Mirrored versions of forms

Olde Phart

Orange Belt
May 11, 2022
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Even then, I'd be willing to bet that some of those movement aren't exactly mirrored.
True. the main differences are usually (in our forms) related to the joon-bee (start) and the finish.

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
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Mar 27, 2012
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Hendersonville, NC
Mr. Skribs -

Interesting question to start a thread, and even more interesting to read the responses. It seems the various responders all train (or, at least their forms do it) by working to one side. In the MA system I train in, ALL forms/katas/hyungs have mirrored movements within them. If a form has 30 moves, then 15 of them will be to the left and 15 will be to the right. Not necessarily all 15 to the left and THEN all 15 to the right, but interspersed throughout the form. It would seem that the goal is to develop "muscle memory" so that our physical response would be more automatic no matter from which direction the attack came. We also train in Muy Thai and boxing as added training, and it is within those that I seem to notice that the focus is on the right side, with very little mirroring (if any at all). I would think that if a martial artist couldn't adapt to a "southpaw" confrontation vs a "normal" one, then they would be greatly hampered in their abilities.
This varies a lot within my system. The most basic forms are very short grappling forms (a set-up, a transition, and a finish). Those are practiced always on both sides, so there's no "other side" to practice on those.

The long forms I created aren't intended to cover everything. There's some left and some right in them, but no effort was made to spread evenly between them, because they are meant to be a small part of training (literally, folks are tested on one 10-step form per belt - about a year apart). They're meant for working on overall movement and balance, more than anything else, or for students to use when they can't practice with a partner (I created something similar for myself when traveling a lot for business during my training).

As such, the "long" forms (quite short by many styles' standards) aren't really meant to be comprehensive, and it isn't necessary to practice both sides. I encourage it, for the challenge it presents (muscle confusion, I think the term is), but I don't think doing so adds much to overall skill development.

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