What kata win in competition?

Bill Mattocks

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I've noticed that there are certain kata that are never done in tournaments; they just don't seem to win. Not that they're bad kata; just apparently judges don't care for them.

The Isshin-Ryu kata that I know of that seem to win in underbelt classes are Chinto and Seuinchin. For novices, Seisan is popular.

What kata or forms in your style are considered 'winning' katas for tournaments?

With regard to weapons kata, I am not qualified to any yet, but I notice that most of the Isshin-Ryu competitors I've seen do Tokimine No Kun (Bo kata). Over and over again. You'd think it was the only kata out there. The few times I've seen any kind of Sai kata, such as Kusanku Sai, it usually wins, even if not done with complete mastery. Makes me think if I decide to do weapons kata in tournament, I'd be better served learning a good Sai kata than a Bo kata. We don't do Nunchaku or Kamai (and we have only one Tuifa (Tonfa) kata, but I don't see many of them, and the few I've seen haven't won.

How about you?

What are your thoughts? What empty-hand and weapons kata often win? Any idea why?
 

chinto

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depends on the art and the tournament. I have seen some things that were 'competition kata' that, well I dont know weather to laugh of cry when I saw them. flashy but would get you killed in a real fight. ( ya literally killed dead ) I like the kicks low ( in Okinawan Karate ) and well traditional Karate kata with real meaning.

all I can advise is go watch and see what seems to be winning and if you want to do that kind of thing.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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all I can advise is go watch and see what seems to be winning and if you want to do that kind of thing.

Well, I do and I know what seems to be winning; I mentioned it. What I was asking was what others seem to think is winning.
 

Black Belt Jedi

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I remember performing Tomari Wando at tournament last October and winning 1st place beating a kenpo practitioner, two competitors who did Unsu and one creative form competitor. I got first place performing Matsu Higa no Tonfa defeating a Jo kata and three other creative form weapons competitors. That period was the changing of the guard where the tournament I comepted in was gradually began to appreciate the more effective tradtional forms over the flashy XMA forms.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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I remember performing Tomari Wando at tournament last October and winning 1st place beating a kenpo practitioner, two competitors who did Unsu and one creative form competitor. I got first place performing Matsu Higa no Tonfa defeating a Jo kata and three other creative form weapons competitors. That period was the changing of the guard where the tournament I comepted in was gradually began to appreciate the more effective tradtional forms over the flashy XMA forms.

Thanks! Most of the tournaments I have been to have separate divisions for traditional and creative weapons kata. Music, weapons that light up or leave the performer's hands (ie, throwing bo and such high in the air and catching it, etc), backflips, etc, are all left to the 'creative' kata divisions. I don't even consider that sort of thing; I'd never be able to do any such kata and don't really have any interest in trying.

I'll have to check youtube for an example of tomari wando.
 

geezer

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I never really understood the whole "kata competition" thing. Maybe that's because in the arts I've practiced the forms we do are designed for training, not for competition, and would never win anything... especially if done right. And, when I watch other styles, the forms I like best are usually simple and to the point, not the showy stuff that grabs attention. Oh well. Each to their own.
 

chinto

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like i said go look in your aria, some arias seem to well lean one way or the other from what I can see. I have a couple friends who do more tournaments then most who tell me that it seems to be to some extent individual to that particular aria and tournament.
 

dancingalone

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What kata or forms in your style are considered 'winning' katas for tournaments?

None of the Goju-ryu forms do well in an open tournament format where you see Korean, Chinese, and Japanese/Okinawan stylists all intermixed in the same form divisions. Perhaps Seiunchin might be a exception. In general, the more dynamic the movement, the longer the stances, the more varied the kicking is, the better a form does when judged by people who might not know the form personally.

Patterns like Koryo (TKD), Chung Mu (TKD), & Bassai (Japanese karate/TSD) are generally crowd-pleasers.
 

ralphmcpherson

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None of the Goju-ryu forms do well in an open tournament format where you see Korean, Chinese, and Japanese/Okinawan stylists all intermixed in the same form divisions. Perhaps Seiunchin might be a exception. In general, the more dynamic the movement, the longer the stances, the more varied the kicking is, the better a form does when judged by people who might not know the form personally.

Patterns like Koryo (TKD), Chung Mu (TKD), & Bassai (Japanese karate/TSD) are generally crowd-pleasers.
Yeah, I was going to say koryo.
 

Ironcrane

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In all the tournaments I've been to, there wasn't a lot of variety. When it came to weapon forums, about 95% of those competing either had a staff, or kamas. I saw a samurai sword only once, and two wushu broadswords from the same two people. Also saw one pair of tiger hooks. Never saw any sai's, or Tonfa. When it came up empty handed kata, a lot of the same people would do a weaponless variation of the same form. This was something I was always disappointed by.
But to actually try to answer your question, as best as I can remember, the kata's that usually won were the more 'fancy one's performed with a certain degree of sharpness as opposed to kata that were more straight forward.
 

mook jong man

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Not a Karate story , but kind of related to the subject.

My late Master told us about when he first came to Australia , he got invited to some multiple styles martial arts exhibition to demonstrate some Wing Chun.
He did the first form Siu Nim Tao , after he finished there was a little bit of applause , not much , the audience were pretty much underwhelmed by this form that is performed standing still and with some quite slow movements.

Seeing the reaction of the audience , he started to improvise a form , complete with big flowery movements , lots of jumping around , strange noises , the whole bit.
When he finished , the crowd broke into applause , they thought it was fantastic.

He told them that one of the forms was a real fighting form and the other was just some nonsense he made up on the spot.
They all thought that the one he made up was the real fighting form and the Siu Nim Tao was the fake.
 

Zero

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He told them that one of the forms was a real fighting form and the other was just some nonsense he made up on the spot.They all thought that the one he made up was the real fighting form and the Siu Nim Tao was the fake.

hehe, I love it!
 

Zero

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Bill

I am surpirsed you have seen little kata using the nunchuku and those that have with little or no success!! I train in Okinawan Goju Ryu and in both the closed and open tournaments saw nunchuku kata, with those skilled practitioners doing very well. As with everything in MA there are many passionate feelings about the value of the nunchuk but that said, a good kata or display can be very impressive. Long way back I competed with the nunchuk and it was always well received, I once did a double nunchuk performance (and luckily managed not to knock myself out!) - would need a lot of practice now days before getting back into that though!! I can't remember what my sensei called the more advanced katas (as I was never a big one on the kata) but these are the same as the open-hand forms, nunchuku kata ni etc, I think.

I wonder why no one in your area is working on the katana, chuks or tonfa etc??

I do think those aluminium speed chuks and the like are a bit BS! Save for live blades, I say if you're gonna compete and train in a weapon, do it with the real thing - that said, the speed they can get to is impressive, but what is the point if you can't replicate that speed with the real thing and can do so only with a bit of tin that will fold around any ones forearm (and tossing them up into the air and catching again for no point (huh??) -who the hell throws away their weapon (unless it is at/into the opponent) in mid fight??).
Oops, sorry for the rambling - good luck on the forms and look forward to updates on the Sai of Death kata you are no doubt working on as I type!
 

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I've noticed that there are certain kata that are never done in tournaments; they just don't seem to win. Not that they're bad kata; just apparently judges don't care for them.

The Isshin-Ryu kata that I know of that seem to win in underbelt classes are Chinto and Seuinchin. For novices, Seisan is popular.

What kata or forms in your style are considered 'winning' katas for tournaments?

With regard to weapons kata, I am not qualified to any yet, but I notice that most of the Isshin-Ryu competitors I've seen do Tokimine No Kun (Bo kata). Over and over again. You'd think it was the only kata out there. The few times I've seen any kind of Sai kata, such as Kusanku Sai, it usually wins, even if not done with complete mastery. Makes me think if I decide to do weapons kata in tournament, I'd be better served learning a good Sai kata than a Bo kata. We don't do Nunchaku or Kamai (and we have only one Tuifa (Tonfa) kata, but I don't see many of them, and the few I've seen haven't won.

How about you?

What are your thoughts? What empty-hand and weapons kata often win? Any idea why?
The GoJu kata don't do well at open tournaments. Low kicks, too stiff if done wrong.
Now Chinto, is a great kata, and it was one of our backup tournament kata.
 

dancingalone

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Not a Karate story , but kind of related to the subject.

My late Master told us about when he first came to Australia , he got invited to some multiple styles martial arts exhibition to demonstrate some Wing Chun.
He did the first form Siu Nim Tao , after he finished there was a little bit of applause , not much , the audience were pretty much underwhelmed by this form that is performed standing still and with some quite slow movements.

Seeing the reaction of the audience , he started to improvise a form , complete with big flowery movements , lots of jumping around , strange noises , the whole bit.
When he finished , the crowd broke into applause , they thought it was fantastic.

He told them that one of the forms was a real fighting form and the other was just some nonsense he made up on the spot.
They all thought that the one he made up was the real fighting form and the Siu Nim Tao was the fake.

Yep. Pretty much. I actually teach Japanese Bassai to the few of my Goju karate students who like to go to tournaments for this exact reason. Modern wushu does well in my area in open tournaments also.
 

dancingalone

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The GoJu kata don't do well at open tournaments. Low kicks, too stiff if done wrong.
Now Chinto, is a great kata, and it was one of our backup tournament kata.

What did you use for beginner - intermediates out of curiosity?
 

chrispillertkd

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What are your thoughts? What empty-hand and weapons kata often win? Any idea why?

The ITF runs pattern competitions so that each person performs two patterns. One is randomly assigned and can be from any rank from 9th gup up to whatever rank they are and both do it, the second is chosen by the competitors and can vary. It does have to be a pattern from their dan rank, however (which means it can generally be one of three for black belts). Scores are taken for each pattern. This way it helps ensure that people continue to practice the patterns they've already learned at lower ranks.

Generally what happens is that if there is a very physically demanding pattern for your dan rank that ends up being the "optional" pattern (IV dans really like performing Moon-Moo, for instance, II dans generally do Ju-Che/Ko-Dang, etc.). The problem is that you can see, for instance, a mediocre performance of Ju-Che scored higher than an excellent Choong-Jang because some judges are really impressed when you can take 30 seconds to do a slow motion reverse hooking kick even if the rest of your pattern is blown out of the water by someone who's a bit wobbly on those kicks but kills on the rest of the tul. No system is perfect, but the adding of the assigned pattern tries to even things out. It also gives people competing in patterns more to do than just one pattern!

Pax,

Chris
 
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cdunn

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Most of the tournaments that we go to aren't entirely open, and wind up being mostly Tang Soo Do, with schools that have a fairly rigid rank/hyung progression. Therefore, color belts all do whatever their belts highest form is; red belts will end up all doing Bassai Dai, 1st - 2nd Dans all end up doing Jinto or Chil Sung Sam Ro, 3rd Dans all do Kong Song Koon or Chil Sung Oh Ro, etc. Judging gets boring sometimes, hah.

The other forms, you just don't see very much of - They're not 'athletic' appearing, so judges don't look well on them. Sad.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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The ITF runs pattern competitions so that each person performs two patterns. One is randomly assigned and can be from any rank from 9th gup up to whatever rank they are and both do it, the second is chosen by the competitors and can vary. It does have to be a pattern from their dan rank, however (which means it can generally be one of three for black belts). Scores are taken for each pattern. This way it helps ensure that people continue to practice the patterns they've already learned at lower ranks.

Generally what happens is that if there is a very physically demanding pattern for your dan rank that ends up being the "optional" pattern (IV dans really like performing Moon-Moo, for instance, II dans generally do Ju-Che/Ko-Dang, etc.). The problem is that you can see, for instance, a mediocre performance of Ju-Che scored higher than an excellent Choong-Jang because some judges are really impressed when you can take 30 seconds to do a slow motion reverse hooking kick even if the rest of your pattern is blown out of the water by someone who's a bit wobbly on those kicks but kills on the rest of the tul. No system is perfect, but the adding of the assigned pattern tries to even things out. It also gives people competing in patterns more to do than just one pattern!

Pax,

Chris

Interesting! I did go to a strictly Isshin-Ryu tournament with had two separate divisions for kata - one which the competitor picked their kata, and one which the competitor drew a kata out of a hat and performed that. One of our students tried the latter, drew Naihanchi, and the judge say "Oh, sorry, bad luck." And yeah, she did Naihanchi well, but the fact is, Naihanchi doesn't win tournaments. That seemed a trifle on the 'unfair' side to me, but it wasn't my tournament, so they can have whatever rules they like, I guess.
 

jks9199

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In all the tournaments I've been to, there wasn't a lot of variety. When it came to weapon forums, about 95% of those competing either had a staff, or kamas. I saw a samurai sword only once, and two wushu broadswords from the same two people. Also saw one pair of tiger hooks. Never saw any sai's, or Tonfa. When it came up empty handed kata, a lot of the same people would do a weaponless variation of the same form. This was something I was always disappointed by.
But to actually try to answer your question, as best as I can remember, the kata's that usually won were the more 'fancy one's performed with a certain degree of sharpness as opposed to kata that were more straight forward.

That's been about my experience, too. Mostly staff, some kama, some sai in weapons forms. The occasional sword, whether Japanese or Chinese. Our guys doing kukri drills get attention, but there's just not enough flash, and it's too different. We sometimes run into the same problem with stick forms; the principles are a bit different so they don't always do as well as they deserve in open tournaments. (In my opinion, of course... ;))

For empty hand, what I see winning and scoring well most often are the more middle length forms, with some complexity, done cleanly. Too fancy or flashy, and the judges don't score them well. Too simple, and it's just over before the judges decide they've seen anything.
/
One caveat: the open tournaments I tend to go to are often heavily Isshin-ryu or Japanese dominated. I just like the atmosphere and they way they're run; too many of the TKD-hosted open tournaments seem to have magical "coincidences" in the winners being from host or closely affiliated schools. Again -- personal experience, nothing more.
 
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