My forms are Chinese and not a Japanese kata so my comments are coming from a different perspective.
Form is dead but the person who trains the form is alive.
I agree with this, except your last point in this quote. If the student is supposed to know a form he is by definition, IMO, obligated to learn the application since the bunkai is the kata. Now, for the question of interpreting what that application actually is - a confusing endeavor at times since we are far removed from the masters who created the kata and they have been modified since, by intent (sometimes irresponsibly) or thru ignorance and we must often reverse engineer to approach the solution.I do not believe the applications from the forms define all that is required within the system, nor do I believe they define the limits of what is possible or what is allowed within the system, nor do I believe the student has any obligation to master the application of what is found within the forms.
Just so. The better one can do this, and by adhering to the things discussed above, I think we can decipherI believe they come down to how well you understand the system, and the underlying principles.
If we were in the Karate forums I wouldn't argue with you, but since we're in general - this has not at all been my experience with forms in Taekwondo.If the student is supposed to know a form he is by definition, IMO, obligated to learn the application since the bunkai is the kata.
I understand your dilemma. I think the bunkai is still there, although in an eroded form. By this I mean that when karate was exported to Japan it was changed for kids, changed for sport and changed for standardization. As a result, form subdued function to some degree. When karate was exported to Korea (at least that part that influenced TDK development) I think this process happened again to an equal or even greater degree, further separating the product from its original form. But like the human appendix or the legs of a whale, vestiges of application remain and their function can be at least partly traced. Look to the past to understand the present.If we were in the Karate forums I wouldn't argue with you, but since we're in general - this has not at all been my experience with forms in Taekwondo.
Understanding of application comes from application.Do your understanding and applications come from your own investigations into the forms, or are they learned from your instructor?
How does somebody learn the applications of the forms/kata in the first place?Understanding of application comes from application.
Which is basic scientific method.
But when you try to discover the application of forms you break that method by assuming the form has an application.
And what you get is no longer finding an answer you are just confirming a bias.
This is a tutorial on how to perform a 540 kick. This is not a kata and does nothing to answer the question of how somebody learns the applications in the first place.This might work as an explanation. Here is a tutorial on how to do a 540 kick.
To pull this kick off you need to drill a bunch of mechanical movements so you don't fall on your head.
That would be forms.
Now if we took those individual drills and tried to visualise how heath movements is somehow a secret fighting move and then bend reality to make every knee raise or hip turn a combat move.
That would be bunkai at its most silly.
A kata is the shape or form of a given technique/waza, in full or in part to allow you to understand it. It has zero to do with creativity. In actual fact if you want to be creative in changing the kata you won't get anywhere. Good kata is judged on your ability to perform fundamentals. As you become senior you can than hopefully add your own character to it and make it enjoyable to watch for others.
A lot of people on this forum get upset with me for saying this, but this was my eventual conclusion. There are a lot of benefits to kata, and those benefits tend to be understated by kata deniers. But there's things kata just doesn't do, which tend to be overstated.You don't. You just enjoy kata for what it is.
It depends on how you define "kata". Again, because you're asking in General and not in the Karate forum, I'm going to treat this as general. So I'm treating the word "kata" as "form". In my personal experience, "forms" are long, choreographed pieces that are usually at least 16 steps from start to finish, often more steps and with multiple techniques per step. What my school called "techniques" were individual techniques or combinations of techniques that were a small handful of movements, which would be called as set plays. For example, "Kicking #4" would be a roundhouse kick, back kick combo.This is a tutorial on how to perform a 540 kick. This is not a kata and does nothing to answer the question of how somebody learns the applications in the first place.
I think it was a good example of how a technique can be what it is and serve a purpose, even if it doesn't have a practical application. And, now you know it is in a form!Sorry the best I could come up with.