What separates a good form practitioner from a bad one in your art?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Ivan, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Well, you'd think so...

    Alternatively, I could obstinately refuse to see any link between the activities and post 5 pages of argument about how their time would be better spent doing something else ;)
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that fighting ability was probably the original primary purpose. I'm not convinced it was the direct purpose. Of course, we can't really know one way or the other, so that argument becomes mostly an intellectual curiosity. And I think you're right that there's been a move to include more of the non-fight-related purpose as there became less of a need for the fighting ability. Whether the focus on things like learning to pay attention to detail and developing patience (which can be seen as secondary attributes) is different from before, I can't really say.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    By that argument, playing with a frisbee is also fight-related. That's a pretty distant reach. And the reactions needed (and type of eye-hand coordination, for that matter) for swinging a bat isn't the same as what's needed for dealing with a punch. That link seems about as direct as the link between getting a step to fall where you want in kata and being able to take a step of the right length to close distance in a fight.

    So, because it's not used in soccer, it must not be useful for fighting? Seriously, it's been said that it's not a direct application, but one attribute that can be viewed. You're very fixated on the single point of a kata ending where it started. There are some concepts that can be related to this (nobody claimed mobility was one, that I can recall) control, and some of them are even related to fighting. But it's still just one small point in the idea of using kata.

    I made the point earlier that arguing about a point in kata and saying it's flawed because it doesn't have a strong link to fighting misses that maybe that point isn't meant to be about fighting. You keep coming back to how a given point isn't well related to fighting. That seems to either ignoring my point, or arguing that it must be about fighting. Even if we just said kata is a basic mobility movement training exercise (like non-martial tai chi in the park), I wouldn't see that as a bad thing - so long as people understand what they're doing and what they will (and won't) get out of it. And if they want to waltz in their MA classes, that might serve the same purpose.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And I do think this is where we can get ourselves in trouble with forms. If forms become the point, fighting skill no longer is. That's okay if you're not really concerned about fighting skill (okay with it being secondary, for instance), but not okay if fighting skill is your primary purpose. Forms can be used a lot of different ways, and each way I've seen emphasized a different set of attributes you can gain from them.

    It's like that ladder exercise someone mentioned earlier. If we just focus on doing the ladder exercise well (so we get the benefits we need for the sport/activity we're training for), we can keep the primary purpose. But if we start really analyzing the ladder drill, working on more flow, judging the ladder drill separately as its own thing, we start to move away from the original reason we started doing it (in the original example, to train for soccer).
     
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  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    your just arguing for the sake of out whilst agreeing entirely with my substantive point, that being that kata in general and some elements in particular ha very little value to developing fighting ability. that it's useful as moving meditation doesn't change that greatly.

    on the other point fighting is an athletic activity, any training exercise that make a substantive contribution to your athletic ability has a direct carry over to your ability to fight, some clearly more than others, so yes some frisby exercises, the ones where you dive through the air and do a triple axel would have benift, though normal frisby play where it arives you your hand a lot less so. co ordinating a fast moving object like a base ball has a direct effect on your reflexes and co ordination which would carry over to fighting.

    if fighting is the purpose of running\ attending a ma class, and I fully accept it may not be, then taking lesson on performance training from performance sports is a sensible thing to do, if they have just turned up to waste an hour or two doing gentle exercise th clearly its not the right way forward. as long as you tell them that it's as much use as a dead goldfish if your attacked by anyone over the age of 12
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, I wasn't arguing at all when I made my post about kata having some purposes besides fight training. I was just pointing out that while what you were saying was substantively true (that this particular point of form evaluation isn't closely tied to fighting skills), it wasn't necessarily a flaw in forms. Your response just seemed to be more statement of why it wasn't closely related, which wasn't really salient to my point.

    As for the rest of your wild statements here, they're just that. You've once again decided to make some statements that are true but exaggerated in their importance, and then support them as they get further and further from the original point.
     
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  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    there's nothing exaggerated there, there's plenty of 14 yo that will easily beat up an out of condition adult that has spent the last few years doing low intensity ma training and moving meditation,

    if you mmewan the importance of athleticism to fighting, no really that is if the opupmoist importance, and to play it down is delusional
     
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  8. DocWard

    DocWard Purple Belt

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    I believe what has most impressed me about this thread is that a person posted asking "How," and it took exactly two responses to shift to "Why," and the majority of the responses since have been dedicated to that "Why."

    As for those who answered the "How" portion, thank you. As I am working on learning and creating kata for my black belt test, the responses have been helpful.
     
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  9. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    Not intentionally at least. That was mostly just me listing a few details off the top of my head.
     
  10. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    My bad, Donald. I should have used the quote function, I was referring to the OP.
     
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  11. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    In all fairness I made a wrong assumption... it happens.
     
  12. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is all nonsense. Kata is a fight.

    Kata teaches technique, which includes breathing, speed, power, stability, movement, and so on.

    Minus ability to apply this to a fight, it is a dance.

    Show me your kata. Now show me that you can make it work. Not just bunkai with an uke, show me when sparring or against a resisting opponent.

    If your kata works, it works. I don't care about your feet or your kime or how loud you kiai. Those things are tools for the beginner.

    I practice kata as a meditation now. I experiment with small adjustments to my stance, balance, breathing, and so on, but I judge and discard or keep based on whether or not I can make it work for me.

    I can and have judged kata in tournaments based on standards. I get it. But that is not what kata is for. Kata is a fight.
     
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  13. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    All of our forms are designed to start and end on the same spot. That is one of the things I look for, as it indicates consistency.

    In forms practice, I advocate what I call the Holy Trinity: solid stances, correct execution of technique and foot/hand timing. If you have those three down, you are well on your way to doing a good, solid form. I look for these thing first when judging. If I don't see them, the score will be low.

    If I do see them, then I can look for the little things that "polish" up a form: focus, flow, attitude, etc. The more of those I see, the higher the score.
     
  14. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Let me give you an outsiders observation. I have trained with some scary good Martial Artists, and I purposely use the word "scary" because they are.

    When I watch some of them do Kata it seems more about what's happening on the inside than on the outside. You can palpably feel it just by watching. At least if you know anything about power.
     
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  15. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    What about power and strength in the techniques? Is that part of the proper execution or not as important to you?
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is the difference between using the form as an actual training tool to develop your skill, and using the form as a performance.
     
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  17. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    That is part of the execution. Power in hand techniques comes from foot and hand timing. And both hands and feet require solid stances and correct execution to develop power.
     
  18. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Orange Belt

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    Bearing in mind I've trained a little bit in a lot of arts, some observations from the arts I'm most experienced in...

    Aikido: Aikido is a truly mixed bag. I've met masters who consider it to be more of a dance than a martial art, andw never strike anyone. I've also met masters who favor responding to a punch with a punch of their own that just happens to be intended to off-balance the attacker. I tend to gravitate towards the more martial instructors, as, while I find the spiritual and philosophical elements of Aikido fascinating, at the end of the day I do want to further my ability to defend myself. Also, even among the less martial instructors, emphases differ widely. My dojo focus largely on dynamic movement and hip movement, whereas another dojo I recently trained in focused on the subtleties of taking balance based on hand placement. As such, I suspect there are many ways to "master" Aikido, and the validity of any given way will depend on your perspective and application.

    Karate (Shorin-Ryu and Chito-Ryu): Karate is less of a mixed bag, though the divide between forms, sparring, and self-defense leaves different people focusing on different aspects of the art. In general, however, I think efficiency of movement and power generation is the thread that binds those three branches. If you can move quickly and efficiently and generate power effectively with minimal extraneous movement, you understand the key principles of karate.

    BJJ: BJJ, moreso than any of the above, is about performance. I've heard it said that a blue belt in BJJ should never lose to a dude fresh off the street, and to me, that's indicative of the competitive nature of BJJ, which forgoes traditional forms in favor of straight up rolling.
     
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