How Many Kata are necessary?

SahBumNimRush

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Our curriculum has 14, but the first 8 are basic and have much redundancy later on. Kicho hyungs 1-3, Pyung Ahn hyungs 1-5 (pinan, heian), Bassai, Naihanchi 1-3 (Tekki), Chinto, and Kong Sang Kun (kanku, kusanku). At higher rank, we may learn others: Rohai, Shipsoo (Jitte), Jion, Seisan, Wanshu, and Kong Sang Kun Sho.

Of the advanced forms, I personally know only Bassai, Chinto, and Kang Song Kun somewhat deeply. I feel the Kicho and Pyung Ahn hyungs don't really count as much, since much of the Pyung Ahn forms come from Kong Sang Kun. I haven't had the opportunity to train with anyone that knows much when it comes to Naihanchi, so I have a long way to go there. The other advanced forms, I know the movements, but not much in terms of applications yet.. .

To me Bassai, Chinto, and Kong Sang Kun are "my" forms. I can "own" them and express them. Although I know I can always delve deeper into these forms.. .
 

Curlykarateka

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I was taught you should learn the movements of as many kata/forms as you can, to get a good breadth of study, then study in great depth the meaning of the kata you like best. For example I like schisochin kata, and spend my spare time practising sections of it over and over and over and over in the hope that I might glean some knowledge from the movements.
 

K-man

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Of the advanced forms, I personally know only Bassai, Chinto, and Kang Song Kun somewhat deeply. I feel the Kicho and Pyung Ahn hyungs don't really count as much, since much of the Pyung Ahn forms come from Kong Sang Kun. I haven't had the opportunity to train with anyone that knows much when it comes to Naihanchi, so I have a long way to go there. The other advanced forms, I know the movements, but not much in terms of applications yet.. .

To me Bassai, Chinto, and Kong Sang Kun are "my" forms. I can "own" them and express them. Although I know I can always delve deeper into these forms.. .
Although he is not held in high regard by some here, George Dillman has an excellent DVD on the application of Naihanchi. :asian:
 

OldKarateGuy

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I think I would agree that there is some finite number of forms which should be/could be taught. For instance, JKA says there are 26 forms within the syllabus. I'm not sure anyone is reasonably expected to know all 26 to anything near perfection (unless maybe you're a HQ instructor trainee or something. I certainly don't know them all, even superficially.). There are mandatory forms for each of dan ranks, of course.
Someone asked in another post if Taikyoku & Heian Shodan are both necessary. I think the Taikyoku forms (and corresponding forms in other styles, like Sae kye hyungs in TSD) are just teaching instruments for acquainting new students with what a form/kata is, how it works, etc. There really are no practical (fighting) applications in Taikyoku forms. Heian Shodan, on the other hand, has some practical teaching points. I think each of the Heian/Pinan/Pyung Ahn forms has a slightly different teaching point(s) within, although remember, supposedly these were forms designed by Itosu for schoolchildren.
I also do not think that any single form can contain the shorthand for all we need to know. Different forms teach different things, and have a completely different feeling when performed. So, at some point beyond the basics, say after 1st dan level, pick what you like and work on it.
Someone else also mentioned learning new forms is great to prevent boredom. I agree completely. When you get in a rut with your training, pick a new form, preferably something completely away from your comfort zone and concentrate on it for a year or so.
I suppose I may know 15 or 20 JKA forms well enough to perform one on demand, without any/much walk-through practice, although this is not to say I have any expertise in any of them. I also know perhaps a lower number of Tang Soo Do forms, although every one is a variation of forms I already learned in shotokan (which causes no end of brain freeze during performance).
 

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