kata?

senseiblackbelt

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whats the point of learning katas? like what is it going to teach and is there any way itll help us in a way to fight?
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Chris Parker

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That's a big question, with many facets to it's answer there… and, honestly, even if we were to explain it all in detail, you'd probably still not quite get it. That's not a slight on you, merely the reality of such questions… you are currently incredibly young (13), and are very new to martial arts and karate in particular… combine that with the fact that study such as kata are a long term pursuit, with more and more becoming apparent to you as you go, rather than simply being something that can be explained in a few words. In other words, the more you train, the more focus you put into it, the more you will see and be able to understand.

That said, there's a lot more to kata than many see or appreciate… in a real sense, it's primary purpose is in teaching you the art you're studying. Kata are a canonised (set in place) method of ensuring that the same lessons are available to all students of the system, with an emphasis on aspects that art consider important (particular aspects of timing, distancing, angling, tactical expressions, and more). Will it help you to "fight"? Maybe. Depends on the kata and it's particular lessons… as well as your study of it and your instructor. But not everything is as simple as what it appears to be intended to be… kata being quite a definite example of that. If you think martial arts are just about learning to fight, then you'll only ever see such a simplistic concept (and see it as lacking, due to missing the majority of what the training method [kata] is really trying to show)… so my advice is to simply train… listen to your instructors… and recognise that, if you want to learn karate, kata is how the art is taught (at least in part). This is because kata is seen as the best, most reliable method to achieve that. And that doesn't necessarily mean anything about learning to "fight"…
 

Bill Mattocks

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whats the point of learning katas?

What's the point of learning the alphabet?

like what is it going to teach

Generally speaking, kata (or forms, or whatever name similar things go by in different arts) encapsulate the system itself in a series of movements.

Ideally, it combines kihon (basic exercises) with stances, transitions, breathing, balance, and power generation. At the surface level, it provides at least one example based on a proposed 'real life' example of using each encapsulated technique. When explored mindfully with expert instruction, it opens the mind to a myriad of examples, which provide building blocks to a lifetime's worth of exploration.

and is there any way itll help us in a way to fight?
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Yes.
 

TaiChiTJ

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At about 2:30 he says, ".....That template, the solo re-enactment of that practice, then.....".

And he shows the part of Naihanchi kata that the self defense sequence comes from.

Which is part of what Chris Parker was saying above.

If this example is outside of your instructors current teaching approach, that doesn't mean your practice is without value. Continue to practice, just understand your kata can be a treasure trove of self defense knowledge. Combined with the basics you are learning, you will be on the right track.

 
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Azulx

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At first I was taught that Kata (Hyungs in my style) were just choreographed fights. After doing research and talking to many other martial artists I learned that they are so much more. Forms teach balance, attack sequences, mechanics, movement, distance, and so much more. Even the most basic forms have so much meaning within them , you just have to do them over and over gain and think about what your doing in the most detail .
 

donald1

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Kata often has a wide variety of techniques and stances. You can improve technique, stance, and balance.
 

Hanzou

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Fortunately if you don't like kata, there's plenty of martial arts out there that don't practice it.
 

gpseymour

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whats the point of learning katas? like what is it going to teach and is there any way itll help us in a way to fight?
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Used right (by both student and instructor), kata have a number of purposes. They help build memory for some specific sequences; often these are sequences that will be used frequently and revisited when learning combinations, etc. They also incorporate many different body positions, which your instructor may use to help you when you have problems later. For instance, she might say, "You're losing your balance there because you're stepping off your own balance line. Use the transition step from the second part of your first kata."

Depending upon the style, they may also give you a chance to practice the foundational principles of a technique in its purest form - without resistance and in a completely repeatable format. We do this in our art, and it creates a laboratory for later exploration. It's not unusual to hear a couple of brown belts talking about how to change a form slightly to change some aspect of the technique, which later translates to application in sparring/randori/defensive use.
 

JP3

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On Kata, by JP3.

Do Kata, do.
It is good for you.
It makes you strong,
And your stance long.
while you are miming,
It helps your timing.

Ha! That's all the poetry you get from me. But, seriously folks...

Kata practice is like peeling an onion. Layers on layers of understanding as you do the kata over and over and over again, perfecting the individual techniques, and the movements which are the connections between the techniques themselves.

I'd boil it down like this, train your body physically to strengthen it, make it more flexible and resilient. That's physical conditioning.

Kata is muscle-memory practice, absolutely required in order to truly master a technique.

And, by "Kata" I am using it in (what I understand to be) the actual Japanese form of the word, which encompasses simply working on a simple reverse punch while standing, focusing on how the power flows up from the hips/center through the torso and ends up at the knuckles (for you punchers, I put knuckling people away about 30 years ago, I almost exclusively use open hand now, but it's because I can't stand getting bruised knuckles - can't type with them).... from that punch practice all alone in a mirror, working on it -- that's Kata. Also, kata is something like Kodokan Judo's Nage-no Kata (Forms of Throwing), which is generally what is required as part of the Shodan (1st degree) black demo. The entire series of throws, that is also Kata, same reason, same description in principle.

TRAIN your body to fight in a gym, outside running, swimming, climbing, lifting things.

TEACH your body to fight by doing Kata.

Simple. Not Easy.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Form/Kata is used for teaching and learning. It's not used for "training". To be able to repeat Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" from the 1st word to the last word still won't make you a play writer. In order to be a play writer, you have to "write". No matter how many times that you have repeated, "To be and not to be", that sentence is still not yours.
 
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gpseymour

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Form/Kata is used for teaching and learning. It's not used for "training". To be able to repeat Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" from the 1st word to the last word still won't make you a play writer. In order to be a play writer, you have to "write". No matter how many times that you have repeated, "To be and not to be", that sentence is still not yours.
Actually, some kata do contain training drills in them. Repetition helps build muscle memory. The difference between doing kata and practical use of technique is not the difference between memorizing and writing. It's the difference between memorizing and improvisational acting, and all of the good improvisationalists I know improved their acting through memorized roles.
 

Prostar

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whats the point of learning katas? like what is it going to teach and is there any way itll help us in a way to fight?
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OK SBB, so while you are sorting out what it is that forms are doing for you, here is something you can do with forms.

You do all the forms you know from most basic to advanced. Doesn't matter if all you know is four forms. As you perform the forms one after the other, pay attention to the details. If you make the slightest mistake, a wrong punch, turn, or even a hesitation, go back and start from the beginning. As you do the forms over and over you will see changes in your stances, balance and so forth. But ignore those for now. If you should get through all of your forms PERFECTLY you should be sucking wind by now because it turns into a great workout.

All the answers noted above are great, but not very useful if you are not ready to receive them yet. If nothing else, bookmark this page and try the drill.

We can answer questions all day but training is a two way street. Your instructor can create an atmosphere conducive to training, and lay that information down before you. It is then entirely up to you to pick it up and learn it...or don't.

So what can you do? Question, practice, perform.
 

lklawson

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Not to be a jerk, but, once again we see, going by the answers in this thread (and countless others very like it), that there is no one thing or set of things which practitioners agree on as the "purpose" of kata.

I'm not saying that kata is without value, only that if someone tells you "kata is about X and anyone who says different doesn't know what they're talking about" you can be assured that that person has never been exposed to the wider world of practitioners. And you can be certain that, eventually, you will meet with someone who says exactly that.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Paul_D

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whats the point of learning katas? like what is it going to teach and is there any way itll help us in a way to fight?
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Kata isn't designed for fighting; it's designed for self defence. So asking if there is any way for kata to help you in a fight, is like asking if there is anyway table tennis lessons can help you learn to fly a plane. The answer is of course, no, because that isn't what it is teaching you.

"The techniques of kata were never developed to be used against a professional fighter, in an arena or on the battlefield. They were, however, most effective against someone who had no idea of the strategy being used to counter their aggressive behavior. ” – Choki Motobu

This is case of Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, where Deep Thought can't work out the answer to life the universe and everything because he doesn’t understand the question. First you need to understand the difference between fighting and self defence (the free podcast at the bottom of this link will help with that)

The Martial Map (Free Audio Book) | Iain Abernethy

then you need to understand how kata is designed to be applied (Which is easier said than doe and unfortunately the vast majority of Karate Instructors don’t understand kata or how to correctly apply it). Only then will you be able to ask the right question, and only then will you be able to get the right answers.[/QUOTE]
 

Blindside

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"The techniques of kata were never developed to be used against a professional fighter, in an arena or on the battlefield. They were, however, most effective against someone who had no idea of the strategy being used to counter their aggressive behavior. ” – Choki Motobu

Any chance you have a source for that quote?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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"The techniques of kata were never developed to be used against a professional fighter, in an arena or on the battlefield. They were, however, most effective against someone who had no idea of the strategy being used to counter their aggressive behavior. ” – Choki Motobu
Not all forms are equal. Some forms have better design than the other. The following combos exist in the form.

1. A left side kick followed by a right back spin fist to the head. This combo is used when your opponent uses his left arm to block your left side kick to your right, you then borrow his force, spin to your right, and throw right back fist on his head.
2. A left side kick followed by a right palm chop to the neck. This combo is used when your opponent uses his right arm to block your left side kick to your left, you then borrow his force, spin to your left, and throw right palm strike on his neck.

IMO, if your opponent has the ability to block your fast powerful skip in side kick, he is not a beginner and can be qualified as "professional fighter".
 

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