instructers disagree on kata technique

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ranzy427

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I have been taking karate for 1 year now and have a few questions. My sensei is involved with a group of 4 other schools, and we are allowed to attend any of the schools we want. The problem is that the instructors teach the katas differently. The basic moves are the similar but some teach different opponent directions than others which makes it impossible for a group to work together. To top that off, we are all promoted doing many things different in the same katas. Tonight we were practicing Lion Form and had a conflict. With only one instructor, he showed us one way, then changed it and told some of us that it was to be done the other way. This bothers me a lot; am I being to picky? Also, I have been promoted to green belt in just under a year. Isnt that kind of fast? I am thinking about changing schools but dont want to overreact. thanks for any advice
 

tshadowchaser

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Ranking in different schools and systems varries in time so to say it was to fast or normal or slow is not easy. It depends on your school and your ability and what your instructor has set for standards for the rank.

Learning different reasons for a move in a kata can be challanging but it shows you what may be a reson for the move and lets you know that more than one reason may exsist
 
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fullkontact

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I have seen this also. I have watched 2 different instructional videos with different techniques of the same form. If you take a minute to think about it, how old are some of these forms? It's ludacris to assume that every student turned instructor got the form perfect and taught the form perfect, every single time to every single student. I'm sure that some instructors put more emphasis on certain moves than others, and I'm sure that some instructors simply made a mistake or two and taught the form wrong. It would sure be nice to have learned from the actual creator of some of these forms.
 

still learning

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Hello, This is very common in large schools of the same system.

We were told at testing to do it the way the Instuctor says. Later we bring it up with our teacher and he decides what we should do. (Many times he says this is the way I remember being taught by the Professor).

We have many schools all over the USA...and each instructor..may have been taught by someone who learn/remember it a little different way on some parts of the Kata's. At our annual Seminer we bring it up and make adustments. (Sometimes it is still is confusing, between the up ranks)

Does Kata's have be done only one way? ..and not have differences? .....

Kata's are prearrange fighting.....real fighting is total chaos...and not prearrange....

But there are people who believe there is only one rule and you must do it that way.................

10 people sitting next to each other...first person is told to past down a short story/or kata...and tell it to the next person on the other side of them, till the tenth person....will it be the same as the begining person?

Each of us with learn/remember it a little different even within the same class....does this make sense................Aloha
 
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ranzy427

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Thanks for your input. I would hate to change scchools to find out that I was making a mountain out of a mole hill, and it looks like that is what I was getting ready to do.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Just look at it from the perspective of henka or variations on the
same technique. I know this does make it hard, but follow your
instructors teachings during class and testing but realize that there
may be many, many variations of moves within each kata.

Brian R. VanCise
www.instinctiveresponsetraining.com
 

Grenadier

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There are two schools of thought on this matter.

The first is to simply accept that different instructors within the same system, will teach certain things in a different manner. In kata, this might simply mean a small change in a movement, or a radical departure. I may be a stickler for unity, but in the cases where the change is something slight, I'm pretty much willing to accept that it's a slight difference. This is, of course, assuming that the slight difference hasn't changed the meaning of the kata or its interpretation.

The second is to have every instructor refer to the absolute chief instructor of the style, and that everyone must do things his / her way, simply for the sake of unity. In an ideal situation, this system works exceptionally well, and there's no question about whose way is the right way, since everyone refers to the same source.

However, this world is far from ideal... We're all human beings, and sometimes, things diverge without us knowing that we're doing it. The second method also requires consistent communication between the style head and all of the other senior sensei of the style. I'm not saying that it can't be done (it actually has been done, and done quite well), but when a style of martial arts grows bigger and bigger, the number of divergences will also grow.

The reason why I generally favor the second method is based on what I've seen in the past. I'm not going to kid you here; sometimes, senior sensei within the style can argue in a heated manner, over who is right, and who is wrong.

The second method helps reduce internal strife within the system. Still, though, we're not all a bunch of robotic entities; different people will do things in subtly different ways, and to not be tolerant in the slightest of this isn't exactly productive.


Now for a bit of divergence myself!

This isn't just limited to kata, techniques, etc. In one extreme, I've seen a style go through a most ugly split, simply because of a disagreement as to who would be the next menkyo-kaiden after the soke passed away (even though he had willed it to one person). This rift still continues to this date, even though both factions have been quite successful. It's still an ugly thing, and something that unity amongst the senior sensei could have prevented.
 
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fullkontact

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I think it's also important to consider why we are doing forms. I may be a bit 'new school' but I think the biggest reason is to develop balance, coordination, and the way moves flow together in different styles. I think that you still get that as long as the form isn't totally mangled. I compete on the nbl circuit in the traditional korean forms division, we are all doing the same forms, ie. ge beck, or koryo. Watching the difference in moves from one competitor to the next is staggering. But we are all developing the same skills.
 

RBaddorf

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I have been taught that kata is not pre-arranged fighting, but a collection of self defense techniques linked together in a pattern so that they could be remembered and practiced at full speed. As self defense techniques, they need to be modified for each individual. Because of the differences in our body structure, techniques that work for me might not work for you. Take Nai Han Chi 1 for example, after the first cross over step the right arm goes out to the side. Some people do this as a back hand, some as a knife hand, some as an upset ridge hand, and some as a back fist or hammer fist. It would all depend on their lineage as to what weapon worked best for the guy that taught the kata that was handed down to you in the first place. Karate (genaric term) is supposed to be modified to the individual and what works for their body type and style of fighting, not the individual to be "forced" into a mold that may or may not fit them.

just my $0.02 on the subject

Ron
 

stone_dragone

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I have seen this kinda of difference within the same school...at two different schools. Sometimes the variation is in kata, often in the Bunkai (which I always encourage) and sometimes in basic technique.

A great example is with the kata Kanku (spelling variations aside). There is a sequence of back stances with knife hands looking one direction and then the other. Many schools teach that the knife hands are held in a conspicuously high position compared to the normal position. Some scholars say that Funakoshi had his hands so high merely because he was so short. His students followed his example and now the high knifehands are just part of the kata for many schools.

Another old story goes something like this:

A woman was making a ham for dinner. In the preparation, she cut off a inch off of each end and discarded them. Her daughter saw this and asked why she cut off two inches of perfectly good ham. She said it was because that how her mother taught her. They called Grandma and asked why she cut 2" of good meat off the hams, and she said "Its how my mother taught me." They called great grandma and asked her. she said "When Pa and I first got married, we were poor and could only afford a 10-inch cooking pan. I had to cut an inch off of each end of the 12-inch ham so it would fit into the pan. We just never got rid of the pan"

My two bits...
 

TigerWoman

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Usually in TKD in our school, a green belt signifies about a year in training.

Forms can be taught many ways as can self-defense. I try to teach as the master instructor taught me. If he gives me new variations, those variations are not necessarily the way it will be on a test. If I give variations to students, it is just extra practice and not required for testing and I make that clear.

Lately he has been changing a few things in self-defense, but not all the changes I find with students are necessarily right. We have alot of BB instructors now who add stuff in. So I go back to the master and check it so he can do the instructor correction if necessary. Like just last week a blue belt showed me her self-defense with an added block. The way I learned it (and was tested) that we were trapping the hand as the other arm was coming down for an elbow break, so I don't know where she has a third hand to block. But, I left it the same with her and will have to check that one before I see the student again. It does make it confusing for the new students as well as us black belt instructors if the material tested on is not consistent. Just ask alot of questions, that's what I do. TW
 

DeLamar.J

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ranzy427 said:
I have been taking karate for 1 year now and have a few questions. My sensei is involved with a group of 4 other schools, and we are allowed to attend any of the schools we want. The problem is that the instructors teach the katas differently. The basic moves are the similar but some teach different opponent directions than others which makes it impossible for a group to work together. To top that off, we are all promoted doing many things different in the same katas. Tonight we were practicing Lion Form and had a conflict. With only one instructor, he showed us one way, then changed it and told some of us that it was to be done the other way. This bothers me a lot; am I being to picky? Also, I have been promoted to green belt in just under a year. Isnt that kind of fast? I am thinking about changing schools but dont want to overreact. thanks for any advice
Here is the answer to this type of thing..... Kata has its benifits, drills have there benifits, basics have there benifits, conditioning has its benifits. Rather or not your hand or foot is at a 45 degree angle or a 46, as long as your getting the benifit of the exercise, it doesnt really matter.
This complicates things when they dont need to be. I understand a kata must be done a certian way, but the whole purpose of kata is to learn how to link together your techniques and time them. When you start nit picking things, it complicates things. Fighting is very direct and simple, and a student should not be confused like that. Learn the kata, but see it for what it is.
 

SAVAGE

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as instruction is handed down..in whatever matter not just MA..each person that touches it leaves a little p-art of themselves in it..a little piece of their understanding and soul! Just accept it for what it is and learn from all take the ones that suit you and leave alittle of your soul behind for the one you will teach!
 
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ranzy427

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Thanks again to everyone. I will be staying at this school. I guess because I am prior military I pick this type of thing to much. All of the proper moves are there and that is what I should be concerned with. I will have to get over my problems with this; I cant help but think what my class would look like in a drill and ceremony exercise!!! Man, what a cluster****. Funny, its been 14 years since I left the army and something like this would still bother me
 

DuneViking

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An interesting article was written in Black Belt magazine, oh about 1978 or so. It showed the form/kata Basai, in 5 variations, from 5 different masters, with explanitary notes on the interpretation. Another demonstration on the duality of the movements-what they are and why they are. Unless someone is showing you - especially without an interpretation- to kick where someone else shows to block etc, don't sweat it-enjoy it, try it, use what works for you according to what you are taught and the rules of your organization.
 

dtfrank

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I would like to throw my .02 in also. We are lucky in our style that our master instructor is available to ensure that our kata remains just the same in all the schools that he is involved with. So if anyone from our dojo goes to another associated dojo in another part of the world, our passai sho is going to be just like theirs. If the head instructor at that school does not want to follow the master instructors way of performing the kata; then the master instructor will not allow him to continue to utilize his name at his school.

Because we can follow our lineage from the early days of Okinawan Karate; we feel that we are learning the katas as they were originally taught. (Of course, I am sure our master instructor has made some "adjustments" to those original katas). The point I am making is, in order to make sure that we keep our katas clean and as originally designed, we do not apply our own thoughts and changes to what we were taught. All katas will look alike no matter who is teaching or instructing. (This certainly makes it easier on the student)

The place for us to apply original thought is when we practice bunkai based on the katas.

I hope I made some sense

David Frank
 

Marginal

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fullkontact said:
I think it's also important to consider why we are doing forms. I may be a bit 'new school' but I think the biggest reason is to develop balance, coordination, and the way moves flow together in different styles. I think that you still get that as long as the form isn't totally mangled. I compete on the nbl circuit in the traditional korean forms division, we are all doing the same forms, ie. ge beck, or koryo. Watching the difference in moves from one competitor to the next is staggering. But we are all developing the same skills.

I've seen wildly different interpretation of those forms on the net. Some so different, I question whether or not they contribute to similar skill development at all. (For example, kicking exclusively to the knees in Choong Moo.)
 

Zarnyk

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Learn from all of them, pass the test, get your belts and then decide which way works for you the best. An you may find that none of them do and come up with your own. As long as you can justify as to why you do it a certain way and not just because that's the way you were taught.

Martial arts always evolves and so should you.
 
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