Form based martial arts stuck in their own trappings?

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Shadowdean

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What were the great martial artists of yesteryear known for - innovation. One of the most fundimental problems I have seen in form based martial arts is that there is rarely any innovation or refinment of traditional katas or creation of ones (traditional style, not naska type stuff). Are there any schools/systems out there that continue to refine the traditional katas or have begun to create new ones? I would like to think that human beings have only evolved and as time goes on, students of today should be able to innovate and refine old masters techniques and katas/forms/poomse to bring them into modern times.
 

arnisador

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Isn't bunkai a way of doing this--reinterpreting the movements? I'm thinking for example of George Dillman.

Some of these forms were developed for samurai fighting in armor where each might have a sword in one arm (as in jujutsu). These can't be expected to be as relevant today.
 
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KoshoBob

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We continue to refine our kata. Just two months ago, we were told to adjust our kata to focus primary and secondary rotation. The first week we introduced that to the students was an exercise in patience. Change is hard; but, if you are not challenged then the journey is over.
 
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TangSooGuy

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well i hesitate to speak for an entire system, but our organization continually stresses application of movement in forms, and encourages delving into these forms to find multiple applications for each move, and then further encourages that we share these with each other so we can arrive at conclusions about what works and what doesn't

Additionally, while we continue to practice older traditional forms, newer forms have been adopted continually since the 1980s, after much revision to be sure they make sense.
 
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Battousai

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There are instances in which kata can be outdated (like forms done in samurai armor) but beyond this I don't think any "normal" katas could be outdated.
Realistically, in today's societies (US, Europe) martial arts are not the center of an entire lifestyle, an entire class of people (like the samurai and monks). Talking about modernizing katas created by entire societies in which martial arts played a key role doesn't make sense.
No way anything we create today will be as good as what people who actually lived and died everyday by the practice and refinement of the martial arts over centuries of warfare have created.
Ofcourse new katas could be created that use hand guns and such, (noto for a gun??) but as for unarmed katas vs. attackers unarmed or armed, nothing could be as good as what we've got (excluding creating something with gun self defense within it, but lots of katas have gun self defense in the bunkai anyway...).
There is nothing new under the sun, everything great has already been created.
Martial arts will never again in human history rise to the greatness of what it once was, all that is left is trying to retain what has been passed down and preserve it from decay whenever possible.
 
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