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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 2:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 989
Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
All too often in my book, we hear about the "hidden movements" in the kata that we do. You know, the wa-uke is really an arm break or something in that vein. Master Uechi, in his ultimate wisdom decided never to reveal these secrets to us Gaijin in fear that we would use it for evil purposes, or simply because we would never be at the level of understanding that we would comprehend such techniques.

Personally, I think it is all crap (no offense to anyone who believes all that BS). Sometimes an apple is just an apple and nothing more. We all know that if someone wants the can make a circle fit into a square; it's simply how we decide to look at something.

Now having a karate background as well as a jujitsu upbringing, I look at my Uechi technique and see that I could do this move or that move to compliment the Uechi technique. Do I think it is meant to do that? Absolutely not. But it doesn't mean I can't play with it. I have tinkered with three different bunkai and have come up with jujitsu techniques for each of them. I have even made them part of my dojo's curriculum and must be known for ranking purposes.

But let's be serious, how many styles out there really have these "hidden" techniques?

mike


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 3:29 am 
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Location: Ptld OR USA
Mike,

I'm not a karateka at all, but I'll throw in an opinion (amazing how ignorance breeds diverse opinions!!).

I don't think the techniques are hidden, but I think there are two mechanisms going on that make it seem that way.

The first is that the kata trains well without bunkai. I spent weeks working with my students on proper body mechanics- how to get maximum power in close range strikes using hip rotation, gravity assist and wave action. One student teaches karate on the side, but the power generation was brand new to her- until I had her do one of her katas and had the other students point out where the elements of power were obvious.
In short, aside from teaching specific movements, the kata also teaches superb body mechanics that generalize to every thing.

Second, half the techniques are useless for their named purpose. Take a formal inside block. Uncover your centerline by bringing your hand to your ear and... It creates an opening where none existed and is too slow to do in response to any decent blow. HOWEVER, the exact same motion is one of the most powerful infighting strikes, illegal in boxing and responsible for a number of deaths.

So when the sensei says "Nothing is just one thing" and shows a formal block can be used as a strike, a block or a joint lock the students get suspicious. When they see your experiment in applying kata biomechanics to JJ (and the mechanics are that universal) they hit the "Watchmaker Fallacy" (anything so complex must be following a plan) and jump to the conclusion that it was all part of the Original Master (tm)'s plan to keep the really true truth secret.

Rory


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 3:31 am 
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BTW,

Jujutsu has a great advantage in the two-man kata. It removes the doubt.

Rory


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 5:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 12, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 1688
Location: Weymouth, MA US of A
Don't confuse a "hidden" technique with a "representative" technique.

Solely because approved, dogmatic type of technical interpretation calls for a single, tunnel vision-type of action, does not mean other, completely viable ones exist.

Yes, an apple is just an apple. But, think of kata as fruit, and the interpretation/application as the different types of fruits available. Some are common: apples, pears, peaches, bananas. Others are a bit "exotic": kiwi, pomogranate(sp), casava mellons. Others are also fruit, but are disguised as something else, like tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are fruit, but they are treated like vegetables).

All kinds of threads in the Archives about the grappling-type of applications in Uechi kata. Seek them out, and see that "hidden movements" aren't hidden too well.

The trick is to make the application work, and work well!

Have a nice day,
Gene


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 11:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Mike,

I had shared your perspective but I think I moved off it a bit. Image

I think some of the lock/grappling moves have definitely escaped or have been lost to a significant segment of the karate crowd. Were these deliberately hidden? I really don't know. But, there are only so many ways that the body can move in an effective manner. Those core movements can translate into a variety of applications including striking, locking at grappling (I still think groundwork is significantly different though...)

Those core movements are the ABC's. The interpretations off those basics perhaps were taught fairly completely or left to the interpretation/improvisation of more advanced players, or a combination of both. Can't say.

What I do know is that in practicing the blade/stick arts -- another perspective -- is that I still see the core movements but varying levels of interpretation, from empty hand to edge, from blocking/parrying to locking and throwing. They are there. Some of the moves look like simple slashing, circular parrying, interesting stepping, etc. But, then seeing these moves interreted by advanced practitioners, I am given a view of "tying", disarming, locking, grappling, sweeping and throwing techniques. Still the same basic movements but more advanced interpretations.

I have always enjoyed watching your "jujutsu" interpretations of bunkai. I do think that each time, they are demonstrated, there is an opportunity of (re)integration of the locking/grappling possibilities in the Uechi system.

david


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 10:28 pm 
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Location: Newton, MA
Ironically enough, I started in a position far from Mike's, and have gradually moved closer to it...actually, I'm almost right on top of it.

In the immortal words of Dr. Freud "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". The contortions that I have seen people put themselves through in an attempt to find "hidden techniques" in kata are sometimes extraordinary.

The fact of the matter is this. There's only so much you can do at one time. Certainly, there are movements out of some kata than can be applied as locks or takedowns, but there are many that can't.

Some people (this rant is not directed at anyone here, just to be clear), seem to use the "hidden technique" concept as an excuse, i.e.:

"Why don't you practice grappling?"
"Ah, well it's in the Kata O'Doom (tm), you just have to find it"
"But you never set foot on a mat in your life..."

There's nothing wrong with doing kata, and looking for meaning therein, but to be perfectly blunt about it, it doesn't encompass everything. This goes for every kata I've ever learned, be it Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Okinawan.

Frankly (I apologize, you've struck a chord Mike...), I occasionally find this line of thinking offensive when taken to far. The man who stands there babbling about how his kata contains everything you need to know, and in fact, contains everything found in a)Jujitsu, b)Weapons use, c) anything else is doing some SERIOUS DISRESPECT to the practitioners of other arts. Not everyone knows everything. Go and learn from everyone without ego, and you'll be a lot better off.

I'm gonna go take my med's now...


Food for thought...

Jake

------------------
Defeat is worse than death. You have to live with defeat - Seal Team Slogan

[This message has been edited by Jake Steinmann (edited August 02, 2000).]


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 7:09 am 
Mike, I agree that there are no hidden techniques within kata but for different reasons. I do not believe there are any techniques in kata. Let me explain.

I will refer back to my first post on this forum about Judo. Kano Sensei said that he created judo because all the Jujitsu he had learned focused on technique and not the underlying principles upon which the techniques operated.

This is also the focus for myself in kata. Kata does not contain techniques BUT it does contain principles.

However, the only way to demonstrate, or express, a principle is through technique. Once you understand a principle then you can see many ways to express that principle and therefore someone might all of a sudden discover a technique within a kata, but really all they have done is found another demonstration of the same principle.

Example, the circle block. My circle blocks are performed on an ellipse with top tilted forward and performed in a spiraling, ripping, reaping and shearing fashion out and back into Sanchin. The principle is the spiral motion that hits on an angled plane and executes the shearing effect. Techniques used to demonstrate:

1) A opponent's strike coming in is attacked with the circle block and the opponent's balance disrupted.
2) I attack the opponent's balance by using the circle block to come forward to attack one of the opponent's limbs.
3) I use the circle block to attack the opponent's neck by slipping in and using it as a strike.
4) I use the circle block while in tight to shear into the opponent's neck and circle their head around.

All of these are techniques that could be said to be for the circle block but they are all immaterial. It is the principles that make the techniques work that are important. That is what kata contains.

The problem is that the only way to demonstrate a principle is to use it in a technique and that is what people see. I must disagree with Rory that two person kata make things easier for this very reason. As Kano Sensei said, this focuses people on the technique and that is all they learn. They may never discover or discern the principle that makes that technique work, and that is why people discover these "hidden" techniques.

As David says these principles are there in many things, if you understand them you can see them.

Jake, no kata can contain everything I agree but those who do not like kata generally do not understand the principle approach. I remember seeing a video where an excellent martial artist, Dan Inosanto, said that Bruce Lee didn't like kata because -- why teach this move in a kata then show it is for this technique, why not just teach the technique. The reason is then all they may know is one technique and not the principle that can generate many applications. However, having said that, and not wanting to get off on another subject, you must explore to understand the principles and how they can be applied.

One final thought:

Teach a person a technique and you protect them from one attack. Teach them a principle and you protect them from many.

Rick


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 11:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 1897
Location: N. Andover, Ma. USA
Well Gentlemen,

I think you already know my thoughts on this subject. A Kata is a collection of techniques for combat and before I begin a small dissertation let me say I have been on the matt as well as a couple of real confrontations. A Kata taught with no meaning is a Kata learned with none, but when a Kata is taught for its content (rather than performance), one quickly sees it's capabilities.

Every move I use in grappling can be traced back to a Kata. Was this it's original intent...we will never know...it just seems interesting that if you train a Kata intensely that is how you move. When you see 1, 2, 3, 9...different ways to use the same posture or set of movements it's hard to believe it's all void of technique and just a show.



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Evan Pantazi
users.erols.com/kyusho


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 1:34 pm 
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Location: Newton, MA
"Teach a person a technique and you protect them from one attack. Teach them a principle and you protect them from many"

I agree entirely. I really do. However, I do not agree that by teaching only "technique" as opposed to kata, you will never absorb those principles.

Look at Lee's Tao of JKD- In particular, the 5 ways of attack. 5 WAY...not techniques, but principles, for attacking an opponent.

One does not need kata to learn principles.

Ex. I studied Aikido for four and a half years. In Aikido, there are only two man sets...no empty handed kata at all.

One night, while doing some informal boxing style sparring with a friend, I found myself in a clinch with him, my hands on his neck, and him driving forward.

So, I stepped back, applied pressure down on his neck, and rolled him to the ground. It was an Aikido principle, but not an Aikido technique.

Kata can teach you principles, but only if you never get out there and test those principles against a resistant opponent, knowing all the principles in the world won't help.

In the end, some people get a lot out of kata, and some don't. I actually do enjoy some kata, but they aren't the only way to teach principles. Tony Blauer teaches entirely based on concepts and ideas, and doesn't teach any kata at all. It's in the way you train, not what you train.

Again...I'm not downing kata. Please don't misunderstand me. I do agree that kata can teach certain principles and concepts. I was not railing against that, but rather, railing against those who believe that all it takes is kata to understand.

"One can explain water, but the mouth will not become wet" - takuan

Food for thought.

Jake


------------------
Defeat is worse than death. You have to live with defeat - Seal Team Slogan

[This message has been edited by Jake Steinmann (edited August 03, 2000).]


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 Post subject: hidden movements
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2000 2:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 989
Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
Excellent comments gentlemen!!

Remember, I'm not saying that you cannot find the movements in the katas (whatever style you are practicing), I'm just saying that I don't think they were hidden there only to be taught to the few "select" karateka.

Can we learn principles from kata? Definately. You can learn principles from anything if you want. Hell, you can read a book and get the principles. You have to take what you learn and apply it in any way that your art dictates (Bunkai, kumite, practical fighting/grappling, etc.). It is only then do you find the "hidden" techniques that we are talking about.

People can argue all they want with me, but i feel that there are many useless techniques in Uechi. What do I mean by useless? I could never see them being used in the street. Not 2000 years ago, and not today; however, I can see the principles in them and use their concepts. Play with them in the dojo so that they become a viable technique when or if the time comes.

mike


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