Karate is kata, kata is karate

isshinryuronin

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Kata is just one part of Karate. There are many other different parts of Karate and there are some styles of Karate that might not use Kata. To say that Karate is only Kata is greatly limiting it.
I think you are looking at kata in a limiting way. As you say, there are, indeed, many parts of Karate: Crippling self-defense, flow, balance, mental attitude, strategy, tactics, strong execution of technique, movement and evasion, spiritual bearing, takedowns, grabs and breaks, etc., etc. Kata, at least the traditional Okinawan ones, contain ALL these parts (for those proponents that have been initiated in them.) What is missing from kata is sport karate, which is a whole different animal.

Historically, Karate was not taught from text books or you tube videos. The theory and philosophy was passed down from master to student by oral tradition. The physical knowledge was passed down by kata. Kata was karate's text book, meant to be studied for full understanding. So, in this sense, kata is karate - the key to a style's interpretation of combat.
 

TSDTexan

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Re: Hikite - TSDTexan's video post (thank you) starts with a quote from Seikichi Toguchi saying that when a hand gets chambered to the hip, there is generally something in it." This maxim was passed down from his Goju founder teacher, Miyagi, who expounded this in his Rules of Kata. Abernathy also shows this in his seminars pulling the opponent in for a strike.

Chambering to the hip all the time when punching makes the kata look nice, but original katas were not designed to look nice. There was a good reason if bringing it to an apparently out of position place on the hip. If not pulling the opponent in, the hand was usually chambered no further to where the elbow met the hip. This left the fist in a guard position as well as closer to the opponent. This is the rule of thumb in Isshinryu (which uses a snapping punch), and done ocasionly in other Okinawan katas as well.

Re: The more general problem of a kata's technique not working in a practical application - There are several possibilities:
1. The kata has been changed over the years enough to where the original intent has been corrupted
2. The practitioner does not understand the oyu fully
3. There is a subtlety to the move that is required to make it work that is not shown in the kata, such as a grab, twist, dropping one's
weight, or leg buckle (all moves that are just a matter of an inch or two so easily missed)
4. The move is being looked at without considering the previous or subsequent moves to see the whole series in context

Choki Motobu kept to the old tuidi/tode high chamber. He didn't chamber at the hip, unlike most of his contemporaries who brought karate to mainland Japan.
motobu1.JPG


Notice the attacker (in the partner drill) has the sme high chamber/guard in the left photo. This is a Japanese student of Choki Mutobu.
Motobu-Choki-Kumite-13-and-14-Okinawa-Kenpo-Karate-Jutsu-Kumite-Hen-645x400.jpg


here is a grouping of chambers of him and the other masters. look at their chamber vs his. While Choki Motobu taught very close distance fighting, and stressed practical training bunkai methods to prepare yourself for jissen kumite (real world fighting), the others made new methods for faster organized training. Longer ranges, deeper stances, and new interpretations of the kata/bunkai.
15251709_224748017961940_2983604529448091648_n.jpg



@punisher73
@skribs
it may not be required to look behind you, one application for the rear empi/HikiTe is the defense against a rear bear-hug. If you were grabbed suddenly, perhaps while in a very packed and crowded area... you would be reflectively counterattacking without the time to even look behind you.
rear empi...
Either a preemptive strike an instant before its locked in, or as part of breaking off one after it has been applied (used in tandem, with stepping forward into zenkutsdachi). You already knew what was behind you, and you could see both of his arms.
Notice Choki's left hand "chamber" is significantly lower than it normally is. almost at hip height.
motobu1 (1).jpg
 
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TSDTexan

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I think you are looking at kata in a limiting way. As you say, there are, indeed, many parts of Karate: Crippling self-defense, flow, balance, mental attitude, strategy, tactics, strong execution of technique, movement and evasion, spiritual bearing, takedowns, grabs and breaks, etc., etc. Kata, at least the traditional Okinawan ones, contain ALL these parts (for those proponents that have been initiated in them.) What is missing from kata is sport karate, which is a whole different animal.

Historically, Karate was not taught from text books or you tube videos. The theory and philosophy was passed down from master to student by oral tradition. The physical knowledge was passed down by kata. Kata was karate's text book, meant to be studied for full understanding. So, in this sense, kata is karate - the key to a style's interpretation of combat.

in fact, a lot of it was hands on (literally) knowledge.
the teacher took the students limbs or torso and said here.. not there. putting them into the correct position that was called for at that moment.

in the old tuidi, tode there were many, and I mean many things that lacked a name. In Japan, a lot of terms of art, and labels were created, just to answer a Japanese demand for lexical terminology.

This was exerbated by post war GIs... army and marines stationed in Japan and Okinawa wanting to know what to call "this or that" after they enrolled in various karate dojos.
 

punisher73

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If someone is behind you, sometimes you don't have that luxury.

Please re-read the quote. It said you wouldn't strike to the rear without addressing that person as soon as you could. Yes, you may have someone behind you, but you wouldn't strike them and then stay with all your attention to the front without addressing that rear opponent again, even if its a look back to evaluate if they are still a threat or not.
 

skribs

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Please re-read the quote. It said you wouldn't strike to the rear without addressing that person as soon as you could. Yes, you may have someone behind you, but you wouldn't strike them and then stay with all your attention to the front without addressing that rear opponent again, even if its a look back to evaluate if they are still a threat or not.

While that is true, most of the forms in KKW TKD are demonstration of technique, not strategy.
 

punisher73

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Choki Motobu kept to the old tuidi/tode high chamber. He didn't chamber at the hip, unlike most of his contemporaries who brought karate to mainland Japan.


View attachment 22496


@punisher73
@skribs
it may not be required to look behind you, one application for the rear empi/HikiTe is the defense against a rear bear-hug. If you were grabbed suddenly, perhaps while in a very packed and crowded area... you would be reflectively counterattacking without the time to even look behind you.
rear empi...
Either a preemptive strike an instant before its locked in, or as part of breaking off one after it has been applied (used in tandem, with stepping forward into zenkutsdachi). You already knew what was behind you, and you could see both of his arms.
Notice Choki's left hand "chamber" is significantly lower than it normally is. almost at hip height.
View attachment 22493

Again, I never said you wouldn't look or couldn't look. BUT, if you are teaching a rear strike as a self-defense application. After you are grabbed and struck the bad guy, you would look to evaluate or turn to further address that attacker. My response was based on the chamber always being a rear elbow strike in katas that never really address if an actual attacker is back there.
 

dvcochran

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Choki Motobu kept to the old tuidi/tode high chamber. He didn't chamber at the hip, unlike most of his contemporaries who brought karate to mainland Japan.
View attachment 22495

Notice the attacker (in the partner drill) has the sme high chamber/guard in the left photo. This is a Japanese student of Choki Mutobu.
View attachment 22494

here is a grouping of chambers of him and the other masters. look at their chamber vs his. While Choki Motobu taught very close distance fighting, and stressed practical training bunkai methods to prepare yourself for jissen kumite (real world fighting), the others made new methods for faster organized training. Longer ranges, deeper stances, and new interpretations of the kata/bunkai.
View attachment 22496


@punisher73
@skribs
it may not be required to look behind you, one application for the rear empi/HikiTe is the defense against a rear bear-hug. If you were grabbed suddenly, perhaps while in a very packed and crowded area... you would be reflectively counterattacking without the time to even look behind you.
rear empi...
Either a preemptive strike an instant before its locked in, or as part of breaking off one after it has been applied (used in tandem, with stepping forward into zenkutsdachi). You already knew what was behind you, and you could see both of his arms.
Notice Choki's left hand "chamber" is significantly lower than it normally is. almost at hip height.
View attachment 22493

Agree. I do not know if you do the Pinan (Pyong Ahn) set of forms but this is well represented in the ending line of Pinan 3. A rear elbow and punch beside your own head. There is no need to reach with the punch because the elbow will reactively bring their face to the punch.
 

isshinryuronin

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Agree. I do not know if you do the Pinan (Pyong Ahn) set of forms but this is well represented in the ending line of Pinan 3. A rear elbow and punch beside your own head. There is no need to reach with the punch because the elbow will reactively bring their face to the punch.
Right, and the rear elbow works in Pinan 3 because the opponent is not attacking from the rear, but from the front and YOU maneuver, spinning in so he is to the rear. And as you say, the rear over-the-shoulder punch to the face seals the deal. You can also look to the rear as you elbow and punch. Isshinryu's Sunsu kata has a rear elbow as well. Similarly, the opponent is to the front and YOU step to place him to the rear (so you are back to back) for the elbow strike. As you spin into him prior to the elbow, there is an arm break, again sealing the deal so to speak.
In these cases, you are not being attacked from behind, nor are you relying on a single lone elbow to do the job. While chambering a hand to your hip as you punch can strike an elbow to the rear, it is certainly not the reason for chambering it so.
 

isshinryuronin

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in fact, a lot of it was hands on (literally) knowledge.
the teacher took the students limbs or torso and said here.. not there. putting them into the correct position that was called for at that moment.

in the old tuidi, tode there were many, and I mean many things that lacked a name. In Japan, a lot of terms of art, and labels were created, just to answer a Japanese demand for lexical terminology.

This was exerbated by post war GIs... army and marines stationed in Japan and Okinawa wanting to know what to call "this or that" after they enrolled in various karate dojos.
My Sensei studied in Okinawa for about 7 years (and has gone back many times since) and has told me that was how he was first taught: "Do this. No. Do this way," as the master showed one-on-one what to do. Terminology was not needed in private/semi-private lessons. When teaching a large number of students at once, calling out a name was required as showing everyone personally what to do was not practical. And as you said, the Japanese put this stuff in print (lexical?o_O) - hard to do without words for the moves. And American logic just seems to crave a name or label for everything.
 

TSDTexan

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While that is true, most of the forms in KKW TKD are demonstration of technique, not strategy.
Thus the gulf between Okinawan karate, and Japanese karate vs TKD widens.
 

TSDTexan

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My Sensei studied in Okinawa for about 7 years (and has gone back many times since) and has told me that was how he was first taught: "Do this. No. Do this way," as the master showed one-on-one what to do. Terminology was not needed in private/semi-private lessons. When teaching a large number of students at once, calling out a name was required as showing everyone personally what to do was not practical. And as you said, the Japanese put this stuff in print (lexical?o_O) - hard to do without words for the moves. And American logic just seems to crave a name or label for everything.
i wouldn't call it American logic. its really just western civilization, going all the way to Greco-Roman philosophy. The colonists considered themselves Englishmen.
But a proper education was still done with Latin. and the methodology was the ancient trivium. "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic" Which was capped of with Logic/Rhetoric.

For example, modern science is still using Latin for the naming of species. Names and Labels indeed.
 
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Mitlov

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Thus the gulf between Okinawan karate, and Japanese karate vs TKD widens.

Except that karate dojos that are WKF sport oriented (or any sort of sport oriented) focus on the presentation side of their kata, not the bunkai side. Even if they're Okinawan or Japanese styles, not just Korean or American styles.

Folks who train for this aren't focusing on bunkai during kata training; they're focusing on performance.

 

skribs

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Except that karate dojos that are WKF sport oriented (or any sort of sport oriented) focus on the presentation side of their kata, not the bunkai side. Even if they're Okinawan or Japanese styles, not just Korean or American styles.

Folks who train for this aren't focusing on bunkai during kata training; they're focusing on performance.


Just because someone trains performance, doesn't mean they don't train bunkai.

But I will agree, if your purpose is primarily to perform the form (at tests, demonstrations, or competitions), then application is secondary at best.
 

Mitlov

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Just because someone trains performance, doesn't mean they don't train bunkai.

But I will agree, if your purpose is primarily to perform the form (at tests, demonstrations, or competitions), then application is secondary at best.

Well sure. And likewise, I'm not saying that people who focus on bunkai never spend one minute training performance. I'm talking about primary emphasis. WKF-oriented dojos primarily emphasize performance; only a subset of dojos primarily emphasize bunkai. I'm just saying that a lot of Japanese and Okinawan style dojos are sport oriented, just like all Kukkiwon and some ITF dojangs are.
 

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Right, and the rear elbow works in Pinan 3 because the opponent is not attacking from the rear, but from the front and YOU maneuver, spinning in so he is to the rear. And as you say, the rear over-the-shoulder punch to the face seals the deal. You can also look to the rear as you elbow and punch. Isshinryu's Sunsu kata has a rear elbow as well. Similarly, the opponent is to the front and YOU step to place him to the rear (so you are back to back) for the elbow strike. As you spin into him prior to the elbow, there is an arm break, again sealing the deal so to speak.
In these cases, you are not being attacked from behind, nor are you relying on a single lone elbow to do the job. While chambering a hand to your hip as you punch can strike an elbow to the rear, it is certainly not the reason for chambering it so.
I think we has a different philosophy on the form but I get what you are saying.
It is the third form so there are three attackers. You have just came down the center line doing as many as 5 movement in a segment to different attackers. At the end of the line they are to each side hence the shift off centerline to each side. A bit of a stretch practically but good practice to each side for a rear attack/counter.
 

dvcochran

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Well sure. And likewise, I'm not saying that people who focus on bunkai never spend one minute training performance. I'm talking about primary emphasis. WKF-oriented dojos primarily emphasize performance; only a subset of dojos primarily emphasize bunkai. I'm just saying that a lot of Japanese and Okinawan style dojos are sport oriented, just like all Kukkiwon and some ITF dojangs are.
You cannot say All KKW/ITF dojangs are purely sport oriented. It is just not true.
 

Mitlov

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You cannot say All KKW/ITF dojangs are purely sport oriented. It is just not true.

I said all KKW and some ITF. I've never personally encountered a KKW dojang that wasn't focused on sport. That's not a criticism; I'm a sport guy myself. Maybe there are some KKW dojangs that aren't about sport, so would you agree with "most"?
 

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I said all KKW and some ITF. I've never personally encountered a KKW dojang that wasn't focused on sport. That's not a criticism; I'm a sport guy myself. Maybe there are some KKW dojangs that aren't about sport, so would you agree with "most"?
Yep.
 

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Historically, Karate was not taught from text books or you tube videos.
This is a point I've tried to make in the past. We now have books and YouTube videos, as well as some other training methods/tools that can do what kata does. I see it as integral to some approaches to Karate, but not necessary to the art. I actually like the idea of maintaining at least some of that tradition, but don't see removing it as making the result no longer Karate.
 

dvcochran

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This is a point I've tried to make in the past. We now have books and YouTube videos, as well as some other training methods/tools that can do what kata does. I see it as integral to some approaches to Karate, but not necessary to the art. I actually like the idea of maintaining at least some of that tradition, but don't see removing it as making the result no longer Karate.
I am having a hard time understanding your last sentence. Can you reword it so this thick headed old man can understand it?
I think you are saying more modern conventions like print and internet videos do not hurt the integrity of Karate but I am not sure. Thanks
 

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