Learning a kata by yourself

Discussion in 'Karate' started by nekoashi, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    Anyone ever taught themselves a new kata?
  2. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i've copied kata, which is not the same thing as learning them properly :p

    with one exception, they're all kata i've trained in a dojo at some point or another, though, and the one exception really doesn't count because i've never learned the proper stylistic mechanics for it, but rather simply copied the sequence out of idle boredom (uechi sanchin).

    mostly i just do them every once in a while for the sake of variety, because they're kata i like, for whatever reason.
  3. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    I just started trying to teach myself one of our black belt katas. I have always taken a very long time to advance in belts and never had the urge to rush to the next kata or belt and in some ways I feel like I am a long way off from even mastering my first katas that I have probably done 10,000 time each. Every time I have learned a new kata, it was at the prompting of my instructor to do so.

    I want to see how well I can now teach myself. While it is considered an advanced kata it seems pretty simple (at least on the surface). Most of the moves I have done in other katas, so for the most part it is like scrambling up a few other katas and putting them back together as a new one. I want to get the basic patterns down and then go over the finer points in the dojo. Kind of want to surprise my sensei after I feel comfortable and ask him to watch. I wonder what his reaction will be.

    I come to realize that as you advance in rank, you really need to be able to train yourself, as classes (unless focused on advanced students) are too general to really spend time working the more advanced katas you know. Obviously you need a more advanced belt to make sure you are doing things right, but I am finding that there is less and less time on the floor to study the more advanced stuff.
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I taught myself almost all the Shotokan Kata post 3rd Kyu from a combination of books and videos based on my knowledge of the existing biomechanics. I then had instructors comment if they ever felt the need to change anything - they rarely did.
  5. callsignfuzzy

    callsignfuzzy Is not a number!

    I've played around with some. Having trained karate for years no doubt helped. I don't have the resources to film myself for critique, though.

    I find the basics (stance, uke, strike, kick) to be pretty easy, as there are a lot of cross-overs and redundancies. However, little nuances, such as tucking the hips under for some forms, or a chance in the performance of an uke technique (circular style found more in Okinawa as opposed to Shotokan-esque push-pull), are harder to ingrain.
  6. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Why didn't you learn them from your instructor?

  7. UechiWillam

    UechiWillam Valued Member

    I agree with Fish Of Doom, I've copied kata, but that is not the same as learning them properly.

    But I must say, with a good understanding of body mechanics, some common sense and a good sense of Budo it's still a worthwhile pursuit. Actually, with or without a knowledgeable instructor, you'll need to these things as well.
  8. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    But, without an instructor - aren't you just learning the "omote"

    As my instructor tells me, "omote" is like a shop window, it's only when you get inside the shop you really understand what is on offer.

  9. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Because my instructor only taught Kata on Monday evening classes, and as I'd changed location so that I lived over 90 minutes drive away, I could only make the Sunday morning classes.

    From 3rd Kyu onwards the majority of my training time was solo work supplemented by regular training in the local classes (with different ways of doing the Kata) of other clubs in other organisations at home (both in Bucks and in Norfolk) and at Uni (Birmingham) while seeing my instructor (in Essex) as often as I could.

    Edit: By seeing I mean 'training with'.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    That assumes an instructor knows and/or teaches more than the "omote" of the Kata, and that varies considerably from style to style and org to org (plus time period to tie period - the way my original core style is now taught has changed in many clubs). Personally I always wanted to learn more than was taught, which is why I spent so much time in study.
  11. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    Before video it was really hard. I had Master Enoeda's kata books and tried those we rarely practiced in the dojo in the mid/late 80s, possibly because more often the highest grade was a shodan (this was when I was a brown belt), and the nearest club was the UK mainland about 180 miles away :) There were favourites like Sochin, Kanku Sho, Nijushiho and others that were never done in class, probably because no one was ever taught them. Then I moved south...
  12. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    I spend more time on the web researching this kind of stuff than anything else. I have great respect for my teachers and their knowledge, but I don't think even the founder of Matsubayashi (Shoshin Nagamine) knew all the applications from the katas in the system. Let's face it, karate has a very fragmented history and was passed down from master to student over a very long time and often secrets were withheld. IMHO, you must research your art from many sources, take nothing as gospel until you discover it for real yourself (if that makes sense).

    By the way, I think I have the kata down (well at least to the point I can show my sensei and get corrected on the finer points.) Onto the next one. I can't even imagine attempting this pre-video (remember taking karate back in those days?)
  13. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    *whistles innocently*
  14. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Well trying to find Karate pre video, especially in the UK, is pretty difficult. I do know what you mean though. Books were hard to come by, your best chance of getting alternative opinions was martial arts magazines, and videos were like gold dust. Today it's a whole different experience.
  15. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    Well fortunately, at least we had a pretty good book on our style since 1976. I was thinking how hard things must have been before then. Everything must have been taught in the dojo (will have to ask some of the senior guys I train with their experience). I agree, it is a whole different experience studying it today now that videos are available.
  16. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    I started training in 1990-91 (can't remember exactly), I was in my early twenties then. VHS tapes were pretty big and you could buy some in Black Belt Magazine (but you could never find your exact style). There was no such thing as a DVD yet and no one ever heard the term MMA. The Gracie family was just coming onto the scene back then. Quite a different martial arts world back then. The only thing that is still true, is that Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee were featured in just about every issue of Black Belt, almost to the exclusion of the 10,000 other arts and artists out there. Its kind of like Arnold in Muscle and Fitness Magazine.
  17. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    learning a kata by myself - barf. I'm just starting to learn one of the two most difficult heian katas. heian yondan. I'm having issues with it - yes I'm new at it - and that is with instructors.

    don't get me wrong - i love kata, they so pretty :) i guess though since i'm reaching the middle of the kyus - that is green belt, i'm logically getting into harder stuff. :)
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  18. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    The Pinans/Heians are intermediate katas. They lay a good foundation for more complex katas. I don't think I could have learned them on my own, as you need a foundation to build a house.
  19. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i was BORN in 90/91 (dec 90, to be precise) :p

    started MA at 11 in early 2002

    @blade: don't worry, godan will be a breeze, it's really short and only has like 2 repeated moves (the beginning and the ending), and yondan's really simple once you get the hang of it, sp just keep at it and you'll get them in no time. also what nekoashi said :D
  20. nekoashi

    nekoashi Valued Member

    I don't know about you guys, but when I first start learning a kata, learning the basic pattern is always a bit overwhelming. There then comes a moment when you say aha I got it. To me, this is the point where you can actually start learning the kata, as you have attained the level where you aren't thinking about what is the next move.

    Fish, I wish my body was still in its 20s. It is not healing as quick as it used to. Use that.

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