Changing up the kata

shesulsa

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Ever take your forms and do them *really slow* ? Say, T'ai Chi style? Or add a weapon to an empty-hands form?

I think this can put a fresh perspective on movement within kata, balance, strength, control and approach.

Thoughts?
 

exile

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I usually do a slowed-down version of every hyung I'm working on at least once per practice session. It does a few things, all of them good:

  • forces me to focus on the details of the movements instead of just rushing through them;
  • tests my (muscle-)memory, to ensure that I'm not just running on automatic but have a full visualization of what's going on somewhere in therevery important if you're ever in a situation where you have to perfore the form starting in a different direction from the one you're used to, or if there are distracting factors involved;
  • exposes weak points in my balance and transition, which tend to be covered over by using momentum to get from one movement of the form to the next.

Alternating slow and normal-speed performance of forms is probably really good for nailing down your internal neuromuscular model of them.
 

terryl965

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We always add weapons to all the poomsae we do, like Karma's, Bo staff, Kali sticks and knifes. It put a great new perspective into each one.
 

JWLuiza

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Yes, very slow is good.

You can also:

1. Do very fast with bad technique. Do this x5 then do really slow x5 then meet somewhere in the middle to improve your full speed form.

2. Take loose change and place them between your fingers and make sure the change doesn't fly out from between your fingers.

3. Practice stepping slow but having fast hand techniques... Wait till the very last second to throw the punch/block/etc.

4. Practice Loose-Tight-Loose. There should be a split second of "snap" of technique, all other times the musculature should be relaxed.
 

punisher73

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Sometimes I will do them slow and REALLY work on definition of technique and point of impact along with fluidity.

Also, do what we call "Yee-Haa" speed. Go through it like your holdin' on for dear life and try to go as fast as possible and purposely let yourself mess it up to see what areas need more work and highlight the loss of balance areas for yourself.

Other times I pretend I'm in "Hollywood" mode and make larger exagerated movements to emphasize the whole body movement and getting it all integrated.

Sometimes I do upper body only, or lower body only kata to see how well I really know it. It's amazing how much you rely on the upper body movements to remember your lower body, by taking that away you can really focus on how/why you are moving and also how your stance supports the upper body.
 

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Doing a form ultra-slow is a great way to identify holes in your kata that are difficult to see at high speed, and to work on things like weight transfer and balance between moves.

Going faster-than-normal can also pinpoint areas that need work.

Adding a weapon or two to your hands can change the way you look at certain moves and provide insights for the open-hand forms. Not all moves translate directly when you do this; some may have to be altered to "work" (after all, the kata was designed for empty hands, not weapons).

Doing the kata "differently" can also involve taking a hard-style kata (eg. shotokan) and trying it "soft" (no kime-points, flow smoothly from one move to the next), or taking a soft/internal kata and performing it as a "hard-styled" kata to make it stronger/more linear/have more kime.

Varying the moves between open-hand and closed hand can also be instructive.

These are all things I have done and will continue to do to "play" with the kata and try to get a better understanding of "why"
 

IcemanSK

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I have a good friend who teaches a combination of karate & Chinese Arts. I asked for his help with my TKD forms in preparation for a belt test-type of event I had. He had been training for 40+ years. When he suggested that I do my hard-style TKD forms slowly (Tai Chi-style) I thought he was nuts! Wow! What a difference! It really helped me get into the correct position & appreciate the forms I was doing more & more.

I highly recomend doing forms slowly from time to time to help to do them at normal speed.
 

14 Kempo

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As quite a few have mentioned, there are many ways to practice. I do mine in various ways: Slow and Relaxed; Regular Speed, Full-Power; Normal; Dynamic-Tension; Fast as Possible; and with Additional Weight (I add about 55 lbs of weight using a vest, ankle and wrist weights). Most of these are self-explanitory. "Fast as Possible" magnifies areas in which I need to become more familiar with the movements. In otherwords, in moving as fast as possible, it disables thought. If I don't know the form as I should, I hesitate and therefore helps me to pinpoint an area of the form where I need to concentrate my practice.

Hope that makes sense.
 

stickarts

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absolutely. Slow, medium, fast, eyes closed, facing different directions, in the water, imagine one attacker, imagine multiple attackers, using different weapons. I have also found it useful to show my katas to someone with an entirely different backround than mine and ask their perspective on application.
 

SageGhost83

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I love to practice my forms in the swimming pool and in the surf at high tide. It does wonders for balance. I also like to have a classmate actually attack me while I perform my forms so that I have to follow through with all of my techniques or get plastered. Sometimes others will jump in unexpectantly and attack from different angles just for cheap laughs, forcing me to adjust the form and take it in new directions, kind of an "active" form.
 

exile

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I love to practice my forms in the swimming pool and in the surf at high tide. It does wonders for balance. I also like to have a classmate actually attack me while I perform my forms so that I have to follow through with all of my techniques or get plastered. Sometimes others will jump in unexpectantly and attack from different angles just for cheap laughs, forcing me to adjust the form and take it in new directions, kind of an "active" form.

This is close to the sort of noncompliant training that people like Iain Abernethy and the BCA lads, and Peyton Quinn and a few others on this side of the Pond advocate. The key idea is that you have to adapt the techs implicit in the forms to real street violence conditions if you wish to be able to use them to counter street violence.

Me, I think that just about anything you to to remind yourself that katas are about real techniques, not pieces of pretty maritial choreography with a bunch of judges holding up cards with 9s and 10s on them, is worth doing. If we'd wanted that, we'd have become figure skaters, eh? :D
 

tshadowchaser

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I have made my forms faster, slower, and real slow motion before. I have added weapons, taken away weapons, etc..
It is a good way to realy get to know your forms and sometines shows you things you might mot have seen before.
 

championmarius

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As much as I hate forms, I have to find ways to "spice" them up. I have come across some good ones and some not so good ones. I sometimes like the agonizingly slow tempo, and often do hand only stuff when I'm at work.

Heres a couple I do like.

Try isolating sides, ie left arm and foot techniques only..

Or do the whole thing in reverse.

Have a partner, and alternate techniques and sections of the form

If you're a real glutton for punishment, try mirroring the form. (a turn left, right punch becomes turn turn right left punch.) its insidious. ( a secret, it also helps train the techniques from both sides...)

Or, take it completely out of context. Start with one form, then work to a point where your stance/posture is the same as a different form, and continue with the new form, and try to switch back to the original at some point...

Like I said, I hate doing them, its like going to the hospital for me. I'll put it off as long as possible. but when i do go, I have to find some way to ease the suffering.:banghead:
 

14 Kempo

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I can't imagine what doing the form in reverse could teach a person, although I have tried it. Now, doing the form left-handed? Yes, that I do and can see.
 

terryl965

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I can't imagine what doing the form in reverse could teach a person, although I have tried it. Now, doing the form left-handed? Yes, that I do and can see.

14 we teach all the forms backwards and what it does is make sure the student understand the form inside out, alot of peopl just memorize the movements but goin backwards make them thing though each movement and understand what those movement are used for.
 

14 Kempo

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14 we teach all the forms backwards and what it does is make sure the student understand the form inside out, alot of peopl just memorize the movements but goin backwards make them thing though each movement and understand what those movement are used for.

Like I have said, I've done it. I will agree that it poses a challenge, that's for sure, and it definately can teach you that the movements weren't made to do in reverse or backwards. What the heck, if it makes your students better, then I say do it. I'll just have to agree to disagree on whether or not that is what it does.
 

Kacey

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Ever take your forms and do them *really slow* ? Say, T'ai Chi style? Or add a weapon to an empty-hands form?

I think this can put a fresh perspective on movement within kata, balance, strength, control and approach.

Thoughts?

All the time. Some common variations I use both for myself and teaching my students:

- slow motion
- tension/resistance on each move (generally also done slow motion)
- as fast as possible (no power - shows really well who knows the pattern and who doesn't)
- hands only
- feet only
- in a box (all movements, including stepping, done within a 3' x 3' area)
- backwards or reversed (another great way to know who really knows the pattern)
- facing a person doing the same pattern
- facing different directions than usual (shows who is keying on the walls instead of the movements)
- blindfolded

There are others, but they're not really coming to mind at the moment.
 

tshadowchaser

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I can't imagine what doing the form in reverse could teach a person, although I have tried it.

It might show how well you really know the form.
It might show you techniques that you did not see before
It might depend on which form and what style you are in to make any difference
 

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