Karate is kata, kata is karate

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Bill Mattocks, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    But there's been a couple of people now saying that they don't get taught any...

    Surely it's better to teach one or two well and inform the students that it's not limited to those, and encourage experimentation?
     
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  2. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    My Master's approach to TKD* is that the student is simply supposed to do. You follow what he says, because of his experience. What I can say is, after 6 years of training under him, I understand a lot of why he does things the way that he does. Even if a lot of things I disagree with, I come to understand his position and see how different people benefit from his way over the way I prefer. As much as I lament poomsae in this thread, and in my discussions, I've still trained them in the manner in which I've been taught - to seek to mimic closer and closer to what my Master does when he teaches me the poomsae. So if what I'm supposed to get out of it is the attention to detail and the body work, then I've accomplished that.

    When I started teaching, there were a lot of things I thought he was wrong about. And also, when I started teaching, I made several kids cry and I'm pretty sure I'm the reason several more didn't make it past the 2 week trial. Since I've listened to him and done things his way, I understand more why it's that way.

    Now, there are times for us to spar and experiment, but for the most part, we have to train his way. And I do (sometimes begrudgingly) and there are many, many times I look at something I've been doing for 2 years and go "oh, that's why I do that." Sometimes it's just frustrating, like having a piece of a puzzle in my hand but not knowing where it goes, because I only have the edges done so far.

    *I specify this is the approach to TKD, because HKD is entirely different, and there's a lot of room to experiment and figure out what works and troubleshoot what doesn't. It's also 90% partner-based, where the TKD is maybe 25% partner-based.
     
  3. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    See, I disagree with that way of teaching your brand of TKD.

    All the moves have at least one purpose, but to only learn them as copying a move with no explanation seems a waste.

    I can't see any justifiable reason to be doing something for 2 years without knowing why...
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I recently picked up playing guitar. I learned that there are sharps (#) and flats (b) and that an Ab is the same as a G#. So, naturally, I just assumed there are no flats and everything is sharp. Why learn what an Ab is, if I know what a G# is? Now, the first several pieces my instructor had me learn only included natural notes, so knowing the sharps and flats wasn't particularly useful at that point in time. As soon as I started learning how scales are organized and how key signatures work, suddenly flats made sense.

    Now, I sat there and told him what I thought about sharps and flats, and he just laughed at me and told me later I'd understand. And later I did, I reminded him of the conversation we had before, and his attitude was "I told you so". And now I had to relearn what I forced myself to learn incorrectly.

    I've had similar things happen in TKD, where some pieces of advice my Master gave me 4 years ago, but I couldn't work out, suddenly click and I get it.
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Again, Your TKD, not all TKD.
     
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  6. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    There appears to be a difference here though.

    The guitar teacher had to deal with you learning something he didn't think you were ready to comprehend and didn't teach you. He's teaching you things and explaining them along the way.

    Your TKD teacher is teaching you stuff without telling you any purpose - which is the polar opposite of the method the guitar teacher is/was using.
     
  7. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    We understand.

    Legal notice: the use of the word "We" in this statement, is to NOT mean any reference to MT users other than TSDTEXAN. Tsdtexan may be alternately refer to tsdtexan(s), but only if such occurrences happen within 1 (single) human male age 45, who being born in Texas, now resides abroad.
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  8. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I associate poomsae as the word for WT forms and tul as the word for ITF forms. That said, I don't speak Korean.
     
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  9. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I've been on a binge of Penn and Teller videos on youtube, and the playlist has finally gotten to where they do their acts. What Penn likes to do on those, is reveal the secrets of common tricks to the audience, and then one-up that trick to still surprise and baf
    Actually my guitar teacher was even more cagey. Simply told me I'd understand later why I was wrong.
     
  10. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Axe kick found in Seipei and Seisan kata.
    Although, a number of Shotokan places teach mae Geri in the locations that the axe kick was located with Seipai kata. But in the 60s and 70s Shotokan had axe kicks in these two.

    It was muted, never very "in your face".
    Only knowing or skillfull eyes would have picked it up, outside of the dojo.

    Because the knee never went above hip. but unlike mae geri, where the ankle and heel snap back to chambet before setting the foot down....

    in these places the leg extended like a mae geri, but the leg stayed locked after the kick, and returned to the floor.


    Okinawan karate didn't advertize flashy high kicks, that was "family recipe secret sauce". Old Japanese karate openly practiced axe and other high kicks, but acted like it was kihon waza, and not from the kata.
    Traditions....
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I don't think Seipai is in Shotokan. Is this the one you're talking about? At least as performed here, no axe kicks.



    Seisan, aka Hangetsu, doesn't have axe kicks.

     
  12. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    As far as I understand, ITF called (and call) patterns patterns, or tul.

    As part of the distancing from Gen. Choi carried out by kkw, they introduced calling them forms, or poomsae (although I didn't remember the romanisation of the word).
     
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  13. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Exactly, he told you that you were wrong.

    Because you made an assumption about something he hadn't taught you.

    Then later, when he taught you about it and explained it, you understood.


    What he didn't do was teach you the finger placements for sharps and flats and never ever tell you what they do or how to use them.
     
  14. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Quite a few Shotokan stylists know seipei. Its just not "official". Here is a Shotokan's expertise on practical bunkai discussing seipei.
     
  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Later on. When it was appropriate for me. Long after he taught me what they were.
     
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I thought you may so I used the reference. In actuality, there are no WT forms. Kukkiwon create the "WT" forms. It is a weird but necessary relationship. WT is the sport/sparring identity and Kukkiwon (TKD headquarters) is the governing body.
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Yes, but he's doing a front snap kick to the groin, not an axe kick. I'm less concerned with how many Shotokan folks have chosen to learn Seipai and more focused on the fact that these kicks are absent from any Shotokan kata I've ever seen:

    Axe kick
    Hook kick
    Spinning hook kick
    Spinning back kick

    If everything in karate is derived from the kata, karateka shouldn't use any of these kicks. The use of these kicks supports my approach that kata is one training tool that is part of what makes up karate, but not a complete encyclopedia of what is in karate.

    Edit: didn't previously see the "secret sauce" comment. What's the source for that history? I thought a lot of that kicking came from Korea and got adopted into karate training, not from old Okinawan masters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  18. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Blue Belt

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    These kicks are generally absent from Okinawan karate and not in any kata I know of, though not to say I've never done or taught spinning kicks. Also, there is a definite lack of head kicks. Can these kicks be effective? Yes, if used very judiciously .

    I believe the original thinking was that in life or death combat, you generally don't want to expose your back or the family jewels to your opponent. Should you get caught in either of these positions the results could be fatal, or at least very painful. I know from experience. The risks outweigh the possible rewards. There are many other techniques to choose from that, if missed, would not have catastrophic results. Sport sparring is a different matter and not the subject here.

    Also, as you get older, these moves are harder to do effectively, and so even riskier. I have found that as I get older/wiser my karate resembles the traditional Okinawan model more. Less flashy, risky moves, and more direct, angled, close-in techniques with a higher probability of success. It may not be as pretty to watch, but my cajones couldn't care less.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think if your (generic "your" - just a comment for the thread) forms don't seem designed to have depth, it's probably most productive to treat them that way. Use them for body training. If you have trouble with a technique somewhere, look for the motion in your forms to see what you're doing there - maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't, but it's information to work with. But if the applications aren't meant to be in the forms, trying to glean them is probably time better spent elsewhere.
     
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  20. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    The problem with this ideology is that there are schools that do not train in application. They train on how to use form and sparring technique for best use in competition.
    Do you learn the form? Yes.
    Do you learn to spar? Yes.
    Do you learn to protect your self or a loved one in the event of an attack? Assuming average strength and no other training, Unlikely.
    Do you learn avoidance or situational awareness? No
    Do you learn philosophy or historic value? Unlikely

    Forms are integral to MA and Must include application to have value beyond the improved physical condition benefit.123
     

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