Why Kata?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by yuen, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    but your purposes are not my purposes. and as relating to the majority of karateka, we fully agree that their training is not optimal for fighting. i do however maintain that the main purpose of karate training is to be good at karate. the training that makes you good at fighting is independent from the karate, just as it's independent from the muay thai, the boxing, the kung fu, etc. the styles is a collection of different principles that are structured in different ways, with greater or lesser complexity or convolutedness. the training methods that are associated with them are essentially an accident of statistics and of the specific history of said style, some, like most TMAs, have ended up concentrating on the principles of the style or sub-style and not on their application for fighting, therefore their general training has become predominantly non-fight-specific.
  2. lma

    lma Valued Member

    I have learned more from kata than I ever have from punching a bag. When we are doing a kata we imagine real opponents that fight back. Your bag does not fight back .

    Shadow boxing is like a basic form of kata. Sparring practice - practice something wrong gets you good at doing it wrong kata teaches to practice correctly .

    By you rules why bother practicing at all why not just fight all the time that's going to be more effective than your 4 exercises . Oh wait that's what we do when doing kata .
  3. melbgoju

    melbgoju Valued Member

    Depends on what you're trying to practice, I guess. Striking, yes I can see where you are coming from (although, I still find that my power generation in a punch benefits more from static, thoughtful training on a makiwara in conjunction with a bag, than from using a bag alone). But I struggle to practice limb entanglements, joint manipulations, takedowns or throws against a bag. Let's face it, without a partner, everyone struggles to practice those things. This is the point where kata come in, in that they (purportedly anyway) contain the core movements of these different techniques for solo practice.

    Yes, they are a poor second to partner work. They're meant to be. Kata should be for the solo practice of techniques/technique principles that you have already been working on with a partner. It's not that you learn from kata, you improve and learn through kata when someone else is not available.

    It's why I don't like doing solo kata in class - I have limited time around others who are willing to train with me (my wife, for some reason, objects to me putting armlocks on her), and working with them is a far more effective use of my time. But the majority of my training life is not spent in the dojo, so kata provide me with a vehicle to expand and improve on what I have learned without requiring a partner.

    I actually tend to agree with a lot of what you are saying - without an understanding of how to do damage to another person, kata are essentially calisthenics. You can do them forever, but they won't improve your ability to fight, because you don't know what you're practising.

    To summarise :zzz:
    • kata + context = useful
    • kata - context = no point
  4. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    As I said before, think of kata less as a form itself and more as a collection of what an entire system has to offer and it's a different story. As said before, a single kata can dramatically influence what a person does simply because the principles of what it's sharing clicks with the person. Another good example is Oyama and Tensho kata, which is one of the main inspirations for Oyama to create the Kyokushin system in the first place. If it wasn't for Tensho kata, Kyokushin as we know it today could be totally different.

    What separates kata as a waste of time and kata as a useful tool is the same thing that separates bagwork/shadow boxing/sparring as a waste of time and as a useful tool: mental intent.
  5. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Kata falls within the visible part of karate. The visible part is like the part of an iceberg that is above water (about 10%). The secret of karate is in the other 90%; the supplemental training. The other 90%, like the part of the iceberg below the water line, is hidden from view.

    "The secret is in the supplemental training": pad work, the bunkai, the partner drills, sparring, conditioning, cross-training, etc.

    This told to me by my first karate instructor, Chinen Sensei. For those that know don't who he is, here: http://www.usadojo.com/biographies/teruo-chinen.htm
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  6. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    actually we do it to learn things.

    what kuma said. That's why we don't ONLY do kata. we have kihons and kumites too.
  7. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    To use say Goju Ryu as an example, the actual practice of kata is just one piece of the puzzle. Hojo undo (supplemental training) is a big part of the system, which focuses not only on building strength and endurance for fighting but also includes impact training to build power in techniques and body conditioning. Combined with junbi undo (preparatory exercises) this is their "fight training" if you will. The final piece of the puzzle is applicaton: using what they learned from kata and working it in various drills with a partner so they can actually use it successfully in a fight.
  8. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Yes / No.

    You seem to think that Kata is a closed fixed repetition of techniques against thin air. That is only Kata as group practise. That is Kata when you are being taught Kata in class, so that you know the Kata. When you know the Kata, and you know the applications of Kata, you are supposed to go and do your own solo and paired practise.

    Paired practise of Kata has obvious benefits. It is simply pre-arranged sparring. Depending on the Dojo in question it may progress from being fixed to being dynamic and alive sparring. How does this differ from normal Karate sparring? It differs in the range of techniques being used (Kata has a lower emphasis on kicks and punches and a higher emphasis on stand up grappling, joint manipulation, unbalancing and takedowns) and the range (most Kata techniques work at clinch range).

    But here we are talking about solo Kata practise. In particular solo Kata practise for the purpose of improving fighting ability. I've made the comparison to shadow boxing.

    Shadow boxing, so far as I'm aware, consists of freely moving through a repertoire of techniques, practising evasive foot and body work and strikes. If the practitioner is good, the practitioner visualises their opponent while doing so.

    Solo Kata practise consists of freely moving through a repertoire of techniques in the Kata. It can be in the sequence of the Kata, or it can be in any other sequence the practitioner desires. The practitioner visualises their opponent and makes evasive and attacking moves as necessary.

    I may be a lot more experienced and intelligent than you but I'm struggling to see how these are really two different things.

    Not many people do Kata training as described above. Not many people find time for it. In fact it is generally only experienced grades that do it. That does not change the fact that right from day one all Karateka are exhorted to visualise their opponents while doing Kata. The fact that so many fail to do this is a sad indictment of the quality of bunkai taught rather than Kata as a training method, and the fact that by and large the vast majority of Karateka do not train outside of class.

    By all means jump on a hobby horse and dispute the value of solo visualisation training if you like. The fact that it is a training tool used by the vast majority of top sportsmen (including fighters) is, I'm sure, immaterial.
  9. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Hi JWT,

    It is the difference between "Kata" and "Igata".

    Although they share the same Kanji, "Igata" means mold - implying that it is set and that it is not transformable - it is dead.

    Kata on the other hand should remain alive and open to endless expansion.

    Imo it is how you approach the practice and as you say "see the opponent".

    This can be done in a variety of ways. One starting point is the combining of Embussen (performance line) with Seichussen (attacking/deffending line). This adds a different dimension to the Kata.

  10. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    This might be a good example for you. Higaonna Sensei practicing different sequences from his kata. See about 6:42.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG1X8Ouu-GU&feature=player_embedded"]Way of the Warrior - Karate, Way of the Empty Hand [1/4] - YouTube[/ame]
  11. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    Hi 'Master Betty',

    Can you expand on this for me, do you mean fight in a competition format? If so what format?

  12. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    thank you jwt and kuma for making a very important point. the formalized kata is one thing. it's part of the institutionalized content of the style. what one trains from that is something else entirely. pick and choose.

    also, straight from kenwa mabuni, who knew obscene amounts of kata:


    i don't necessarily agree with the 50-50 figure if taking kata only as "solo kata practice", but yes if it includes derivations of it and bunkai training.
  13. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    then you don't have a clue, fullstop.
  14. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    I knew somebody'd make that point - which is why i specifically said right at the very start that it's a waste of time IF YOUR PRIMARY GOAL IS LEARNING TO FIGHT.
  15. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    bla bla bla bla bla exactly the crap im talking about. doing drills and shadow boxing etc. isn't in any way shape or form the same thing as standing there doing a bunch of movements you'll never in your LIFE do in a real fight. You ARE quibbling over terms so don't bother if you don't have any actual constructive points to add without splitting hairs.
  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

  17. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    then why bother arguing the point with me in the first place when I clearly laid it all out there to begin with?
  18. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

    Seems quite reasonable and rational to me. A good argument, and this is coming from a person who despises patterns/kata.
  19. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Funnily enough I've used Kata movements in the few real fights I've been in, and in all the full speed full contact simulations I've been in. The movements I've used haven't been the punches, they've been the Upward Receivers (Age Uke) and the Down Receivers, and the upward elbow strikes, the hand retraction to the hip.

    You are just whining about a form of training in skills you've never invested the time to do. If all you want to do is jab, cross, knee, shin, duck and cover in your shadow boxing, that's fine. For those of us who want to practice traps, arm bars, throws, sweeps etc in our shadow boxing we have Kata. Kata is shadow boxing, get over it.
  20. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    bullcrap. The only way you can say that is with a lengthy essay comparing details with rather tenuous links.

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