How do you remember your kata/pinions/forms?

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bandit959

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Hey Folks;
I'm kind of curious how everyone keeps track of their forms. Do you
- keep notes in 3 ring binder?
- sketches?
- take photos?
- video?
 

Gemini

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Practice them. Over and over and over and over...........

You get the idea. You'll never learn to "feel" a form from a binder. Forget the memorizing. Just practice.
 

Martial Tucker

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Gemini said:
Practice them. Over and over and over and over...........

You get the idea. You'll never learn to "feel" a form from a binder. Forget the memorizing. Just practice.
Yep....just like playing a musical instrument. You can study the music to the point of having every note memorized, but in no way does that mean you can actually play the song. And, with both music and kata repetition, you'll find that you notice new things in every song/form with more practice.
 

terryl965

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Practice everyday on your forms until they become second nature, just like riding a bike.

Terry
 
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bandit959

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Hmmm.. well, I probably should have expanded my original post.

I studied about 20 years ago and after about 10 years, I stopped practicing. (It's a loooonnnngggg story and I would have never guessed that I would stop practicing. But it happened.) There are some of the sub-black belt forms that are burnt into my memory that I'll *never* forget. They're the the ones that I worked really hard at because they were such achallenge. But then there are those that I simply forgot over the years for whatever the reason.

Now when I first started, my instructor had us start a 3 ring binder and dedicated one page to each form. He had us come up with a method to record each form through text instructions and sketches (mine weren't very good, just stick figures.) Then we would date the page. As I moved up in belt rank, we were encouraged to go back and revisit each page, update it and place "revised on" date on the page.

By the time I hit black, my original white belt pages were revised numerous times as I learned more subtlties of each move. Some forms expanded to 2 pages. I have been going through them and they have been invaluable for the forms that I forgot.

It's interesting to note that this is *my* interpretation on the forms. It has the areas that I emphasized because I needed more work or I missed something or it really made me think. To someone else who studied the same style at the same school, my notes would have limited value to them, but immense value to me.

In light of that, my question is more like: in today's world where video cameras, digital cameras and video editing software and DVD authoring are much more easily available, I was wondering if anyone was using these technologies to help preserve the forms they study today?

What type of preparation are you doing in case you have a long absence from the arts?
 

Wild Bill

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I have started Kajukenbo and from what I have read it is a common practice to keep a note book. I also plan to video tape myself. Obviously note books and videos should be used as a training aid and not as a substitute for regular practice. I find they are helpful for practice at home.
When I was in high school I learned kenpo and ninjutsu. I wish I had kept notes back then. I really wish I had video. I can remember concepts but very few individual techniques. It would be cool to look at myself during that time period and compare and contrast how I moved then and how I move now.
 

karatekid1975

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I do my forms so much that they are second nature now. But when I first learn a form, I perform it over and over and over. Tweak the techinque, and start over. I'd do that again and again. I use a mirror to help me with technique or ask a higher rank to help tweak my forms.

In jujitsu, yes, I keep a "journal" of sorts. It has stuff in it that I learned (written out), how I felt, what we did, ect. My instructor actually wants me to keep one, and he actually reads it.
 

MJS

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Practice, practice and more practice. The reason some of those forms are 'burnt' into your mind, is because of constant, hard practice. It is possible to write the forms down in notebook fashion, but considering the length of them, it may not be as easy as it seems. Video taping is a good way. I've taped many of my own training sessions and find that they're an awesome reference tool.

Good Luck!!

Mike
 

searcher

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I go over them all at least three times per week. More often than not it is every day. I have videoes myself doing them for my students, but it is only for them. I prefer to have them ingrained into my head.
 

chinto01

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Keeping notes on your training sessions is a great tool. One I encourage my students to use. However nothing beats actually getting out there and doing the form over and over again. Relying on a notebook is not going to develop the muscle memory you are looking for. I look at the notebook I keep more as a journal of experiences i have had during my training.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

BlackCatBonz

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one of my teachers always said, "use it, or lose it"
you have to do something regularly in order to store it in the portion of the brain that is responsible for long term memory.
even then it is still important to revisit often enough to keep it fresh.
i have videos of myself doing forms from about 8 years ago....seeing it jogs my memory on how to do the form, but when i turn the video off and try to do it.....i can't remember.
every tool you have at your disposal is good to use, it helps to ingrain the knowledge on a mental as well as physical level.
 

Flying Crane

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I think the answer has been hit over and over: practice until you are doing it in your sleep. You should not have to think about it, your body just does it (but think about intent in the movement, you just shouldn't have to think just to remember it).

The other thing is in how you learn your forms. You should learn just a piece at a time, at each training session. Then, practice it for a week or so until it is becoming a bit smoother before you learn the next piece. It may take some time to learn the complete form, but this is better than trying to learn the whole thing at once.

Keeping a notebook is a good idea while you are learning the form, so that you have a reference if you get foggy in between sessions with your instructor.
 
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bandit959

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Thanks for the thoughts!

After seeing some of the posts, I believe that video tape will be an excellent tool to help with the foms, in some cases better than mirrors. Especially considering I don't have enough room in my hourse for all those mirros. ;-) I can review everything over and over again, then go out and make my adjustments and see how well I did or didn't do.

I've started with my forms again with a video tape journal along with a fresh notebook. Although I never though that my hobby would become a training aid. Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to it. ;-)
 

VSanhodo

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I have to agree with each and every one of the previous posts.
For me keep notes is an essential part of training. But the best way for me personally to remember Kata is simple, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.

There are no short cuts.

Thanks

San
 

Mark Lynn

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FWIW

Practice the form
Video the form
write it down

At the first TKD school I joined back in 1981 I was given a school book/handout that had good drawings in it that outlined the forms. I think they were drawn from Joon Reyes (?) early books. Anyway over the years I first wrote notes on the pages to help fill in, then later copied the pages and used them to make new handouts for my students when I taught. They were/are a great tool.

Years later when I started studying Kobudo (Okinawan weapons) I video taped the forms and wrote down different notes on the meaning of the moves etc. etc. We also video taped our TKD forms etc. etc. and those are good to go back over if I forget anything. Ideas or applications come to you over time and I write them down, this way I have them later on.

After studying different arts over the years due to relocation and different interests and such if it weren't for video tape I would have no record over what I learned or what applications were found in some of the forms I learned back in the 80's since I didn't continue on practicing that style. So while I still remember my TKD forms to a degree (meaning if I start to blend two brown belt forms together I can look at a tape and correct it, or know when it doesn't feel quite right), my Wado ryu forms are no existant in my memory however I can watch my self do them and pick it right back up. Same thing with my Kobudo forms.

Bottom line I think VT or notes really help in the future of your martial arts study. When after X amount of years go by and you go back and wnt to restudy an area, or refresh your memory, or to sit back on the couch with a beer and tell your kiddos "no you do the kata like this, this is how we did it in the old days. Now try again" :rolleyes:

Mark
 

Laborn

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My school isn't the biggest school on forms, but i have 10 I have to remember, so i practice, and practice and practice, everyday i practice each form twice. Sometimes at class they hav us do our forms over and over again, so just takes practice:)
 

Mark L

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Doing the form over and over is definitely the best way to remember, I took about a decade off and remembered all of my forms the first class back. I really enjoy doing them, then and now. That's how I was able to retain them.

That being said, I faithfully write down forms when I'm in the process of learning. It is a good way have the sequence at hand when trying to commit to memory. What I find even more useful is the act of writing down the mechanics of the form forces me to question and understand exactly what is going on to the minutest detail. Over the years I've continually updated my transcription of the form based on my, hopefully, maturing interpretation.

I would like to get the forms on video, but I'm afraid of what I might see. Seriously though, I practice more than 20 forms and would like to hold on to them in the face of my aging memory.
 
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