There is debate among judo scholars as to why Kano included kata in Judo. Some even go so far as to say he did it to make sure the koryu jujutsu ryu would buy into Judo as the "modernized" ju jutsu, as kata was their most common way of training.
The most common take is that the randori no kata, (Nage No Kata and Katame no Kata) are training methods, just as is randori. Typically, what is advocated is kata is maybe 25% of one's Judo training regime. So kata is not THE MAJOR method of Judo training. If you look around enough, you will see that Kano himself said that. I think that will show where Kano stood on the issue.
Other kata, like Ju No Kata and Itsutsu no Kata, are considered to be "principle" kata, that illustrate higher principles of Judo. Kano himself created Ju No Kata. I'm sure most of you guys would consider it pretty useless to practice it to learn how to fight, but as Dsimon suggested, if you are at a certain level in Judo, and practice Ju No Kata, things jump out at you. I've had aha! moments and I've only done Ju No Kata a couple of times, and not all of it at that.
Itsutsu no Kata is likely an Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu kata that Kano learned when studying that art. I won't try to explain it, as I have no idea, really.
Kime No Kata is a preservation of older self defense techniques from koryu jujutsu. Koshiki No Kata is the only remaining kata (or apparently anything for that matter) of Kito Ryu, the other primary root koryu of Judo. I don't know or understand it either. Good for direct fighting applications? Not really, but it does illustrate higher principles of throwing, and is the art from which the throwing of Judo primarily comes.
I'll stop there. Judo kata have different purposes and origins, from training method and mnemonics for randori waza, to preserving older jujutsu techniques and principles, to illuminating principles at the core of Judo.
It's more complex than just "kata does not equal sparring so it's no good for anything".
Wong Fei Hung Quote: "The tiger/crane form I made up was just a way to get my students in cool with the ladies. **** you, if you think that **** is for fighting."
(not actual quote) :(
This sounds essentially the same as how CMA forms training bridges into things like tui sao and sanda. Give them the bible of your art, then teach them things like balance, sense, timing, and on to kicking ass with a partner.
Originally Posted by DdlR
Your example was really interesting...a mix of eastern forms with western training methods.
The proportions break down to roughly 50% eclectic jujitsu/judo, 40% Swiss/French stick fighting, 10% Marquis of Queensberry boxing and low kicking. Bartitsu was the first known cross-training method between Asian and European combat styles.
Originally Posted by W. Rabbit
We're very lucky that Barton-Wright went into as much detail as he did back in 1900, but his "sequences" only illustrate some aspects of Bartitsu. The modern revival is based simultaneously on preserving Bartitsu as we know it it was (via the sequences) and trying to figure out what else it was, and what it can be today. It's an experimental process applied to early 20th century martial arts rather than a codified style in itself.
After 8 years of TKD and 3 years of Wushu I would say this:
Forms are fun and I had a blast doing them. They taught me nothing about fighting. Transferable information or skill to fighting was limited and almost accidental at best. Forms from my training have changed and thus are a poor 'link to the past'.
This stance is in the 1st poomse any TKDer learns. I used to always lol at that one. I asked one TKD instructor I met about it and he said that it was a LOW KICK BLOCK. LOLROFLCOPTER
Originally Posted by Hedgehogey
This x 8,000.
Originally Posted by Squerlli
The purpose of martial arts is to dance and learn to be comfortable in your own skin-- no matter how awkward you may appear to others--in the dojo, you're a superstar. Shut the **** up and get into those silk PJs. We've got work to do, ladies.
Have you ever tried not training in katas and spending that time to train aliveness? Esp in a striking context? Of course, you'd have to train as often as you can to begin with to see the difference.
If there was an original intent to Katas, aside from preserving lineage and technique, it is lost from how forms are emphasized today. In all the Katas I know it is impossible to imagine a fully resisting opponent's shadow to make the form meaningful. If you think you can in your form, perhaps you don't quite understand fighting dynamics in a realistic sense or you are learning some sort of really badass form. Even if it is the latter, you won't gain any benefit past what shadow boxing would give you. (if that.)
Instead of doing katas, put on some small gloves and do some light-contact drills. Then move onto sparring. I should start a thread: How do martial arts, the non-Kata way. I would post beginning contact drills and sparring drills for you to learn one by one with another partner.