Uselessness of kata in the real world!

Tez3

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Way before we had videos, computers etc there needed to be a way to remind yourself of the great many moves that can be used for self defence, writing them down isn't useful as anyone who has tried to teach themselves something physical from a book will tell you so kata was 'born'. A way of keeping all the self defence moves in one 'bundle' so you could learn them, remember them and use them in a way that is also aesthetically pleasing but also keeps you moving in the correct manner. Too many people have taught kata without the Bunkai losing the purpose and meaning of the kata leading to people saying well you don't fight like that! No, you don't but it's the individual uses of the individual moves within the kata that are important.
When teaching boxing trainers can use a very simple kata to teach the punches, 'jab, cross, uppercut' you don't necessarily use them in that order or all three in a sequence in a boxing fight but you have all three in your armoury through practice, you go on to learn combinations etc but that's your basis a very simple 'kata' to learn, remember and refine your punches.
 

Tez3

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I want to learn the Maglite one!
 

chinto

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LOL this one comes out from time to time. My answer is always the same. Learn the KATA, look for the bunkai! learn what applications you can use for that kata's movements, movement by movement! If you can not do this, you have not been properly trained!! then it is provable that you do not know what bunkai is, and how to go about it. If this is the case your instructor is at fault! I would say you should go and ask your sensei why he/she is not teaching you bunkai?

IF YOU UNDERSTAND AND PRACTICE KATA CONSTANTLY YOU WILL HAVE THE TOOL WORK FOR YOU THAT YOU NEED WITH OUT THOUGHT! yes boys and girls "it" happens. it has happened to me. it works. kata teaches the brain to work in different ways. teaches your muscles and reflexes to work differently then otherwise they would. but only if you practice kata consistently and look for bunkai the same way.
 

Cyriacus

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Ive gotta ask it.

Is there a Headbutt Kata?
This is a... Semi Serious Question :p
 

Tez3

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Ive gotta ask it.

Is there a Headbutt Kata?
This is a... Semi Serious Question :p

I'm sure there's no kata as such but there's plenty of chances in most katas for a headbutt if necessary, all's fair in love, war and when you are defending yourself!
 

WC_lun

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Kata or form is used as a training tool to teach concepts and train the body physical memory. If kata does not do this, it isn't being an effective training tool for fighting. There other reasons to do forms, such as excercise or just plain enjoyment.
 

jks9199

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Ive gotta ask it.

Is there a Headbutt Kata?
This is a... Semi Serious Question :p
It would depend on your system.

There are several headbutts contained in some of the forms within Bando. There're also drills containing/collecting several headbutting techniques.
 

Kong Soo Do

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IMO individuals who find kata useless have been incorrectly trained. The brief time I trained with Sherman Harrill from 94 to his death, maybe 60 hours at clinics, he shared 800 applications for Isshinryu's 8 kata. All used to drop someone in every sort of circumstance. Likewise the 'bunkai' I received from Tristan Sutrisno and his father's shotokan studied in Japan in the 1930's has innumerable 'bunkai' all designed to do the same. Ditto for my studies in Chinese arts and tai chi chaun.

IMO the central focus of kata is development of technique force and speed, Application studies work on how every of those movements can break an attacker (figuratively).

If there's no kata there's no karate (as karate is Okinawan). Not to dis other answers they're just not karate no matter what name they use.

I think Victor is right on the money. At one time I thought Kata was pretty useless as far as real world altercations are concerned. Then I found Iain Abernethy's website. Too me it was a breath of fresh air and had me looking at kata in an entirely new light. It really took my Karate to a new level. Now, some may debate the 'deeper meaning' vs. 'block/punch/kick' in kata, however whatever your stance may be I think it takes kata to a new level. It becomes more than just something you need to get the next belt.

I may not agree with each and every interpretation of Bunkai presented (by Iain or others), but it allows one to think outside the box and see kata as something other than just martial arts 'shadow boxing'. That's how I look at in anyway.
:)
 

Indycadet

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Way before we had videos, computers etc there needed to be a way to remind yourself of the great many moves that can be used for self defence, writing them down isn't useful as anyone who has tried to teach themselves something physical from a book will tell you so kata was 'born'. A way of keeping all the self defence moves in one 'bundle' so you could learn them, remember them and use them in a way that is also aesthetically pleasing but also keeps you moving in the correct manner. Too many people have taught kata without the Bunkai losing the purpose and meaning of the kata leading to people saying well you don't fight like that! No, you don't but it's the individual uses of the individual moves within the kata that are important.
I couldn't have said it better myself
 

Tez3

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I think Victor is right on the money. At one time I thought Kata was pretty useless as far as real world altercations are concerned. Then I found Iain Abernethy's website. Too me it was a breath of fresh air and had me looking at kata in an entirely new light. It really took my Karate to a new level. Now, some may debate the 'deeper meaning' vs. 'block/punch/kick' in kata, however whatever your stance may be I think it takes kata to a new level. It becomes more than just something you need to get the next belt.

I may not agree with each and every interpretation of Bunkai presented (by Iain or others), but it allows one to think outside the box and see kata as something other than just martial arts 'shadow boxing'. That's how I look at in anyway.
:)

The thing I've found about Iain and his work is that both are full of common sense and down to earth practicalities, there's no fuffing around trying to make things fit in, the techniques are solid self defence. He's always open to ideas and will say that techniques don't always work for you because of body size etc so look for something else. I've found this in MMA, that not everything works for everyone something that is often forgotten. When you work with him at one of his seminars he makes Bunkai a very natural thing to do.

If I can be cheeky here and say Iain has a very nice forum on his site, it's not a big one but is interesting if anyone wants to come and join in? I know he'd be pleased to have you!
 

Kong Soo Do

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The thing I've found about Iain and his work is that both are full of common sense and down to earth practicalities, there's no fuffing around trying to make things fit in, the techniques are solid self defence. He's always open to ideas and will say that techniques don't always work for you because of body size etc so look for something else. I've found this in MMA, that not everything works for everyone something that is often forgotten. When you work with him at one of his seminars he makes Bunkai a very natural thing to do.

If I can be cheeky here and say Iain has a very nice forum on his site, it's not a big one but is interesting if anyone wants to come and join in? I know he'd be pleased to have you!

+1

I might just have to join Iain's board :)
 

Black Belt Jedi

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I enjoy both the old and modern ways of Karate. I enjoy learning the realistic combative elements of Karate. I also enjoy the sporting aspects of Karate. I have quite a few favourite katas in my core Karate system Goju-ryu, I also have quite a few favourite katas outside of my core system, such as Wando. In tournaments these days when the kata competition is mostly flash n' dash. I re-introduce the classical elements of Karate into tournaments and bring the focus of the classical Martial Arts back into the competition circuits. Many people having grasp it yet, but it gradually they are.
 

Flying Crane

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It's funny, but some of these issues were coming out in a thread over on Kenpotalk.

My position is this: a kata/form/set whatever you want to call it, is a training tool and has certain lessons built into it that you are meant to learn, and skills that are developed based on those lessons when you properly practice the form. But that is the key: "proper" practice. This means that you must understand what those lessons and skills are, that the form is meant to give you, and you are practicing in a way in which those lessons and skills can be developed. If you understand it well and practice it properly, forms are a very valuable and effective training tool.

If you do not understand the form, then you cannot practice it properly and benefit from those lessons and skills. If this is the case, then the practice of the form is simply physical mimickry. The lessons are lost, the skills are not gained, and the only benefit you get is the possibility of physical exercise. But no martial potential is built. No matter how "good" a form is, if it is not understood and practiced properly, the individual will get very little from it, even if Others who DO understand and practice it get tremendous benefit from it. If you do not understand the form, then spending time to practice it is actually a waste of time. You'd be better off spending valuable training time working on something else that you DO understand.

I also believe that there are some forms out there that were poorly designed and have little merit anyway. Some people develop forms who really should not do so. They lack the skill and insite to create a form that has meaning and potential and the right kind of lessons.

This raises the question of how does one know if the form is truly poorly designed, or if the person doing it simply doesn't understand it? Sometimes the issue is the one, sometimes the other, and sometimes both are at play at the same time.

I will say this, tho: you can take a great form, one developed by a true master, and handed down for generations, and if it is done poorly by someone who does not understand it, it can make the form look like it was poorly designed and should be discarded.
 

Kong Soo Do

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I think a lot of Korean forms were mimicked from excellent Okinawan kata, but without a complete understanding of what those kata truly held. Kind of like knowing all the letters but not the proper way to compose a sentence or paragraph. IMHO.
 

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