Uselessness of kata in the real world!

Steve

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Technically untrue.

The Chinese word "xing" in Mandarin or "jing" in Cantonese or Japanese "kun", "kata", simply means "pattern" or "shape".

If you can name a single system that doesn't teach some sort of pattern or model, well, then it's not a system. They all do. MMA is a system of kata, as much as Shaolinquan.

Getting a little pedantic here. So, for the sake of clear communication, you are saying that, in the context of this discussion, this pattern or model:

and this pattern/model:

Is the same thing as this?


I can see a lot of functional differences. Can't you?
 

Oily Dragon

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Getting a little pedantic here. So, for the sake of clear communication, you are saying that, in the context of this discussion, this pattern or model:

and this pattern/model:

Is the same thing as this?


I can see a lot of functional differences. Can't you?

Is it pedantic? Or am I clarifying the proper use of language? Boxing is all about learning patterns, so is karate, and every other skill in life. Tai Chi is all about seeing the patterns of the natural world, and where you fit in it.

In other words, when you make it "kata" vs. boxing, that's a fool's errand. Everything in boxing is kata. Otherwise it'd be a royal mess. Apes killing apes!
 

Steve

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Is it pedantic? Or am I clarifying the proper use of language?
I think it's pedantic.

Boxing is all about learning patterns, so is karate, and every other skill in life. Tai Chi is all about seeing the patterns of the natural world, and where you fit in it.

In other words, when you make it "kata" vs. boxing, that's a fool's errand. Everything in boxing is kata. Otherwise it'd be a royal mess. Apes killing apes!

I appreciate this. It helps me understand, and I think you make a good point.

And, your point was much more easily understood when you just use the term "pattern" and not try to redefine the term "kata." In my opinion.

Anyway, I'll let this go now, lest I become a pedant, as well. :D
 

Oily Dragon

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I think it's pedantic.



I appreciate this. It helps me understand, and I think you make a good point.

And, your point was much more easily understood when you just use the term "pattern" and not try to redefine the term "kata." In my opinion.

Anyway, I'll let this go now, lest I become a pedant, as well. :D
You're welcome.

Just consider this, why did you post those specific three videos? You picked a karate form competition, a guy prancing in the forest like a primeval manimal, and a boxing tutorial. There's definitely a difference between all three, but your intention was very, very specific.

Did any of them support the "uselessness of kata in the real world", given the literal definition? Or are we talking about the uselessness of Japanese kata? In both cases I disagree.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Is the same thing as this?

I can see a lot of functional differences. Can't you?
The different is the boxing combo only records one situation. When you do jab-hook-uppercut, your application is clear and simple. Some MA forms try to be abstract and record many situations (which I don't think it's a good idea).

Unless we can all agree that "concrete training" is better than "abstract training", the argument about MA form's usefulness will be continued.

A: In boxing, a jab is just a jab.
B: In TMA, a jab can be a punch, a lock, a throw, a ...

By use the TMA logic, a traffic cop is training MA also.

 
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Steve

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You're welcome.

Just consider this, why did you post those specific three videos? You picked a karate form competition, a guy prancing in the forest like a primeval manimal, and a boxing tutorial. There's definitely a difference between all three, but your intention was very, very specific.

They were simply the first video that I could find of a "kata" a "kung fu form" and a "boxing drill". Nothing more to it than that. Full disclosure, I only watched the first 30 seconds or so of each video to ensure they were at least superficially representative of the three different things.

Relevant to this discussion, when I used the three terms above, I got EXACTLY what I expected. Kata gives you japanese kata. Kung fu form gives you some version of wushu or similar. And boxing drill gives you a mostly "alive" pattern.

Did any of them support the "uselessness of kata in the real world", given the literal definition? Or are we talking about the uselessness of Japanese kata? In both cases I disagree.
I don't know, but if we can agree that there is a difference, it will help that discussion move forward.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Technically untrue.

The Chinese word "xing" in Mandarin or "jing" in Cantonese or Japanese "kun", "kata", simply means "pattern" or "shape".

If you can name a single system that doesn't teach some sort of pattern or model, well, then it's not a system. They all do. MMA is a system of kata, as much as Shaolinquan.
I've never heard anyone refer to their "forms", meaning anything other than a predetermined pattern that is repeated as a specific practice. If we go for direct translation of words and look for a way that direct translation could apply, we're not really talking about what people mean here.

Yes, there are patterns everywhere. Boxing does combinations that come up over and over. But what folks are usually talking about with "forms" isn't a couple of punches repeated in a drill. There's an area of overlap between "drill" and "form", and usually the distinction is a matter of required precision in the repetition. In a drill, if your technique is good enough for your level, variations in stance and such are usually not even acknowledged. In forms - again, as I've most often seen them - folks are being taught to replicate the movements pretty exactly, with specific attention to stances and angles, even where variation wouldn't negatively affect the technique at hand.
 

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Is it pedantic? Or am I clarifying the proper use of language? Boxing is all about learning patterns, so is karate, and every other skill in life. Tai Chi is all about seeing the patterns of the natural world, and where you fit in it.

In other words, when you make it "kata" vs. boxing, that's a fool's errand. Everything in boxing is kata. Otherwise it'd be a royal mess. Apes killing apes!
While I've made the argument, myself, that there's an overlap between forms and drills, I think it's important to discuss the topic folks start with, rather than swerving with a different definition. Otherwise, someone says, "Those very exact and repetitive long forms are useless", and someone else replies, "No, those drills using a common 3-punch combination aren't useless, at all." And there's no real discussion going on.
 

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You're welcome.

Just consider this, why did you post those specific three videos? You picked a karate form competition, a guy prancing in the forest like a primeval manimal, and a boxing tutorial. There's definitely a difference between all three, but your intention was very, very specific.

Did any of them support the "uselessness of kata in the real world", given the literal definition? Or are we talking about the uselessness of Japanese kata? In both cases I disagree.
Since "kata" is a Japanese term, I've always taken discussion of "kata" to be about the Japanese ones. That's the only way I've ever seen the term used.
 

Steve

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While I've made the argument, myself, that there's an overlap between forms and drills, I think it's important to discuss the topic folks start with, rather than swerving with a different definition. Otherwise, someone says, "Those very exact and repetitive long forms are useless", and someone else replies, "No, those drills using a common 3-punch combination aren't useless, at all." And there's no real discussion going on.
I think we're moving into the "aliveness" story arc now. About that time, I guess.
 

Oily Dragon

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They were simply the first video that I could find of a "kata" a "kung fu form" and a "boxing drill". Nothing more to it than that. Full disclosure, I only watched the first 30 seconds or so of each video to ensure they were at least superficially representative of the three different things.

Relevant to this discussion, when I used the three terms above, I got EXACTLY what I expected. Kata gives you japanese kata. Kung fu form gives you some version of wushu or similar. And boxing drill gives you a mostly "alive" pattern.


I don't know, but if we can agree that there is a difference, it will help that discussion move forward.
I think the boxing tutorial is not incredibly functional based on the chance you'll ever need those skills.

You're far more likely to engage in a dance competition or just run like a wild fool through the forest on a given day, than to need to strike another person in the face.

That's why when we talk "functional" vs "useless", I'm often of the mind to toss both and just dance.
 

Oily Dragon

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While I've made the argument, myself, that there's an overlap between forms and drills, I think it's important to discuss the topic folks start with, rather than swerving with a different definition. Otherwise, someone says, "Those very exact and repetitive long forms are useless", and someone else replies, "No, those drills using a common 3-punch combination aren't useless, at all." And there's no real discussion going on.
Any time a human says something is "useless" beware.
 

Oily Dragon

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I think we're moving into the "aliveness" story arc now. About that time, I guess.
Only if some still believe (2022????) Kata are static, and dead. Which misses the point. If you're going to rely on a competition video, then you're going to get that.

Why did you not post a Kyokushin video? They do forms, too, but they integrate them into live, resistance based training.

If we go beyond the Japanese term to Chinese Kuen sets, the whole point is to become alive, which is why they start solo and fixed, then solo and unfixed, then paired and fixed, then paired and unfixed.
 

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Many people may say that the Taiji outside crescent kick can be a foot sweep. But in order to make a foot sweep work, many key requirements are missing in Taiji outside crescent kick.

This is the problem for "abstract" form training. You may think you are training a certain skill, but the truth is you are not.
 
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Steve

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I think the boxing tutorial is not incredibly functional based on the chance you'll ever need those skills.

You're far more likely to engage in a dance competition or just run like a wild fool through the forest on a given day, than to need to strike another person in the face.

That's why when we talk "functional" vs "useless", I'm often of the mind to toss both and just dance.
Oh, you surprised me. Okay. So, not aliveness. Instead, we're going to talk about how we don't fight anyhow, so it doesn't really matter if one develops any actual fighting expertise while learning a martial art. I basically have two thoughts on this, as long as you're going there.

First, I think all is well, as long as folks are honest with themselves, and are transparent with their students, about what they are and are not teaching them. The problem is you have some folks who want to have it both ways. They will "like" your comment above because they have never been in a fight, and then also offer their opinions about what is effective or functional in a fight.

Second, personally, I don't think there's any need to be "the best" or an expert at things you enjoy. But there is something to the idea of pursuing development with a little integrity. Don't get me wrong, if you don't care to learn to fight, no problem. But I have no respect for folks who do anything half-assed. I would never let my kids get away with saying, "It's fine... no one will ever see it anyway." Such a cop out. So, when you say, "It's fine if it doesn't work, because I'll never need those skills anyway," it undermines the entire activity. I see no integrity in that, at all. Why do it, if you aren't going to do it?
 

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Only if some still believe (2022????) Kata are static, and dead. Which misses the point. If you're going to rely on a competition video, then you're going to get that.

Why did you not post a Kyokushin video? They do forms, too, but they integrate them into live, resistance based training.

If we go beyond the Japanese term to Chinese Kuen sets, the whole point is to become alive, which is why they start solo and fixed, then solo and unfixed, then paired and fixed, then paired and unfixed.
I didn't post a Kyokushin video because it wasn't the first video that came up when I googled "kata" videos... didn't you read my post? I explained it to you. I'm starting to believe you are arguing with a fictional version of me that has said things I haven't, and not said things I have.

Do you think I have a problem with kata?
 

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On the other hand, I have seen this video:

and it helped me change my perspective and understand a different way of seeing/doing things. I would still argue in a way that trough tactics and strategies forms are inherently developped but as they are not trained specifically it wouldn't be a proper way of saying things.

I may also be wrong and have failed to understand what was meant regardless.

On a different/same note, I understand what he says and can agree with it up to a point. Reason I am saying up to a point is that a lot of Krav Maga seems to be using that model to teach and by the end of a curriculum most people end up fighting with relatively weak MMA skills and add a few groin shots/illegal moves to UFC and that is the result. Of course this is a stereotype but from what I have seen, someone with no knowledge of combat that just learns strategies and tactics will be not afraid to use those and be agressive when needs be but the ensuring it is as efficient as possible portion may not be there. Now, does it matter that the elbow is not at x angle when throwing the hook? Not at all, it is however helpful to know how to put power and torque behind that hook to ensure the person will react accordingly and the main subject can escape or call for help whichever....


I found it interesting that my opinion was disagreed with and wanted to know more. I now have a better/different understanding and properly see the light hahaha.

Thanks for sparking that curiosity in me, I never imagined other options were there. Goes to prove I am but a young puppy in this world.
One might suggest that he doesn't really understand what a fundamental is, and how it applies to strategy and positioning...

Once you learn the rules, and understand why they are there, you can break them but still incorporate the principle beneath the rules.
 

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Oh, you surprised me. Okay. So, not aliveness. Instead, we're going to talk about how we don't fight anyhow, so it doesn't really matter if one develops any actual fighting expertise while learning a martial art. I basically have two thoughts on this, as long as you're going there.

First, I think all is well, as long as folks are honest with themselves, and are transparent with their students, about what they are and are not teaching them. The problem is you have some folks who want to have it both ways. They will "like" your comment above because they have never been in a fight, and then also offer their opinions about what is effective or functional in a fight.

Second, personally, I don't think there's any need to be "the best" or an expert at things you enjoy. But there is something to the idea of pursuing development with a little integrity. Don't get me wrong, if you don't care to learn to fight, no problem. But I have no respect for folks who do anything half-assed. I would never let my kids get away with saying, "It's fine... no one will ever see it anyway." Such a cop out. So, when you say, "It's fine if it doesn't work, because I'll never need those skills anyway," it undermines the entire activity. I see no integrity in that, at all. Why do it, if you aren't going to do it?
I understand.

"aliveness" in the martial arts sense has a very specific meaning, according to certain "modern" schools, and it's not a new concept, obviously sparring has been around for thousands and thousands of years. Roman gladiators sparred, Chinese soldiers sparred, Indian warriors sparred. Whether or not its practiced in a particular school today depends on specifics.

But I think the answer to your question is simple, if you want to keep it specific to Japanese kata. Kata is not for leaning to fight. Never was. It's for learning movements that were developed from older movement sets, a long time ago. Any one of us here who knows a little boxing and a little kata could probably created a 100 move Boxing Kata form containing nothing but functional movements. Without sparring with them, they'd be nothing more than practice, though.

When boxers learn their first movements, they learn dead forms and patterns (kata, in the literal sense), before they ever hit anyone for real. They learn form/pattern and the functional use/skill comes later on. Nobody goes into a boxing gym, gets thrown into the ring, and is told "just go". It just so happens you'll probably be able to do that in a short time, because boxing forms are pretty simple and limited to a small range of attacks and defenses.

As long as something in karate, kung fu, or boxing instills some sort of benefit, it's not "useless". The Shaolin fom you posted teaches balance, grace, and flexibility, and contains specific techniques that can be drilled or sparred with alive. So that video is not representative. The karate kata teaches energetic movement, intention, focus. Also not representative of how kata movements are utilized in full contact competition.

If kata were truly useless, they'd have died out a long time ago. They'd have been left behind for impracticality. Yet millions of people find them helpful, compared to the few critics, and quite a few of their proponents are, and always have been, successful, full contact fighters who train "alive".
 

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