"Common" Moves Not Found in Forms

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isshinryuronin

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Once you master the principles, strategies and tactics of an art... that art can include any and all techniques. So long as the techniques are being used with the principles, strategies and tactics of the art... they are part of the art.
There is truth in this. It's not so much what technique is used, but how it is used that defines the art to a large extent. But it's also true that the art's core techniques reflect the art's principles, strategies, and overall doctrine.
In Taekwondo, many of the "verses" in a form end on a block
As a general rule, the opposite is true in Okinawan karate. It is not reasonable for a fight to end with a block, allowing the opponent to continue his attack. A fight only ends when the opponent is unable to further attack.
Another possibility for them not being present is that the people that created these forms simply hadn't thought of/come across that move before. These days we've all seen a roundhouse thousands of times before we even start training, but hundreds of years ago on Okinawa, if no one local or who travelled there had come up with it or seen it, then it wasn't going to be part of their awareness.
Okinawan karate developed not within a vacuum on a tiny island, but with a very strong Chinese influence (China having 1000 years of MA history) as well as input from SE Asia and Filipines. Accordingly, it seems they would have been exposed to a great variety of techniques, in addition to the ones they developed. So, the possibility you propose, I think, is not the major reason.
 

JowGaWolf

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Maybe the common things weren't in the forms because they were just that common.
 

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Hmm interesting thoughts!

My take on this however is not so much that forms were meant to pass on the most important (or only important) techniques of a system, but were a specific learning modality or tool to communicate and instil in you the principles of the system. So forms are aspect which help tie all things together in a way, and therefore learning a form properly can assist your use of all kihon (fundamentals).

For example, something like the simple 180簞 rotation from Taikyoku kata, drilling that endlessly really instills in your body the ability to squeeze your leg in as opposed to shove off and fall forward without control, to rotate on specific parts of your feet, to maintain great posture and alignment, keep your head level through movement, and develop back leg drive through the last half. All or most of those qualities can be immensely helpful to a roundhouse kick for example!

Someone then might ask, well can't you just practice the technique directly in order to get better at it? Of course, but the forms to me are about a holistic development of the person as a whole, and in HOW you move your body, how you transition, how you generate power in awkward "unrealistic" positions (if you can generate power or move efficiently from those very "unrealistic" and awkward positions, how awesome would that training be for developing your body as a whole to really move and do these things when you're not under perfect balance etc???). Developing an internal "quality of movement".

The 2x turn and hammerfist sections near the end of kata Saifa have nothing to do with a hammerfist. Tight, concise rotation, and learning to utilise relaxed heaviness through your whole body to DROP the technique through, an ability to pull through your frame like a cable via the elbow as opposed to focusing on hand movement.

I swear that my rigorous hours upon hours of kata practice have made my EVERYTHING so much better, my balance, control, understanding push/pull, transitions, sparring dynamics etc I personally think kata has helped how I move. Can I prove this or do I have evidence? Heck no! Just a strong sense going by how I move now.

So to me it's not so much that because they didn't include certain techniques within forms that those techniques are then pointless/irrelevant/not a part of the system, but that the specific forms act on multiple levels of exploration of the key principles which you can USE throughout the whole entirety of the system. Instilling a body intelligence that you may not necessarily get through basic standing kihon practice. And the forms don't need to contain every technique of the system. It's about reinforcing and deepening QUALITY of movement as opposed to quantity.

Just my random musings, don't know if that was off the topic haha.
Knowing nearly nothing about the traditional approach of Karate (and its Okinawan predecessor), this has long been my thought. I can't think of many situations where someone would think "this is everything I will include in my teaching, so let's put it all in a form", and it would end up being the relatively few techniques/movements found in most Karate systems' empty-hand kata. And having gone through the process of creating forms, I can see where the thought process you describe would occur.

So it's likely many (perhaps not all) of the most basic techniques are there. And many (again, perhaps not all) of the most key movements. And some movements that are for developing characteristics (so perhaps movements specifically altered to challenge balance and timing, for instance).

This is why it bothers me to see some people work very hard to find a movement in kata to validate a usage. Sure, if there's a movement in kata that helps practice for a technique, use it. But techniques need not exist in kata to be valid for a system.
 

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Maybe the common things weren't in the forms because they were just that common.
I think I see where you're going with that thought. Wouldn't that assume that anything that common (like a basic punch) would also be left out?
 

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There is truth in this. It's not so much what technique is used, but how it is used that defines the art to a large extent. But it's also true that the art's core techniques reflect the art's principles, strategies, and overall doctrine.
This is a great synopsis of how I see it, at least for the Japanese/Okinawan (I see them as roughly the same - perhaps partly out of ignorance) approach. The "official techniques" in a system (often, what's codified in forms and the most basic drills) are often gathered to develop the basic principles of the system. Some may not even be as useful in sport or fighting as some of the "unofficial" techniques that see more usage, but they serve well as drills to build the core of the system.
 

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There is truth in this. It's not so much what technique is used, but how it is used that defines the art to a large extent. But it's also true that the art's core techniques reflect the art's principles, strategies, and overall doctrine.

As a general rule, the opposite is true in Okinawan karate. It is not reasonable for a fight to end with a block, allowing the opponent to continue his attack. A fight only ends when the opponent is unable to further attack.

Okinawan karate developed not within a vacuum on a tiny island, but with a very strong Chinese influence (China having 1000 years of MA history) as well as input from SE Asia and Filipines. Accordingly, it seems they would have been exposed to a great variety of techniques, in addition to the ones they developed. So, the possibility you propose, I think, is not the major reason.
That is certainly true, I wasn't suggesting a vacuum, just a lot less awareness than we have today. Traditionally many Chinese martial arts didn't have the roundhouse either; connections to places which also don't have the technique don't help. I know less about Filipino martial arts.

Even within a country not every martial artist will know everything about their national styles. Throughout most of history, most people did not travel very far. Some did of course, but even then not all of them travelled to many different places. Say someone came from the Philippines to Okinawa who knew martial arts, how much did they know, how representative of Filipino martial arts were they, did they know X technique? Many questions that can affect technique transmission, and of course you can't ask about what you don't know exists.

If it wasn't for the internet, I would know nothing about Kali for example. If someone comes along and teaches me some stuff, I have no idea if they are considered any good or how much of the system they know even now. If I'd never even heard of the style or anything similar to it, that would only be exacerbated.

From the perspective of martial arts (rather than all of life in general), if you think of the modern age as a big open space, perhaps we can think of much of the past as leaky vacuums. Most of the interaction was internal, with occasional cross pollination.
 

JowGaWolf

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I think I see where you're going with that thought. Wouldn't that assume that anything that common (like a basic punch) would also be left out?
They kind of are left out. For example, when you look at forms, you see more that's uncommon than common. This is with any systems and and any level. Even with the basics the punches of that system are often now how common punches are thrown. But in the pad drills punches turn into single, double, and triple jabs. I don't remember any of my forms doubling up on a single straight punch. Same with TKD. I don't remember seeing those guys double jab in their forms. I've seen them to pad work that way but that's it.

What are the chances these are in any of their forms?

or this? There's punching in the forms but it doesn't look like this. The striking that I've done in past classes were always outside of the form. The purpose of the punch was the same. The only big difference was how to drive the power for the punch.
 

JowGaWolf

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We did round house kicks in our school even thought the system doesn't formally have it in the forms. As far as I know these kicks don't exist in Jow Ga forms but I'm pretty sure the majority of the schools teach them at some point. Below are 2 different schools doing round house kick. The closest thing to a round house kick in the forms I know is a tornado kick.



Here's another one it's a low round house kick that doesn't snap back it drops into a step. It's definitely not in the forms I do.
 

Gerry Seymour

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They kind of are left out. For example, when you look at forms, you see more that's uncommon than common. This is with any systems and and any level. Even with the basics the punches of that system are often now how common punches are thrown. But in the pad drills punches turn into single, double, and triple jabs. I don't remember any of my forms doubling up on a single straight punch. Same with TKD. I don't remember seeing those guys double jab in their forms. I've seen them to pad work that way but that's it.

What are the chances these are in any of their forms?

or this? There's punching in the forms but it doesn't look like this. The striking that I've done in past classes were always outside of the form. The purpose of the punch was the same. The only big difference was how to drive the power for the punch.
The point about multiple jabs goes beyond technical basics into patterns of use, and Ive seen no evidence most forms are meant to contain common patterns (though they may contain common transition movements).
As for how it looks, I can only speak from my own experience (JMA with the striking either influenced by or entirely derived from Karate). What shows up in forms can often be either an exaggeration or a restriction of movement, to emphasize a specific principle. So it not looking the same isnt an indication to me that the basic technique isnt there.
 

JowGaWolf

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So it not looking the same isnt an indication to me that the basic technique isnt there.
Maybe what you see as technique is what I would see as foundation. For example, the Jow Ga stepping form is foundation, There really isn't any technique in it meaning no one can make those exact movements useful for fighting. But if you speed up the same foundation then a person will discover that certain changes will occur that allows that person to do those movements quickly, the body will naturally make adjustments and will be able to naturally move faster, only then does it become a technique that is practical for fighting. Another example, would be the slow movement of Tai chi and how that move changes has the body moves faster. The body is forced to make these changes in order to be successful in moving fast. The slowest car can drive on a race track, but if you want to drive fast then that car will need to make some changes so it can move fast. I hope I didn't make that more confusing.
 

Alan0354

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We did round house kicks in our school even thought the system doesn't formally have it in the forms. As far as I know these kicks don't exist in Jow Ga forms but I'm pretty sure the majority of the schools teach them at some point. Below are 2 different schools doing round house kick. The closest thing to a round house kick in the forms I know is a tornado kick.



Here's another one it's a low round house kick that doesn't snap back it drops into a step. It's definitely not in the forms I do.
You answer a lot of questions in the other thread. All these are not in the forms of your style, but you practice them because it's useful. It is good that your style accept stuffs that works. To me, this is the essence of MMA(mixed martial arts) that takes other stuffs that works.

I don't think this is generally true with other styles, a lot of them stuck with their style. Don't tell me you even have grappling in your school, that would be wonderful.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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All these are not in the forms of your style, but you practice them because it's useful.
If a Chinese wrestler also cross trained "flying side kick", CMA guys are not as stubborn as you may think.

lin-flying-side-kick-1.gif
 

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Perhaps kata were not meant to be static, rigid sequences but instead certain difficult techniques could be substituted in a particular place for training purposes. If a kata has a default front kick in its sequence, try substituting a reverse double-back-jumping spinning kick! A circular technique for a straight punch. A grab n pull instead of a block n pull a high kick where theres a low one. Insert the most awkward technique you are currently working on within the rigid concatenation of a kata to really test your form, balance and timing. Then a kata is fulfilling one of there many aims.
 

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Perhaps kata were not meant to be static, rigid sequences but instead certain difficult techniques could be substituted in a particular place for training purposes. If a kata has a default front kick in its sequence, try substituting a reverse double-back-jumping spinning kick! A circular technique for a straight punch. A grab n pull instead of a block n pull a high kick where theres a low one. Insert the most awkward technique you are currently working on within the rigid concatenation of a kata to really test your form, balance and timing. Then a kata is fulfilling one of there many aims.
Won't it be more efficient to cut out the kata and just practice the moves you intend to practice? For me, I practice a lot on punch/kick combinations. I keep practicing both in air and on heavy bags. Hopefully it comes natural when the time comes.
 

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Maybe what you see as technique is what I would see as foundation. For example, the Jow Ga stepping form is foundation, There really isn't any technique in it meaning no one can make those exact movements useful for fighting. But if you speed up the same foundation then a person will discover that certain changes will occur that allows that person to do those movements quickly, the body will naturally make adjustments and will be able to naturally move faster, only then does it become a technique that is practical for fighting. Another example, would be the slow movement of Tai chi and how that move changes has the body moves faster. The body is forced to make these changes in order to be successful in moving fast. The slowest car can drive on a race track, but if you want to drive fast then that car will need to make some changes so it can move fast. I hope I didn't make that more confusing.
There's a good bit of overlap in the concepts in my primary art, so I do tend to think of them kind of that way. There are "techniques" in our core curriculum that I believe aren't meant to be used in combat. They could be, but the situation would be so specific and would have so many better options, I believe these techniques are actually drills for practicing specific types of body movement and control. Within the same set of "techniques" are some much more practical, actual techniques. So I naturally use the word for both.
 

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Perhaps kata were not meant to be static, rigid sequences but instead certain difficult techniques could be substituted in a particular place for training purposes. If a kata has a default front kick in its sequence, try substituting a reverse double-back-jumping spinning kick! A circular technique for a straight punch. A grab n pull instead of a block n pull a high kick where theres a low one. Insert the most awkward technique you are currently working on within the rigid concatenation of a kata to really test your form, balance and timing. Then a kata is fulfilling one of there many aims.
I find it unlikely that the creator of any given kata expected that kata to be kept carefully the same for so long. They may have created it as a core training method. Or they may have been addressing a common issue they saw that year among their students. Or they may have put together what they thought would interest their students at the time. Or...

In any case, I doubt they thought, "This is the kata I want people doing 50 years from now, exactly this way." I could be wrong.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Won't it be more efficient to cut out the kata and just practice the moves you intend to practice? For me, I practice a lot on punch/kick combinations. I keep practicing both in air and on heavy bags. Hopefully it comes natural when the time comes.
It might be. But some principles are tough to practice solo with the actual movement as-is. For my part, I'd rather students used kata a lot outside of class, and me not need to work with it much in-class - just enought to tune what they are doing and help them get the best benefit.

But also consider that when you practice punch-kick combinations, you're probably repeating certain ones over and over. That's pretty likely where kata started. Kata is just a pre-arranged sequence of actions. Some of them are stylized in some ways, but not all the movements are.
 
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isshinryuronin

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Perhaps kata were not meant to be static, rigid sequences but instead certain difficult techniques could be substituted in a particular place for training purposes. If a kata has a default front kick in its sequence, try substituting a reverse double-back-jumping spinning kick! A circular technique for a straight punch. A grab n pull instead of a block n pull a high kick where theres a low one. Insert the most awkward technique you are currently working on within the rigid concatenation of a kata to really test your form, balance and timing. Then a kata is fulfilling one of there many aims.
The first half of your opening sentence is true enough, but then you continue, going too far to the point where you destroy the kata's integrity and keep it from fulfilling its main purposes. Consider the following statement - "Anxious to work out, I hurried to the dojo." Now, let's substitute words, while remaining structurally correct - "Anxious to work out, I slowly went to the bar." Not only has the intended meaning changed, but the two phrases are incompatible and nonsensical.

Kata is composed of phrases as well. Changing one word or phrase can render the next one equally incompatible and nonsensical. For example, a low kick to the groin will bring the head down and in range for the kata's next move, an elbow. A high kick will knock the head back and away, making the elbow not only at the wrong elevation, but out of range as well. One must be careful when tinkering with well-crafted machinery.

You're right that kata weren't meant to be static and rigid - there are plenty of variations possible. In fact, they were designed that way!! But one has to understand the kata and stay within its framework for its meaning not to be lost and rendered nonsensical. It is certainly OK to be creative and practice different moves and combinations, even "a reverse double-back-jumping spinning kick," but kata is usually not the best place to do it.
 
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