Fellow Shotokan Karateka!

wab25

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Martial serves a fight / combat purpose

Art has no purpose in itself, it's just supposed to be beautiful and please for itself

Many techniques and much practice in shotokan is claimed to be martial but is completely pointless in a halfway realistic fight. You may say it is ******** but let's be nice and call it artistic instead. Need some examples:

- katas: are to a fight sport what blood letting used to be to medicine: useless at best, more often counterproductive. I guess they were dumped from a dance class - for obvious reasons - and got recycled in some dojo a long time ago. Ok that previous sentence was ironic (but only that sentence).
- blocking a Mae Geri with a gedan barai: underarm vs leg, how insane is it...
- shuto uke, age uke, ushi uke, you name it: too slow to be of any use, generally trained while stepping forward (a nonsense). You instinctively perform other moves in a sparring to block punches.
- oi tsuki: too lame, as realistic in a fight as a unicorn on a farm.

I could go on this way for a while.
Sounds like you don't like arts that have katas or forms. I haven't done Muay Thai, but I did some boxing. In boxing, we didn't have katas. We had drills. We had shadow boxing. We practiced our combos solo, on bags and with a partner who had mits. Absolutely everything we did had direct practical application in the ring... Well except for all the jump rope work. I have never seen a boxer jumping rope in the middle of a fight... Why waste their time? Well, then there is the speed bag... no boxer actually punches their opponent the same way they hit a speed bag. Oh, I almost forgot... the sit ups with the medicine ball. It might be ok for a grappler, but boxers never do sit ups in a boxing match.... Then there were the silly stepping lessons, where we had to step the right direction with the right foot, no one cares how you step, only how hard you can hit...
 

Leviathan

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Sounds like you don't like arts that have katas or forms. I haven't done Muay Thai, but I did some boxing. In boxing, we didn't have katas. We had drills. We had shadow boxing. We practiced our combos solo, on bags and with a partner who had mits. Absolutely everything we did had direct practical application in the ring... Well except for all the jump rope work. I have never seen a boxer jumping rope in the middle of a fight... Why waste their time? Well, then there is the speed bag... no boxer actually punches their opponent the same way they hit a speed bag. Oh, I almost forgot... the sit ups with the medicine ball. It might be ok for a grappler, but boxers never do sit ups in a boxing match.... Then there were the silly stepping lessons, where we had to step the right direction with the right foot, no one cares how you step, only how hard you can hit...

I don't like katas or forms indeed.

It's like signing up for a Spanish course and realizing they're teaching you Romanian. Questioning this they insist that they're teaching Spanish but even after a few years of "Spanish" you understand absolutely nothing when trying to speak with a spaniard of a Latino.

Some then claim it's still the right thing to do because Romanian and Spanish are related as both stem from Latin. You just have to adapt what you've learned. Yeah sure, can you explain me that one more time while I'm sniffing a line of coke? It'll make perfect sense then.

By the way I have nothing against shadow boxing as long as it remains some warm up activity.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I don't like katas or forms indeed.

It's like signing up for a Spanish course and realizing they're teaching you Romanian. Questioning this they insist that they're teaching Spanish but even after a few years of "Spanish" you understand absolutely nothing when trying to speak with a spaniard of a Latino.

Some then claim it's still the right thing to do because Romanian and Spanish are related as both stem from Latin. You just have to adapt what you've learned. Yeah sure, can you explain me that one more time while I'm sniffing a line of coke? It'll make perfect sense then.

By the way I have nothing against shadow boxing as long as it remains some warm up activity.
I hadn't been paying attention to this thread, so just saw your last post, and this one. Before I address your last post, I want to address this one-coke doesn't magically make things make sense. And shadow boxing has a purpose only if your skilled enough and imaginative enough to make use of it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Martial serves a fight / combat purpose

Art has no purpose in itself, it's just supposed to be beautiful and please for itself

Art actually has a lot of purposes. I could literally write a dissertation on it, so let me know if you want me to expand, but I'll simplify it to: a way to communicate between peoples, a way to explore, nurture and understand different perspectives. There's way more than that but I'll expand if you ask me to.
katas: are to a fight sport what blood letting used to be to medicine: useless at best, more often counterproductive. I guess they were dumped from a dance class - for obvious reasons - and got recycled in some dojo a long time ago. Ok that previous sentence was ironic (but only that sentence).
Katas are basically fighting drills. It's combining multiple different ways of attacking, or footwork, together to give you a drill to practice. In boxing "jab cross hook uppercut" would be a kata. In fencing "Advance retreat retreat advance retreat retreat fleche" is a kata. Notice one ignores footwork, and one is only footwork. From what I know of shotokan, their kata trains both strikes and footwork. How is drilling those useless or counterproductive?
- blocking a Mae Geri with a gedan barai: underarm vs leg, how insane is it...
That's a very legitimate way to grab a roundhouse kick. If you can't accomplish it, that's on you. You either haven't trained it enough, or haven't used it in sparring enough.
shuto uke, age uke, ushi uke, you name it: too slow to be of any use, generally trained while stepping forward (a nonsense). You instinctively perform other moves in a sparring to block punches.
I wasn't sure what these are, but from a quick google search, I saw two very quick uses for them. The first is being behind timing, a way to protect yourself. The second is as a jamming technique, which would involve stepping forward, stopping the persons attack before it gets serious, and using a short-range counter. I can get how this may not work in sparring though, since a lot of schools have rules for sparring that involve no elbows/knees/throws, which is what I would follow a jamming technique with.

oi tsuki: too lame, as realistic in a fight as a unicorn on a farm.
From a quick google, this looks like either a jab, or a lunging straight punch? Are you suggesting those aren't effective?

I could go on this way for a while.
Please do. None of what you stated actually seems impractical. Maybe you just went to a bad school where they didn't explain it all properly?
 
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DaveB

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In fairness to Leviathan, many of the older Shotokan orgs use kata as a selling tool without ever exploring their application.

I had hoped that after near 2 decades of work on yhe subject being available, most schools would have evolved. But in the olden days kata were a talking point, not a guideline for training. The mystery surrounding them was a way for the teacher to look like some keeper of deeper knowledge when the truth was that almost no one under the Shotokan banner had the first clue why you should practice the "defensive" shuto uke while moving forward.

I was lucky to start training pnly a couple of years before most of the work in the field of kata application was just starting to be published. That being said, there's really no excuse for anyone training post 2010 to not know how to use kata. The internet is the most amazing information resource in human history and it has been filled with kata application.

So given that Leviathan has only found his way now to a potential resource to understand kata after he has abandoned the practice it makes me wonder if deriding TMA wasn't his main reason to find this forum?

No judgement if it is, I don't mind a good argument. But I am curious why he (you) never went looking for answers online when you were training in Shotokan?

Anyway, this is one of the better video examples of the potential of kata.

 
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Monkey Turned Wolf

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In fairness to Leviathan, many of the older Shotokan orgs use kata as a selling tool without ever exploring their application.

I had hoped that after near 2 decades of work on yhe subject being available, most schools would have evolved. But in the olden days kata were a talking point, not a guideline for training. The mystery surrounding them was a way for the teacher to look like some keeper of deeper knowledge when the truth was that almost no one under the Shotokan banner had the first clue why you should practice the "defensive" shuto uke while moving forward.

I was lucky to start training pnly a couple of years before most of the work in the field of kata application was just starting to be published. That being said, there's really no excuse for anyone training post 2010 to not know how to use kata. The internet is the most amazing information resource in human history and it has been filled with kata application.

So given that Leviathan has only found his way now to a potential resource to understand kata after he has abandoned the practice it makes me wonder if deriding TMA wasn't his main reason to find this forum?

No judgement if it is, I don't mind a good argument. But I am curious why he (you) never went looking for answers online when you were training in Shotokan?
Without even looking any further, shoto uke is a fairly useful block on its own. Beyond that if you look at @Tez3 's links any questions should be answered. If you or @Leviathan don't understand the purpose of a movement, after watching ian abernathy's stuff, simply post here and I'm sure someone can help you by either knowing it or helping you figure it out.
 

Flying Crane

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I don't like katas or forms indeed.

It's like signing up for a Spanish course and realizing they're teaching you Romanian. Questioning this they insist that they're teaching Spanish but even after a few years of "Spanish" you understand absolutely nothing when trying to speak with a spaniard of a Latino.

Some then claim it's still the right thing to do because Romanian and Spanish are related as both stem from Latin. You just have to adapt what you've learned. Yeah sure, can you explain me that one more time while I'm sniffing a line of coke? It'll make perfect sense then.

By the way I have nothing against shadow boxing as long as it remains some warm up activity.
It’s nothing at all like that, actually.
 

Buka

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Sounds like you don't like arts that have katas or forms. I haven't done Muay Thai, but I did some boxing. In boxing, we didn't have katas. We had drills. We had shadow boxing. We practiced our combos solo, on bags and with a partner who had mits. Absolutely everything we did had direct practical application in the ring... Well except for all the jump rope work. I have never seen a boxer jumping rope in the middle of a fight... Why waste their time? Well, then there is the speed bag... no boxer actually punches their opponent the same way they hit a speed bag. Oh, I almost forgot... the sit ups with the medicine ball. It might be ok for a grappler, but boxers never do sit ups in a boxing match.... Then there were the silly stepping lessons, where we had to step the right direction with the right foot, no one cares how you step, only how hard you can hit...

I can't begin to tell you how much I love this post. And how quickly I'm stealing every one of your great points. And I don't even practice kata.
 

DaveB

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Without even looking any further, shoto uke is a fairly useful block on its own. Beyond that if you look at @Tez3 's links any questions should be answered. If you or @Leviathan don't understand the purpose of a movement, after watching ian abernathy's stuff, simply post here and I'm sure someone can help you by either knowing it or helping you figure it out.
Lol, thanks, but I have a fairly comprehensive understanding of Shotokan kata application, that developed in parallel to Abernathy's work, not from it. I agree with much of his reasoning, but we differ on a few points.

I lean more towards Vince Morris's technique.

I think you may have misread my post.
 

dvcochran

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So I love Shotokan! I've train many marital arts, including Muay Thai, boxing, kung fu, among others.

The reason I feel in love with this style, is for me at least, it was a different atmosphere than you'd get in a full contact gym, and the teachings were very much out of the box from my previous training, most of which I found very useful.

As for my story, my first kickboxing coach was an old school kickboxer and shotokan guy. I had became good friends with him and his wife over the years. When they divorced, and he moved away, she started her own school and let me train for free, in exchange for teaching my thai boxing knowledge and help co instruct childrens classes.

So how did you get into Shotokan? Why do you personally love the art?
Welcome to the forum. I hope you hang around for a good long time.

I primarily study TKD. When I started in 1982, there was only a TKD school and a very small Shotokan school in my small town. I had friends at both schools and, starting around early red/brown belt we would regularly get together and spar and talk about technique differences. We practice Pyong Ahn forms and we were always surprised how similar they are to the Heian forms.
Good times.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Lol, thanks, but I have a fairly comprehensive understanding of Shotokan kata application, that developed in parallel to Abernathy's work, not from it. I agree with much of his reasoning, but we differ on a few points.

I lean more towards Vince Morris's technique.

I think you may have misread my post.
Yeah i reread it and i think you're right. That's what happens when i post at 430am when i cant sleep
 

Tez3

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Just a small point but I do believe relevant, Iain's name is 'Abernethy'.
 

Tez3

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Y'know I've been spelling that wrong for years. Just realized it yesterday.


If it's any consolation you aren't the only one, many who post on here do, perhaps Abernethy isn't so common outside the UK. It's a Scottish surname.
 

Leviathan

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In fairness to Leviathan, many of the older Shotokan orgs use kata as a selling tool without ever exploring their application.

I had hoped that after near 2 decades of work on yhe subject being available, most schools would have evolved. But in the olden days kata were a talking point, not a guideline for training. The mystery surrounding them was a way for the teacher to look like some keeper of deeper knowledge when the truth was that almost no one under the Shotokan banner had the first clue why you should practice the "defensive" shuto uke while moving forward.

I was lucky to start training pnly a couple of years before most of the work in the field of kata application was just starting to be published. That being said, there's really no excuse for anyone training post 2010 to not know how to use kata. The internet is the most amazing information resource in human history and it has been filled with kata application.

So given that Leviathan has only found his way now to a potential resource to understand kata after he has abandoned the practice it makes me wonder if deriding TMA wasn't his main reason to find this forum?

No judgement if it is, I don't mind a good argument. But I am curious why he (you) never went looking for answers online when you were training in Shotokan?

Anyway, this is one of the better video examples of the potential of kata.


Hi,

Thanks for the video. Interesting indeed but it triggers a few questions in my mind:

- Are these shotokan katas? They don't seem familiar to me.

- Did those MMA fighters learn those techniques from katas or is it just a coincidence that what they did in the ring was similar to a move in a given kata? Does it speak for the katas or for the guy who made the video? I wouldn't be surprised if you could make up a similar video MMA - folcloric dance.

- if the purpose of katas was to mimick a fight as those shown in the video then shotokan training has gotten totally mad: shotokan is to full contact what a polar bear is to the desert. Shotokan kumites are light contact, shotokan is much more a gymnastic than a real martial art (said the founder of kyokushin). But well, maybe these are katas from full contact karate, not shotokan.
 

Flying Crane

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Hi,

Thanks for the video. Interesting indeed but it triggers a few questions in my mind:

- Are these shotokan katas? They don't seem familiar to me.

- Did those MMA fighters learn those techniques from katas or is it just a coincidence that what they did in the ring was similar to a move in a given kata? Does it speak for the katas or for the guy who made the video? I wouldn't be surprised if you could make up a similar video MMA - folcloric dance.

- if the purpose of katas was to mimick a fight as those shown in the video then shotokan training has gotten totally mad: shotokan is to full contact what a polar bear is to the desert. Shotokan kumites are light contact, shotokan is much more a gymnastic than a real martial art (said the founder of kyokushin). But well, maybe these are katas from full contact karate, not shotokan.
It’s OK that you do not understand kata. Really, it is.
 

Star Dragon

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I don't train Shotokan and come from Kyokushin (which has Shotokan kata/background), but would love to hear from others what they like about Shotokan and also what they feel it's about as a style (what it emphasises). One of my favourite instructors is Sensei Rick Hotton, he is from Shotokan but incorporates aiki stuff in there and his own insights into his teaching.

Always loved the Shotokan kata too :) (and have trained in quite a few of them, Pinan Yon, Enpi to perform, and Kanku Dai to watch being of my favourites)

It was a long time ago that I trained in Shotokan (after a preliminary phase of Kyokushinkai), my principal art now being Parker Kenpo. However, what I took away from Shotokan is an emphasis on power generation and on precision of movement. - I see so much sloppiness in Kenpo, it makes me heel-palm my own head!

I am with you in regards to Hotton-sensei, his interpretation recaptures much of Karate's more internal aspects of the kind that can sometimes still be found in Okinawan styles, but that were generally lost once the art became a sport.

Talking about the Shotokan kata, I recommend comparing them to their equivalents in other (especially in older) Shorin-ryu based styles. They still carry much useful information even in their modern version, if you understand how to read them - however, at the time I was involved with Shotokan, even the interpretations offered by JKA head instructors were mostly hogwash. Fortunately, things have changed a bit since then and you don't have to look very far nowadays for useful examples of proper bunkai.

I particularly like what Mr. Gimberline makes out of the Shotokan forms.

 
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