Karate theory: tense kata vs loose kata | Page 2

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Hotora86, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. panamaican Steel Belt

    panamaican
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    Since I never trained in a super traditional dojo, I can't speak to the specifics of how those places train. When I learned, we learned the entire Heian series at once and drilled them as a group from the beginning. Then we learned Tekki Shodan and then Hangetsu. That was our foundation. And since it was very small group of people training, class tended to have lots of variation in the kihon and lots of partner drills beyond the standard 1-3-5 step sparring.

    My perspective on the value of the repetition for muscle memory comes from my sparring experience outside of karate. When I went out and sparred outside of karate, I found that I was able to improvise and apply techniques/defenses that I had never formally drilled because I had drilled them in the katas so many time.

    Things would happen and I'd find myself flowing into kata sequences because they just naturally worked. Not 6 steps sequences with turning on the heel and yada, yada, yada but 2-4 step sequences.

    It was eye opening. Was it a substitute for drilling specific techniques over and over again? No, it was a complement to them. Specific drilling would have refined those techniques. But you can't drill every thing every class. There just isn't enough time in the day to handle your fundamentals then drill every technique presented in a dozen or more kata and then actively apply them via sparring.

    Let me lay out how i would teach it to illustrate my point. In the ideal world, I'd take a kata (say Bassai Dai since I referenced that earlier), and teach the kata in it's entirety. My kihon would be specific sequences from the kata to reinforce those movements, the balance, transitions, etc. Then partner drills on specific applications from those specific sequences. Then sparring. And that would be the only way you teach for a year or more. But that can't work in a large class with multiple mixed belts learning different katas at the same time. Kihon ends up being less kata relevant because everyone isn't doing the same kata, even if they're doing the same kihon.

    My experience showed me that just the constant repetition of kata was making me a better fighter. Are there better ways to drill specific techniques? Absolutely. But, to me, the kata should be treated as the foundation for the specific techniques you're drilling that day. Do the kata, drill the techniques from the kata including the transitions, repeat the kata. Go spar. But for the techniques that you're not drilling, doing the other kata is a way to get some of the repetition in that will improve the techniques later.

    But that's my experience. Everyone's karate journey is different and the more traditional the dojo and the larger the classes, the less relevant my experience seems to be.
     
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  2. panamaican Steel Belt

    panamaican
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    @Hotora86 @Azam

    Have you ever experimented with aspects of the katas that people take for granted?

    For example, something I've done which I've found very insightful is changing the stepping direction of certain movements. For example, in the Heian series, I open by stepping away instead of stepping forward. Like in the opening gedan barai of Heian Shodan, instead of stepping out/forward with the left foot into the movement, I step backwards with the right foot into the movement (same ending stance, left foot forward gedan barai facing to the left). Then move forward into the tzuki. It completely changes how you generate power and your sense of balance.

    I do the same thing with the kokustu dachi's. So in Heian Nidan, after the first kick, you execute 3 backwards shutos and then explode forward for the nukite. Or in Yondan, 3 backwards morote uke's then explode forward for the knee strike.

    From a fighting perspective, performing kata this way is often more analogous to actual fighting where you have to quickly shift from moving backwards defensively into a forward attack. Or in other cases, a series of forward attacks suddenly shifting backwards into defense (Such as in the 2nd straight line sequence of Nidan suddenly shifting backwards into the morote uke).

    EDIT: Jion starts exactly like that, with a backwards step before moving forward.

    I've often wondered if whole sequences of kata are not moving in the right direction (by constantly moving forward, even when the kata indicates the back stance) and that becomes a large reason why they are ineffective for many people in many circumstances. That, in my opinion, is a very good reason to abandon kata altogether.

    Anyway, try it sometime and let me know what you think.
     
    #22
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017 at 7:32 PM
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  3. IndyCovaHart How is red belt higher than BLACK???

    IndyCovaHart
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  4. Hotora86 racist belt

    Hotora86
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    Hey, appreciate Your input, thanks. :)

    I've done kata with the 3 blocks in place (instead of moving forward) but not moving backwards - it's an interesting concept.

    I'm generally a proponent of doing an entire kata "for reference" but then focusing on 3-4 step fragments as solo and partner drills. I also like what Iain Abernethy is doing. Like for the 3 shuto - nukite part of H-Nidan:

     
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  5. Hotora86 racist belt

    Hotora86
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    Browsing YT I found this gem (note that Naka sensei references kata a lot):

     
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