What Is a Kata

Shai Hulud

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Did you ever do kata in your Judo? My instructor knows the Judo katas, he demo'd some and we tried parts out but 'knee walking' is beyond me. Interestingly some are done with weapons.
Hallo, Tez!

I never had to work with weapons at my old Judo classes. It was more focused on the competitive sporting aspect. :) The kata consist primarily of statically drilled throws, pins, chokes and joint locks yes, but sadly a number of the throws were either impractical or outright banned for competition (such as the "Kani Basami", simply known as the "Scissor Leg Takedown").

The knee walking may be for leg endurance and strength! Judo can do a number on the knees over time. :) I've known people who've torn their ligaments, and I personally tore my patella tendon, which kept me out for months. :)

Can I respectfully disagree with some of the above.

"Totus est non quis is videor"

Years ago, before we were aware of bunkai, I often referred to kata as a tool box that contains all the techniques you are likely to use. You can pick and choose and string a few bits together.

Many years later I look at kata more as being the operating manual. It contains an entire fighting system within. But you need to progress way beyond kihon. There is no progression from kihon to kumite. The progression is from kihon to more advanced understanding.
This is fair. I am not a Karateka so I just carried over whatever I learned from TCMA over to JMA.

A question though: But isn't the 'more advanced understanding' acquired from Kihon training to be used in Kumite? Not necessarily as a progression, but as supplements to each other. I apologize if I made it sound like a hierarchy.
 

K-man

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They are blocks from kihon that are adapted for bunkai. Kihon that are also found in Kata, even if one interprets them different from the literal movement. Whether you take them from kata or kihon, they need to be adapted like in the video
True.

Bunkai is simply applications from kata correct?
True

Ive never seen Kihon that cannot be found within kata.
Again true because the kata you normally see is kihon kata.

Implying that that a movement that can be found within a form, and is adapted as bunkai to be a different tech, is not from kata and has nothing to do with bunkai because its an individual form doesnt make sense to me honestly. The movement is still in kata, taught in kata, used in kata.
This is a little confusing. An individual movement found in a form is identical to the individual movement found in the kihon. So let's say that you find a technique that you recognise that you could use on the ground as a joint break. That is an application from the kihon. Now we see the same movement in the kata but from the context of the kata it is obvious that the application is different. There may be three or four other options but ground fighting won't likely be one of them. All of them are bunkai and each is your personal interpretation. Just from the kata the context is important. If you take the individual technique alone and attribute an application it is still bunkai.

The literal interpretation of the first two moves of heian shodan are a block to the down, then a punch.

One Bunkai is that series of moves as a takedown,

Although the moves individually are kihon, adapting them from that movement for SD would be Bunkai correct?
True.

While the block in that video can be stand alone, its in several forms. One that i believe we'd both be familiar with is Bassai.

since its both Kihon, and a movement in Kata, is using it Bunkai or not? I feel it is, but you may not.
I agree.

I think that's where we're clashing, differing interpretations and opinions of what can or should be classified as Bunkai. Especially considering for days now we'e agreed on how to adapt bunkai and other moves to use them for SD. We've agreed on several fundamentals and concepts, so lets just call it difference of opinions
On these things we agree completely. What I was trying to point out is that if you are using a mid section 'block' as in the video I posted above, it cannot work in the way it is trained except in slow motion. It is physically impossible. What I was showing was the way Dan had modified the technique to make it work as a block.

Regardless, my point is that no matter where a move is taken from, they need to be adapted from the original method and applied to SD. Whether your are doing the drill one-step or more like a boxer. A student not understanding this, is the fault of his instructor and not a drill. Regardless of our opinions on drills, we seem to agree on how the drills should go, so lets just call it
I don't use the step drills and I don't do much like a boxer either. Our drills come straight from bunkai.
 

K-man

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This is fair. I am not a Karateka so I just carried over whatever I learned from TCMA over to JMA.

A question though: But isn't the 'more advanced understanding' acquired from Kihon training to be used in Kumite? Not necessarily as a progression, but as supplements to each other. I apologize if I made it sound like a hierarchy.
IMO yes and no. Kihon is for learning the basics. We train our stances, we train our strikes we train or kicks and most of that we do solo. Occasionally we might have a partner to work on distance and to add a touch of reality but you could do the same in front of the mirror at home. Now you take those individual techniques and put them together in the form of kata and we are now drilling the same techniques in a different way. We are learning to put the techniques together and transition smoothly from one to the next.

Now it depends on what you mean by kumite. In my early days kumite was basically a distance of about two metres and we are trying to get in and out to land a strike and not get hit in the process. Now, for me, kumite is entering and grabbing and applying your techniques much the same way that you see Iain Abernethy practising his bunkai. Kata has no part in the former but comes into play when you are holding and controlling. Kata or more specifically kata bunkai can only work when you can control your opponent thus limiting his options. At a distance I can't predict what he is going to throw at me.

So in summation, yes the advanced understanding of the kihon is used in kumite but probably won't do much for you in sport type sparring that most people recognise as kumite.
 

ShotoNoob

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Some Latin!
The forms (in this case, "Kata") are the bridge between the Kihon and the Kumite. Every key technique, mechanic, movement and principle you will be exposed to in the Kihon is condensed for easier reference and learning in the Kata, which you will then have to expound upon in Kumite (do the Kata over and over again until it becomes second nature, then every now and then if a particular movement in any of the katas interest you and you think you can make it work, single it out, break it down and test it out in Kihon training all over again). :)
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With some qualification as you might expect, LOVE IT!!!

So, for your fighting to resemble at least remotely the form of Karate, it follows that you will have to be familiar with Karate's move-sets. The Kata itself will have little to no combat value if you take it at face value. You could make it work, but the general principles and techniques show there may not apply to all circumstances.....One has to get to the essence of the very basics of the techniques.
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The part I edited out, it's not that I don't concur, it's the emphasis. For example, the taikyoku kata emphasize the front punch or lunge punch. Note, not the reverse punch so prevalent in Shotokan karate jiyu kumite. I use both in my kumite technique. Where I DIFFER from nearly all karateka I know, is that I can rely on my front punch, a straight front punch, while they almost all to a "T" depend on the reverse punch.
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So to capitalize on your quote re getting to the essence of the basic technique, how good is my front punch. I can shoot it out fast and hard like a 2x4 ramming into your chest. Kihon practice provides the basic structure and technical base. Kata brings it into continuous real time application.

Forms exist to serve as outlines or "cheat-sheets" for an entire TMA's curriculum, or at least most of it. They won't do everything on their own, but they make up a significant portion of the pie, considering these are the medium through which form, general principle, and key concept are taught to the student. Reflex and adaptability will come through Kihon; spirit from Kumite. :)
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Actually kihon, kata, and kumite are all rooted in the same underlying principles, with being kata the comprehensive karate exercise that links them all together. I see the reference to of kata as a 'cheet sheet.' That's not what Gichin Funakoshi nor what his Okinawan Masters envisioned.
 

D.Cobb

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Interesting that you seem to be in favour of these drills. I actually threw them all out of my training when I switched styles. I can understand their benefit if you are point sparring but for me, that's where it all ends. In our training I reckon a lot of the drills were straight out unrealistic in a combat sense. Could I ask, what benefit do you get performing them?

The biggest issue I see with drills is that the practitioners rarely perform them with intent. With drills that require both participants to strike, you rarely see the drills done with any level of intensity. With drills where one is the defender(doing the drill) and the other is the original attacker, for the drill to be anywhere near realistic, the original attacker needs to maintain the attacking mindset so that the defender has something to work with and off...
 

D.Cobb

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Interesting thing I was told is that kumite means where hands meet. Therefore any time you have contact with your training partner you are practising kumite. In Goju Ryu, when we block, it is really to redirect and we always follow through so the block becomes a punch.
 
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