Neuroscience and Kata

Discussion in 'Health Tips for the Martial Artist' started by TSDTexan, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    A good article showing how science is researching Karate kata and the neurological effects it has.

    Karate Kata and Cognition | Psychology Today
     
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  2. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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  3. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Green Belt

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    Very Nice!
     
  4. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Video where they map brain structures of karate practioners bd compare to non karate group.

    This ties in with my own observations, which have been posted here on martial talk.

    Moving complex actions into the reflex area of the subconscious. They discuss how the brain rewires itself in specific areas of the cerebellum motor coretex region.

    I had posted links to Dr David Eagleman and his documentary about the human brain. I showcased the part that was about the world champ cup stacking kid. How kata (a specified patern) practice shaved what was over two minutes to achieve at the beginning down to 4 seconds.

    Karate Club Budocenter Wien
     
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  5. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    IMO, to repeat a combo drill (such as groin kick, face punch) 20 times non-stop can have more benefit than doing form from the 1st move to the last move. If you can find a set of combo drills, you will get the same benefit as your form training.
     
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  6. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    right. ok. thank you for your opinion.

    This was just what science is studying about kata.

    This isnt what science says will get you more benefit then kata.

    This isnt what science says will get you the same benefit as as doing kata.

    This was just what science is studying about kata.

    Now... do you have any scientific evidence to back up your opinion that combo drilling will have the same effect on the brain?

    I posted this stuff because I had already stated my opinion about kata and skill acquisition... in a number of threads. Its just really nice to see that formal studies are validating my own informal observations.

    But hey... if we can skip kata all together by just doing combos....
    and get ALL of the same benefits (including tactics and strategies learned by analyzing the information in the kata)... heck... sign me up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Then you have created yourself a new form, just with a more limited focus in terms of included material.
     
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  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I don't have scientific evidence. People had trained solo (or combo) drills in the ancient time. The following forms contains many combos. The way that you train it is to repeat each combo N times.

    I like to train combo drills instead of solo drills. I can get more out of it (use move A to set up move B).

    Advantage:

    - In those N reps period, you concentrate on only that combo.
    - You will train both left side and right side with balance.



     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I think the benefit of the form is because it forces the person to use a lot more memory which in turn creates more nuro paths. when you do combos you pick only 3 or 4 moves vs cranking out 1 - 3 minutes of various moves that have to be done in a certain order.
     
  10. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    When I do

    - form, I fell that I'm doing somebody else stuff.
    - drill, I feel that I'm doing my stuff.

    I can repeat right jab, left cross, right hook, left hook over and over. It came from the CMA form Bu An Dui Da, a 2 men form.
     
  11. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i followed the link and read the "abstract" and my general opinion is that while this is a nice blog post with a positive sentiment, there is not much science there.

    "we investigated the effects of karate versus a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention "
    i would want to know what they consider MBSR my guess would be some form of meditation. if this be the case then a solid conclusion would be that physical activity is better for you then relaxation,,,,something we already know but it doesnt show that karate is any better than walking on a treadmill.

    "The results showed an improvement for the karate group, but not the MBSR and control group, in subjective mental health and anxiety as well as cognitive processing speed."
    what this is really saying is that physical activity increases cognitive processing, but that is pretty standard knowledge. but what about subjective mental health and anxiety? well i underline the word subjective because that is measured most presumably by asking the participant....So john how do you feel? its not scientific, quantifiable or even a real thing. many psychologists are of the opinion that self esteem is not a real thing. there are what are called the "Big 5" higher order personality traits of which neuroticism is one. this trait can be measured in individuals and those higher in neuroticism are generally more likely to experience higher levels of fear, anxiety and depression thus having a reported lower level of self esteem. to have any kind of data for karate kata i would compare it with other physical activities using the same person. alternate 6 month intervals of jogging then switch to karate. subjective health is just that subjective. i would make an assumption that many participants after training karate after 8 weeks (which is the length of the study) they would feel safer and more able to defend themselves, which we all know is not the truth and is only a temporary feeling. other studies have been done to show that this perception is only temporary. that being said the mental health issue is not anymore affected by karate than eating a chocolate bar or sitting at the beach.
     
  12. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    The article isn't really about 'kata' at all, it's about physical activity increasing activity and cognition in elderly people. They explicitly stated using karate was an arbitrary choice.

    I'm not sure anyone has ever disputed that being active is better for you than not being active.
     
  13. dvcochran

    dvcochran Master Black Belt

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    That is a great read. I would take this as confirmation to anyone in the MA's that what we do and love has long lasting benefits. And it is just one element of practice so hey, we may have found the fountain of youth!
     
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  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    It can still be the same form but teach/learn/train differently.

    My friend wants to start a "Taiji for health" program in the park. I suggest him to use a different teaching method. If his Taiji form has 48 different moves, he can

    - teach the 1st move.
    - ask his students to repeat left and right 20 times.
    - ...
    - teach the 48th move.
    - ask his students to repeat left and right 20 times.

    One day he teaches his student how to link those 48 moves, his students will have learned the whole form. The nice thing about this approach is since his students only care about "health", to balance left side training and right side training can be useful.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  15. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i do kata so much my age is reversing like Benjamin Buttons.
     
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  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    Awesome, thanks heaps for posting @TSDTexan, love this stuff :).

    And I'm sure like some have said here that some effects are nonspecific to karate, but some definitely seem to be, especially relating to kata in terms of the pattern, synchronization etc. It's fascinating regardless, and definitely relevant to us.

    Ah yep fair enough, but you do a kata long enough and it starts to become your own ;). The old Shu-Ha-Ri!
     
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  17. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula White Belt

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    I grabbed the Jansen et al. paper and had a look. According to the paper, MBSR was "teaching mindful awareness that is characterized by a nonevaluative, continuous moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience. The MBSR is composed of didactic and practice elements. It incorporates sitting and walking meditation, body scan exercises, and mindfulness communication."

    The authors used the Short Form Health Survey 12 (SF-12) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). If you do a web search, you can quickly find the questions asked if you'd like to know what they are. So yes, they did ask the participants. While mental health is a subjective and somewhat nebulous concept, these forms can somewhat quantify it and according to a few studies I glanced at, they both seem to be decent at this. Quantitatively collecting inherently qualitative data isn't exactly ideal, but I wouldn't call it unscientific and it's not like there's some quantitative measurement we can take in this situation. That said, Likert-type questionnaires are indeed subject to a lot of criticism and there are lots of potential issues with self-reported data.

    Personally, I take greater issue with the relatively small sample size (55 people) and the fact that the study had 36 of the original volunteers drop out because they didn't like the class they were assigned to (which to me suggests that at least some of the participants are likely biased towards or against the treatment they were assigned, which could impact the results). I also agree that this doesn't show that kata is better than other forms of physical activity - just that it's better than being inactive. However, the point of the study wasn't to show that kata or karate is the best choice - just that it's an option that works.
     
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  18. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Thank you, nice response.
    Part of my issue with this is the short term of the study. Most people who start an activity feel good about it on the short term but those feeling diminish after the newness of it wears off. That's why I have a problem with the self reporting. Not so much about the actual questioner.
     
  19. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    There are studies out there that answer your questions. The thing about it is not so much the kata as what the kata does..
    These are activities that improves the areas of the brain that were being discussed.
    1. Having the brain to learn something new
    2. And of course mindfulness, which comes with doing something new.

    Kata does this easily.
    1. It works the mind both in memory in function. In other words you are learning something new in the form of Memory sequence and function as you are teaching the body to move in new ways. Learning to play an instrument would do the same thing, but would focus on a smaller area

    2. Mindfulness which would be the focus on what you doing. This means your brain is superactive on the moment. There is study that neural paths aren't created by doing something that you already know how to do.

    The benefit of this is the concept that we can build new paths that allow use to keep our wits about us as we age and lose old ones.

    While the article itself may not be as intensive a study as we would like, it is written well enough to spark further research from some individuals who read it. The effects of kata are probably reduced greatly when the kata becomes second nature and can be done without little thought. A longer study would most likely highlight this. But if a system has multiple kata / forms then it will probably be a while before you run out of new stuff to learn and remember.
     

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