Kata from a conceptual perspective

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Kobudo, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    This will probably be mostly personal opinion, rather than a clear cut right/wrong type of thing...

    DIfferent orgs have different approaches, as do different Ryu, etc, we've all seen completely different versions of the same kata, Omote, Ura, Kihon, Henka, sometimes to the point of it seeming like something different.

    This stems from what's being transmitted in the kata, beyond the specific techniques themselves to the concepts and strategy being handed along.

    So my question for you is, in your opinion, using the basic concepts being transmitted, how far can you deviate before what you're doing becomes a different kata altogether?
  2. FunnyBadger

    FunnyBadger I love food :)

    17cm except in March, you can deviate further in March :)
  3. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    17cm? that much huh??

  4. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    My ¥2

    Toshindo, and all the crappy "henka" you see foreigners inventing and posting videos of. That is where you draw the line. Actually, I'm just kidding, but there is very little room for creativity. You practice the kata as it was passed down, along with the henka that were passed down through generations as taught by your teacher who was taught them directly by his teacher(line of transmission). That is how you practice the kata. As you learn the kata in different levels(beginner, intermediate, advanced), you deal with different speed, pressure, body types, and other things that make you understanding of the kata and it's inherent concepts much deeper. The beginner kata is not very effective for fighting because the deeper aspects of what makes it useful haven't been shared or practiced to the point of being applicable. The advanced kata shouldn't look exactly like the beginner kata, and although these differences might sometimes be subtle, being able to perform the kata with the differences is very important.

    When you break down the different components of the kata however, you practice them in as many ways as you can come up with, including different attacks, left instead of right, etc. Seated, kneeling, back against the wall, multiple opponents, etc. The principles and components of kata must be fully and deeply analyzed, practiced, and internalized to be of any use. However, this is different from the kata practice. Without both components, you will lack in ability to use the things that the kata is teaching you.

    So you have to clearly separate kata geiko from the equally important aspect of breaking it down into the component parts and practicing different aspects if you want to understand the kata deeply.
  5. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Pr I read and heard some things from Soke. He said that at a certain point you throw away the kata. How does that figure into the scope of what you wrote?
  6. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    Well how could you throw the kata away if you had never actually learned the kata?

    Certain points are certain points, not just any old point.
  7. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    After you've gone through the third level of learning at least.

    At the level of the Japanese shihan or so. For fighting, you don't try to use kata, but your understanding and internalization of them comes out. There's some threads about it if I'm not mistaken.
  8. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    To try to answer the op:

    Imho....The kata becomes not the kata:-

    A - when the lessons or point of the kata has vanished
    B - when shortcuts are made to bypass actual learning of the kata
    C - when a person watches youtube or DVD to learn a kata rather than be taught it by someone who knows the actual kata and all the meaning within.

    Etc etc.
  9. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    So then the question becomes if during a Soke class and 40 people are in the room, who is he saying that statement to? I have watched a few of his general class videos and he says that consistently.

    If i am to put your statement in conjunction with that class room consistency then he is only teaching to maybe 1 or 2 people in the room that need to hear it and the rest dont belong there.
  10. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In my view, Soke is teaching to the people immediately behind him

    In turn it's their role to do the same and that's kinda how things are transmitted without impairing the senior person's progression
  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    If your teaching you should always stick to the standard being shown by your own teacher / and/or the head of your org.

    For personal practice, as long as you are aware of the concept your focusing on, and know that is likely you haven't understood the totality of the fundamental form yet, does it really matter.

    what matters is when people teach there own personal versions as THE version and lead others down your own personal path without giving them the grounding in fundamentals first. This applies to pretty much all martial arts and combat sports.
  12. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Not sure why that then becomes the question to ask?:dunno: To me the question becomes, why haven't every person teaching out there learned all the ryu material in depth to the point where they can reach the level where they can throw the kata away?

    Of course, in a confrontation you do not attempt to "use" a kata on someone, as if you were responding to an attack like in class. Parts of kata might appear, but the exact choreography, timing, and other aspects will 99.9% of the time be different.

    Hatsumi sensei was said to have been teaching towards the godans at one point, then it was the 10dan, now the 15dans. In other words, if you follow what he says or try to mimic how he moves without going through the same foundational work he did, you will end up fooling yourself into thinking you are on the master's path. You aren't, you have actually taken a shortcut off the mountain but still think you are making progress towards the peak.

    Unless you are one of Hatsumi sensei's original students, chances that he is "teaching" you are not very high. You are a tourist along for the ride, or a bystander who is happening to be witnessing something amazing, not a disciple in a private setting learning at the foot of the master.
  13. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Which is my point PR most of the people in those classes dont belong there. That is using what i read from him and what you are saying. Heck all the proof i need is the 1000's of poor videos on youtube.(and other sources)

    Honestly you make it sound like unless i was a japanese shihan first gen student its a waste of time to even study this art. If that is the prevailing attitude in the higher echelons of the buj then how does that bode well for the rest of the orginization?
  14. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Guess you never read the Quality Control in the Bujinkan thread..

    It's always been my position and doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that what the Shihan were taught and what everyone else practices, are two completely different things(their difference growing the further off the line of transmission you go). It has also always been my mantra that if you want to learn the Takamatsuden, you learn it from one of the Shihan. Organizations, and money making aside, nobody outside of the line of transmission matters to the arts and their perpetuation.

    I don't concern myself with what people in the upper echelons think, only with my training. The future of the arts is secure at least for now, how long they are able to thrive remains a mystery, and has for every generation until history had its say up till now.
  15. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    So your basically confirming that if you cant live in japan and train with one of the original shihans dont bother. Its to bad none of them saw fit to disperse to the other countries in the world. It would make training with them easier and more accessible.

    That is part of the problem it is to expensive to move and live in japan permanently.

    IF what is being taught to the JPS is different to everyone else what the heck is being taught to everyone?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  16. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Not exactly "don't bother." Just understand that you are learning something different from the things that gave them their abilities. If you don't learn a martial art in the way it's been passed down for ages(of course adding improvements along the way helps), you will not achieve the same level of skill. This is part of the reason that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Dedicated practice of the correct things, conditioning, and a heightened athletic ability forged over years is the only equation that works, not matter the art.

    Manaka Sensei spent time living in the US I believe, but the real cause is that Stephen Hayes decided to popularize the art and Hatsumi sensei, before he had a clue what the arts entailed, and he didn't learn to a deep enough depth nor did he have a high enough ability in what he began disseminating. What he lacked in skill and ability(he couldn't even speak Japanese so lost a lot in translation), he made up for with charisma and creativity. His entire godai teaching, the cult of his personality, and everything that went along with it were the cause for the masses of foreigners exposed to the enlightened warrior ninja fantasy that he portrayed.
  17. Pankeeki

    Pankeeki Valued Member

    Generally nothing is being taught to 99% of the visitors in Japan.
    They witness something, they try to do it. Some come out with something that works, most come out with something rubbish. The funny thing is most of them believe they are special and that Hatsumi sensei is their teacher. Or that one of the dan grade throwing shihan takes a special interest in them and sees something great in their movement and that shihan is their teacher.

    Its funny to see that the classes that are most busy are also the classes that are given by shihan that give away grades like crazy.

    There is no transmission in the hombu dojo except when Hatsumi sensei corrects you, and only you, in private. But that is also very rare.

    I believe that Hatsumi sensei says things like, get rid of the kata, kata is for children, you dont need kata etc he does so because then he doesnt have to teach the kata properly. which is a pain because every minute detail is important and it takes a long time in order to make sure every part is correct. He did this sometimes when he was younger with the original shihan and thats why they are the only ones who can help you if you really want to learn but they in general wont take the time unless they see you as a personal student.
    And not a lot of foreigners are personal students to a japanese shihan, in fact it is quite impossible without living in japan for a long time....

    If you want to learn the real transmission my advice is to seek out Kacem Zoughari.
    I dont know anybody who received what he has received and if you see how Hatsumi sensei interacts with him in the hombu and in private you can see their connection easily.
    He is also the real uchi deshi to Ishizuka sensei (living/staying in his house) , one of the few original shihan and most senior shihan in the Bujinkan still teaching. What Kacem teaches is very different from mainstream BJK, very detailed and precise, very effective and straight from the densho. The diffference is like night and day.
    Right now he still travels around the world twice a month to teach seminars from Japan.
  18. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    So essentially dont bother if you cant live in Japan. That is quite disappointing. It makes no sense to let someone do poor form. Why not just correct it? Instead according to both of your words they wont correct it.

    So if what we Plebeians are doing is different then the real thing being taught to like 10 people, then wouldnt it make sense rename or cast out or both everyone else?

    I just dont understand how this strange and secretive arrangement is good for the art or anyone in it.

    Edit to add. Ok that sounds a little whiny and I'm sorry for that. Its just reading you two's comment, and the BJK quality thread, it just seams pointless. Your making it sound like 99% of BJK people would be better served in another art, simply because they didnt or cant order there life enough to live in Japan..

    Its like your making my efforts to learn this art futile.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  19. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    Have you started training in these arts?
  20. skuggvarg

    skuggvarg Valued Member

    I used to think like you, Kframe. To our western minds it really is a mess and makes no sense. However, looking at it through the glasses of old japanese martial arts it makes far more sense. Back in the days you could consider yourself very lucky if you got to study from a true master. Even more so if that master showed any kind of interest in you and your progress. Basically you had to "steal" the knowledge from the masters, not the other way around. There are plenty of such martial arts stories from old times. Sometimes, not even the masters own child got taught the secrets. Concerning Ninjutsu and its transmission I believe it is even more complicated. Hatsumi sensei has said Before that he doesnt care how many students he has or what level they are. As long as 1 out of all becomes a true master, it is enough.

    Regards / Skuggvarg

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