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 Post subject: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:39 am 
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Meaningful Kata

Preamble:

I am going to write this from my perspective so keep that in mind as you read this.

Also keep in mind that what I am writing will apply to everyone it will just be expressed differently.

So when reading this I am not saying anyone has to do things the way I would unless they have the same gaols as I do.

If the goals change your expression of Kata can change.

Regardless, if you approach kata in this manner then it will be meaningful for you.

I am going to take some things Rick Bottomley said and some things Rory Miller said and other input and run them through my own thought process to bastardize them into fitting what I want.

If you follow this process there should be only one way to express your Kata.

Rory Miller says that your Goal gives you your Strategy which gives you your Tactics.

Rick Bottomley says he has to make sure every move of his form has to be true to the principles that he believes in.

Background:

To do Kata meaningfully for you I am saying that you must first determine what the Goal (or goals) of performing kata are for you.

Once you have your Goal this will give you the strategies or Principles you need to achieve that Goal.

Once you know your Strategies you will know what Tactic or expression of technique to use.

IF you apply all your Strategy/Principles and they achieve your Goal you will find that there really is only one way to do the move and therefore the Kata.

If your Tactic/Technique contains your Strategy/Principles and you obtain your Goal(s) then your Kata is meaningful (for you.)

Kata is personal so I am not telling anyone what their Goal(s) should be but I will use mine to describe what I mean.

Please understand that if your Goal is different than mine then our expression of a meaningful Kata will also be different.

My meaningful kata:

Goal:

To Survive = Obtain Rory’s Golden Move (or as close to it as I can come) on every move of the Kata.

Rory’s Golden Move = in one motion achieve the following three things:

1. Get off the line of force into a superior strategic position
2. Destruction of their structure (take their balance)
3. Do damage = hurt them

Strategies/Principles to achieve my GOAL:

• Move with my Centre
• Use the opening and closing of the kwa (upper and lower joints = shoulder and hip)
• Six External Harmonies
• Yin and Yang
• Gravitational Alignment
• Connected Mass
• Concentric expansions
• Coiling, Uncoiling = Spirals
• Drive off of my feet – do not drag my foot
• String of Pearls = using your tendon strength and reactions for continuous motion

Tactics/Techniques = Your expression of the Kata

Example: The first main movement of Kanshiwa Kata.

I have opened and I am in neutral stance with hands raised into protective position (which has a great deal to it but I will skip over that part for the purpose of clarity in this article).

The line of force is incoming from my left side.

1. Get off the line of force into a superior strategic position

To get off the line of force I open my right lower kwa (hip joint) allowing me to relieve the weight on my left foot. I open my left lower kwa to move my foot forward slightly angling the toes to my left. As I am coiled onto my right leg I move my centre by driving off my right foot (do not move your centre then DRAG your right foot behind.) My hands, elbows and upper kwa (shoulder joints) move in alignment with my feet, knees and lower kwa (hip joint). This powerful movement takes me off the incoming line of force (slipping) and places me at a slight angle giving me a superior strategic position.

2. Destruction of their structure (take their balance)

My arms use the Wauke motion AS I move to have my left arm driving forward in the Heaven Palm Sanchin position with the right as backup. This motion combined with the off line footwork will intersect the incoming line of force on an angle driving it into an upper void (empty space = no brace to resist my force). Moving with my centre allows me to drop provide gravitational alignment and the driving from the foot provides a direct ground path from my forearm connecting with the incoming line of force to my foot giving me connected mass. The arm is coiled in the Heaven Palm position and uncoils rotating out or wristing into the Kumite position providing a moving line of force impacting them keeping ahead of their ability to provide a force on force resistance and destroys their structure = takes their balance.

3. Do damage = hurt them

In the movement I am making I have achieved two of the three desired effects of the Golden Move, to do damage I must now look to Yin and Yang to lead me on how to do this and the only way to do this to achieve my Goal. As my arm completes the rotation out of the Heaven Palm entry position destroying their structure my other hand MUST balance the Yin and Yang to concurrently strike. The strike is done AS the Wauke completes its motion -- NOT as a separate movement. A separate movement means I have not achieve the last desired effect until the NEXT move I make rather than in one move. Here moving with my centre, using gravity, being properly aligned, using concentric expansions all enhance the power of the strike to do damage. It is not enough just to strike but the strike has to do damage.

To achieve the Golden Move and accomplish all three effects I can only do this tactic or move or technique in one way. To do anything else means I will not achieve the Golden Move and therefore limit my chances of achieving my goal of surviving.

String of Pearls comes in when I move to the next move of the Kata …

Conclusion:

For me to achieve my Goal of Survival (getting the Golden move) I must use the principles I believe in in every movement of the kata. To do that there is only one way (tactic/technique) to move.

If I move as I need to and I achieve the Golden Move then my Kata is meaningful for what I want to achieve.

YOUR Goal and your principles use will determine the only right expression of your Kata for you. And it will be right --- for you.

So determine your Goal and the principles you believe in to achieve that Goal, then walk through a kata and see if you achieve your goal on every move. If not – what needs to be done to make your Kata meaningful to you?

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Last edited by Rick Wilson on Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:37 pm 
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Thank you Rick. An excellent way to induce visualization in the forms.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:09 pm 
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Rick i agree with everyword you say but one. i have never followed the "prescribed way" to do kata i have always done as you say and let the kata evolve to meet my goals. but i think to state there is only ONE way can be limiting. i understand what your intention is. but sometimes a persons individual goals will be in conflict with each other also what my experience has shown is that there is a constant evolution to my kata. maybe my goals have changed or maybe just my understanding. i liken my kata to jazz, there is a frame work to follow but it can take different directions depending on a concept i might be working on. my overall vision is that kata is a tool to make me a better fighter. a hammer can do more than just hit nails. in the same way i will use my kata in anyway that is logical to serve the goal of making me better.


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Good Post All , I would agree there's many ways , But all ways need to be meaningful

you can express kata with different goals , but they as in Ricks post must have purpose.

Kata is intensely personal IMHO , and beyond the basic many rely heavily on being taught kata , were I believe at a certain level one needs to explore kata for oneself.

without a focus one is travelling blind , however one needs to constantly review.

Like most long term practitioners the relationship with kata will change over the years as one falls in and out of love with it , and rediscovers its anew as more levels unfold.


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:06 pm 
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I agree that as the goal changes or as you learn new principles the expression of kata will change :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:08 am 
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When I think of the way we train, and it includes kata _ the way to perform it_ and the ways we envision its effectiveness in self defense_

I think of what is one likely to really be up against in a defensive situation, i.e., who the attacker[s] will be, and what the attack will be like.

Will you be up against someone with a gun, like what Clarence had to deal with, will you face someone with a knife or blunt weapon, will you be up against multiple armed opponents, multiple unarmed opponents, a much larger and stronger opponent, a trained martial arts opponent, or an average untrained person.

What is the most likely situation you will encounter?

With this in mind, and fantasies aside, let's describe our perceived advantages against each of these scenarios, with our empty hands training curricula.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:55 am 
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Quote:
Will you be up against someone with a gun, like what Clarence had to deal with, will you face someone with a knife or blunt weapon, will you be up against multiple armed opponents, multiple unarmed opponents, a much larger and stronger opponent, a trained martial arts opponent, or an average untrained person.

What is the most likely situation you will encounter?

With this in mind, and fantasies aside, let's describe our perceived advantages against each of these scenarios, with our empty hands training curricula.


they expect to win so you have surprise on your side, if you can surprise them.

the only advantages are strategy , certainty , and intent , these add up to being deliberate

combined with martial skills you have a chance , an advantage is unlikely unless your strategy , certainty and intent are superior to you aggressor.

this slips as the odds raise , weapons , multiples etc all call for an equaliser , the more stacked the odds , the more deliberate and shocking you need to be , shock and awe and trickery . The more familiar and ingrained your response the more likely the success. Gross motor power , physical conditioning all help the mental component...

a lack of plan will kill you
doubt will kill you
a lack of will , will kill you

The advantage is almost always with the predator , they pick you for this reason , your job is to raise the odds not match them.

Force continuum and a commitment to make them pay the price no matter the outcome.

There are no magic bullets anyone can kill anyone.

know yourself get yourself together and your half way there.

be prepared and to thy own self be true , but failing that fake it till you make it......


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:19 pm 
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For any attacker any scenario I see one constant. The ability to create then maintain a focus and will to do damage to the other. In sport MMA it is sometimes called “having bad intentions” . One fighter said that before the fight they look into each other’s eyes “if the other guy can’t give me that look right back I know I already won, but if he does I know it’s going to be a real war”
If you watch MMA with a critical eye you can see the point in the fight where one fighter has lost his focus and when he does the will to fight fades and often disappears.
(I will state here I am not in favor of dog fighting however..) In Sam Sheridons book “heart of a fighter” he describes dog fighting. This focus is called “gameness’ both dogs WANT to run to the middle and fight, the owner let them clash then back them away and let them clash again. When one dog sits down and doesn’t want to run to the middle anymore the fight it over. It is a test of “gameness”
This gameness or mindset or whatever you want to call it is controlled by the fight or flight patterns in the brain. When that point happens in a fight where it is lost, it is the point where “fight “ turns to flight. Your ability to maintain the fight brain pattern is determined by your ability to maintain a focus and not lose it. Everything is against you from maintaining it, pain, injury, your surroundings, seeing a loved one, your own thoughts of losing. The longer the fight lasts the more prone you are to losing your focus. Your success lies in your ability to create this focus fast and keeping it.
The will to fight is shown in the face and in the eyes (the eyes are the window to the soul). If you look into the face of a tiger, your own will to fight disappears due to the over powering will of the tiger. In the same way certain people have that as well. Maybe some people are born with it; some are raised to have it. I use kata to develop it.


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Well put by Stryke and Hoshin.

Again, I tend to listen to lethal force trainers in the midst of people who experience violence as a way of life, as opposed to the average TMA practitioner far removed from street violence.

Here's something from a famous trainer
Quote:
I have been practicing martial arts for 35 years and the honest facts are: even after several years of grueling pain and effort, all but a few black belts remain at a significant disadvantage against someone experienced with a gun, knife, or stick, let alone multiple armed assailants. Against multiple unarmed assailants they still remain at a huge disadvantage.

Empty Hands practitioners have an even chance when facing a larger opponent or another trained martial artist. Empty Hands practitioners have an inherent advantage in only one category – over the average untrained person, the least dangerous and least likelyto be encountered.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:30 pm 
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This is very good from Hoshin
Quote:
This gameness or mindset or whatever you want to call it is controlled by the fight or flight patterns in the brain. When that point happens in a fight where it is lost, it is the point where “fight “ turns to flight.

Your ability to maintain the fight brain pattern is determined by your ability to maintain a focus and not lose it. Everything is against you from maintaining it, pain, injury, your surroundings, seeing a loved one, your own thoughts of losing. The longer the fight lasts the more prone you are to losing your focus. Your success lies in your ability to create this focus fast and keeping it.

The will to fight is shown in the face and in the eyes (the eyes are the window to the soul). If you look into the face of a tiger, your own will to fight disappears due to the over powering will of the tiger. In the same way certain people have that as well. Maybe some people are born with it; some are raised to have it. I use kata to develop it.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:14 pm 
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I think one of the best ways to teach and learn is to be able to and to accept that each of us may well need to diverge from the techniques we are exposed to by a static system. There is not any one way to do 'anything' …

Students will have a number of questions even if not voiced. The way a teacher should present the material is in ways that it makes the student work through the questions on their own, bringing a deeper understanding and internalization.

We also need to realize that as we teach and as we learn, we do it through the visual, the auditory and the kinetic [relating to the motion of the body and the forces and energy associated therewith] …

But even more so there should be a thinking process on how what we are teaching or learning impacts on the individualities of the persons doing it…something that has caused some very interesting 'surprises' over the years in dojo interactions... not all pleasant.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:18 pm 
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It is interesting to note that it is very rare in nature for a member of a certain large animal species to kill another member of the same species. Chimps and humans stand out in this aspect.
Only 2% of humans have the ability to kill another human and not feel remorse and repulsion. This does not imply they are psychotic. I know someone who was a marine in Vietnam and had no remorse for the deeds done then. This same happy go lucky guy one night hit a deer and broke its spine. When the police came they refused to shoot it saying it was against regulation. My friend then got a razor knife from the truck and grabbed it around neck and slit its neck artery and held it still as it bled out. Not many people could stomach that act.
Very few people can bring themselves to the point of inflicting harm on another. Most people have a filter that makes violence repulsive. Talk is cheap and most people who talk tuff are only paper tigers. This is where the criminal has a very large advantage. They have hurt, they have cut, and they have killed. We have not.
Violence on other humans is a learnt behavior. It can be fostered. It can be cultivated. It grows and develops given the right situation. Look at the old Stamford university “prison” experiment. The students given the guard role grew more abusive as time went on. In 1941 Germany, normal everyday people were able to laugh, joke and have a cigarette as they marched 33,771 men, women and children off the cliff of Babi-yar to their death. The point is that in a civilized suburban life style violence is not the norm and we have become separated from it. How can we expect to engage in it when needed? Violence is the domain of the criminal. They live there, they are comfortable there. They have the home advantage.
The worst thing is to kid yourself into thinking you can handle it, that you can dish out this violence. Because chances are you are like most people and you cant.


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:41 am 
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Uechi Ryu begins with Kata.

in fact, it really is the only thing we have that has come to us from the beginning.

Anything else is people working to find ways to use what Kata has given us.

What that means is that Kata should be extremely relevant to what we do.

I said a long time ago that kata is our library. It contains all the knowledge and wisdom of Uechi Ryu.

What you find in that library that is useful to you will be what ever your focus is.

When I say that there is only one way to do a move in kata I am serious in that you must look at your goal and what principles you known at the time and what will get you to your goal the best way – there is no other way. As you learn more your answers get better and your Kata changes.

Now change the goal could change or we could change the principles or learn new principles or change the circumstances and the best "way" may also change.

try adding a weapon. I love doing Uechi Kata with weapons.

Now once we work in our library we need to take all that knowledge and wisdom out for a spin. We need to place it into drills that also work towards whatever our goal is.

My goal is to survive a very bad day so I tend to create drills that I hope work to that end.

I like drills that progress through Softwork to Hardwork. I like drills that place you in a bad place and you have to “solve the problem” as Rory says.

All the principles used in those drills are forged in Kata.

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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:22 am 
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Good post Rick

I would add kotikitae and conditioning to the original elements

Uechi has great flow and I doubt there wasn't weapon usage at some stage in its development, its great with knife and stick


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 Post subject: Re: Meaningful Kata
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:45 am 
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Interesting post by Hoshin because it opens the door to many different interpretations of the capacity for violence, or even killing, for self preservation, without remorse.

Here's an interesting article:


http://www.jcrt.org/archives/06.2/fischer.pdf


Quote:
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE MURDER:
DESTRUCTION OF NATURE AND INTERHUMAN
VIOLENCE IN ADORNO’S CRITIQUE OF CULTURE

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