Don't Visualize, ..."Tactualize!"

geezer

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Over on the Wing Chun vs Aikido thread, K-Man posted in defense of the value of practicing forms or kata, comparing WC/WT forms to his Goju Ryu kata. He stated, "Kata is... rehearsing practical techniques against an imaginary target." Well it's true that Goju and some other Karate ryu still preserve techniques derived from Southern Chinese "short-fist" boxing and so are distant relatives of WC/WT. But the quality of the movements is very different, as is the way we practice forms. As others already pointed out on that thread, WC/WT forms are not a series of defense sequences against imaginary attacks. They are excercises that build structure and technique. Like learning an alphabet or the grammar of a language, these movements are applied situationally, in contexts totally different from the sequences practiced in the form.

So we are not going through a specific combat sequence. And it isn't particularly helpful to visualize fighting against an imaginary attacker. In fact, such visualization will only distract from ingraining the "feeling" of the correct technique as taught by the forms. What I find is helpful, however, is to try and mentally "tactualize" the force of an opponent's arms against mine. That is, I try to imagine the feel of the energy I am working against in each movement. So, for example, if I am slowly extending tan-sau or fook sau in Siu Nim Tau, I try to feel the pressure of an opponent's bridge softly resisting my forward pressure. I find that working against an imaginary "feeling" of resistance to be very helpul in correcting my positioning and technique... and far more useful than "visualizing". After all, in WC/WT we move more according to the force we actually receive than according to visual cues like a long range fighter would. Of course, the only way you can really polish this sensitivity is to actually cross bridges with a partner, either in chi-sau or sparring. But form gives you the correct positioning to work from. Any thoughts?
 

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Geezer,
Well stated. I feel the forms instill a theory or principle in the practicioner which is not specific to imagining a fight sequence which is basically going through a script in one's head. Theory and principle allow for application to energy etc, whereas imagining a scripted fight sequence limits one to only those specific movements you've thought of. What if the opponent comes at you with something not in your "scripted" practice? Whereas you can apply a principle or theory to a much broader spectrum i.e.; energy and flow thereof and not be limited to the script. Thank you for posting.
Buzz
 

CuongNhuka

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-palm to face-

OK, folks no one with any common sense over the age of 8 actually thinks that kata/forms should be done in a scripted way. kata/forms DO have fighting applications, no matter the style you pratice. Here are some applications from Wing Chun Forms.

- Your opponent puts you in a rear bear hug. You do the -palms on your lower back, and push down and back- movement (I don't know the name)

- Your opponent does a lead punch for your chest, you block with Tan Sao, do a wrist roll (the name eludes me), grab there wrist and pull them into the Fuk Sao position, and do the strike that follows in the series from Sui Nim Tao. Obviously, this would have to be done quickly, and it would probably look pretty sloppy

- Your opponent punches you in the chest, you do the cross armed block from the opening sequence, the top hand grabs your opponents wrist and goes to the bottom position, and you use your other forarm as a leverage point on your opponents elbow. Expect your opponent to get really close to you, unless you put something in the way

- During the closing sequence of the form where you strke your elbow and slide down. Your opponent grabs your elbow, you strike his hand, and slide down, clearing your arm.

Do I have to go on?
 

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-palm to face-

OK, folks no one with any common sense over the age of 8 actually thinks that kata/forms should be done in a scripted way. kata/forms DO have fighting applications, no matter the style you pratice. Here are some applications from Wing Chun Forms.

- Your opponent does a lead punch for your chest, you block with Tan Sao, do a wrist roll (the name eludes me) Huen Sao, grab there wrist and pull them into the Fuk Sao position, and do the strike that follows in the series from Sui Nim Tao. Obviously, this would have to be done quickly, and it would probably look pretty sloppy IMO I would not actually perform the exact manuevers you prescribe and that makes my point. Although you can see the forms in WC/WT as having exact applications, that is just the beginning, the basics and you limit yourself to seeing them in only that application and thus eliminate other options. Once you've performed SLT a thousand times or more and have touched hands dozens if not hundreds of times, then you realize as the light bulbs go off, that there are a multitude of applications that you can respond to with tan sao and various follow throughs. Instead of having a preconceived plan you learn to feel their energy and are not hindered by an oponents action that does not go along with the response you think their going to have, thus disrupting your planned response. Instead of time to think a new response learned from the forms, your hands/arms/body flow from one technique/movement/posture to another in response to your opponents energy or movements, thus cutting down your reaction time and never allowing your opponent the upper hand as you shut down their flow/center. SLT is a foundation but once understood goes beyond the basic applications one finds in it, in the beginning.

- Your opponent punches you in the chest, you do the cross armed block from the opening sequence, the top hand grabs your opponents wrist and goes to the bottom position, and you use your other forarm as a leverage point on your opponents elbow. Expect your opponent to get really close to you, unless you put something in the way I would never commit both hands/arms in a response to a punch to the chest and that IMO is not what the form is trying to show you. Look deeper.

- During the closing sequence of the form where you strke your elbow and slide down. Your opponent grabs your elbow, you strike his hand, and slide down, clearing your arm. I do agree that this is an application movement but more than for just an arm grab. Keep in mind that the movements are not meant to be performed in just that position which your practicing them.

Do I have to go on?
No you have to look past the surface.

I started in a japanese style and then went to a korean one and the instructors explained them in such a way as fighting applications and never went further. They did not deal with an opponents energy or center or flow but strictly, they do "A" and then you do "B", then they do "C" and you do "D". This is a scripted method of teaching IMO. WC/WT was never intended to leave the teaching at the basic they do "A" you do "B", etc, etc...it's about finding the opponents energy and center and disrupting/off ballancing the whole apple cart while your able to deliver whatever destructive force is open to you. In the beginning you can see the forms as showing responses to techniques but when you look deeper and train further you realize it's so very much more than "combinations" which is what your subscribing to.
 

K-man

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Over on the Wing Chun vs Aikido thread, K-Man posted in defense of the value of practicing forms or kata, comparing WC/WT forms to his Goju Ryu kata. He stated, "Kata is... rehearsing practical techniques against an imaginary target." Well it's true that Goju and some other Karate ryu still preserve techniques derived from Southern Chinese "short-fist" boxing and so are distant relatives of WC/WT. But the quality of the movements is very different, as is the way we practice forms. As others already pointed out on that thread, WC/WT forms are not a series of defense sequences against imaginary attacks. They are excercises that build structure and technique. Like learning an alphabet or the grammar of a language, these movements are applied situationally, in contexts totally different from the sequences practiced in the form.

So we are not going through a specific combat sequence. And it isn't particularly helpful to visualize fighting against an imaginary attacker. In fact, such visualization will only distract from ingraining the "feeling" of the correct technique as taught by the forms. What I find is helpful, however, is to try and mentally "tactualize" the force of an opponent's arms against mine. That is, I try to imagine the feel of the energy I am working against in each movement. So, for example, if I am slowly extending tan-sau or fook sau in Siu Nim Tau, I try to feel the pressure of an opponent's bridge softly resisting my forward pressure. I find that working against an imaginary "feeling" of resistance to be very helpul in correcting my positioning and technique... and far more useful than "visualizing". After all, in WC/WT we move more according to the force we actually receive than according to visual cues like a long range fighter would. Of course, the only way you can really polish this sensitivity is to actually cross bridges with a partner, either in chi-sau or sparring. But form gives you the correct positioning to work from. Any thoughts?
Geezer, I agree 100% with everything you have said here. On the other thread I obviously did not express myself adequately to convey my thoughts properly.
What I posted was "Karate kata is not, IMO, fighting against nothing. It is rehersing a practical technique against an imaginary target." I don't believe kata is necessarily a series of techniques following an imaginary attack. That would really be choreography. In the real world an attack is total chaos, random combinations if you like. Each part of the attack is an individual entity, hence my expression "a practical technique", singular. Now I know this will cause tongues to wag but I happen to believe there are no blocks in kata, that what people perceive to be blocks are in fact strikes. I also believe that the masters who were creating kata to pass on their legacy would not waste time including blocks which are in the most part instinctive anyway. So I could not agree more with your statement "WC/WT forms are not a series of defense sequences against imaginary attacks." In Goju I believe kata are a series of offensive techniques to respond against any number of imaginary attacks. So as you quite rightly say it is like the alphabet. In my mind I liken it to a tool box. Each kata should have a variety of tools that enable you to deal with any situation. The sequence in the kata is irelevant to the application. It is provided in a sequence that can be learnt and remembered like a mnemonic.
"So we are not going through a specific combat sequence."Exactly. We are "ingraining the "feeling" of the correct technique as taught by the forms", as you rightly point out.
Which brings us to:
What I find is helpful, however, is to try and mentally "tactualize" the force of an opponent's arms against mine. That is, I try to imagine the feel of the energy I am working against in each movement.
Once again, total agreement. In my posts the meaning of my word "visualise" and your word "tactualise" are synonymous. We are both imagining the feel of a real attack and our response to it. You imagine the feel of energy, I imagine the intent of an opponent. (Chi and Ki if we really want to stir up the hornets :p )
You finish by saying "But form gives you the correct positioning to work from," and I couldn't have put it better myself.
So, now that we're on the same team let's go and whip ****!!
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K-man

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I feel the forms instill a theory or principle in the practicioner which is not specific to imagining a fight sequence which is basically going through a script in one's head. Theory and principle allow for application to energy etc, whereas imagining a scripted fight sequence limits one to only those specific movements you've thought of. What if the opponent comes at you with something not in your "scripted" practice? Whereas you can apply a principle or theory to a much broader spectrum i.e.; energy and flow thereof and not be limited to the script.
The fight sequence that you talk about here we refer to as Bunkai. This is provided as a very elemental explanation of the moves in a kata. In reality many of the moves in the bunkai are impractical as they are contrived to fit a particular move in the kata. The next step is that someone from outside, or even sometimes inside, looks at the simple explanation, calls the whole thing BS and says kata is not practical in SD.
So, as with Geezer's, I am in total agreement with your post. :asian:
 

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That is the trouble - people insist that the way you move in kata or forms or patterns will be the same way you move in the street. Karate kata for instance, has very traditional footwork and using that kind of ridgidness against a fluid, explosive opponent will be suicidal

The katas are meant to train your body to produce good structure and train the muscles to be stronger and quicker. It helps with body alignment but ultimately you aren't going to do a Karate Kid 3 where you will attack someone with a kata

It is like a boxer who shadow boxes - his movement is random and fluid. He isn't thinking about set techniques or this move against this technique, he just moves and practices moving his arms

When he comes to real fighting or even sport fighting, he isn't going to box the person in the exact shadow boxing sequence that he trains in

The trouble is that people visualize doing moves against a static opponent and get a real shock when it comes to fighting someone who moves

The practical nature of kata or other forms is that they train you to better yourself. The moves will work on the street but not in set sequences
 

CuongNhuka

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I know that applications go far more in depth then what I put. I was giving a very basic application. The one you were you critical of can turn into an (Aikido) wrist lock very easily. I could go into depth and lose most of the people on this board. How many people here know a decent amount of Aikido, Judo, Shotokan, and Escrima? I'd lose most people if i went into the depth were I start having fun.
 

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That is the trouble - people insist that the way you move in kata or forms or patterns will be the same way you move in the street. Karate kata for instance, has very traditional footwork and using that kind of ridgidness against a fluid, explosive opponent will be suicidal

The katas are meant to train your body to produce good structure and train the muscles to be stronger and quicker. It helps with body alignment but ultimately you aren't going to do a Karate Kid 3 where you will attack someone with a kata

It is like a boxer who shadow boxes - his movement is random and fluid. He isn't thinking about set techniques or this move against this technique, he just moves and practices moving his arms

When he comes to real fighting or even sport fighting, he isn't going to box the person in the exact shadow boxing sequence that he trains in

The trouble is that people visualize doing moves against a static opponent and get a real shock when it comes to fighting someone who moves

The practical nature of kata or other forms is that they train you to better yourself. The moves will work on the street but not in set sequences
That is the trouble - people insist that the way you move in kata or forms or patterns will be the same way you move in the street. Karate kata for instance, has very traditional footwork and using that kind of ridgidness against a fluid, explosive opponent will be suicidal
I agree with what you say but have yet to meet the 'people who insist'. I would be interested to see them in a real fight. I presume to think most of their kata training would be straight out the window as unless they have considered the individual applications of the kata it would be of no benefit.
It is like a boxer who shadow boxes - his movement is random and fluid. He isn't thinking about set techniques or this move against this technique, he just moves and practices moving his arms
Are you suggesting he is not visualising an opponent?
The katas are meant to train your body to produce good structure and train the muscles to be stronger and quicker. It helps with body alignment but ultimately you aren't going to do a Karate Kid 3 where you will attack someone with a kata
Might have to agree to disagree here. My opinion is way different.
The trouble is that people visualize doing moves against a static opponent and get a real shock when it comes to fighting someone who moves
Well I would say 'people' are wrong. Why when you are visualising techniques would they be against a static opponent? Some people may visualise moves against a static opponent but I fail to see the benefit of that. I would visualise an opponent coming at me with the particular attack that I would counter with the particular move in the kata I was performing.
The practical nature of kata or other forms is that they train you to better yourself. The moves will work on the street but not in set sequences
Which is exactly what I have been trying to say.
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futsaowingchun

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Over on the Wing Chun vs Aikido thread, K-Man posted in defense of the value of practicing forms or kata, comparing WC/WT forms to his Goju Ryu kata. He stated, "Kata is... rehearsing practical techniques against an imaginary target." Well it's true that Goju and some other Karate ryu still preserve techniques derived from Southern Chinese "short-fist" boxing and so are distant relatives of WC/WT. But the quality of the movements is very different, as is the way we practice forms. As others already pointed out on that thread, WC/WT forms are not a series of defense sequences against imaginary attacks. They are excercises that build structure and technique. Like learning an alphabet or the grammar of a language, these movements are applied situationally, in contexts totally different from the sequences practiced in the form.

So we are not going through a specific combat sequence. And it isn't particularly helpful to visualize fighting against an imaginary attacker. In fact, such visualization will only distract from ingraining the "feeling" of the correct technique as taught by the forms. What I find is helpful, however, is to try and mentally "tactualize" the force of an opponent's arms against mine. That is, I try to imagine the feel of the energy I am working against in each movement. So, for example, if I am slowly extending tan-sau or fook sau in Siu Nim Tau, I try to feel the pressure of an opponent's bridge softly resisting my forward pressure. I find that working against an imaginary "feeling" of resistance to be very helpul in correcting my positioning and technique... and far more useful than "visualizing". After all, in WC/WT we move more according to the force we actually receive than according to visual cues like a long range fighter would. Of course, the only way you can really polish this sensitivity is to actually cross bridges with a partner, either in chi-sau or sparring. But form gives you the correct positioning to work from. Any thoughts?

Good post..I would add though.


" What I find is helpful, however, is to try and mentally "tactualize" the force of an opponent's arms against mine. That is, I try to imagine the feel of the energy I am working against in each movement. So, for example, if I am slowly extending tan-sau or fook sau in Siu Nim Tau, I try to feel the pressure of an opponent's bridge softly resisting my forward pressure. I find that working against an imaginary "feeling" of resistance to be very helpul in correcting my positioning and technique... and far more useful than "visualizing".

I Think working with the wooden dummy can serve this purpose well, but Chi Sao practice is the best because the dummy has no energy to give but an opponet does.Dummy is used mostly for angles and structure.
 
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