Kata a Penetrating Look and Insight

Discussion in 'Karate' started by hungfistron, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. dnovice

    dnovice Blue Belt

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    lol. Apparently you are allocating. If i'm coming across in that manner, I appologize man, not my intention.

    The problem was in peoples first posts, words like "sole" (or synonyms) were used to describe the benefits, meaning that there is only ONE way.

    Anyways, I have the utmost respect for everyone on here. If i didn't I wouldn't even take the time to objectively critique, give my opinion, or ask questions of you guys.

    Truce Tez3??
     
  2. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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  3. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    I'm going to be in the UK from August through the end of the year, Tez, and I'm hoping to get together with you, Mark and Iain A for one of his legendary seminars... and some of that great Adnam's Broadside, of course! ;)
     
  4. boobishi

    boobishi Yellow Belt

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    My point was not that the guitarist had no interest in learning to play music, it was that he knew exactly what he wanted "To be able to play one song, impress a girl; and get laid". If he acquired the stated goal or benefit that he first sought, his choice of discipline can be determined to have "integrity". The fact that he did not understand there were potentially greater lessons to be learned and more satisfying pleasures to be had only shows that he was either not interested in those other benefits or believed they even existed. That does not show a lack of integrity. It only shows either ignorence or perhaps a low level of ambition.

    You would first have to determine if the "Guitarist" believed those benefits existed and that he sought them out via the discipline and art of music. On top of that the assumptions rests on the idea that acquiring the spiritual and mental benefit (if they exist and are sought) are arrived at by the acquistion of funtional skill. That would seem to imply that in other arenas of life spiritual and mental benefit that may be available are arrived at through attaining any skill and not just fighting.

    If that were true we could expect to conclude that the people who are most skilled in there persuits (what ever they may be) would also be the most enlighted and mentally the most well balanced. Maybe? Maybe not.

    If one assumes that their method can produce results and other methods can't, therein lies the possibility for a attachment to that method of discipline to develope. Most philosophies and belief systems generally do not see attachment to method as progress. That is unless the persons life was ineffective because of randomness and chaos. Attachment to a method can be beneficial in helping establish order. But that generally leads to rigidity and arrogance. (Oh and BTW I'm not saying that of you.)

    So then that would beg the question "what would different stages of human spirituality or human development look like and how can they be fostered if indeed they can?". But that would be a different topic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  5. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    And the point is well made. I think that, for me, the crucial distinction between what you're saying and what I'm saying is perspective. While a dude could join a martial arts school specifically to earn a kata in order to impress a girl, this is unrelated to whether the activity has integrity. What I mean is, from an instructional perspective, the individual's specific intent does not affect the inherent integrity of the activity. In fact, I'd argue that if he's training in a martial art with no regard to development of martial skill, then no matter what else he gains, the activity is hollow.
    I don’t follow. The point is that, in most things, there are some core objectives to be gained. In Drivers Education, the end goal is to be able to operate a car. In band, the end result is to be able to play a musical instrument. If 20 people take a drivers education class and none of them can drive, there’s a problem. If 20 kids take band and none of them can play a musical instrument, there’s a problem.

    This is independent of the specific goals of the students. Whether good or bad, anything else that results from the training is irrelevant to the quality of the training.
    And this exact argument is the core of arguments against kata.

    For what it’s worth, attachment to a method that is proven to work is not a bad thing, provided that the method continues to work. This can even be true if other, more efficient methods are developed. It’s only when the methods are shown to be inneffectual, but people cling to them for perceived secondary benefits that the process breaks down.
     
  6. boobishi

    boobishi Yellow Belt

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    Steve,
    Thank you for the articulate and well reasoned post. I'm off to class now but I will return. Have a good evening. Thank for primeing the cognitive pump.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just keep writing me into your comics. Superpowers wouldn't be a bad idea, either. :D
     
  8. hungfistron

    hungfistron Green Belt

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    Kenwa Mabuni is who i ment :) Don't ask me how I thought thats who you ment, because these instructors are totally different, and are in totally different time periods. Thats what I get for trying to discuss these types of things while working... must be getting old.

    I don't have a working cpu at home at the moment, so in between actually doing work at work, its fun to read or post on this site. Thats why it took me so long to post this :) I appreciate all the people that posted their thoughts on what my Instructors words were about kata. I wanted to share his feelings on the matter, and get feedback from all of you.


    Of course this is his and my viewpoint of kata, but I wanted to make clear that I was making the argument for what we get out of kata and how it effects us spiritually. That doesn't mean that I don't respect or don't agree with anyone elses view of kata, because I do. I just wanted to make clear why my instructor and I feel what we do, and thats all. I am also a Daoist, so that would go against my beliefs to embrace what others feel to be correct, and respect it.


    That being said I look forward to posting more information, and getting feedback from anyone who would like to provide it. Remember just as
    dnovice stated, its purely subjective.

    (bows)
     
  9. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    You know if a bloke thinks a tune on a guitar will impress a girl to enough to go to bed with him, thats a bit sad rofl! Now if he learned to make her laugh.......!

    Exile I look forward to your arrival! I will be there even if I have to pull a sickie lol!
     
  10. jim777

    jim777 Master Black Belt

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    I was really being facetious, as it is obvious in Funakoshi's writings that he was a man of Zen. But I'm fairly positive that whether or not it was part of the Kyokushin culture when you studied it, it was not and is not actually a test requirement of Kyokushin. Kaicho Nakamura was the head instructor at the Tokyo Kyokushinkai Honbu and the founder of the North American Honbu, and he was the one who found Kyokushin specifically lacking in that department. It is a test requirement in Seido, as part of the written section of the promotion test. But again, I was really only teasing with the '76 reference.

    You know, the guitar bit did work quite a lot back in the 80's, just sayin' :lol:

    jim
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  11. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Haha! As long as you make her laugh BEFORE you get to bed!
     
  12. dnovice

    dnovice Blue Belt

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    still works now.
     
  13. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Great, Tez—the first three rounds are on me, eh? And you can hold me to that. :cheers:
     
  14. Uchinanchu

    Uchinanchu Green Belt

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  15. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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  16. astrobiologist

    astrobiologist Brown Belt

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    No offense to your Master, but he is wrong. As a scientist I must step in here. The above statements ARE NOT how biological evolution functions. Your Master's thoughts are similar to those of the scientific community in the early 1800's, before Charles Darwin wrote on his theory of natural selection as a means of evolution.

    Your Master is being thoughtful and I respect that, but the idea of organisms controlling their own evolution through inheritance of acquired characteristics has long been disproven. The theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, also called Lamarckism (after Jean-Baptiste Lamarck 1744-1829), was one of the many ideas thhat Charles Darwin commented on in his book, On the Origin of Species.

    Jean-Baptiste Lamarck once noted in his ideas that a giraffe's neck may have gotten longer because he was stretching out throughout his life so that he could reach the leaves in trees. Lamarck thought that the giraffe could pass this on to its offspring and thus each generation could have longer necks. We now know that the primary driving force in the neck length of giraffe's is most likely due to sexual selection; the male giraffe's use their necks as weapons to fight for mates, the giraffe's with the longest, biggest necks win and thus reproduce, and so they pass their genes on.

    If I punched the Makiwara over and again for years and acquired large knuckles, that in no way means that my children will be born with large knuckles, because the large knuckles that I acquired were not from my genes, but from my hard work through the years. Acquired characters cannot be passed on.

    Like I said, not hating on your Master, but maybe he should have read a few books first.
     
  17. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Yes, it is his opinion, but it's his opinion for a reason. I think I asked this question earlier, but no one bit: why do you think that that opening move is a block? You learned it as a block. But the name of the movement in Japanese, gedan uke, does not mean block—uke refers to 'receiving', and 'reception' is probably a far more accurate translation. So why do we use the label 'block' for that 'reception'? Because modern karate labels go back to Anko Itosu and his program, in the first decade of the twentieth century, to get the Okinawan school authorities to accept karate as part of the physical education component in the elementary school curriculum. Part of his success in doing so was removing the harsh 'adult' techs from the syllabus, but as he himself tells us in his 'Precepts', the adult's karate should not follow the children's version. As Abernethy observes,

    It is important to remember that many of the names given to kata movements have no link with the application of that movement. Terms such as 'rising block' or 'outer block' stem from the watered-down karate taught to Okinawan school children, and not the highly potent fighting art taught to adults... The traditional practice had been to learn the kata and when it was of a sufficient standard (and the student had gained the master's trust) the applications would be taught. However, it now became the norm to teach the kata for their own sake and the applications might never be taught (as is sadly still the case in the majority of karate schools today​


    (Bunkai-Jutsu, p. 11). I mentioned earlier that Higaki in his book on the bunkai for the Pinan kata shows a photo of Funakoshi doing the double block that begins Pinan Shodan—except that the 'outward middle block' is being applied as a no-nonsense throat/jaw strike! And if you break a 'down block' into its basic parts, you see right off the bat that it consists of a rising elbow strike, followed by a spearing strike by the same elbow and a downward hammer fist. To answer your question, what if the attack is always on an attacker's trapped grabbing or striking limb, and the elbow is a counterattack on their pinned arm, or head? Rather more effective, by far, than the passive block that depends completely on your attacker cooperating with you and standing there after the 'block' to allow you to deliver your lunge punch or whatever!

    The children's version of karate that Itosu taught was not intended for combat. Itosu stressed the point—but he also warned adults that the karate they were doing was intended for use, and he didn't mean sparring of the contemporary sport variety. The last thing he would have wanted would be for us adult practitioners to follow a schoolchild's curriculum and use of what for him and his contemporaries was a severely practical combat art.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  18. Uchinanchu

    Uchinanchu Green Belt

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    Êܤ±¡¡(to receive/accept) I would think would make it clear as to the mindset of the technique in question. True, any given technique can be used/applied in an offensive or defensive way, depending on what the situation calls for. But, to receive/accept means that one is on the receiving end of an attack. In other words, there is no initial attack on the karateka's part. To block, then, implies meeting the agressors attack, thus 'blocking' (receiving) their attack and countering it, with the appropriate application of said technique. This is a basic precept taught in most traditional dojo here in Okinawa.
    Again, an individual technique can be whatever one can make of it, but we are talking about the overall basic principals that make up kata, and karate in general.
     
  19. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Sure, there's no problem at all with looking at it that way; it's consistent with the idea that you're not the initiator of the fight. The problem with notions such as 'block', 'stance' and so on only arises when they're taken in a strictly literal sense.

    For me the great revelation about these kinds of applications, when I first encountered all the exciting and innovative work of the neo-jutsu movement, as I think of it, was the way in which the techniques proposed (usually after a good deal of pressure testing and dojo 'experimentation') actually work in three dimensions. I'm bad at spatial relations; I have a hard time visualizing movements, rotations and so on in three dimensions. A lot of the kinds of applications that people like Abernethy, Burgar, Anslow and O'Neil have proposed look really economical and ingenious to me—like finding the shortest forced mate in a chess game—but it's uphill work for me to do the same kind of thing, because I lose track of how things are working in physical space. So I really appreciate the imaginative thinking that lets people look at certain movements in space and see in them these very effective combinations of controlling moves, strikes and throws.
     
  20. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I'm with exile. I don't believe the kata contain blocks at all, even though that's what is taught at lower levels. In goju kata, the first kata after taikyoku kata is Saifa .. starts with a pull to the side, not a 'block'. Seinchin ... step out shiko dachi and drop hands, not a block. San Seru starts like Sanchin, no way would you use that opening in a pub fight to block anything. Same applies to Seisan, and Shisochin and Suparinpei. Seipai begins with a downward deflection or teisho strike, Kururunfa starts with tsabaki to evade. In the taikyoku kata that seem to start with a block, the first arm movement is a deflection, followed by the second movement which is the strike. As exile stated, uke is to receive not to block.
    Two questions. Firstly, why would you want to 'stop' an attack with a block? As soon as one attack is stopped the next attack commences.
    Secondly, why would the masters, passing on all the information required to produce a deadly fighting system, waste their time filling the kata with basic 'blocks'? Many of them only practised two or three katas. Maybe we need to look to the applications a little more.
    I could argue that there are NO blocks in karate. :asian:
     

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