Do We Make Too Much of Kata?

Has anyone said that they are “special training methods?”
There is an inference they are. As I read old copies of ‘Fighting Arts’ magazine, all the old masters say how important they are for Karateka.
They work.
What does that mean?

But they are not a great method for everyone. Not everyone will relate well to that method.
Just as not everyone will relate to hours of kihon, or 3 step sparring, or press ups on the knuckles, but they’re imposed on the trainee because they are part of the oeuvre that is that particular art.
Those people should do other things, that do not use kata. I am sure they will do just fine. Maybe even reach excellence.
Not in a traditional MA because as I said, one is required to have a broad palette of skills to be deemed accomplished.
But those sporting methods that do not use kata, likewise are not the best fit for everyone. Not everyone relates to or is interested in what those methods offer. For them, perhaps a kata method is the better choice.

See where I’m going with this?
Hmmm not really.
 
Those people should do other things, that do not use kata. I am sure they will do just fine. Maybe even reach excellence.
I always wonder if someone can train 2 groups of people (10 of each).

Group 1 only trains forms.
Group 2 only trains catch kicking leg, or wraps punching arm, and then take down (0 punching skill and 0 kicking skill).

After 3 years, those 10 persons in group 1 fight against those 10 persons in group 2. What will be the final fighting record (assume knock down or take down to be the winner)?
 
And solo kata doesn’t involve ‘cooperative movement’ (with kaso teki) which may lead to unrealistic expectations? The only method that doesn’t lead to unrealistic expectations is fighting with lots of different types of opponen
There is no reason combo series in solo kata can't be practiced with different partners. Two-man drills were where these combos were likely developed to begin with. Solo kata just gives a way to practice and remember these techniques when you're, well, solo.
Kata are to combat what weight training is to boxing perhaps.
More similar to shadow boxing than weight training since kata has fighting applications and weight training doesn't.
 
There is no reason combo series in solo kata can't be practiced with different partners.
Then it’s no longer solo kata…it’s more akin to the kihon kumite of Hironori Ohtsuka with all the issues you pointed out earlier.
Two-man drills were where these combos were likely developed to begin with. Solo kata just gives a way to practice and remember these techniques when you're, well, solo.
It’s a beautiful dance and teaches many of those same skills. A few sequins on the keikogi would add the finishing touch.
More similar to shadow boxing than weight training since kata has fighting applications and weight training doesn't.
Most analogies don’t bare close scrutiny.

I like the two man kata of Wado Ryu because they teach you two things that solo kata can’t: an appreciation of correct distancing and the idiosyncrasies of an opponent. They are vital dimensions that cannot be exercised in solo kata but complement solo kata, perfectly.
 
A Wado Ryu and Kickboxing practitioner's thoughts on kata...

Warrior Martial Arts said:
The issue with Kata, and all traditional forms in general, is their lack of evolution. They haven’t changed since their creation, where as Martial Arts and our understanding of what’s effective has. That which is traditional is simply peer pressure from the dead.

Kata will not help you become a better fighter. Fighting will. Sparring will. In fact the way you get good at anything is by doing the thing.

 
Group 1 only trains forms.
See, here is the problem. Your position is flawed from the beginning and I don’t understand why you insist on doing this. Nobody who is serious and realistic about their training claims that training only forms is the answer. I know that you know this because I have pointed it out to you more than once in the forums here. I begin to doubt the sincerity of your contributions to these discussions.
 
There is an inference they are. As I read old copies of ‘Fighting Arts’ magazine, all the old masters say how important they are for Karateka.

What does that mean?


Just as not everyone will relate to hours of kihon, or 3 step sparring, or press ups on the knuckles, but they’re imposed on the trainee because they are part of the oeuvre that is that particular art.

Not in a traditional MA because as I said, one is required to have a broad palette of skills to be deemed accomplished.

Hmmm not really.
Ok, I guess you’ve got it all figured out then. Carry on.
 
I would not want to do ONLY fighting, some kihon and kata still serves a purpose in my mind. In fighting you train timing, tactics and can compare theory to practice, you also get some body conditioning. But in sparring alot of things tend to become a bit sloppy as well, so to spend a small amount of time on the building blocks (even in ideal form) and how they are put together in motion and sequence serves a purpose. So even if I personally like to spend MOST time in fighting class, I see a value in kihon and kata classes as well as training the building blocks in isolation, though I would enjoy seeing more KATAS in our style performed in fighting stance, like ashihara.

But this opinion may be because i am still a beginner. Perphaps a seasoned karateka sees it differently, I cant tell. It¨s like they say...from the tao of programming, when the novice was inspired watching the master programmer writing unstructured code... "what is appropriate for the master, is not necessarily appropriate for the novice..."
 
Nobody who is serious and realistic about their training claims that training only forms is the answer.
You and I must live on different planets.

I have seen schools that train form only. No sparring and no wrestling. Those people do think they train MA serious and realistic. I have also seen schools only care about fighting and don't care about art.

It's just a comparison between 2 extremes for discussion purpose.
 
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You and I must live on different planets.

I have seen schools that train form only. No sparring and no wrestling. Those people do think they train MA serious and realistic. I have also seen schools only care about fighting and don't care about art.

It's just a comparison between 2 extremes for discussion purpose.
Only forms? So they never take time to simply work on basics outside of the form? They never hit pads or heavy bag? They never work partner drills? They simply go into class, immediately do some long forms, and then Finish and go home? Nothing else?
 
Only forms? So they never take time to simply work on basics outside of the form? They never hit pads or heavy bag? They never work partner drills? They simply go into class, immediately do some long forms, and then Finish and go home? Nothing else?
Tai Chi
 
I have only seen that in schools that focus on taiji as gentle exercise and do not pretend that they are practicing a fighting method. Any Taiji school that trains for actual fighting (and granted, there are few) spends a lot of time on foundation and basics, partner drills, hitting the heavy bag, etc. It is not slow and gentle.

More to my point though, it seems to me that in these discussions there is this inclination to portray those who see value in the inclusion of forms/kata in their training regimen as training only forms. This is entirely untrue in (probably) most cases. Any such portrayals are, in my opinion, inaccurate and even misleading in the context of the discussion. It is not representative for most schools and most people who include forms in their training.

I could make a similar disingenuous argument that push-ups are inadequate in developing overall physical strength. Because hey, if you take ten people and have them doing ONLY push-ups for three years and then compare their strength with ten people who have spent three years doing a more complete strength training routine, probably those who did only push-ups will not compare favorably with those who did the more complete training. Well, no s.h.i.t Sherlock. But that comparison is in no way representative of the usefulness of pushups, that are often used as one component of a more complete routine. Push-ups help develop strength. Used alone, they are more limited in what you might accomplish. But most people who are interested in strength development probably do not use push-ups alone.

So I call BS on how people like to phrase the subject matter to give it a slant in favor of their preferred position in the debate.
 
Only forms? So they never take time to simply work on basics outside of the form? They never hit pads or heavy bag? They never work partner drills? They simply go into class, immediately do some long forms, and then Finish and go home? Nothing else?
There may be some basic solo training such as kick, punch, leg swing, floor sweep, ... No pads hitting, no heavy bag, no partner drills, no sparring, no wrestling. They then do their forms and go home. Some students may have excellent form performance but with 0 fighting experience.

You may not like it, but those people are out there.
 
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There may be some basic solo training such as kick, punch, leg swing, floor sweep, ... No pads hitting, no heavy bag, no partner drills, no sparring, no wrestling. They then do their forms and go home. Some students may have excellent form performance but with 0 fighting experience.

You may not like it, but those people are out there.
Ok, so explain to me how this translates into Forms Practice = no good.
 

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