Uechi-Ryu.com

Discussion Area
It is currently Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:18 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 1999 9:24 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 20, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 79
Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
Regarding Knight's question on how kata can teach one to control his or her heart rate,I will begin by repeating the idea that biofeedback is the method used to reduce the onset and manifestations of highly stressful episodes.

"Biofeedback",was a term coined in Santa Monica, California in 1969 and it has been the subject of intense study since that time.

Today we understand that biofeedback is a self correction system which uses amplified electrical signals from the brain to guide the subject in order to achieve optimum performance results.

Kata, remember is historically a form of 'moving meditation', whereby the practitioner should enter a state of consciousness unlike the ordinary cognitive state experienced in daily activity. Aside from the 'newer' meanings that kata has taken on by many of the Japanese and Korean Martial Systems, Okinawan kata remains fundamentally focused on the harmony of both body and mind.Through intense focusing, Alpha brain waves are generated, causing a deep awareness and relaxed state of being similar to that generated by a restful sleep. This in turn results in the extraordinary ability to control one's stress, moderate blood pressure, heart beat, and breathing. These are all prepratory functions of optimum combat performance that have been well studied by the US military for many years and inherently understood by both eastern and western warrior cultures for centuries.

Biofeedback is the only objective, drug-free, and non-invasive method to control the
involuntary nervous system by an individual that we currently know of. Though there may be many ways to perfom biofeedback functions, our common thread in the martial arts is our kata.

Through our kata, if we focus on the mental aspects rather than just the physical movements,we can learn to control our sympathetic nervous system which in turn will have a profound effect on our parasympathetic nervous system - the true culprit in 'chemical dumps', anxiety and increased heart rate.

Roy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 1999 1:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 317
Roy,
We are on the same wavelength here! I have found the kata, and sanchin in particular, to be the best and most reliable stress-control method available to me. Trouble is, I have the hardest time getting other people, who need all the stress management they can get, to get their passive butts up off the couch and learn! My recent Renshi thesis is about this very topic. Hope you like it (see the link on the homepage).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 1999 11:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2073
Location: Boston, MA
I will preface that kata is one of the neglected areas of my practice as those who train with me know. When I do kata, I do find as you two mentioned the "moving medition" aspect of the practice and, yes, the opportunity to tune in to one's state of mind/body.

Roy, do you think kata is sufficient to train one to handle the "chemical dump" that one gets in facing an opponent, or is some other bridge necessary? I tend to think the latter. I've seen great kata performers go down the tubes just facing a determined sparring partner. I not referring to just techniques but to the overall posture/intensity/spirit. I think the prescence of the "other", which they may not be used to, has disrupted their focus which is often inward. I as an opportunity to learn to focus on the other. This can best be done by learning to "relax" oneself. I actually find this helps with the "chemical dump". This is just an observation of myself. I am curious as to what you think since you are an accomplished sparrer as well as an advocate of kata.

Paul, as soon as I get ink for my printer, I am going to print your thesis and hopefully have some feedback and discussion with you in your forum. As I said to you personally, I like the "flow" combined with the power you demonstrated in the test. I seem to end up with either or in my kata practice.

david

[This message has been edited by david (edited 08-09-99).]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 1999 6:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 1897
Location: N. Andover, Ma. USA
Roy San, et al.,

Quite a while ago someone pointed out the value of running through Martial Techniques just after an argument or other stressful situation when the Adrenaline Rush is felt.

The Kata being the easiest to manifest during this period due to muscle memory and a set pattern that does not require creative thought (especially this first times this is attempted). I have tried this everytime I have experienced the adrenaline taking over since that statement, (Can't remember who I heard it from though) and it has become easier to perform, but to your point, it reduces the Adrenaline effects quicker than inactivity.

I also believe that the Kiai is a way to offset your symtoms and possible produce them into the opponent. Could the traditional announcement of the Kata's Name to be performed prior to it's performance also produce these results or be a way ? I have found making gutteral noise or even a classic Kiai to work very well along this framework, but how about you and others?

P.S. It was nice to see you at Camp, and best wishes in your venture.

------------------
Evan Pantazi
www.erols.com/kyusho


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 1999 10:25 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2073
Location: Boston, MA
Evan san,

I posted the method as discussed by Thaddeus Hornblower, a moderator of knifeforums.com, JKD concept instructor, bouncer and medical student.

I think his method is sound one. He practices drills/techniques in the immediate afterwash of an adrenaline rush. In so much as these drills/techniques are set, they are akin to kata. He has, however, more opportunities than most of us for adrenaline rushes.

Neverthess, Roy's point is that kata practice is a method of biofeedback that will help in dealing with an adrenaline rush. Roy's approach is pre while Thad's is post rush. I don't doubt there are benefits to doing kata. But I still wonder whether kata will prepare one since kata in itself seldom brings on the chemical dump except perhaps in context of a test or competition. As a personal aside, I used to compete in kata. I've always placed or won in those "context". However, I gave up kata competition by brown belt because there was the sense of "fraud" in me. I didn't feel any particular emotion or rush when doing kata. Yet, I would consistently placed. It didn't mean anything to me and I couldn't in good faith keep doing it, at least in competition. There was nothing there to learn.

Again, I am not downing kata as I am beginning to explore more of it again. Certainly, the dan tests evidenced a lot about where folks are at with their skills. Still, I believe there are limitations to kata training alone. One of those is, perhaps, an assumption that it will prepare one for the real thing and the accompanying chemical rush.

david


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 1999 12:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 1897
Location: N. Andover, Ma. USA
David San,

Well put Sir, yet Kata practice to me is a very real training device. Everytime I practice spontaneous defensive tactics, Kyusho Sparring (different than your usual sparring) and or some Black Belt wanting to little challenge Sensei a bit, (deciding during a spontaneous reaction to add a second or terciary attack), are always met with move out of Kata. Kata can definatley train the bodies reactions without thought and under more stress, if indeed trained this way.

Try Kata as people taunt, strike, kick and or grab you, this will develop focus
and place a little stress on you, all in the context of the Kata...Kata must be valid as so many styles employ them, and you have to know they weren't developed for show by the originators.

Any other people reading this have a way to place the practioner under heavy stress during Kata?

------------------
Evan Pantazi
www.erols.com/kyusho


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 1999 3:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 20, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 79
Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
This discussion has many facets to it and has the potential of becoming the longest thread in BB history. In focusing on what I first mentioned, I think that the benefits of kata cannot be entirely recognized since most of the development occurs beyond the reach of our awareness - at the spiritual level if you will.
The process of filtering stimuli for instance
occurs differently for everyone. Through time, our brains naturally put up barriers against 'unimportant' stimuli in order to control our anxiety and stress. Noises, variations in lighting,slight changes in temperature and even minor changes in our own body chemistry are filtered out daily, never to become a part of our awareness. There are simply too many things which occur around us and within us that paying them attention would lead to total mental exhaustion after only a few minutes. Filtration is a necessary development for our survival when things are calm and we are not under assault, but there is, as always a downside. Through the process of filtration, we become, disconnected from ourselves. A divide is developed between mind and body and we suffer through our loss of 'self control'. Many of us exist in this world without a sharp edge, victims of our inadvertant disconnection. This is particularly dangerous, for instance when we are battling for our lives. Many refer to the disconnected mindset as being 'HUA' or of course 'head up a**'. We will do a lot of stupid thing while we have HUA.

I think the state of mind that kata encourages brings down these barriers temporarily and allows the unobstructed neurons to send and recieve messages in a different more natural way. The brain is turned on to it's potential (we estimate that only about 4% of our brains potential power is ever really used)and becomes a conduit between the world and ourselves. In doing this, the body and mind become re-connected and biofeedback is possible. This movement from Beta to Alpha brain waves occurs with some kata, if it is done correctly. This process can be measured with sophisticated apparatus, proving that something occurs in the mind of the performer that support my position, at least scientifically.

The process of 'moving meditation' I mentioned presupposes a trancelike state of mind that overcomes the practitioner and begins to do it's work, silently on the mind of the performer. There will be no feeling of this process working... as it does not occur at the mental level. In fact it occurs in spite of the mind. It's like cleaning the junk off of your hard drive. While this process is underway, the computer is unable to perform it's computations. But the process can be recognized over time by a feeling of well bing and relaxation that accompanies a thorough cleansing of stress and anxiety, the 'junk' of the mind.

Training in kata, therefore is also training for combat. When the battle occurs, it is important that the fighter be able to enter this state of mind where he is unobstructed by thought, stress and anxiety. The heartrate, uninfluenced by stress remains at a manageable rate If the fighter is in the 'kata' mndset, then he is functioning purely from the training of technique which, unobstructed should be powerful, crisp and deadly.

BTW, Thanks for your responses. They are very thought provoking.

Roy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 1999 9:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1089
Great thread!

Some thoughts about the process of making kata real. This is excerpted from an article which is presently in review and pertains to Hojo Undo, but I think is relevant to kata also.

"As the practitioner gains experience in the performance of the gross physical movements of hojo undo [kata], he or she will ideally begin an ongoing lifelong process of refinement of the energies deployed in each
sequence. At the level of mastery,conscious monitoring will no longer be necessary for even the most subtle physical movement. The
practitioner may at this level of development devote themselves to cultivating a sense of enemy in the movement.Ultimately, this training also becomes irrelevant, and at this point refinement of the will or
spirit becomes the central focus of training. The karate-ka's will is now
manifested in physical movement and the practitioner and the art are
one."

Cultivation of a sense of enemy makes the kata more real to me. It is also a great exercise in concentration as it's extremely difficult to complete a kata with an unbroken focus relative to sense of enemy. This is particularly true in the transitional movements--movements that Rabesa Sensei tells us are but another link in the chain of what he calls power kata..."Do you think of that dark unspoken area between kata movements as unimportant or just a position to pass through on your way to some more blocking, punching, or kicking? Snap out of it! [you have to love that!!!] How strong is a chain if all the parts that link it together are weak?" Explosive Karate p.33.

Roy, your analysis of the inner significance of kata is elegant and persuasive. I've thought for a long time that Sanchin teaches us to induce an hypnotic state of consciousness. I hadn't practiced hypnosis at the time I began Uechi training, but in retrospect signs of induction were clearly present when our Sensei would announce "jackets off for Sanchin."

Paul's discussion of stress innoculation addresses Sanchin as holistic preparation for combat. Of course, this supposes Sanchin shime as a potentially stressful experience. Ours was, and was subjectively the single most significant aspect of my early Uechi training.

J.D.'s comments on half a brain--I have been told too often by too many people that I only had half a brain to discount that hypothesis as having some validity. Maybe it's more a problem of Abby-normality?

There's a lot that can be said about the role of just getting off your butt and training which many have touched upon here. I wonder some times if that isn't like the "Hokey Pokey", in "that's what it's all about!"

------------------
Good training,
David


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 1999 10:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2073
Location: Boston, MA
Roy, David, J.D. (I still have to read Paul's thesis). Appreciate much your posts. Things to think about and work on.

david


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 1999 1:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 06, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 288
Location: Randolph Ma USA
To all;

I agree that kata does help to manage and control stress. It also helps to develop many other areas as mentioned by some of you. However, i do not see kata duplicating the same "chemical dump" as David points out that facing an opponent does.

I practice kata regularly and intensely and although i would agree that there is a chemical induced change from non-activeness i can not see that it is anywhere the same as what is felt in "real" threatening situations or even in having a worthy competetor before you.

Kata surely does not present the danger to one of "life or Death" or the possibilties of getting broken up or even the fear factor of possible consequences to injury of another person. (financial and/or legal)

Meditational properties surely exsist in kata. Certainly focus and concentration on development of power and form can be
gainned by continuos practice.

Many techniques can be derived from each movement in kata if one has an open mind to it. For some there is not much meaning to forms only applications seem to interest them. That would indicate more of a "jitsu" veiw which is ones preference.

Evan points out that katas have survived this long and were developed to teach fighting movements. I agree and to add kyusho to the movement gives a different dimension to it .

In a real attack or even a competitive one from someone of say size, intensity and/or reputation surely would produce a "different" chemical change in ones body than kata.

Fight or flight response, the hair rise at the back of ones neck, anger or rage or any other combination of chemical changes that Van Canna has pointed out can manifest in a "real" situation, i have never felt in performing kata.

Certainly i would like to hear Van Canna Sensei opinion on this. Excellent veiws and opinions by many of you. For those not getting anything from kata i can only think that they do not really understand the "depth" of it.

Respectfully,



------------------
Gary S.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 1999 2:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1185
Location: Newton, MA
My understanding of kata has always been that it's primary function is to develop the muscle memory needed to be able to perform your techniques in a stressful situation, much in the same way that boxers practice throwing combinations in the air or on punch mitts.

In a stressful situation, this spares you the trouble of trying to think "ok, block with the right hand, make sure my feet are turned in..", which as J.D. has pointed out, often gets you nothing more than a smack in the face.

Recently, I have tried using some kind of visualization before performing my forms, in an effort to induce some kind of stress, or perhaps even a chemical response. The success of this has been partial. While I do find myself a bit more...energized, I haven't managed to ever induce that same kind of heart-pounding, gut wrenching fear that Van Canna Sensei often warns us about.

David, I think has a very valid point in saying that kata are not enough. But, at the same time, this does not mean we should discount them. The martial arts, in whatever system or form, are made up of different components. These components work together to form a system. If you remove part of the system, it will break down. I don't think any of us really believe that if all we did was practice kyu and dan kumite all the time, we would be effective fighters. We must use all aspects of the system together if we want to make any kind of progress with it.

Jake


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 1999 8:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1089
Jake states:
"The martial arts, in whatever system or form, are made up of different components. These components work together to form a system. If you remove part of the system, it will break down. I don't think any of us really believe that if all we did was practice kyu and dan kumite all the time, we would be effective fighters. We must use all aspects of the system together if we want to make any kind of progress with it."

Agree wholeheartedly but with one reservation Jake (p.s., I enjoyed meeting you at camp and watching your sparring match. I think it takes real guts to come to a karate camp wearing a gung-fu uniform. I mean that sincerely and applaud your integrity and openness to learning.) Back to the point [J.D.'s editor suspects there is some beginning dementia here]

In Higaonna's The History of Karate, he reveals that most of the early practitioners at least of Goju-Ryu learned only Sanchin and one or at the most two other kata that Sensei felt suited their attributes.

Some practitioners only learned Sanchin. In addition, they practiced Hojo Undo and kotekitae.

This suggests to me that even though the Sanchin of Gojo and Uechi are different, all is truly in Sanchin. All the more remarkable given that Goju Hojo Undo comprises strengthening with primative equipment not excerpts from the kata as in Uechi-Ryu.

Do you think that you could train someone as a fine karate-ka teaching only Sanchin, Hojo Undo (Uechi style), kotekitae, two person sets, and general strength work?

I do.

------------------
Good training,
David


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 1999 8:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 20, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 79
Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
I'm not sure where the idea was hatched that kata induces stress or replicates a stressful encounter. Did I say that?
What I'm saying is that kata, if done for more than just muscular memory drills,or physical skill development allows a holistic connection between body, mind and spirit. This is the meditation part that we hear so much about. Stress is after all a figment of our imaginations. It is not the stimuli, but how we react to the stimuli that causes stress. Stress occurs on the inside, not the outside which is why kata has such a profound ability to manage it.

Kata teaches us a mindset, a frame of reference, from which we should operate when facing potential threats. This is different from 'imagining' or trying to induce stress through kata, then conditioning ourselves against the stress through the application of the same kata. I hope I wasn't infering this tactic in my posts.

Let's hear some more of your thoughts

Roy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 1999 12:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 317
Roy,
" Man is distressed not by events, but by his interpretation of them"... this is attributed to on eof the early Stoic philosophers, perhaps Epictetus. In modern times, cognitive-behavioral therapists have picked up that viewpoint, under the leadership of the emminent psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, and practice a form of therapy that helps people look at how their chain of thinking leads down a road of stress or depression. They work on learning to interrupt the maladaptive train of thought, and aproaching new situations with more of a sense of options. I assume this is what you are referring to. Perhaps by practicing kata with the correct mindset one "unlearns" the maladaptive and irrational belief that one is weak or powerless or vulnerable.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Kata and managing stress
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 1999 12:58 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 20, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 79
Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
Yeah...Uh-huh..that's what I was trying to say.I think...

Roy


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Rick Wilson and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group