One cannot learn combat through kata.
Kata is a framework, a foundation and no matter how many times one does a kata, no matter for how long, it will not teach you how to fight, even IF the kata was actually understood in all its myriad component parts and lessons.
No matter how much effort and work is put into building the foundation of a house one cannot live in the foundation, the foundation is not a house or a home...
So why can't a kata teach one how to fight?
The Bronze Dago wrote:
they knock some kid into a wall while he's holding a phonebook on his chest, but he can't do schit in a random drill, why is that?
This is because combat is about adaptation. It is about a dynamic interaction of two or more combatants like a conversation. Having students play a kata over and over is akin to having a child reciting the alphabet and nursery rhymes over and over again alone with no human interaction. After many years of doing this will the child be able to converse? Not a chance..
This is because the child will have no idea what the words mean, how to use the language to create new sentences and interact with another person in a dynamic conversation. In the end the idea was not to mimic speech but to fully understand how to USE speech as a tool for effective communication. The random letters, words or random phrases without any context are quite meaningless and can have no meaning without an established context that defines grammar vocabulary and finally meaning, something that only has a context when someone else exists to converse with.
So not only must the kata be understood but even then they can only serve as a vague starting point, a base from which to build on. Moreover if the kata are not fully understood then 'filling them up' with 'stuff' - random applications that one chooses will likely have little or no bearing on the original intent of the kata nor will the 'stuff' used to fill it up likely be properly reinforced by the kata since there was no clear connection between the two to start with.
In WCK the forms are just a baseline for learning. The main part of the system does not end there it begins there. The question is where do you go from there?
You could take a student and teach them the first two forms of WCK and then tell them what each of the moves are for in application and have the student train the form for 20 years and guess what? They will have no idea how to use the stuff - not a clue - they will not have any skill in applying the tools, the moves the techniques the concepts or anything beyond the most elementary elements of hitting or use of fists, and that's assuming they know what the moves are, if they don't well then it's even more hopeless.
The problem lies in the missing context, there is no progressive feedback, no stimulus response
training, using this base material to solve problems in a progressive, adaptive and fluid manner and context that moves the student through the levels of expressing the grammar of the art in a free and natural environment.
Providing context is critical. This must be accomplished with a visual and tactile force training platform filled with problems that shows the student how to use the right tools of the system to solve the right problems at the right time.
This must be the main focus of training, putting all the tools to work with a common thread that is a real strategy within a context sensitive environment, that clearly trains one how, when and where the different parts system fit into the RANDOM equation of combat, something that rehearsed patterns cannot do.
In this way each component or element of the system is not recorded in the brain alone but progressively with the correct visceral experience that triggers the correct response within the student at the proper time without thought. This is adapting; Something that can only happen when we are PART of the whole not alone AS a whole as in kata. Only in this way can one hope to bring these dead air patterns we call kata to life effectively in the chaos of combat.