Iai as Figure Skating

OP
Gyakuto

Gyakuto

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
306
Reaction score
229
Location
UK
I'd say there are more similarities than differences between dance and kata. But, I guess it depends on what you consider salient characteristics of kata and of dance.

So, when you think of kata and dance, what do you have in mind?
Perhaps that dance is all about aesthetics whereas kata‘s remit is about lethality. What this senior person is suggesting (I think) is that Iaido, in the 21st century, is about beauty but the fact you have a sword in your hand means it is also lethal as a consequence of that.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
20,145
Reaction score
5,660
Location
Covington, WA
Perhaps that dance is all about aesthetics whereas kata‘s remit is about lethality. What this senior person is suggesting (I think) is that Iaido, in the 21st century, is about beauty but the fact you have a sword in your hand means it is also lethal as a consequence of that.
I've never seen anyone actually die from a kata. Surely you don't mean to suggest lethality is actually a salient characteristic of kata.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
19,634
Reaction score
6,366
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I've never seen anyone actually die from a kata. Surely you don't mean to suggest lethality is actually a salient characteristic of kata.
I've never actually shot anyone. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes my gun any less lethal.
I've never actually stabbed anyone. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes my blades less lethal.
I've never actually punched someone in the hyoid. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes doing so less lethal.
You don't have to kill someone to practice things that will, in fact, kill someone.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
20,145
Reaction score
5,660
Location
Covington, WA
I've never actually shot anyone. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes my gun any less lethal.
I've never actually stabbed anyone. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes my blades less lethal.
I've never actually punched someone in the hyoid. Surely you don't mean to suggest that makes doing so less lethal.
You don't have to kill someone to practice things that will, in fact, kill someone.
Other things that could kill... a shovel, an axe, a chainsaw, a threshing machine, a steamroller, a body of water, cancer. I didn't think we were just listing off objects that can create a dead person. I thought we were talking about kata/forms.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
19,634
Reaction score
6,366
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I've never seen anyone actually die from a kata. Surely you don't mean to suggest lethality is actually a salient characteristic of kata.

Other things that could kill... a shovel, an axe, a chainsaw, a threshing machine, a steamroller, a body of water, cancer. I didn't think we were just listing off objects that can create a dead person. I thought we were talking about kata/forms.
Kata is intended as a way to practice techniques and train muscle memory. Some of which is quite lethal. You claim (right up there, I quoted it for you) that lethality is not part of kata training. You are wrong. You're not one of those people who can't ever admit they made a mistake, are you?
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
20,145
Reaction score
5,660
Location
Covington, WA
Kata is intended as a way to practice techniques and train muscle memory. Some of which is quite lethal. You claim (right up there, I quoted it for you) that lethality is not part of kata training. You are wrong. You're not one of those people who can't ever admit they made a mistake, are you?
I think my point was more about how it can still be a kata when it's not lethal. But I see your point now. Thanks for taking the time to explain it in such a friendly manner. :)
 

isshinryuronin

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
1,169
Location
Las Vegas
I've never seen anyone actually die from a kata. Surely you don't mean to suggest lethality is actually a salient characteristic of kata.
my point was more about how it can still be a kata when it's not lethal.
More accurate to substitute "disabling" for "lethality," although in sword arts lethality is a likely result. But, yes, it IS a salient characteristic of (good) kata. Without it, kata is not martial art - only exercise.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,906
Reaction score
8,696
Location
Maui
I dunno', I've been told I did a killer salsa, but that was a while ago.

To me, I equate dance more to footwork drills in fighting.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
20,145
Reaction score
5,660
Location
Covington, WA
I dunno', I've been told I did a killer salsa, but that was a while ago.

To me, I equate dance more to footwork drills in fighting.
Depends on whether it's choreographed or not, right? :)

More accurate to substitute "disabling" for "lethality," although in sword arts lethality is a likely result. But, yes, it IS a salient characteristic of (good) kata. Without it, kata is not martial art - only exercise.

Before I respond to this, I want to say, I'm not trying to inflame the kata mafia or troll this thread. What follows are my opinions.

I think there's a lot of mental and emotional weight (for lack of a better term) that occurs that shapes a person over time who thinks about killing people regularly, and who trains to kill people, particularly if they do so for most of their life. I've seen a lot of people who look literally twice their age over their lifetimes. They carry a lot of stuff around, and it has a physical, mental, and emotional weight to it over time. Death is a big one, whether it's fear of danger (real or imagined) or thinking about killing others (whether likely or very unlikely). I see a lot of value in participating in pretty much all martial arts, but encouraging folks to think of themselves as killers isn't one of them.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think it's healthy and I don't think it's necessary. So, when I see people talk about self defense, as instructors or students, and talk about preparing to kill people, (whether it's discussions like this about kata or just classes in general), or being lethal, or being deadly, those are red flags for me. I personally (and this is just my opinion) think it's bad juju.

To be clear, if you're in a position where you may very well have to kill people, it's something you should prepare for. But even then, I think it has an impact. As a practical example of this, most (or all) police departments put cops on admin leave when involved in a shooting, and the involved officer must generally be cleared by a psychologist to ensure that he or she is mentally prepared and fit to return to full duty.

I also think that if you only (or primarily) do kata, the kata IS the skill. And folks are not routinely injured or killed doing kata. I mean, unless they are careless with a dangerous weapon like a gun or a knife. If you're using a "live blade" what that suggests to me is that you're just making the activity you do a little more dangerous for you, like juggling swords vs clubs. The two are not intrinsically connected. If that makes sense.
 
Last edited:

lklawson

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
1,474
Location
Huber Heights, OH
Perhaps that dance is all about aesthetics whereas kata‘s remit is about lethality.
Unless you believe that a given kata is about developing your physicality, as I've heard suggested for any number of things, including deep horse-stances.
 
Top