Do Kata/Forms Define the Style?

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isshinryuronin

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Will you call that a drill, or a form?
My definition:

A drill is the repetition of a single move or combination against a single attack situation, such as a kick, punch or grab.

A form/kata is a series of drills/combinations against multiple (unrelated) single attacks. They are linked together for ease of practice or transmission, usually in a manner that also teaches stance/turn transitions and emphasizes tactical themes such as evasion, redirection, leg checks or pulling on the opponent.

Since the above definition is based on the number of situations, it removes the question you had re: the abstract number of moves. Less abstract is that having a form dealing with just three or four situations is not long enough to provide a variety of techniques, nor emphasize transitions or tactical theme. If we look at five such situations at four moves each, then 20 seems a good minimum number for a form being worth doing.

Since your video appears to be against a single attack situation (and is only ??? eight moves) I would clearly call it a drill.
 

Buka

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In traditional karate, forms were designed by masters who took two-man drills of 2-5 moves and combined them into a form. These drills represented the "style" of fighting of themselves and/or their teacher (for whom the forms were sometimes named after): Kusanku form was based on the fighting style of Kusanku. The same for Chinto and Tokumine (bo). In this respect, the drills defined the form which defined the style.

(There is another class of [more recent] forms which were planned and structured specifically as a teaching curriculum and so show somewhat less relationship to a historical master's style.)

As karate evolved into the modern model of more structured mass teaching the drills became simplified and more concerned with the individual moves taken out of context from the forms. As sport sparring became popular the drills emphasized sparring techniques and had less relationship to the forms. These factors resulted in the separation of drills and forms into two distinct areas of practice. Now, the drills no longer reflected the original style contained in the forms. That left only the forms to define the style.

This is as clear as I can express the answer to your question regarding karate. CMA with its different history may have a different answer.


In karate, little or nothing. The form is a template and cannot contain all possible techniques and variations that one can choose to drill on. What's more important, IMO, are form techniques not found in drills. One of the shortcomings in a lot of schools is that due to the separation of drills and forms as discussed above, a lot of techniques found in forms are not drilled, no longer being seen as relevant since the application and value of these moves are not well understood by many instructors, having been lost over time.
All true, one hundred percent. In traditional Karate.

With respect, not so much in non traditional
Karate.
 
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isshinryuronin

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All true, one hundred percent. In traditional Karate.

With respect, not so much in non traditional
Karate.
That's why I led in with, "In traditional karate...." I don't think kata plays much role in most non-traditional (sport oriented) karate. Thanks for the "respect." I paid it up front by saying, "traditional" karate. Could have said, "real.":p
 

hoshin1600

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To be completely honest, it makes me ponder the collective sociopathic nature of a species that finds entertainment in watching people beat each other up. There is something unhealthy and warped in humans.
Unfortunately it's in our biological make up. It's not just humans, primates in general have a very comative nature. We have very deep biological systems that define "us and them" which is in part why we enjoy sports. We pick a side which embodies the us and the other team is the "they". We love to win and they 'other" lose. It's an evolved system that stems from our Kin Selection mating strategy. Watching sport fighting is way more healthy than traversing the jungle floor in a troop hoping to come across some hapless victim to tear to pieces.
 

Xue Sheng

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Every era had its share of competent and skilled people as well as those who were incompetent and unskilled. This is life.
I feel an issue these days, and I can only speak for CMA, is that in many cases, what has come down to us is mythical and mostly forms.... some of, but not a whole lot of, the basic training (stance training, strength, sparing, the hard stuff, etc.). So many see what is going on today and judge the history based on that. Yet they have no idea what the reality was as it applies to training historically. But sadly, today this can easily be translated into forms define style, because that is what many are all about these days

Note: In the case of sparing, not to far back in Chinese history (People still alive today that did this), meant going out and getting into fights. Not a whole lot of organization, governing bodies, or rules there.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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We love to win and they 'other" lose.
We love to see our training to have good result. If you can dodge/block your opponent's punch, even if you are not winning at that moment, you will feel good about yourself.

For example, in wrestling, if you can't take me down, I already win by my definition.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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My definition:

A drill is the repetition of a single move or combination against a single attack situation, such as a kick, punch or grab.

A form/kata is a series of drills/combinations against multiple (unrelated) single attacks. They are linked together for ease of practice or transmission, usually in a manner that also teaches stance/turn transitions and emphasizes tactical themes such as evasion, redirection, leg checks or pulling on the opponent.
Instead of traditional form training, I like this kind of training better.

- It concentrates logic sequence (instead of non-relative moves).
- It also balances both left and right.

 

Hanshi

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I think yes for the most part. Just think of every move as a "tool". You are practicing and learning how to use those tools. Even sparring is far from anything "real" in the sense of combat. Each style might have a slightly different way to hold and move any particular tool.
 

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