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Thread: Muay Thai View of Kata

  1. #16
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Well from the looks of things, it looks like Fightstuff is trying to express his discontent in the loss of the Spirit in Muay Thai. I call that someone who practices Muay Thai, but doesn't respect the culture within it. This may be going out on a long limb, but from my experience... the majority people who tend to have nice Ram Muays, also tend to take pride in their craft and be more technically sound over those that dont. But of course it takes alot more than being technical to win a fight, hehe.
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    ThunderFoot, I get what you're saying (and although I've fought MTs and trained with them I am not MT but karate and wrestling so sorry for jumping in here) but I'm with Drag'n - just because you don't focus or even appreciate forms, ram mauy or kata, it does not mean your should not be able to view yourself as a pracitioner of such and such a style/art - you may be lacking what is traditionally an important or even integral part of the cultural side of your art but I don't think this need impact on your skill sets and fighting and technical ability and I don't think this automatically 'demotes' you to a lesser level (ie such as not MT but kickboxing as fightstuff puts it! hehe).

    I know and have fought a lot of karateka who are great and even gold medalists in kata but they are not necessarily well versed in fighting and their technical fight skills, such as executing combos or precisie and powerful kicks in a fight and even their fight fitness are pretty lacking. I agree it takes much more than technical soundess to win a fight but even if you're not doing your patterns, if you are drilling yourself, pushing yourself and working consistenly on your techniques and fight training this will lead to the technical soundess to carry out your moves for the purpose they are actually intended for - not doing double butterfly kicks in the air but for cutting someone's legs out from under them or taking their head off, be it in the ring or on the street.

  3. #18
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Quote Originally Posted by mini_dez View Post
    I'd say that with all the shadow boxing we do (at my gym anyway) we're not too far off the same idea as Kata.
    Interesting take. Never thought of it this way (don't practice MT, but did box when younger), but sounds pretty much right to me.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that time on kata/forms is still time developing "realtime skills". Without the balance, posture etc. that you learn from repeating techniques over and over, you may as well just be swinging wildly.
    Agree 100%.
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    Flying-Knee-Strike is offline
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Quote Originally Posted by kidswarrior View Post
    Quote:
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that time on kata/forms is still time developing "realtime skills". Without the balance, posture etc. that you learn from repeating techniques over and over, you may as well just be swinging wildly.
    Agree 100%.
    While i do agree that a kata or form is helpful to mastering your art, it can only take you so far. What is the point of mastering something to increase your balance and technique if you have no fighting experience? I've seen this time and time again, a person can do some of the most amazing katas i have ever seen, ones i could never even dream of doing, but put them in a ring with me and you sometimes you can't even tell they've taken a martial art. The whole point of a kata (in my opinion) is to work on techniques that need to be perfected, but not something to be overly focused on. A kata is not something that can prepare you for a real situation, it is just a series of techniques that in my experience will never be used in a fight.
    All that is really needed to perfect your martial art can be acquired by other means, that are in my opinion not only more effective but quite a bit more fun.

  5. #20
    exile's Avatar
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying-Knee-Strike View Post
    While i do agree that a kata or form is helpful to mastering your art, it can only take you so far. What is the point of mastering something to increase your balance and technique if you have no fighting experience?
    But this is not the point of kata. Kata are practical guides to combat techniques: they tell you what is effective, but they do not, and in principle cannot, make you good at executing it. For example, if you take a very simple kata like taikyoku shodan, you can derive a number of effective fighting techniques from it: e.g., in response to a grap to your arm or the front of your shirt, cover the grabbing hand (call it H1) and rotate your body 90º while pulling H1 towards you, thrusting your other forearm above the attacker's extended elbow (E1), moving your bodyweight into the pin thus on E1, forcing the attacker's upper body down, while twisting the H1 wrist counterclockwise. At this point, you're outside the attacker, you have leverage on both E1 and H1, your attacker's head is in close and low, and you can release the pin on E1 to deliver a very hard spearing elbow strike to the attacker's face followed by a hammer fist to his throat. That's in the first two moves of taikyoku shodan. I've taught this bunkai to students in my TKD classes and have shown them how, competently executed, it allows you to inflict terminal damage on the attacker, that is, physical damage sufficient to terminate their attack on you in your favor. Each kata is a chain of four or five such techniques. If you want balance, practice exercises specifically for balance; if you want power, the same. Kata aren't primarily training exercises for dynamic parameters like power, balance or `flow': they are lessons in sequences of destructive moves which, if you execute them effectively will take your attacker out of the fight.

    But the kata cannot ensure that you will execute the techs they offer effectively, any more than a mathematics text which shows you how to solve a certain kind of equation via a specific method can ipso facto guarantee that you will carry out that method successfully in the face of any given equation of the right kind. That what the exercises at the end of the section, or chapter, are for! In the same way, it's a category error to assume that knowing what to do will enable you to to actually do it. A blueprint does not create a building; you have to actually build it. A method of solution does not ensure that you will actually carry out the method correctly. A recipe does not guarantee a Michelin three-star meal as a result. These things tell you what, in each of these respective domains, you have to do, but in order to become good at doing it—at implementing the method—you have to train the method, in real time, with a noncompliant training partner, and you have to be willing to train at a realistic enough level of violence that you can be sure of your reactions and skills in an actual street attack. That means accepting a certain risk of injury, though this can be offset by a certain amount of protective gear and special conventions, such as a light touch to the eye counting as a full-force, possibly blinding finger strike to an eyeball/eye socket. There is no such thing as magic: even if you know what works, you have to make sure you have the trained skills to carry out what you know.

    People seem to think that practicing kata repeatedly is the point of kata, and then complain that kata aren't effective because no number of performances are going to equip you to fight effectively on the street. Well, of course they aren't going to, but the mistake here is in the initial assumption about how to use kata. You aren't supposed to learn the performance of kata, any more than reading a method for solving a type of equation so many times that you commit that section of the book to memory, and can recite it perfectly like a theatrical monologue, will equip you to actually solve a new equation of that type. Kata are to be studied, not performed to perfection; you perform the kata to the point that you know what the movements in it are, but once you know that you have to (i) decode the combat scenarios built into the kata, via intelligent, realistic bunkai, that allow you to understand what combat moves those movement correspond to; and (ii) then go on to train that bunkai under unpleasantly realistic conditions. There is an excellent, condensed but comprehensive discussion of kata from this point of view in the April 2007 Black Belt, pp. 99–103,by Iain Abernethy, who has done as much as, or more than, anyone to recover the combat methods encoded in classical kata. In connection with his own training of the bunkai methods he and his associates have derived from these kata, he points out that `I've bled, broken bones and dislocated joints through my own adventures, so I fully appreciate that heavy contact isn't for everyone. Nevertheless, there are many ways to structure it so it's safe, beneficial and relevant.' The thing is, you can't omit this component of kata training, or you'll be in the position of someone thinking that because they've memorized the solution method, they can solve that equation. It's not enough: you have to actually practice doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying-Knee-Strike View Post
    I've seen this time and time again, a person can do some of the most amazing katas i have ever seen, ones i could never even dream of doing, but put them in a ring with me and you sometimes you can't even tell they've taken a martial art. The whole point of a kata (in my opinion) is to work on techniques that need to be perfected, but not something to be overly focused on. [B]A kata is not something that can prepare you for a real situation, it is just a series of techniques that in my experience will never be used in a fight.
    I think that's a serious error. I have seen many components of TKD hyungs, in effect KMA kata, in Combat Hapkido, which is only combat techniques and has no kata. The point of kata was to encode the fighting methods of the people who created the kata. There is a huge and growing literature on the combat methods encoded in the bunkai of just one classic kata set, the Pinan/Heian series; if you took a look at Abernethy's DVD on the street applications of the Pinans, you'd see just how effectively damaging the techs involved are. The kata show you how to deflect, pin/control the attacking limb, force the attacker into a compromised body configuration where they're vulnerable to a finishing strike, and finally how and where to deliver that strike. If all you've seen are people rehearsing kata over and over again with no actual analysis, no bunkai—no breaking of the kata down into the five or six combat scenarios they usually contain, and working out of how each of those subsequences takes you from the initial attack to neutralization of the attacker to the termination of the attack on your terms—then you've seen people who don't know how to benefit from the fighting system built into that kata, and you're making the mistake of judging the kata on the basis of misapplication and misuse of the kata for the wrong end—as choreography rather than as a lesson in major anatomical damage.

    All that is really needed to perfect your martial art can be acquired by other means, that are in my opinion not only more effective but quite a bit more fun.
    Like what?
    Last edited by exile; 01-05-2008 at 04:58 PM.
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Zero, you may have misinterpreted my post because I agree. As I previously stated, I think that a person of that type would merely be regarded as having less respect for the culture. But to expand on my point, in the instance of Fightstuff's example... there are thai people who don't do the Ram Muay before every fight, and that doesn't make them any less of a fighter. So while I may understand Fightstuff's frustration, I do not agree that lack of Ram Muay equals lack of Muay Thai.
    來留去送 甩手直衝.

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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    eeerrrm... traditional training techniques in MT (or better as Muay Boran) do have kata's.

    Saddly sport version does not. It has the traditional aspects of wai kru and Ram Muay, but throws out all the other traditional aspects. Having the art watered down so much there doesnt even seem to be a need to have the MT kata's since most of the moves are forbiden in the ring o.O

  8. #23
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    This is an interesting thread, and after coming back to it now several moths later, find that I didn't give it a careful enough reading. Or, maybe it's that I've learned a little more in the meantime.

    There are many interesting points, so many in fact, that there is a lot that could be mined here imho. But I'll focus on the one that jumped out at me on this reading:
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder Foot View Post
    back when I practice Kata, I always broke them down into smaller movements, but that would be no different than throwing a combination, depending on the style mentioned.
    The first time I read this, hadn't actually started teaching this way. Suppose that in solo practice I did this, but not in teaching. Now, have been teaching this way for awhile, and it's quite effective. Pieces of kata actually 'become' techniques, or as Thunder Foot says, combinations. And just like combinations aren't set in stone (they're useful for practice, but the jab, jab, feint, hook which my old boxing coach swore by, he would also expect to be changed up in the heat of battle), so kata 'techniques', or natural groupings of movements which seem to go together to make up a combat 'combination', can and should be changed around depending on the circumstances in the heat of battle.

    To paraphrase Iain Abernethy, we should no more be stuck with using kata movements in the order they appear, than we should be stuck using words in the order they appear in the dictionary. Breaking them into these 'combinations' allows us to realistically practice them solo, as well as train them against resistance (live).
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  9. #24
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Quote Originally Posted by kidswarrior View Post
    This is an interesting thread, and after coming back to it now several moths later, find that I didn't give it a careful enough reading. Or, maybe it's that I've learned a little more in the meantime.

    There are many interesting points, so many in fact, that there is a lot that could be mined here imho. But I'll focus on the one that jumped out at me on this reading:The first time I read this, hadn't actually started teaching this way. Suppose that in solo practice I did this, but not in teaching. Now, have been teaching this way for awhile, and it's quite effective. Pieces of kata actually 'become' techniques, or as Thunder Foot says, combinations. And just like combinations aren't set in stone (they're useful for practice, but the jab, jab, feint, hook which my old boxing coach swore by, he would also expect to be changed up in the heat of battle), so kata 'techniques', or natural groupings of movements which seem to go together to make up a combat 'combination', can and should be changed around depending on the circumstances in the heat of battle.

    To paraphrase Iain Abernethy, we should no more be stuck with using kata movements in the order they appear, than we should be stuck using words in the order they appear in the dictionary. Breaking them into these 'combinations' allows us to realistically practice them solo, as well as train them against resistance (live).
    Very good point, and something that people who dislike kata because they think of them as nothing but martial folk-dances should bear in mind: the kata itself is nothing more than a compilation of representative techs for handling a variety of combat situations effectively, and the first subsequence in a kata is, as KW is correctly stressing, not necessarily any more 'prior', in terms of when you apply the tech package it encodes, than the last one is. The mistake that people make is thinking of the kata as a single text, rather than a series of independent stories each of which may be the very thing you need to carry out in any particular violent encounter. They're packaged together probably because whoever came up with any particular one of them thought that the sequence fit together well that way; you could probably take any of the kata, or hyungs of the KMAs, and rework the subsequence order within that kata, so that it conformed to the conventions of kata formation (embusen rule and so on)—and the combat content would be exactly the same. You'd still have the five or six combat scenarios encrypted in the kata, each standing on its own, waiting for you to carry out the realistic bunkai that will reveal it.
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    Re: Muay Thai View of Kata

    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    packaged together probably because whoever came up with any particular one of them thought that the sequence fit together well that way;
    the movements, with multiple applications, fit together like legos

    so a particular sequence of atomic movements might be part of 2 different, larger applications; so because these 2 applications share a particular sequence, they appear together in the kata.

    turn, downward block left, step right, right outward block, strike with both hands

    draw your grabbed left wrist up, collapse elbow with right hand, lock shoulder with left arm, right strike to collar bone

    step right foot outside right punch, step behind your self with lef tfoot turning clockwise while you hook right arm with your right arm, continue ccw turn grabbng wrist with left hand, drawing down and the the left for armbar/throw

    almost identical movements in almost identical sequence, in our most absic form, it is taught to yellow belts as "turn block step punch"
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