Karate is kata, kata is karate

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

  1. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    I think you are looking at kata in a limiting way. As you say, there are, indeed, many parts of Karate: Crippling self-defense, flow, balance, mental attitude, strategy, tactics, strong execution of technique, movement and evasion, spiritual bearing, takedowns, grabs and breaks, etc., etc. Kata, at least the traditional Okinawan ones, contain ALL these parts (for those proponents that have been initiated in them.) What is missing from kata is sport karate, which is a whole different animal.

    Historically, Karate was not taught from text books or you tube videos. The theory and philosophy was passed down from master to student by oral tradition. The physical knowledge was passed down by kata. Kata was karate's text book, meant to be studied for full understanding. So, in this sense, kata is karate - the key to a style's interpretation of combat.
     
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  2. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Choki Motobu kept to the old tuidi/tode high chamber. He didn't chamber at the hip, unlike most of his contemporaries who brought karate to mainland Japan.
    motobu1.JPG

    Notice the attacker (in the partner drill) has the sme high chamber/guard in the left photo. This is a Japanese student of Choki Mutobu.
    Motobu-Choki-Kumite-13-and-14-Okinawa-Kenpo-Karate-Jutsu-Kumite-Hen-645x400.jpg

    here is a grouping of chambers of him and the other masters. look at their chamber vs his. While Choki Motobu taught very close distance fighting, and stressed practical training bunkai methods to prepare yourself for jissen kumite (real world fighting), the others made new methods for faster organized training. Longer ranges, deeper stances, and new interpretations of the kata/bunkai.
    15251709_224748017961940_2983604529448091648_n.jpg


    @punisher73
    @skribs
    it may not be required to look behind you, one application for the rear empi/HikiTe is the defense against a rear bear-hug. If you were grabbed suddenly, perhaps while in a very packed and crowded area... you would be reflectively counterattacking without the time to even look behind you.
    rear empi...
    Either a preemptive strike an instant before its locked in, or as part of breaking off one after it has been applied (used in tandem, with stepping forward into zenkutsdachi). You already knew what was behind you, and you could see both of his arms.
    Notice Choki's left hand "chamber" is significantly lower than it normally is. almost at hip height.
    motobu1 (1).jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  3. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    in fact, a lot of it was hands on (literally) knowledge.
    the teacher took the students limbs or torso and said here.. not there. putting them into the correct position that was called for at that moment.

    in the old tuidi, tode there were many, and I mean many things that lacked a name. In Japan, a lot of terms of art, and labels were created, just to answer a Japanese demand for lexical terminology.

    This was exerbated by post war GIs... army and marines stationed in Japan and Okinawa wanting to know what to call "this or that" after they enrolled in various karate dojos.
     
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  4. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Please re-read the quote. It said you wouldn't strike to the rear without addressing that person as soon as you could. Yes, you may have someone behind you, but you wouldn't strike them and then stay with all your attention to the front without addressing that rear opponent again, even if its a look back to evaluate if they are still a threat or not.
     
  5. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    While that is true, most of the forms in KKW TKD are demonstration of technique, not strategy.
     
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  6. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Again, I never said you wouldn't look or couldn't look. BUT, if you are teaching a rear strike as a self-defense application. After you are grabbed and struck the bad guy, you would look to evaluate or turn to further address that attacker. My response was based on the chamber always being a rear elbow strike in katas that never really address if an actual attacker is back there.
     
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  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Agree. I do not know if you do the Pinan (Pyong Ahn) set of forms but this is well represented in the ending line of Pinan 3. A rear elbow and punch beside your own head. There is no need to reach with the punch because the elbow will reactively bring their face to the punch.
     
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  8. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    Right, and the rear elbow works in Pinan 3 because the opponent is not attacking from the rear, but from the front and YOU maneuver, spinning in so he is to the rear. And as you say, the rear over-the-shoulder punch to the face seals the deal. You can also look to the rear as you elbow and punch. Isshinryu's Sunsu kata has a rear elbow as well. Similarly, the opponent is to the front and YOU step to place him to the rear (so you are back to back) for the elbow strike. As you spin into him prior to the elbow, there is an arm break, again sealing the deal so to speak.
    In these cases, you are not being attacked from behind, nor are you relying on a single lone elbow to do the job. While chambering a hand to your hip as you punch can strike an elbow to the rear, it is certainly not the reason for chambering it so.
     
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  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    My Sensei studied in Okinawa for about 7 years (and has gone back many times since) and has told me that was how he was first taught: "Do this. No. Do this way," as the master showed one-on-one what to do. Terminology was not needed in private/semi-private lessons. When teaching a large number of students at once, calling out a name was required as showing everyone personally what to do was not practical. And as you said, the Japanese put this stuff in print (lexical?o_O) - hard to do without words for the moves. And American logic just seems to crave a name or label for everything.
     
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  10. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Thus the gulf between Okinawan karate, and Japanese karate vs TKD widens.
     
  11. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    i wouldn't call it American logic. its really just western civilization, going all the way to Greco-Roman philosophy. The colonists considered themselves Englishmen.
    But a proper education was still done with Latin. and the methodology was the ancient trivium. "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic" Which was capped of with Logic/Rhetoric.

    For example, modern science is still using Latin for the naming of species. Names and Labels indeed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  12. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Except that karate dojos that are WKF sport oriented (or any sort of sport oriented) focus on the presentation side of their kata, not the bunkai side. Even if they're Okinawan or Japanese styles, not just Korean or American styles.

    Folks who train for this aren't focusing on bunkai during kata training; they're focusing on performance.

     
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  13. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Just because someone trains performance, doesn't mean they don't train bunkai.

    But I will agree, if your purpose is primarily to perform the form (at tests, demonstrations, or competitions), then application is secondary at best.
     
  14. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Well sure. And likewise, I'm not saying that people who focus on bunkai never spend one minute training performance. I'm talking about primary emphasis. WKF-oriented dojos primarily emphasize performance; only a subset of dojos primarily emphasize bunkai. I'm just saying that a lot of Japanese and Okinawan style dojos are sport oriented, just like all Kukkiwon and some ITF dojangs are.
     
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  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I think we has a different philosophy on the form but I get what you are saying.
    It is the third form so there are three attackers. You have just came down the center line doing as many as 5 movement in a segment to different attackers. At the end of the line they are to each side hence the shift off centerline to each side. A bit of a stretch practically but good practice to each side for a rear attack/counter.
     
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    You cannot say All KKW/ITF dojangs are purely sport oriented. It is just not true.
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I said all KKW and some ITF. I've never personally encountered a KKW dojang that wasn't focused on sport. That's not a criticism; I'm a sport guy myself. Maybe there are some KKW dojangs that aren't about sport, so would you agree with "most"?
     
  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Yep.
     
  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a point I've tried to make in the past. We now have books and YouTube videos, as well as some other training methods/tools that can do what kata does. I see it as integral to some approaches to Karate, but not necessary to the art. I actually like the idea of maintaining at least some of that tradition, but don't see removing it as making the result no longer Karate.
     
  20. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I am having a hard time understanding your last sentence. Can you reword it so this thick headed old man can understand it?
    I think you are saying more modern conventions like print and internet videos do not hurt the integrity of Karate but I am not sure. Thanks123
     

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