Kihon usefulness?

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

  1. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    "Wado does not practice kata as a style"??? where did you hear this?

    Bunkai is simply a process to arrive at an end result. The fact that Wado does not utilise the same process does not mean it doesn't arrive at the same place.

    IMO, the problem with a lot of Wado based groups (particularly here in the UK) is that they have been started by people who are sort of "semi" knowledgeable about Wado but perhaps didn't fully complete their cooking time in the Wado oven.

    Don't get me wrong, these people have good and honorable intentions, but in order to fill in the gaps (cause there are loads of you don't do the full gambit) they inevitably Shotokanise their Wado.

    I am not saying that it is bad thing, its just not Wado either.
  2. Sam

    Sam Absent-ish member

    Sorry thats was me thinking too fast for my fingers to keep up, I meant to type doesn't practice Bunkai. :p I'd be worried if I beleived the first version of that sentence.

    I'm not really one to worry about what banner my training falls under and what you say I'm sure is true, in fact I know it to be so. As I've stated I don't have enough knowledge in the complete style to condemn it entirely for its lack of Bunkai but there is a difference between imagining an opponent and practicing with intent and realising that intent, even with the other tools in the style.

    I wanted to type more but I've been called into work:mad:
  3. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    I know, isn't it annoying when work gets in the way of Karate.

    You are right, there is a different between just having intent and how to realise it. Thats the key and why it is important to stress that whilst many Wado clubs do not tend to use the process of Bunkai to do this, they should not ignore the "Kaisetsu" of techniques and what they can mean.

    This is best done with an opponent, but it is important to stress that unlike Bunkai perhaps, it is a physical commentary on the technique exactly how it appears in the Kata, rather than a process of disassembly, interpretation and modification of the form itself. This does not preclude however the ability to apply the move in a multitude of ways.

    The other tools in the style as you put it close the loop in terms of how the techniques are applied and ultimately realised in the form of Jiyu Kumite.

    Anyway back to work for me. :)
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Modification of the form is a touchy subject. Once you start really modifying techniques you are into oyo rather than bunkai.

    I'm curious what you mean when you say 'shotokanise' Wado. Do you mean excessive focus on linework, focusing on heavy movements rather than light evasions (which is a Shotokan trait from not having enough time on Kata as opposed to kihon), or placing undue emphasis on Wado's early Shotokan roots as opposed to its Ju Jitsu roots? or somehting else entirely? :)

    I'm quite curious about your take on this as you've been doing Wado for quite a while now and I'm interested to know whether you feel that you train the way you do because it is the best way of training(for you at least), the wado way, tradition etc...
  5. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    On reflection, my choice of words here is perhaps not the best, (not least because I don't want to alienate myself from the rest of this forum).

    But mainly its because I see Shotokan as the predominant mainstream system that most people automatically assume represents Traditional Karate today in the UK. I have absolutely no problems with Shotokan practitioners BTW.

    When I see Wado practitioners perform Wado kata in a way that they think is more Shotokan, it does make me a bit narked.

    Not sure whether it was on here in a previous thread that I mentioned how (it has been said) Wado today is perhaps more like Shotokan was originally. Or at least in terms of movement, stances and fluidity etc. I can't comment on the pedagogy as I haven't trained in Shotokan.

    As far as Bunkai is concerned, as I said, traditionally it is not employed as a learning tool in Wado. Whether it was originally in Shotokan I don't know but I guess it was. Anyway it's clear that it is central to most Shotokan people today.

    To my eye at least, Wado appears to me more fluid, lighter, less linear than what I (maybe wrongly) see as typical to shotokan today.

    The first comment that most Wado-ka make to each other when talking about someone else in the style will usually be about how they move. This movement comes from its origins in Jujutsu - I think anyway, and the secret to Wado is learning how to master it.

    Easier said than done though, which is maybe why people opt for the Shotokan option and fill in the gaps themselves.
  6. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Interesting and good points. I'd view Shotokan and Wado like this: <>
    Shotokan 's founder, just like Wado's founder cross trained in the development of what he chose to study and teach. Both arts are an amalgamation of other systems. Shotokan's founder, Funakoshi, had two particular teachers with whom he spent the most time - Azato and Itosu, Azato being his 'core' teacher. Azato was interested in Karate for personal development and self defence and emphasised body evasion and light fast movements. Itosu was interested in Karate for self development and physical strengthening and had a greater interest in heavier movements and absorbing hits (I don't want to get into a long essay on this as I will touch on this in more depth in my next book).
    Where am I going with this?
    Shotokan, through its Kata has the potential for both forms of movement and individuals should be able thus to decide which style of application of Karate they wish to employ. More experienced practitioners are supposed to use more natural postures. If we look at Shotokan from the pictures of the 30s through to the 50s (various editions of Karate Do Kyohan for example) we see a form of practise that looks close to what many of us would see as more Wado like Karate. Over time we can see greater divergence in the two systems, but now, as Gary observes, Shotokan stances are a little bit more normal again (after those shockingly low 80s stances - JVW's book anyone?) and Wadoka are adopting lower stances unfortunately in the hope of looking crisper to impress judges - thus the two styles - superficially, appear more similar once again.

    The type of movement that Gary ascribes to Shotokan is, in my opinion, a form of movement encouraged by its extensive linework practise over the more fluid and evasive movements of its Kata.
  7. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    From the bunkai thread brought across to be more in context to this discussion:

    I'd be doubtful of that as Funakoshi had other students and interested parties who were far better connected - that sounds more like 'bitter' bragging to me. What I would say about Ohtsuka is that he spent a long time in Shotokan (about 10 years) and was one of a small group of original students who seemed blown away by this 'new' style. He was senior enough to take part in demonstrations and to feature in Karate Do Kyohan. It would seem it significantly changed his method of practise while he in turn encouraged the first paired kihon which became kumite. The precise reason for is leaving is only ever alluded to rather than stated direct, but it seems that he and Gigo didn't get on. Whether this was because Gigo wanted to take Shotokan in a more Itosu direction than his father's training, or whether both resented the other's proximity to Funakoshi, I don't know.
    What was happening at the time though was distinct market branding with Funakoshi and Kano deliberately stripping opposite techniques from their syllabi to make the arts more distinct. Ohtsuka's distancing himself from Shotokan in later years can be seen as part of the same trend.
  8. JHughes

    JHughes New Member

    wado ryu does have a jujitsu back ground which does rely on more fluidity rather than the dicipline of martial arts e.g. shotokan, goju ryu etc where they tend to be more influenced by strength and long stances. this is through only what I have watched as well but it does seem to be a certain degree of strength involved. i know people who have done both shotokan and goju ryu and they both talk about strong techniques, so its interesting that you say they seem to be gaining longer stances, its proberbly because as karate grows towards more judging in competition as to what those techniques in bunkai actually are. competition changes karate quite a lot compared to what it was in bunkai.
  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Just a slight correction... Goju-ryu does not tend to use long stances. Shorter stances are much more common. Most of Goju is designed to be effective at clinching ranges (very close in fighting).

    IME, longer stances will be more common in situations where you have longer weapons (such as pole arms) or a longer distance to cover to the target.

    This is not to say that a wider base is not used to gain leverage when dropping weight such as the use of horse stance in Goju to attack someone on the ground or to gain leverage to take down.
  10. prowla

    prowla Valued Member

    IMHO, long stances are transitional.
    You train them in basics to get the muscle memory, to build the strength, and to make you flexible enough to get there.
    But in reality, you would only hit a full stance at the point of delivery of a couple of techniques.
  11. Dead phil

    Dead phil Valued Member

    Hey guys, an interesting point for you here did you know that Sensei Hironori the founder of Wado Ryu was in fact a student of Funakoshi's until Hironori attained a certain level of training

    Knowledge is like the ocean, all water flows into it and yet it is never full
  12. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    I know that there are points at the end of techniques that look like the long stances, but I'm still in doubt as to the usefulness of drumming these positions into a student. I know this is heresy, but what does it actually achieve? They aren't that useful for strengthening legs, and I find I don't actually end up in these positions unless you're throwing them in the air anyway. Actually staying in the same position that you end up after you land a technique is a pretty bad idea anyway- particularly a straight right.
  13. Dead phil

    Dead phil Valued Member

    Well actually they do strengthen the legs, i used to be a skinny runt now i have thighs like tree trunks lol. As far they for the actual stances in using them for bunkai, which i do a lot of, i see them in many different ways, the physical e.g. to evade, to attack, to grapple and to counter many other techniques. Also for the mental e.g. using them to help analyse bunkai, a zenkutsu dachi is, to me, moving forwards and advancing on the enemy, whereas a kokutsu dachi retreats or as tekki roughly translates as Iron horse, maybe it was designed for defendinf oneself from horse back, just like TKD is designed for knocking people from horse back and so on for the other stances. Finally there is the historical nature of the stances that reaches back to the imception of the art from China for instance a backwards leaning stance bares great resemblance to a guarding position in the snake style, the zenkutsu Dachi is a basic stance in the Dragon style of Kung fu, not to mention the cat stance and the horse stance. Just a final point what you've got to remember is that the techniques of karate were designed for street scrapping in Okinawa, when it then got exported to Japan it, in my opinion, was over formalised so a relatively simple position of standing turns into something else

    Just a few pointers for those out there who think that stances are useless and just used for exercise.

    A black belt is a white belt that never gave up
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

  15. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Speaking of China, where exactly do these long stances occur in Chinese forms? Take White Crane forms, for example. Goju-ryu Okinawan Karate is credited from having taken parts of the system from White Crane... the fighting is close range and there are deep stances but not "long" stances for the main part. In perhaps fictional accounts, White Crane was able to defeat tiger and other fighting forms. Of course, in Goju you have both tiger and crane combined in forms.

    You do see long stances in some Chinese forms, but I ask where those are. For what I have experienced, you are dealing with combat with weapons or ranges outside of "point-blank" combat.

    At least this is my understanding.
  16. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Well things are kind of quiet, so...

    I don't like the term "long stances" when we are talking about martial arts. We are basically talking about how far the feet are apart from each other. The purpose of having feet further apart is to have a more stable base. In other words if someone came and tried to push you over, if you have an unstable base, you fall over easily, whereas a stable base makes it hard for them to push you over.

    The purpose of training with feet further apart in basics is to build a more stable base. The feet don't have to be super far apart to have a stable base. Both boxing stance and horse stance can provide a stable base, so you don't need feet further apart than horse stance for stability.

    Then what is the difference between boxing stance and horse stance? The difference is how high the stance is.

    In kihon you are learning how to move in mostly LOW stances.

    One of my favorite examples of how to move while using low stances is from silat... here is one example:

    and Silat is heavily influenced by weapons use.
  17. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    Yeah, that makes more sense. I know very little about fencing, but from what I do know, it seems that you do use a lot of low stances in weapons work.
  18. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    That's a good observation. I should have said knife and thrusting weapons use lower stances.

    Of course, on the other hand, kendo uses a higher posture and it is a weapon art but mostly it is a longer cutting weapon.
  19. marcnesk

    marcnesk Valued Member

    There are two things to consider in why we train so hard on basics. Physical and physiological aspects. Properly executing the perfect technique like in "Ikken Hisatsu" (one Punch death blow) we must develop proper form and kime. Through repetition and good form we can achieve the proper sequence of muscle contraction in our movement, With the help of good character and strong spirit. All of theses qualities can be achieved by having strong basics. More advanced students use higher stances in there kihons for a more natural fighting posture. They have payed there dues through sweat and tears over the years of training and this cannot be denied. The advanced student must have strong basics to understand the value of his art.

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