Beginning and Advanced versions of forms/kata

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Cayuga Karate, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Cayuga Karate

    Cayuga Karate Orange Belt

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    On another thread, I claimed that that longer forward-moving sequences in kata don't appear to be all that well suited for empty hand fighting, as the attacker is only arm's length away. I posted the following links to a range of kata across a number of systems.

    I am interested in seeing the evidence that these sequences do map well to empty hand fighting. I have read here and elsewhere that kata are clearly designed for empty hand fighting. I maintain that while there are sequence is kata that do map well to empty hand fighting, that some sequences don't seem to be designed for defending against a stationary opponent, arm's distance away. I was requesting links to video that provide evidence that these longer sequences can be used effectively in empty hand self-defense.

    Unsu (2:18 to 2:36)
    Oyadomari Passai :)45 to :49)
    Wankan :)18 to :24)
    Kusanku :)38 to :45, 1:25 to 1:30, 1:37 to 1:41)
    Naihanchi Nidan :)06 to :13)
    Wansu :)10 to :18, 34 to :37)
    Gojushiho :)30 to :36)
    Chinto :)32 to :39, :42 to :54, 1:01 to 1:07)
    Jion :)23 to :28, :37 to :51, 1:01 to 1:10, 1:17 to 1:24)
    Chinte (1:10 to 1:16, 1:18 to 1:27, 1:50 to 1:56)
    Jitte :)23 to :24)
    Matsumura Passai :)22 to :29)
    Koryu Passai :)15 to :19)
    Ananko :)36 to :43)
    Anan (7:43 to 7:50, 8:02 to 8:06)
    Pachu (3:56 to 4:00)

    I was surprised at a reply that I received. It described a concept in Okinawan karate that I was unfamiliar with, and want to better understand how common this concept was across other systems.

    K Man replied:

    I would be most grateful if anyone could provide two videos of any Okinawan kata, especially ones from this list, one of the "kihon" kata and one of the "advanced form".

    I am also interested in any responses from any non-Goju students. Are there, in your schools, kihon and advanced versions of kata? Did any of Kyan's students, or Itosu's students, or Hohan Soken, provide kihon versions and advanced versions of the kata that have been handed down. Are they done in less widespread systems like Uechi Ryu, Ryuei Ryu, Genseiryu, or Bugeikan?

    I was not aware that Higaonna or Miyagi passed down two (or more) versions of each kata, one basic, the other advanced. I have not seen that in any literature, nor seen that in the several Goju dojos I have been in, nor heard that Mabuni, who trained with Higaonna as well as Miyagi, taught multiple versions of kata. I would be most interested to learn if this practice is done in more than one of the systems of Miyagi's students (Higa, Yagi, Miyazato, Toguchi, Yamaguchi), as well as in Toon Ryu, which also descends from Higaonna.

    I would be grateful to K Man for links to one Goju kata (please not Gekkisai or Tensho) in both kihon and advanced versions.
     
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  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Some more anecdotal evidence from my training in Tibetan White Crane: We have a concept that we call the "Charge Punch". Basically, it can be any of several different types of punches that we use, but it's done with a specialized charging run. The concept is that we go into all-out attack mode and we are gonna charge thru the enemy and just keep going until he goes down, and overwhelm him with a barrage of heavy blows.

    The Charge Punch is done in several of our forms, and in that context is typically done with three or four charging steps in a row.

    I don't know if there is any parallel to this in the Okinawan or Japanese kata. But we've got it, so there's an example.
     
  3. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Hehehe... Running Chyuhn? I just started working on that this week.
     
  4. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    There aren't separate kihon versions and advanced versions of kata, but there are kihon methods and advanced methods for performing them--I believe that is what K Man is referring to, and if that is the case then you will be hard-pressed to find video of someone performing the kata in an advanced way. I know for certain that Taika Oyata taught kata this way, as my instructor reached Shodan under him before transitioning to Shorin-Ryu, and the concept is also present in that system as well, although it doesn't seem to be as emphasized as it was in Oyata's RyuTe system. The idea, as I understand it--and bear with me, as I am still a kyu-ranked student, so my understanding may be partial or flawed--is that as you become more skilled and knowledgeable about the kata, you alter the timing of your techniques and include subtle changes in movements to more directly reflect the applications of the kata.

    I will also say that it seems as though you are breaking up kata applications into much larger chunks than I would--that's the way it sounds when you talk about "longer, forward-moving sequences," anyway. Just because you are doing the techniques in the same direction does not indicate that they are all connected movements. This becomes evident when watching someone perform the kata in an advanced way, because their timing introduces pauses and bursts of movement that help break up the kata sequences. These will only reflect the favored applications of that practitioner, of course. There are also a lot of placeholders in kata, and reference points to remind you that you can do something on both sides or from different angles, so that can make sequences longer than they actually are when they are applied.
     
  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    ayup. or pau, or khap. Or chyuhn-pau-khap. or...
     
  6. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Exactly!
     
  7. Cayuga Karate

    Cayuga Karate Orange Belt

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    Below are links of kata I posted that K Man stated were kihon, they were not advanced kata. So I began this thread to ask for information about Kihon and Advanced kata, and specifically to request from K Man links to a kata shown in kihon format and advanced format. In response to my request,

    Never_A_Reflection wrote:

    So my request to Never_A_Reflection is, are you supporting K Man's contention that the kata in the list I showed were kihon? I would like you to help me understand which of these are kihon.

    Unsu
    Oyadomari Passai
    Wankan
    Kusanku
    Naihanchi Nidan
    Wansu
    Gojushiho
    Chinto
    Jion
    Chinte
    Jitte
    Matsumura Passai
    Koryu Passai
    Ananko
    Anan
    Pachu

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  8. Cayuga Karate

    Cayuga Karate Orange Belt

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    Never_A_Reflection wrote:

    Above, I have provided over 25 instances of longer sequences in kata. I would be most grateful if, in support of your statement above, you could provide links to some examples, on line, for myself, and others to evaluate.

    I have argued on a related thread, that I am aware of approaches that state "if there are two are three steps forward, they were not meant to be used that way". What I am interested in, is how those who make those claims believe the kata should be used.

    For example, how would you explain the following sequences in this video?
    1. :06 to :10
    2: :22 to :27
    3. :28 to :31

    I am also curious about the repetitive sequences from :37 to :45, :45 to :47, :48 to :51 How are any of the individual movements in these side-to-side symmetrical sequences explained.

    I am particularly interested in interpretations for 1:16 to 1:19. This same sequence is found in Pinan Shodan, so it might be something that is taught early on.

    FWIW, I have been to a couple of Oyata seminars, had Albert Geraldi teach my students, trained with Joe Mansfield on several occasions, trained several times with Gerard Senese, and trained periodically with an Oyata Nidan when he lived in my town a decade ago. I am not unfamiliar with his ideas on kata application. It's my opinion that he had wonderful bunkai for some movements in kata. His vital point striking, and his locking techniques were unparalled. He did stress kata application for some movements, in particular, for several Naihanchi shodan movements, as well as some Pinan sequences.

    It is also my experience with some of his senior students that Oyata did not teach application for large numbers of the many sequences in the kata he was handed down by Nakamura. My expectation is that is because it is unlikely that Nakamura taught application for all that many movements in his kata. I have trained with some Odo students, and that has been their experience as well. In fact, I have confirmed that Oyato often had, in my opinion, an amusing reply when students asked about the meaning of particular sequences.

    Question: "Sensei, what does this movement mean?"
    Answer: "What do you think it means?"

    It is worth noting that neither Uhugushiku nor Wakinaguri taught Oyata empty hand forms, at least he has not passed any down. He was taught ti, and kobudu kata (and perhaps application). His locking and vital point striking almost certainly came from the time before he trained under Nakamura, where he learned his 12 kata that were then handed down to Oyata's students.

    It's my opinion (based in large part on discussions with senior Oyata students), that Oyata adapted his ti to the kata he learned from Nakamura.

    I have had experience debating on forums such as this, the merits of specific kata sequences with a senior Oyata student some years ago. At that time he made clear that Oyata had forbade anyone from posting anything online. He was never able to provide any supporting evidence of his claims.

    I am curious if the ban will remain in effect now that he has passed on. Would you be able to provide video of application for any of the sequences I have requested above? I would be most grateful if you would. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  9. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Are you familiar with the Japanese concept of Shuhari?

    If you have progressed beyond Shodan and you are not practising at 'Ha' level then you are what we would call an advanced beginner. Unfortunately that is the description I would use for most instructors I see. Their basics can be great and their kata flawless but if they haven't gone beyond that basic level it's sad, not only for them but for their students. I introduce the concept of Shuhari to all my students from white belt up (not the really little ones) so that they understand that what they are learning is kihon or basic karate.

    As for 'Shu'. I have been privileged to meet two people at that level who are prepared to share their knowledge. They are now my Master in Aikido and Karate. I have no doubt that Iain Abernethy and others are the same but unfortunately for me, they are a long way away. The late Erle Montaigue was another and you can see a lot of his material on YouTube.

    If you are not prepared to pay for information it is unlikely you will come across much advanced material. Taira does have his kata on the Kenkyukai website but you don't want to join. Why should he share his knowledge for nothing when it is his means of income? Try getting any of the world's top lawyers to represent you in court, or even discuss your case, free!

    There is a brief snippet of advanced form at the end of this clip.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=zCKsvOrjuEE&desktop_uri=/watch?v=zCKsvOrjuEE&gl=GB

    As to Miyagi's students .. Miyazato was Taira's teacher. (And from my evidence Yamaguchi was never Miyagi's student despite his claims.)

    Your posts remind me of Kwai Chang Caine in the series Kung fu.
    Go seek Grasshopper! :asian:
     
  10. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    The answer given is the only correct answer. Every move has multiple possibilities. It depends on your size or the size of your opponent as to whether a particular interpretation would be appropriate. Also it depends on the relevant position of the opponent. I haven't time at present to be more detailed but the move at the end of Saifa kata for example can be a neck crank from the front or a rear naked choke if you are behind. The question is like a closed question that deserves a yes/no answer. The correct question or request may have been .. Sensei, could you please show me how this move might be used? Even then the original answer may have been appropriate.

    WRT Oyata's material. I too have much material I have been allowed to video but it would be a breach of trust for me to post it on an open forum. :asian:
     
  11. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Here is the response I gave on the other thread..

    Another problem is many of the okinawan masters who know the more advanced applications don't make them public (internet, videos, seminars etc.) outside of their group of students. And to even see/learn them you would need to travel to them in Okinawa.
     
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  12. Cayuga Karate

    Cayuga Karate Orange Belt

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    K Man,

    I don't mean offense in breaking down your statements so I can confirm what exactly you have meant in some of your posts.

    You called a number of kata I posted "Kihon" and not "Advanced". When I asked for video of advanced kata you didn't respond. When another poster stated that advanced kata has different timing you stated "exactly".

    But you can not provide a single online instance of an "advanced kata". So I have more questions.

    1. Is Taira the only person known to have recorded the "speeded up" version of kata?
    2. Were these "speeded up" kata taught by Miyazato?
    3. Are these "speeded up" kata taught in the Yagi, Higa, Toguchi, Yamaguchi or other Goju schools?

    If you can confirm any of this I would be grateful.

    I would enjoy you providing that information so you can prove what I am about to say wrong.

    It's my guess that Taira, like so many karateka have been unsatisfied with the kata that have come down. Many kata sequences just don't appear to map to good fighting. So Taira has come up with a series of adaptations himself to make his karate more meaninful. In his bunkai, which is on the video link you provided, he removes the turns from the kata, but not the arm movements. Rather, going straight forward against a single opponent a flurry of motion bewilders the attacker in a continuous stream.

    Is Taira's karate effective? Absolutely. But I would argue (and again, please provide evidence that I am wrong here, not opinion, but evidence) that it is not Miyazato's karate, not Higa's karate, not Yagi's karate, not Toguchi's karate, and therefore not Miyagi's karate and not Higashionna's karate. It is Taira's karate.

    It appears that you have a simple explanation for the bunkai that others have done. "Schoolboy". You call Higaonna's kata interpretation "schoolboy". You call kata done by reknowned masters and their senior students, Kihon. Why? Because it doesn't map to a recent and novel innovation by a Miyazato student. A student who applies the kata by removing all the turns and performing an endless stream of continuous arm movements.

    I am certainly not arguing that what Taira has done is wrong. He is adding to the body of knowledge that students can go to for meaning for the kata they have learned.

    However, the logic of this way of thinking has a rather depressing consequence. If Taira's interpretations, (speeded up kata, and continuous arm movements forward) are the key to karate, to what can make it "advanced" and not schoolboy or kihon, then all that has come before that did not use these models are "kihon" and "schoolboy".

    That's a depressing thought.

    I don't agree with that at all. Stating that Taira's way is the true way, the "advanced" way is a putdown to all those that preceded it, and all those that don't follow that way today. It's just another example of the hubris of "my style is the right way, your's is the wrong way."

    Taira's way is simply not "the advanced way". It is just another way, by one man, to try to make sense of these kata. But it is certainly not the only way, and it is certainly not "the advanced way."

    Grasshopper, there are many paths to the top of the mountain.

    Regarding payment for video, what we find is that increasingly there is video of seminars from all different systems. Eventually there will be a lot of Taira's concepts up online, at no charge. IMO, the only reason there is not more today, is that his innovations are rather recent. They haven't been taught for 20-30 years. When they are a bit longer in the tooth, there will be plenty of free online content that will be available for all to see, and use.

    In the meantime, what I find is that many karateka are eager to say "kata are the textbooks of fighting". But when asked to provide any evidence, even evidence that they themselves would film in 2 minutes, and post online in 20, I find the eagerness wanes quickly.

    For those in the U.S. we have an expression.

    I'm from Missouri, show me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  13. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    I will respond with what information I can, as best I can given my level of experience, but you will have to give me some time--I am currently at work, where I can't access YouTube or any other video websites, and because you pose so many questions at once it will take me a while to formulate a response in addition to trying to find videos to support my explanations. That said, as I mentioned, it is going to be nearly impossible to find video of the kata being done in an advanced way because it is either not allowed to be recorded, or if it is allowed to be recorded it is not allowed to be publicly shared. For example, I have some video of Hanshi Doug Perry of the Shorinkan performing just the first few movements of Chinto, Gojushiho and Hakutsuru in an advanced manner, but he has asked that we not share it publicly and I will not betray his trust. Similarly, I don't expect students of Taika Oyata to share what they have even now that he is gone, out of respect for him. Bunkai videos can be just as hard to find because most people only allow the most basic of applications to be recorded and shared publicly

    In the meantime, in addition to Taira Sensei's videos on YouTube, you may want to take a look at Ryan Parker's YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/thecontemplative2 (assuming I remembered the channel name correctly). There is also information available from various users on Iain Abernethy's forum who do share videos of bunkai.
     
  14. Cayuga Karate

    Cayuga Karate Orange Belt

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    Is a post I commented on a refrain commonly heard at Oyata seminars:

    To which K Man wrote:

    I just find it odd that you think this is the only correct answer. Please recall that in these instances, if the student did not have an answer, often none were forthcoming. Some would consider that answer an evasion. You consider it the only correct answer.

    If every move has multiple possibilities, then another approach might be:

    Here's another approach.
    Here's another.

    And here is one more:

    I have direct experience of being in a seminar witnessing a Ryute student asking Oyata a question on bunkai, and Oyata answering with this "only" correct answer. The student had no answer, and Oyata simply asked him to figure it out himself.

    If you want to view this kind of approach to teaching as the ONLY way, you are welcome to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  15. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Cheers.
     
  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Does Japanese Karate Kata have any "haymaker" as shown in the following clip?

     
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  17. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Something similiar called a ridgehand strike. Here is an example of it and some applications from Saifa kata
    (for some reason it won't let me imbed like usual)
     
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  18. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I remember watching an interview with a karate instructor from Hawaii, and he made the comment that if you want to understand your kata applications more then watch the kenpo self-defense techniques. Ya know what, he's pretty close to it. You will see alot of the same movements from the katas against various grabs, punches, locks etc.

    Also, look into the work by Patrick McCarthy and the "Habitual Acts of Violence" that he proposed. All kata is based on the most common attacks found in a self-defense situation. Also, get a copy of his book "The Bubishi" in which you will see MANY diagrams from kata as self-defense techniques and their scenarios.

    The information is out there if you want to dig for it.
     
  19. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    Cayuga Karate,

    There are several of those kata that I do not practice, and of course I haven't seen them done on a regular basis, but none of them look like they are being done in an advanced way. What I see in those videos are demonstrations of the kata being performed in the way they are taught (the basic way), and demonstrations that have had some timing changes for dramatic effect for competition.

    In my dojo, we have some rules for looking at application. The thing to remember is that the kata were not all created by the same person, and so they were not all created with the same framework of rules. We may never know for certain what all of the original applications were, but that doesn't mean we can't find ones that fit using the rules that we do know. I will admit that, unfortunately, this does make for some vague rules. For example, this is our guideline for turns:

    Depending on the preceding and following techniques, turns can indicate throws, joint locks, circling behind your opponent, turning your opponent around, being turned around by your opponent, or grabbed from behind so that you have to turn to face them.

    With regards to the specific examples you are asking about from Oyata's video, I certainly don't know every application that exists, but I'll give some examples where I can. I will also mention that although my instructor trained in Oyata's system and incorporates his applications where they fit, I do not practice Oyata's system and have not learned his versions of the kata.

    1. :06 to :10 - Left step then right step to kosa-dachi and sasae-uke.
    A. Advancing to protect someone else (Matsumura was the king's bodyguard, after all) by deflecting the attack (grab or punch) while striking the eyes or grabbing the head for the following turn.
    B. Grasping the hair or ear, stepping on or kicking the ankle to roll it and stepping past the opponent to pull the head back to off-balance the attacker and strike the throat, again in setup for the following turn.
    C. Countering a cross-body wrist grab with kick to the ankle or nerve above it, followed by the "nikkyo" wrist lock

    2. :22 to :27 - Shuto-Uke sequence forward, followed by step back, low uke movement, a kick and turn. We do this differently, with low-level shuto-uke forward, a step back, two hooking shuto-uke and a stomp instead of a kick.
    A. Deflect, trap and counter is a good, simple application for the shuto-uke sets (Iain Abernethy has some videos demonstrating this well) and can be used individually, done three times simply as practice because they are important, or can be used two in a row--for example, left and then right, with the third one simply indicating that you can also do it right and then left. They can also indicate that you can go into the following movement from either the left or right preceeding movement. Another thing to note is that, in general, the kata will contain the concept of osae (pressing) and so there are going to be times where you are stepping forward even though you are already in striking distance of your opponent, simply because the intent is to overwhelm them and push them back.
    B. Hard to tell what Oyata is doing with the low receiving movement, but I would guess dragging the attacker forward and down to load his weight onto one leg, which would then be kicked at the knee to break it.
    C. Putting together the kick and turn with the hands on the hips looks an awful lot like harai goshi with a waist-and-arm grip to me.

    3. :28 to :31 - Two shuto-uke, double jodan-uke, sinking technique--can't tell what Oyata is doing with his hands in the video, but we do double inward tetsui-uchi there.
    A. Tells you that from either a left or right shuto-uke you can go into the following movement--using the deflect/trap/counter application of shuto-uke you would likely have control of one of their arms and a hand striking their neck--pull the attacker off balance by stepping back and lifting their arm while using the elbow/forearm of your other arm to lift the jaw, drop your arms, grab their legs and pull them out to knock the attacker down.
    B. Someone grabs you from behind in a full-nelson-type hold, step forward and drop the arms to break their grip.
    C. Someone grabs you from the front, pull away from them and strike the nerves in the neck, temple or behind the jaw to loosen their grip, strip their arms away and counter.

    As for the repetitive sequences, in general, a rule that we follow for those is that they indicate that you can go from that technique to the next from either side, as I mentioned for the series of shuto-uke in 2. The applications of those techniques can also be varied based the techniques that come before and after, or they can simply be reminding you that you need to practice the technique on both sides.

    I'm not going to break down every kata that exists into every application that I can think of--it would take forever, and I don't really have the knowledge to figure out an application for everything--but hopefully the examples I gave, however imperfect they may be, are somewhat helpful. I also hope that the fact that several people are confirming that empty hand applications exist for these techniques is helpful, despite the fact that free online video examples are difficult to find. The same goes for performing kata in an advanced way--just because there aren't free online video examples doesn't mean it doesn't exist, so hopefully the fact that it isn't just one person saying it at least gives you some confirmation.
     
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  20. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    You might try performing the kata in a straight line, without the turns, then look at the spots where you have taken the turns out. Now when you apply your rules you will find the position relative to your opponent and the angle and direction of the attack.

    You are correct in assessing all the posted video. They are all kihon kata. Kihon is a classification term, not a derogatory one. It is the type of kata shown to everyone because without explanation or understanding, it has no meaning. That is why I refer to 'schoolboy' karate. It was taught to children as well as adults for all sorts of reasons but primarily fitness. :asian:123
     

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