Elmar Schmeisser's interesting answer to a question

Discussion in 'Karate' started by TaiChiTJ, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. TaiChiTJ

    TaiChiTJ Brown Belt

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    Through your analysis and research into kata, Shotokan kata in particular, are there any secret concepts, techniques, methods etc that are overlooked without a thorough analysis into the kata?

    (ES) There are no secrets, merely people with myopia (short-sightedness). The data is out there, if you have the technical vocabulary to read it in the movements of the kata. Kata were developed before JKA style long-range tournament dueling; kata distance is within arm’s reach. At that distance, grabbing and being grabbed is part and parcel of the techniques in kata. It takes no “thorough analysis” to get these – simply a year or so in aikido, judo or jujitsu, and then doing the kata without labeling the movements as being anything in particular. Techniques are verbs (movements), not nouns (postures). From the throwing arts, one gets imbued with the attitude that techniques are movement trajectories. In many karate schools, the emphasis is on the terminal posture, with some fussiness involved in adjusting minute angles of the toes, etc. Once this attitude is broken, and with a sufficient technical vocabulary in place, kata reveal themselves automatically.
     
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  2. VPT

    VPT Green Belt

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    Well, that is kinda true. If you know the exact "correct" way of moving within a pattern/routine/kata, you should be doing the prescribed techniques with their correct application form as a solo exercise. When you figure out how you are moving yourself, the intention of the movement should... well, reveal itself.

    This, of course, requires that the form is not taught half-assedly, which is not that commonplace at all.

    I also agree that you need the vocabulary to read the movements correctly. If you don't understand the vocabulary, you don't understand what you are reading. This is also way too common.
     
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  3. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    This is a common outlook and not completely incorrect. We would have to agree upon which kata we are referring to. Many forms have changed so much that they would look very different from the Chinese original. I am sure the Chinese creator from a few hundred years ago would laugh at our interpretations.
    If the movements of the kata have meaning to "you" then that's all that matters, that is good enough and those meanings will grow and change over time.
     
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  4. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I agree with his assessment. Here is an article from Charles Goodin who also talks about kata and its application(s). He goes on to also state that the movements didn't have labels until the advent of books etc. to define the pictures.

    The Why of Bunkai: A Guide For Beginners

    Mr. Goodin also makes an interesting observation that if you want to learn applications, one quick and easy way is to look at the self-defense techniques of kenpo and you will find mirror of many of those movements.
     
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  5. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    Ah cool, what a great response.

    This line: "Techniques are verbs (movements), not nouns (postures)"

    just wowed me, never heard it expressed like that, that's brilliant...
     
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