Critique MORE of my katas

_Simon_

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I tried to apply multiple pieces of advice - doing the kata right after a hard workout, keeping the back loose, expansion/contraction - but it doesn't seem to have done much.


If even this kata ends up being stiff or tense, I'm just gonna either a.) just stay tense and cope with it or b.) quit doing kata altogether and thereby abandon competition. There is no conceivable way I can be more relaxed than this.

Password is "kata" again.
Great, looking good!

Just know it won't be a one quick fix sorta thing. Relaxation is something SO many people struggle with, and it's been one of my primary focuses the last few years. So it may take some time, just keep in mind as an intention that you want your karate to be more natural, fluid, with a sense of ease. This doesn't mean floppy, still with a balance of soft and hard, but think of it like the points of tension more as points of "connection". And that they are merely points of inflection along a continuum. Like one line of music that rises and falls, with differing emphases along the way. Kata are so similar to pieces of music...

Even think of relaxation as your base operating platform. That's your foundation upon which all technique comes from and returns to. It's helpful these little symbolic analogies as it makes certain imprints into your consciousness, and we can often relate to them better than simply practical instructions of "do this, don't do that." And like @isshinryuronin said earlier, it's very much more about "feel". Have those slower session where you explore this deeply.

Seriously, don't give up. This line of inquiry of learning naturalness and relaxation will extend far, far beyond just karate and will legitimately influence the rest of your day-to-day life.
 

_Simon_

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You do look more relaxed. That's good. But. Rather. Than. Being. So. Robotic, put some varied rhythm into it. Get excited about fighting those imaginary guys like maybe you did pretending you were Bruce Lee or a Ninja Turtle as a kid. Just don't "recite" the kata - interpret and express it.
Also just as a side note (and you may be aware already), Taikyoku kata tend to be the more basic kata that can be rather metronomic and start-stop, with little scope for creativity and individual expression or rhythmic changes. It can be done, but yeah I think he may have been more just getting that tension and release between techniques feel for this one. But definitely agree in general what you said!
 

jks9199

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Japanese one-person kata tend to be taught in a very sequential method -- not broken into segments or flows, but 1,2,3... until the last move. See, for example, this chart:

But what if you look at that kata for a moment, and start to figure out where the sequences begin and end. Usually, a block will start a sequence, and a strike or kick end it. Then use that structure to give your kata a rhythm or flow... Instead of running metronomically from start to finish, you might 1-2-3...pause...4-5, and so on. Let the applications influence your performance.
 

wab25

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In your form, you have either

- step in, downward block, or
- step in, punch.

There exist no other techniques. Do you really need to train this form in order to "repeat the same technique over and over"?

I don't understand why did the form creator create this form. To repeat the same move 10 times doesn't make it a form.
The creator of this kata was Funakoshi. (also the creator of Shotokan Karate) And there are a few more things in there that are being practiced. There are the 90 degree turns, the 180 degree turns and the 270 degree turns. The emphasis of this kata, in my opinion, is movement in the front stance, body unification, power generation, timing, balance and precise footwork. Understand that this is the first kata a student learns. So, the front stance will be new, as will the techniques. This introduces the basic fundamental ideas of Shotokan, on a very basic level... designed for beginners.

This is why I don't believe kata or forms should be looked at as dictionaries... here are all the moves in my art. They should be looked at as essays that talk about things related to the art. I don't believe that I have used the word "mustang" on this forum yet. I have not needed to use that word, in order to express what I wanted to communicate here. That does not mean that I do not know that word, or how to spell it or even how to use it effectively in communicating. When studying a kata or form, you should be reading and trying to understand what the author was saying. Not concluding that the author had no other words to use, besides the ones he put into this essay. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important.

In fact, right here in this discussion, we have someone trying to learn to relax between the powerful techniques. As he has stated, learning that simple thing is taking him a while and great effort. (this is like the 3rd thread here he has started on it, in addition to who knows how much additional effort he has put in) Why complicate the transmission of this idea, with many more techniques and combinations, when these few are sufficient to communicate these ideas? This is in fact, a perfect kata to practice the ideas that the OP investigating, because it is so simple and repetitive. It is a great medium to use to explore expansion and contraction, hard and soft, fast and slow, breathing, connecting one technique to the other...

In all fairness to the OP, the difference between him and thousands of other martial artists... is that he recognizes his issue, and is trying to understand it and fix it. Its much easier to find a different teacher, who will accept what you are doing, without having to change or grow. I see this get done way too often, by way too many "martial artists." But he chooses to work on it, to improve what he is doing. The reality is that most of the people offering him ideas, have had to go through similar things... some of us still are going through these learning phases.
 

wab25

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@ThatOneSyrian you never answered the question about your front foot in the front stance. Are you supposed to be opening it before you move forward? In the Shotokan that I study, that is a no-no and I know that, because it has been very hard for me to break the same habit that you have... opening it before you move forward. But, is that how your style does it?
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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@ThatOneSyrian you never answered the question about your front foot in the front stance. Are you supposed to be opening it before you move forward? In the Shotokan that I study, that is a no-no and I know that, because it has been very hard for me to break the same habit that you have... opening it before you move forward. But, is that how your style does it?
My style does not have us open it when we move forward. However, I don't follow this rule because I am afraid my knee will dislocate - something that has happened twice now during non-kata pursuits - due to the twisting. I disregard plenty of rules during both kata and kumite to preserve my knee. My stances, for example, are very high because I'm afraid that lowering them will cause me to slip (and thereby mess up the knee again).
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Let's not talking about "style" for a moment. Do you think the following 2 clips can give you any fresh idea (instead of step forward, you hop forward)?

1. Back hand punch:

https://i.postimg.cc/zvT5QsX5/Adam-cross.gif

2. Leading hand punch:

https://i.postimg.cc/3J9zw8qV/Adam-punch.gif
I have tried this but raising up to hop forward is frowned upon by my instructor. It does add power to the technique and if it was my decision, I would definitely do it with each technique.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I have tried this but raising up to hop forward is frowned upon by my instructor. It does add power to the technique and if it was my decision, I would definitely do it with each technique.
The "dynamic punch" is harder to do than the "static punch". It's a training that you coordinate your punch with your front foot landing. The other advantage of this is it can cover more distance. The forward hop will force your to relax during the hopping.

https://i.postimg.cc/xjxNK7c7/Adam-dynamic-punch-1.gif
 
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_Simon_

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The creator of this kata was Funakoshi. (also the creator of Shotokan Karate) And there are a few more things in there that are being practiced. There are the 90 degree turns, the 180 degree turns and the 270 degree turns. The emphasis of this kata, in my opinion, is movement in the front stance, body unification, power generation, timing, balance and precise footwork. Understand that this is the first kata a student learns. So, the front stance will be new, as will the techniques. This introduces the basic fundamental ideas of Shotokan, on a very basic level... designed for beginners.

This is why I don't believe kata or forms should be looked at as dictionaries... here are all the moves in my art. They should be looked at as essays that talk about things related to the art. I don't believe that I have used the word "mustang" on this forum yet. I have not needed to use that word, in order to express what I wanted to communicate here. That does not mean that I do not know that word, or how to spell it or even how to use it effectively in communicating. When studying a kata or form, you should be reading and trying to understand what the author was saying. Not concluding that the author had no other words to use, besides the ones he put into this essay. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important.

In fact, right here in this discussion, we have someone trying to learn to relax between the powerful techniques. As he has stated, learning that simple thing is taking him a while and great effort. (this is like the 3rd thread here he has started on it, in addition to who knows how much additional effort he has put in) Why complicate the transmission of this idea, with many more techniques and combinations, when these few are sufficient to communicate these ideas? This is in fact, a perfect kata to practice the ideas that the OP investigating, because it is so simple and repetitive. It is a great medium to use to explore expansion and contraction, hard and soft, fast and slow, breathing, connecting one technique to the other...

In all fairness to the OP, the difference between him and thousands of other martial artists... is that he recognizes his issue, and is trying to understand it and fix it. Its much easier to find a different teacher, who will accept what you are doing, without having to change or grow. I see this get done way too often, by way too many "martial artists." But he chooses to work on it, to improve what he is doing. The reality is that most of the people offering him ideas, have had to go through similar things... some of us still are going through these learning phases.
Very, very well said @wab25 , a wealth of insight in your post. Especially about kata. So many see the kata and just attach a surface level understanding, a literal interpretation and also noting stuff that's not in there, concluding therefore it won't. Each one to me is a vehicle and tool of exploring and honing in on inherent principles.

What you said about Taikyoku kata is spot on too. Even to this day I practice it even though I learned it 16 years ago or so, it offers such benefit.

And yeah to me it's a credit to those who keep questioning, delving, practicing, learning in order to become better. It's an aspect of the "do" that there are no quick fixes, that patience is paramount, that there is so much enrichment to be found in that process of deep practice, rather than just wanting an objective outcome.

Have always loved Funakoshi Sensei's quote: Although the doorway is small, go deeply inward.
 

dvcochran

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The creator of this kata was Funakoshi. (also the creator of Shotokan Karate) And there are a few more things in there that are being practiced. There are the 90 degree turns, the 180 degree turns and the 270 degree turns. The emphasis of this kata, in my opinion, is movement in the front stance, body unification, power generation, timing, balance and precise footwork. Understand that this is the first kata a student learns. So, the front stance will be new, as will the techniques. This introduces the basic fundamental ideas of Shotokan, on a very basic level... designed for beginners.

This is why I don't believe kata or forms should be looked at as dictionaries... here are all the moves in my art. They should be looked at as essays that talk about things related to the art. I don't believe that I have used the word "mustang" on this forum yet. I have not needed to use that word, in order to express what I wanted to communicate here. That does not mean that I do not know that word, or how to spell it or even how to use it effectively in communicating. When studying a kata or form, you should be reading and trying to understand what the author was saying. Not concluding that the author had no other words to use, besides the ones he put into this essay. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important. If the author repeats himself, it may be because it was important.

In fact, right here in this discussion, we have someone trying to learn to relax between the powerful techniques. As he has stated, learning that simple thing is taking him a while and great effort. (this is like the 3rd thread here he has started on it, in addition to who knows how much additional effort he has put in) Why complicate the transmission of this idea, with many more techniques and combinations, when these few are sufficient to communicate these ideas? This is in fact, a perfect kata to practice the ideas that the OP investigating, because it is so simple and repetitive. It is a great medium to use to explore expansion and contraction, hard and soft, fast and slow, breathing, connecting one technique to the other...

In all fairness to the OP, the difference between him and thousands of other martial artists... is that he recognizes his issue, and is trying to understand it and fix it. Its much easier to find a different teacher, who will accept what you are doing, without having to change or grow. I see this get done way too often, by way too many "martial artists." But he chooses to work on it, to improve what he is doing. The reality is that most of the people offering him ideas, have had to go through similar things... some of us still are going through these learning phases.
This may be the best post I have ever read on this forum. Well done!
 

dvcochran

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A few things to keep in mind:
-My left knee has had multiple dislocations, making it dangerous for me to move it in certain ways.
-At some points, I need to shuffle backward due to space limitations.
-I acknowledge that the crossblock+backfist combination in my Jion looks kind of strange. :dead:

Password is "kata".

The post says I need a password to watch the video. Is it still available to view?
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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So apparently the "relaxation continuum" goes as follows:
1.) Contract back/lats but relax shoulders.
2.) Throw technique while still relaxed.
3.) Tense EVERYTHING at the end...
4.) ...but only for a brief milisecond, releasing all tension in EVERYTHING (including back and lats), immediately afterward.

This last part I had no idea about and someone kindly explained it to me the other day. I thought that you only relax the shoulders/arm at step 4, not literally everything. Gonna try to apply it. Hopefully anyone with the same problem can observe this thread and see how I gradually fix my mistakes, learning how to do it themselves.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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One more "super secret thingy" I discovered:

Literally focusing all the tension to your leg muscles and pretty much only thinking about your leg movement helps you relax the upper body. I like to imagine that I'm sprinting for a brief second when throwing a technique, yet still keeping my legs rooted onto the ground, if that makes sense.
 

wab25

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My style does not have us open it when we move forward. However, I don't follow this rule because I am afraid my knee will dislocate - something that has happened twice now during non-kata pursuits - due to the twisting. I disregard plenty of rules during both kata and kumite to preserve my knee. My stances, for example, are very high because I'm afraid that lowering them will cause me to slip (and thereby mess up the knee again).
Next question... have you had a doctor or sports trainer confirm this?

In the front stance, when you move forward, the front foot is supposed to pull... not be a passive post that you push your weight onto. I suspect this is why the back leg is to remain straight in front stance... it forces you to pull your body forward with the front leg rather then pushing your body forward with the back.

By opening your foot first, you are introducing a twist to the shin and knee. If you would try to pull yourself forward... this is most likely a worse position to be in. With the foot straight, there are no twisting forces involved... your knee and ankle flex in the way that they are designed to flex. I would think that this would put a lot less risk of injury to your knee.

Even if you are modifying so that you do not pull with the front foot... you are still twisting the shin at the knee to move your foot out of the way. I suspect this compromises the structure of your lead leg... adding another force to your knee... a force that your knee is not ideally able to deal with. In keeping the front foot straight, you would keep better structure, by not introducing the rotation below the knee... again allowing the knee and ankle to bend in ways that they are meant to bend.

I naturally have duck feet. This has been quite a struggle for me. (it still is a struggle for... I say has, but more correctly, this is still a struggle for me ;) ) While it does feel "weird" at first... it also feels more solid and structurally sound. You just have to get used to it.

Again, I reiterate, check with a doctor or sports trainer that knows your history with your knee, before following the advice of some guy on the internet. But, if you are making this modification to save your knee, without the advice of said doctor or sports trainer, it might be worth your knee to ask.

If you do have feed back from a doctor that opening is worse, do please share... I for one, would love to learn the why of that explanation. I guess the big take away here is to make sure with a doctor or trainer, that any changes you are making are actually for the better, in protecting your knee.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Next question... have you had a doctor or sports trainer confirm this?

In the front stance, when you move forward, the front foot is supposed to pull... not be a passive post that you push your weight onto. I suspect this is why the back leg is to remain straight in front stance... it forces you to pull your body forward with the front leg rather then pushing your body forward with the back.

By opening your foot first, you are introducing a twist to the shin and knee. If you would try to pull yourself forward... this is most likely a worse position to be in. With the foot straight, there are no twisting forces involved... your knee and ankle flex in the way that they are designed to flex. I would think that this would put a lot less risk of injury to your knee.

Even if you are modifying so that you do not pull with the front foot... you are still twisting the shin at the knee to move your foot out of the way. I suspect this compromises the structure of your lead leg... adding another force to your knee... a force that your knee is not ideally able to deal with. In keeping the front foot straight, you would keep better structure, by not introducing the rotation below the knee... again allowing the knee and ankle to bend in ways that they are meant to bend.

I naturally have duck feet. This has been quite a struggle for me. (it still is a struggle for... I say has, but more correctly, this is still a struggle for me ;) ) While it does feel "weird" at first... it also feels more solid and structurally sound. You just have to get used to it.

Again, I reiterate, check with a doctor or sports trainer that knows your history with your knee, before following the advice of some guy on the internet. But, if you are making this modification to save your knee, without the advice of said doctor or sports trainer, it might be worth your knee to ask.

If you do have feed back from a doctor that opening is worse, do please share... I for one, would love to learn the why of that explanation. I guess the big take away here is to make sure with a doctor or trainer, that any changes you are making are actually for the better, in protecting your knee.
I am considering seeing a doctor about this but on the other hand, I have been experimenting with not moving the knee these past few days and it seems to not be causing any problems. Maybe it's just an irrational fear. o_O
 
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