Dear kata competitors: what goes through your mind when you do kata?

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
He specifically said OPEN competitions. That means the odds of any judge actually knowing the intricacies of ALL the arts represented is pretty close to nill. I've done the same thing, many times. I recall a time when one of my students took home a gold for a form that was done totally wrong. She did incorrect techniques in a lot of places. But the techniques she substituted were really well done, even if incorrect for that form. I have zero doubt that I have given good scores to others students who did the same thing.
Forms in open competition are about balance, flexibility, power, not technical correctness.
So the person doing the kata forgot the correct sequence, but substituted different techniques and won the gold? You see no incongruity in that? The very basic thing that constitutes a kata is surely
its sequence of moves. Otherwise, get up there string a sequence of any moves together, albeit very well, call it Bassai and you could win. I think have lived too long:confused:
 
Last edited:

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
So the person doing the kata forgot the correct sequence, but substituted different techniques and won the gold? You see no incongruity in that? The very basic thing that constitutes a kata is surely
its sequence of moves. Otherwise, get up there string a sequence of any moves together, albeit very well, call it Bassai and you could win. I think have lived too long:confused:
As peculiar as it sounds this can happen in OPEN tournaments when the judging panel doesn't have a judge that is familiar with that particular style of MA. Generally, this can happen in the lower levels of kata competitions where kids or teens from different styles are competing and so the distribution of judges may not allow for a judge to be part of panel where every style is competing in (think really big tournaments with multiple tatamis judging subdivisions). In an effort to be 'open' and 'fair', judges from different styles that are not familiar with particular forms can only judge using criteria that they feel are important and universal to all MA (eg: balance, speed, power, grace.....etc). So technically, as you said, a form can be done incorrectly but because the judges are unfamiliar with the form, judge it based on the merits of what they see. This can put the competitors that are using styles familiar to the judges at a 'disadvantage' because they may also be judged on the correctness of the form but I think MOST judges try to be fair and impartial to do the best job they can under the circumstances they are in. Judges at these levels aren't paid and are doing it as a service to assist the tournament director who may also be asked to judge in a future tournament they are not directing.

If everyone competing is from the same style or doing forms that all the judges are familiar with then 'correctness' is another criteria that is used to rate the competitors. I have seen competitors in CMA entering karate tournaments simply because they do not have tournaments of their own that they can compete in. Probably has more to do with opportunities to compete than anything else however if there is a better way to have an open competition instead of being as pragmatic as possible, I would love to hear it.
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
As peculiar as it sounds this can happen in OPEN tournaments when the judging panel doesn't have a judge that is familiar with that particular style of MA. Generally, this can happen in the lower levels of kata competitions where kids or teens from different styles are competing and so the distribution of judges may not allow for a judge to be part of panel where every style is competing in (think really big tournaments with multiple tatamis judging subdivisions). In an effort to be 'open' and 'fair', judges from different styles that are not familiar with particular forms can only judge using criteria that they feel are important and universal to all MA (eg: balance, speed, power, grace.....etc). So technically, as you said, a form can be done incorrectly but because the judges are unfamiliar with the form, judge it based on the merits of what they see. This can put the competitors that are using styles familiar to the judges at a 'disadvantage' because they may also be judged on the correctness of the form but I think MOST judges try to be fair and impartial to do the best job they can under the circumstances they are in. Judges at these levels aren't paid and are doing it as a service to assist the tournament director who may also be asked to judge in a future tournament they are not directing.

If everyone competing is from the same style or doing forms that all the judges are familiar with then 'correctness' is another criteria that is used to rate the competitors. I have seen competitors in CMA entering karate tournaments simply because they do not have tournaments of their own that they can compete in. Probably has more to do with opportunities to compete than anything else however if there is a better way to have an open competition instead of being as pragmatic as possible, I would love to hear it.
I imagined the USA, which has had MA and competitions for them, for a very long time wouldnt need open tournaments and thus this level of judging. Other than the McDojo phenomenon, 12th 13th and 20th Dan Super-Hanshi Grandmasters that seem thrive over there unchecked, we in the rest of the world look at your shores with a little envy.
 

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
I imagined the USA, which has had MA and competitions for them, for a very long time wouldnt need open tournaments and thus this level of judging. Other than the McDojo phenomenon, 12th 13th and 20th Dan Super-Hanshi Grandmasters that seem thrive over there unchecked, we in the rest of the world look at your shores with a little envy.
Hahaha, I won't speak for the US but as a close neighbour I suspect that the popularity of MMA and BJJ culture has taken over the MA 'scene' in the US. Depending on the region, there may not be enough of a concentration of schools to hold a proper tournament so 'open' tournaments (ie: open to other styles) may be the only way any tournament experience can be obtained unless students are will to travel to regions that have a better concentration of schools. In the North East there are still plenty of schools that practice full contact karate so there are less of a need to hold 'open' tournaments but the 'full contact nature' of the kumite generally limits the schools that want to enter those tournaments anyways. This is where we can see kata sections of the tournament that will have participants from CMA or other styles of karate from time to time. It is not always easy to compare forms but you judge the best you can given what knowledge you have. Hopefully you don't make *** out of yourself in the meantime.

Strangely enough, I haven't seen too many McDojo tournaments in our area. They tend to not want to 'mix' with others. The 12th, 13th and 20th Dans don't typically come to any tournaments I've been to. Although, we do try and foster a spirit of openness and inclusion, if you show up with a belt that has more stripes than seems to make sense, there will be a lot of interest in watching your students perform. Heck, we may even ask you for a 'seminar' because it isn't often that we get to 'train' with such 'high level' teachers. Again the phrase, "hopefully you won't make an *** out of yourself in the meantime" applies :).
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
Hahaha, I won't speak for the US but as a close neighbour I suspect that the popularity of MMA and BJJ culture has taken over the MA 'scene' in the US. Depending on the region, there may not be enough of a concentration of schools to hold a proper tournament so 'open' tournaments (ie: open to other styles) may be the only way any tournament experience can be obtained unless students are will to travel to regions that have a better concentration of schools. In the North East there are still plenty of schools that practice full contact karate so there are less of a need to hold 'open' tournaments but the 'full contact nature' of the kumite generally limits the schools that want to enter those tournaments anyways. This is where we can see kata sections of the tournament that will have participants from CMA or other styles of karate from time to time. It is not always easy to compare forms but you judge the best you can given what knowledge you have. Hopefully you don't make *** out of yourself in the meantime.

Strangely enough, I haven't seen too many McDojo tournaments in our area. They tend to not want to 'mix' with others. The 12th, 13th and 20th Dans don't typically come to any tournaments I've been to. Although, we do try and foster a spirit of openness and inclusion, if you show up with a belt that has more stripes than seems to make sense, there will be a lot of interest in watching your students perform. Heck, we may even ask you for a 'seminar' because it isn't often that we get to 'train' with such 'high level' teachers. Again the phrase, "hopefully you won't make an *** out of yourself in the meantime" applies :).
20th Dan is like an amp that goes to 11. I actually did have an amp that went up to 20 :D
 

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
20th Dan is like an amp that goes to 11. I actually did have an amp that went up to 20 :D
I met a guy who was a 15th Dan in Bujinkan. The fact that he was 6'-3' and about 220 lbs probably helped him progress through the ranks. He looked like he was in decent shape in training and he wasn't stuffy about rank. We were probably close to the same age or he could have been younger. In any event, nothing I saw made me want to jump ship and start training in Bujinkan. Some people like to eat bible tripe and swear it is delicious but it is just not my thing. Different strokes for different folks.
 

MadMartigan

Blue Belt
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
233
Reaction score
263
So the person doing the kata forgot the correct sequence, but substituted different techniques and won the gold? You see no incongruity in that? The very basic thing that constitutes a kata is surely
its sequence of moves. Otherwise, get up there string a sequence of any moves together, albeit very well, call it Bassai and you could win. I think have lived too long:confused:
After reading your bio, I see why you would view Kata this way. It seems that while Karate views the sequence of movements to be as important as the method each movement is done in; other arts use them (kata, forms, hyung, etc) as dictionaries or encyclopedias of movement principles.
My understanding of my own forms (Chang Hon TKD) is just that. They borrowed heavily from Shotokan and created their own movement sequences. One could argue that (at a tournament) this results in exactly what you described. It really wouldn't matter what order the moves were in... only the precision, transitional smoothness, power, etc the form was executed with.

To some, I'm sure this seems blasphemous. I think it really just comes back to the mindset behind the form in the first place. In an open tournament, I think the viewpoint other expressed makes the most sense.
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
I met a guy who was a 15th Dan in Bujinkan. The fact that he was 6'-3' and about 220 lbs probably helped him progress through the ranks. He looked like he was in decent shape in training and he wasn't stuffy about rank. We were probably close to the same age or he could have been younger. In any event, nothing I saw made me want to jump ship and start training in Bujinkan. Some people like to eat bible tripe and swear it is delicious but it is just not my thing. Different strokes for different folks.
It is slightly吁p簿nal Tap. Why dont you make ten a little louder? Make that the top number and make that a little louder? Why dont you add more to the 8th Dan curriculum and continue having that as the highest rank (9th and 10th being seldom awarded, honorary grades)?
 

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
It is slightly吁p簿nal Tap. Why dont you make ten a little louder? Make that the top number and make that a little louder? Why dont you add more to the 8th Dan curriculum and continue having that as the highest rank (9th and 10th being seldom awarded, honorary grades)?
Slightly ? Winner, winner, chicken dinner !
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
Slightly ? Winner, winner, chicken dinner !
I was being polite! Have you seen those 5th Dan gradings where blind folded candidates, try and roll away from a shinai blow to the head?
 

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
I was being polite! Have you seen those 5th Dan gradings where blind folded candidates, try and roll away from a shinai blow to the head?
Oh, I've seen many of those videos along with a few other 'interesting' ways people have achieved their grades. Although I may find it amusing and at times sad, how someone chooses to spend their spare time is of little impact to me except for the occasional smirk. It's those cases of people that have no idea that what they are doing is complete hogwash that gets more of a rise out of me but that is probably because I feel sad they were duped into believing what they are doing is indeed 'legit'.

I recently saw a video of someone doing a '40 man kumite'. In Kyokushin, this is a trial of spirit, courage, technique and training. It is not to be undertaken lightly as there are no 'rewards' for completing the test other than some Tylenol and perhaps a good lengthy ice bath. What I witnessed in the video was a appalling to my senses but I felt worse for the person doing the test as they had no clue that what they were doing was not even Kyokushin let alone a 40 man kumite. Now that the video has been seen by countless Kyokushin karateka who have expressed their feelings about what they saw, the overwhelming message was hopefully this person will find a true dojo one day because the heart and desire is there.

All of this to say, it is always good to be polite. Osu !
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
Oh, I've seen many of those videos along with a few other 'interesting' ways people have achieved their grades. Although I may find it amusing and at times sad, how someone chooses to spend their spare time is of little impact to me except for the occasional smirk. It's those cases of people that have no idea that what they are doing is complete hogwash that gets more of a rise out of me but that is probably because I feel sad they were duped into believing what they are doing is indeed 'legit'.

I recently saw a video of someone doing a '40 man kumite'. In Kyokushin, this is a trial of spirit, courage, technique and training. It is not to be undertaken lightly as there are no 'rewards' for completing the test other than some Tylenol and perhaps a good lengthy ice bath. What I witnessed in the video was a appalling to my senses but I felt worse for the person doing the test as they had no clue that what they were doing was not even Kyokushin let alone a 40 man kumite. Now that the video has been seen by countless Kyokushin karateka who have expressed their feelings about what they saw, the overwhelming message was hopefully this person will find a true dojo one day because the heart and desire is there.

All of this to say, it is always good to be polite. Osu !
Is that Kyokushin clip easy to locate?
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,948
Reaction score
4,525
Location
San Francisco
It is slightly吁p簿nal Tap. Why dont you make ten a little louder? Make that the top number and make that a little louder? Why dont you add more to the 8th Dan curriculum and continue having that as the highest rank (9th and 10th being seldom awarded, honorary grades)?
Or simply have the maturity to recognize that at some point we can stop chasing after higher and higher rank because it just becomes meaningless. Gawd but I am glad to be training in a method that does not bother with ranks.
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
925
Location
UK
Or simply have the maturity to recognize that at some point we can stop chasing after higher and higher rank because it just becomes meaningless. Gawd but I am glad to be training in a method that does not bother with ranks.
They are a good motivation, though, especially for relative novices like me.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,948
Reaction score
4,525
Location
San Francisco
They are a good motivation, though, especially for relative novices like me.
That can be true, depending on how they are implemented. But at advanced levels, if one needs higher rank for their motivation, then perhaps it is time to simply stop training. Clearly something is missing for them.
 

Yokozuna514

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
760
Reaction score
573
Or simply have the maturity to recognize that at some point we can stop chasing after higher and higher rank because it just becomes meaningless. Gawd but I am glad to be training in a method that does not bother with ranks.
Hahaha, whether I have 15 stripes on my belt or I have one, I still have to pay to get on the bus.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,504
Reaction score
9,649
Location
Maui
You do not practise kata but was head judge of kata competition? Thats slightly anomalous. Its rather like asking a gardener to judge ikebana entries to a competition. Yes you will be able judge whats pretty but the actual intracadies of the art will doubtless evade you so judgement is almost meaningless.
I don't do "pretty", sir.
 
Top