Forms!

Tony

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I like some of the forms I do in Kung fu as they look very graceful. On occasion my instructor will make us partner up and dissect moves from a form to use in a hypothetical defensive situation.
So how easy would you find this to do for real? Because real fighting doesn't look pretty and a lot of what you learn goes out of the window!
Can you learn all you need to know for self defence through forms?
 

7starmantis

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I think you can "learn" what you need out of forms, but it is much harder to learn how to apply it. That is where you need to work with a partner, and that is a must if you want to be effective. In CMA that is why there is chi sau, you learn to apply what you have learned in forms. I think there should also be a point where you go hard and fast if you really want to know how to defend yourself. It can be done with chi sau or with a "sparring" partner, but must be fast and hard contact if you want to really learn to defend yourself.

7sm
 
M

markulous

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Tony said:
Can you learn all you need to know for self defence through forms?

That would be the same as someone teaching you how to swim without ever jumping in the water. With forms(the ones we have are from Gung Fu) I basically don't do them as often as I did when I first started. I think that once you understand what each part of the dance is trying to accomplish then you really don't need to do them anymore(until you get advanced and create your own).
 

wingchunner

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Couldn't disagree more.

7*mantis:
Our chi sao training develops sensitivity. What is learned in the forms is utilized in the chi sao, and applied by default. Perhaps your experience is different.

Markulous:
What's the point of doing forms at all then? The consistent practice of the forms is to develop the correct structure and muscles needed to perform/demonstrate/apply the correct positions needed for combat. "Kung fu" is about taking basic skills and developing them to a high degree through refinement. This takes time and consistent practice. I know of some masters that have stopped doing it, but I don't really agree with their theory. The true lineage holders will maintain the traditional forms (through consistent, steady practice) and will know how to utilize them to their advantage to obtain the benefits of doing the form(s).

If all that the forms are to you are a series of movements, nearly like a dance, by all means, give them up. When you practice the forms on a consistent basis, they will become a part of you (and you a part of it) and you will not give it up so readily.

Marty
 

7starmantis

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wingchunner said:
Couldn't disagree more.

7*mantis:
Our chi sao training develops sensitivity. What is learned in the forms is utilized in the chi sao, and applied by default. Perhaps your experience is different.
I'm not sure I understand. Maybe I wasn't clear, because I agree with you. Let me clarify. I see chi sau as multifaceted. Sensitivity is definitely one of the benefits of chi sau, but we actually practice sensitivity drills outside of plain chi sau as well. Learning to yield, move, generate power, block, these are also benefits of playing chi sau. Exactly, what is learned in forms is applied in chi sau, thats what I said.
7starmantis said:
In CMA that is why there is chi sau, you learn to apply what you have learned in forms.
So, I'm not really sure with what you are disagreeing. Sorry if I'm being dense, its been a long day already today.



markulous said:
With forms(the ones we have are from Gung Fu) I basically don't do them as often as I did when I first started. I think that once you understand what each part of the dance is trying to accomplish then you really don't need to do them anymore(until you get advanced and create your own).
I think this is a difference we see from style to style. Most CMA dont view the forms as a "dance" per se, but the opportunity to actually learn how to apply techniques. Lee Kam Wing once said that forms is the place you actually get to break your opponents arm or knee. You do your forms as if against an attacker. Stopping practicing this would be the same as me not training for a 100 mile bike race since I actually learned how to ride a bike when I was 4 years old and haven't done it since. Also, most CMA dont look as favorably on creating your own forms as some systems do.


JMO,
7sm
 
M

markulous

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Maybe I misinterpreted(sp?) what you guys meant by forms. Did you mean like katas and dances? Or just practicing certain techniques over and over, getting the right footwork/handwork and body control down?

If it's the latter then yeah I think you need to consistantly work at those and always keep advancing. I thought you guys were talking about katas or dances.

But even then to re-answer the original question, forms still aren't enough to make you good at self defense. They are just a portion of what you need to do.
 

Randy Strausbaugh

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I tend to view forms practice much the same as running plays in football practice. Rarely does the real game go that way, but running a variety of plays ingrains a number of responses to different situations. Good players learn to adapt on the run. Likewise, street situations will differ from form situations, but if your practice and application are good, you will adapt. IMHO, of course. :asian:
If you see your forms as dances, perhaps you might be better off to leave them behind. My opinion, again.
 
R

RHD

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The forms of a CMA are its catalog of techniques, concepts, and principles.

The problem is, that they are not meant to allocated as the major portion of one's training. Most schools over emphasize form, and vastly underemphsize function. Break your forms apart. Study and analyze them. train the techniques of your forms with as many partners as possible at increasing levels of intenssity. Create drills and flow drills from the techniques in the forms. Practice applications for both self defense and paired off fighting...But don't equate practicing forms to accomplishing some level of skill in kung fu! Forms can only take you so far and make you a master of forms only. Kung fu is a hands on experience.

since I'm ranting...

I've personally thrown out many forms and narrowed down what I study to 3 main forms from my system (Hung Gar). This has been a tremendous benefit to the process of studying what makes HG work. I purposefully chose to study only the three forms that are credited to being either "original" or "core" to the system. Years later I wonder how this could work for a system like Northern Shaolin that has 10 core forms?

Mike
 

Black Tiger Fist

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With forms there's alot lost in translation these days. Most forms are done at one speed these days with little change. Forms were not meant to be taught like that. Forms showed the proper alignment,power,angles,tempo etc...

But because so many styles became stangnant after weapons became part of warfare ,alot was lost. Then factor in language barriers with student and teacher along with other barriers ,and you can see why forms are seen pretty much as dance these days.

In any case ,it is always up to the student to make the techniques work for them. The form is a means of transfering many techniques into ones skills set by movement memory and actual physical picture of techniques.

You have to fit the techniques into your style of fighting not your style of fighting to the techniques or form.


jeff:)
 
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Tony

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Well last night I had to perform my form in front of the whole class a long with everybody else. I hate having to do that because I get nervous and I start to make mistakes. I swear to god I must have missed moves out but I did my best.
 
J

Jim Perkins

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Performing in front of others can be good you can get good feed back on what you need to work on. When doing kata or forms in front of others I clear my mind before I start to stay focused. I have found changing where I practice helps me to focus more as well go outside in the yard, go to the park, start in a different directions. But practice seems to be the key.
 
N

noble man

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When you practice forms or kata it is suppose to be a imaginary fight,at least that is what I am taught and will teach.I do agree that some of them look like a fancy dance,they have been changed over the years for tounaments or demos.With the style of Kajukembo that I am learning the kata has a lot of transition from hard to soft moves in them,karate ,kung fu .Forms or kata are the same,in that they teach you balace,technique,transition from one move to the next. No you would not want to do a form or kata on the street ,unless you want your attacker to laugh themselfes to death (probebly wont work).But I do suggest that you practice them a lot they do help your self defence in alot of ways,muscle memory is the one that I can think of that is the most important.
 

Black Tiger Fist

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Tony said:
Because real fighting doesn't look pretty and a lot of what you learn goes out of the window!
If you have to throw alot of what you learned out the window to fight ,then that means one of these things is wrong.

1. You didn't pay enough attention in class ,and you didn't spend anytime at home training on your own.

2. Your teacher didn't do their job properly in teaching you or your teacher themself is not properly trained.

3. You're a student at a Mc Kwoon.

4. You're in the wrong system.

There is no reason why you should have to throw any of your styles techniques away to fight ,if you understand them ,know how to apply them ,understand when and why you're using them , and you've spent the time working the applications and have made the techniques second nature.

jeff:)
 

grappling_mandala

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RHD said:
The forms of a CMA are its catalog of techniques, concepts, and principles.

The problem is, that they are not meant to allocated as the major portion of one's training. Most schools over emphasize form, and vastly underemphsize function. Break your forms apart. Study and analyze them. train the techniques of your forms with as many partners as possible at increasing levels of intenssity. Create drills and flow drills from the techniques in the forms. Practice applications for both self defense and paired off fighting...But don't equate practicing forms to accomplishing some level of skill in kung fu! Forms can only take you so far and make you a master of forms only. Kung fu is a hands on experience.
I agree with RHD on this one. I would also like to ad that at the base any useful form is basic natural movement. Stylization is just expansion or contraction of certain human attributes. Good form can be done slow or fast, simple or complex without loosing the 'essense' of the form.

Dave
 

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