Why Kata?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by yuen, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. yuen

    yuen Valued Member

    Can Katas help you in anyway?

    The one I can think of is that it can improve your co-ordination and strength...but is it true?

    Last week our sensei brought a nine year old white belt to our brown belt class, and he told us to watch the white belt perform a kata (heian shodan). We were amazed on how much the boy understood about the kata and the strength he used. The reason why sensei asked him to come is that we (brown belts) can throw in occasionally our potential strength in our katas, but only for a short period of time, whereas the kid who is much younger than us did it with speed and power....and he was NINE!!

    tell me what you think :D

  2. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    NOT AGAIN! :cry: (sorry, but EVERYONE asks this)

    give me half an hour to look for the latest iteration of this discussion. should give you some food for thought.
  3. yuen

    yuen Valued Member

    haha sorry just wondering.

    thanks though.
  4. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    please no!

    and dude......fish....i've never seen anyone quote from the dune series. children's my fave!!!!
  5. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

  6. Rider

    Rider Everybody loves cakes! :D

    This is a common question

    I’m not a fan of kata personally but it has its advantages and i accept it as a good way to practice

    Stances in forms are often more exaggerated so it give you a solid stance, co-ordination to a extent can be gained too

    The main thing to remember with kata is that it is not a dance...some people will dance all through a kata

    you have to remember in kata every move has a application, that it your job as a student to ask, or find out what these are as sometimes instructors might not know...but a good instructor will...or will find out for you, if not you have to

    The other thing is that it trains the muscle memory, my constantly repeating a move over time (i think its something like 10'000 times), the body turns it into a reflex so to speak, so that the body instead of having to think a move, will just react and do it...The advantages of this are as you can guess...obvious and good

    It is however very sad that many people don’t know the moves hidden in the kata, what they are used for and often many people don’t know or teach these...when you add the application (knowing what the moves behind the form are for)...and the muscle memory, this bring in our reason as to why kata is there

    hope this helps
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  7. Rider

    Rider Everybody loves cakes! :D

    Thank for posting that...Im a bit new here myself so its good to be able to see other peoples positive or negitive views on this subject kata seem to be one of the large subjects in martail arts

  8. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    I have done plenty of forms and it's never helped me to achieve my goals. Especially not as fast as other methods.
  9. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    To give my version of Fishes excellent description.
    Kata served 2 purposes back when not many could read
    1/ To catalogue the techniques and strategies of a style
    2/To give usefull exercises to strengthen the correct muscles to carry out #1
    The problem with kata today , imo , is that people either want to put on a good kata performance for competition or feel that all kata must have combative use "straight out the box".
    The clever people (you know who you are ;)) use the kata as intended , as reference points.
  10. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    Yeah I think the general opinion is that kata can have benefits, but none that even come close to equaling those provided by other more active forms of training like sparring, bagwork, padwork, live drills etc.

    So in short, if your goal is to be as nasty a fighter as you can be, then any time you spend doing kata is time wasted.
  11. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Kata is a book of techniques, which is great.

    The problem is that performing the kata solo = reading the book, and regardless of how much visualisation you do and how hard you strain yourself, reading the book about something is not as useful as actually doing something.

    So break the kata apart, understand the bunkai then drill that with a resisiting partner and in sparring to make it work. Iain Abernethy is great on this.

    This may involve completely changin your sparring of course :D

    Either that or you have to accept them as a discipline removed from actually fighting, which is fine and brings its own rewards, but performing a kata 10,000 times will not prepare you for the first time you and the other drunk square off and he launches that right haymaker.

  12. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    but... but... hwa-rang!?
  13. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    *sneakily points to the threads on patterns that i've made in the tkd forum* :evil:

    *sits down so the tkd'ers can't kick him, then remembers that mitch does enshin, and hides behind MB*
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Loads of good stuff in Hwarang-tul, though I reckon Choong Moo has the best basic haymaker defence that's pretty clear as such. Which makes it a shame that it comes so high up the standard TKD curriculum. Not my fault mind :D

  15. Rider

    Rider Everybody loves cakes! :D

    True but i dont drink

    that aside tho (lol joking i have drink on occasion)...i understand where you are coming from as stated im personally not the biggest fan of kata and would prefer workout in the form on drills, bag work, and sparring

    Aswell as that but...that is were i agree with you a kata wont prepare you for a haymaker...best way to prepare for that i think really is general practice, but drilling such things...such as if you do a drill say like a boxing drill

    you do a 1,2 and them your partener throws a haymaker and you avoid it, slip into it...ect on the possibilitys you can counter with...i think that would prepare you better as naturally its easyer to relate to, visualise, teach and train its more simple to do a drill like that than learn a whole kata...

    i would agree with bassai however that kata are good reference points...and some of the applications are good, some are not so good (least i wouldnt use them someone else might be able to however)...i guess its just filtering out what is useful in them
  16. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    we need a kata debate for 2011 now. :)
  17. melbgoju

    melbgoju Valued Member

    I wasn't around for last year's conversation, so I'll put my two-bob's worth in here.

    I love kata, and it's one of the reasons I went back to karate after a number of years away, but....

    For me, the main point of kata is to act as a solo re-enactment/reminder of techniques already learned and practiced with a partner. Without the context of paired practice, kata loses much of its utility.

    This is not to say that there is only one correct technique for any part of a kata; this may have been true once (if ever), but I think it's pretty safe to say that we have no real idea what the creators of the various kata meant them to represent, and the wide variation we can see in almost any of the traditional shuri and nahe-te kata indicate that has been the case for a while.

    What is important is that the actions in the paired technique practice is mirrored in the kata. There thus may be multiple valid techniques for the one kata movement, within schools or across styles. They are valid if they work and if they are reflected by the kata in its solo form (this is separate from the question of whether they are optimal, and we cannot really answer as to whether they were intended or not).

    There are some caveats to this: some kata (such as sanchin) have a primary purpose that is not primarily rooted in techniques; some kata have an aim to assist beginners in getting an understanding of movement and coordination of techniques while moving (such as the kihon or taikyoku kata of some organisations). And knowing that something in the kata represents a particular technique is still not of much use unless that technique is practiced with a partner/opponent.

    There are other purposes that kata can be put to - advanced practitioners can use various principles to explore and find new/further techniques within the kata (Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane's book, The Way of Kata presents one such approach), but again without then testing these explorations with a partner, they are not of real use.

    But generally, the use of kata lies in their allowance of solo practice of at least the shape of things that would normally require a partner. Kata practice without the context of partnered practice is empty - a bit like trying to learn how to drive by holding a dinner plate and imagining the road in front of you.

    (watch from 5:45)

    I guess I just don't see the point of learning a kata for its own sake or in isolation from anything resembling a combative/defensive context.
  18. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    I loves pretty katas. Its my favorite part of karate actually. :)

    For right now. Maybe i will like kumite and kihon better as i get farther up the ranks and get introduced more to more free style sparring.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  19. Plimft

    Plimft Valued Member

    I haven't trained in karate for quiet a few years (I'm a Bujinkan-er now) but I miss kata. It was described by someone else as being used for 'moving meditation', and I love that description!

    Also, I always kept the opinion that kata bunkai is where the real differences in karate styles becomes apparent.

    But hey, I was just a kid when I trained in karate. For what it's worth, I think FOD's post is bang on the money!
  20. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    If you go through all the other hundreds of kata threads, I'm sure you'll find some of my other reasons, but in my mature and wizened state, my reason is pretty simple.

    I enjoy them.

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