal delivery of a technique. Repetition teaches muscle memory and fluidity. Any given technique must be worked 1000’s of times to perfect… However, it needs to be practiced 1000’s of times CORRECTLY…. Enter Kihon’s.

    Free style or free form fighting…. Do I use a perfect zenkutsu dachi when I fight? Absolutely! However, it is extremely momentary. Ideally the heel plants hard, hips square up (moving forward and slightly rising), shoulder slightly drops and the punch fires. Perfect stances… perfect delivery… then it’s gone again! Just a momentary flash in what appears to be just another “free style” match. But for that one moment of delivery… all the planets align. It’s like the prefect swing that knocks the ball out of the park (that’s a baseball reference – grin)… or the perfect, effortless golf swing. It’s all about technique.

    Now, I’m from the US… we have the NASKA group over here (North American Sport Karate association). Very few of them train traditionally (Kihon’s – line drills) and the majority of their training is “freestyle” even their Kata lacks traditional methods. Without the full understanding of the relationship between speed, balance, stances and bone alignment, typically they simply do not transfer the same energy as those who train traditionally.

    I have competed nationally and internationally for 30 years. I am an Okinawan stylist… the toughest hardest hitting competitors (in my opinion) have been the traditional karate-ka. (Gojo, Shotokan, Shorin-ryu, Wado). That takes nothing away from the NASKA crew… their “freestyle” methods make them extremely fast. This brings us to one of the fundamental differences between The Japanese / Okinawan arts (hard style) and the Chinese arts (soft style) and the “freestyle”. Two quick strikes with less power –vs- one strong technique delivered with optimal power. I am and will forever be a hard stylist… In my opinion the hard stylist will generally be the one left standing.

    (However, over the years I have had my ASS (****) handed to me more than once by some pretty impressive soft style players).

    Build power, speed and form in every rank (kyu and Yadansha). Repetition – repetition – repetition for proper execution of technique.

    My $.02
  18. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    I likes :D ^^
  19. JHughes

    JHughes New Member

    Fish Of Doom, your apology is more than accepted. And yes i will talk to my sensei about this. you are of course absolutly right as I just found out on wikipedia Kihon means fundarmentals. my karate comes from a style called bujinkai, this style of karate is formally more for competition, which then one of my sensei's left only too develop his own style (called sandokai).

    sandokai means school of three ways, and that is Kihon, too us that is line work. now, this could be anything from formal zenkutsu dachi to fighting stance (fighting stance also called hanmi gamae, anything you would feel comfortable with a guard, so when we do this in line it is effectivly shadow boxing). Kata. we take our katas from as many different styles of karate as we can. we've adopted the pinans from wado-ryu some high level katas from goju-ryu and shotokan even some from ****a ryu. we will do anything that we feel is effective. the third way is Kumite this is as i said before in hanmi gamae (fighting stance) which is up on our toes practising distance and timing. this is also the stance we would go into on the streets.

    Sandokai is also very competitiony (not that we do it all the time, we do pair work more than we do anything else) so my fighting in a lot of my aspects don't seem like they fit with my kumite.

    however saying that now knowing that kihon means fundermentals, it's like what anari said the stances are put into place for a brief moment, in-out thats it perfect delivery for a brief moment allowing the maximum amount of power but without leaving yourself to vulnerable to attacks.

    even as i say this i grow to an even better understanding the kihon, foundation for kata, foundation for kumite, which is how you fight in street application. so now i grow an ever more understanding of what kihon is suppose to represent and do.

    with thanks JHughes. :cool:
  20. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Isn't a punch or kick, as a transfer of energy, best performed into something (bag, pad, opponent) than in air?

    Indeed, must it not by definition be performed in such a way?

    In which case striking/receiving kihon =/= linework?

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008

Share This Page