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  1. #1
    FinalLegion's Avatar
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    Forms? Kata? Are they everywhere?

    In my very limited MA experience, I've noticed-and I could be quite wrong here-that most striking arts use forms/kata as a training tool.

    I've always wondered: do grappling arts have forms or kata? Are there striking MAs that don't teach forms/kata? Are forms/kata as prevalent in MAs as they seem to me?

  2. #2
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Judo has kata.

  3. #3
    Permalost's Avatar
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    Boxing and muay thai don't really have katas. Yeah, I know there's kata type muay boran like in Ong Bak, but I'd say a small minority of fighting gyms do that stuff. People will argue that combinations are kata, I'm one to disagree that four moves chained together on the bag is the same as doing 50 synchronized stylized steps in the air. Some karate styles put less emphasis on kata in favor of striking other people (kyokushin) or striking inanimate objects for conditioning (uechi).

    As mentioned, judo has kata. These are 2 person drills (as most grappling "kata" will be) where you toss each other around. Japanese jujutsu and aikido certainly have kata, and they might be considered grappling arts, but they're 2 person drills. Scott Sonnen's grappler's toolbox has a lot of squirming around on the mat solo drills that might be considered like solo grappling kata.

    I feel that the guys who are always insisting that bagwork and push ups and bunkai drills are all just kata, are kata appologists who are overemphasizing the value of kata by saying its things that it isn't. I believe part of this comes from insecurity from those who want to feel like accomplished fighters when really they're accomplished form practitioners.

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    I'd argue that kata is a tool and a product of a particular cultural context. That's part of why it is found in Asian martial arts more readily than Western. The Asian martial arts created kata as a record of technique and a style of drilling. Western martial arts has manuals of technique all the way back to the Renaissance (possibly earlier). Different cultures using different methods of passing knowledge. And those things are great to learn as long as you keep doing the important live drilling and sparring. They don't teach the timing, pacing, rhythm or range that live drilling and sparring do.

  5. #5
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    Sort of kind of but not really.
    BJJ does have drills that can be done by oneself. You can sort of think of them as kata like.
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krijgsman View Post
    I'd argue that kata is a tool and a product of a particular cultural context. That's part of why it is found in Asian martial arts more readily than Western. The Asian martial arts created kata as a record of technique and a style of drilling. Western martial arts has manuals of technique all the way back to the Renaissance (possibly earlier). Different cultures using different methods of passing knowledge. And those things are great to learn as long as you keep doing the important live drilling and sparring. They don't teach the timing, pacing, rhythm or range that live drilling and sparring do.
    Plenty of manuals in non western styles. Same/very similar methods I would argue.

    Posted by Permalost
    People will argue that combinations are kata, I'm one to disagree that four moves chained together on the bag is the same as doing 50 synchronized stylized steps in the air.
    Agree with this but would say if you remove the bag and 'stylized' the difference is moot.

  7. #7

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    In Seido-Juku Karate we have many kata's and a huge syllabus that doesn't appear to stop at any Dan grade. A lot of our Kata's are similar to Kyokushin.

    If anything it's used to drill techniques and for fitness. Sometimes we would do a kata and on each blocking technique we would perhaps do a small set of press-ups (1-5+ or double-up) and on each strike we would do sit-ups. So if your Kata has 21+ steps it can get pretty tiring.
    By studying Bunkai (Studying the application of Kata, I may be wrong on the term) you're supposed to learn how to use aspects of a kata in a 'situation'. I find some of it interesting (some unlikely) and in general it's supposed to be a kind of manual that's been handed down - some of the translations may have gotten lost.
    Our instructor's would make us do it to see our level of concentration, fitness and confidence (i.e. does the student rush it to get it over and done with, are their stances low enough, has the student learnt the correct set of techniques, etc..)

    Some competitors will compete in Kata competitions.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiiznDpoapQ

    We also drill Kihon-Kumite. This is when two of you 'perform' a fight with set techniques, you each know what's coming and you're supposed to go at each other harder and faster as you become more comfortable with it - I have found some of these techniques useful when sparring (Kumite).

    I have also been attending Judo at least once/twice a week. I have asked one of the Sensei's there about Kata and he said that there is some "but I just can't be arsed to learn it".

    Hope this helps =)

  8. #8
    solves problems with violence supporting member
    Ming Loyalist's Avatar
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    as usual there's a fair amount of language based misunderstanding as well. in japanese, the term "kata" can refer to many types of practice, including what we are talking about as "kata" in this thread, but also some types of compliant partner drills and solo practice.

    as japanese arts spread around the world, more restrictive ideas about the meanings of "kata" and "randori" were developed by instructors who were not native japanese speakers with a prejudice based on how their sensei had used the term in their practice.

    an example of this would be a judoka who thinks that aikido randori is "not real randori." in his experience, it's not, as it doesn't look/feel like any judo randori that he has seen, but in fact it is absolutely still randori in an aikido context.
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  9. #9

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    The word itself, Kata in Japanese or Xing in Chinese (形) means form, shape, appear, look, contrast.

    You are talking about shapes, forms, ways of moving the body.

    Everything can be looked at as form.

    Concepts are taught within forms, and sometimes you have to figure them out. Others are easy to see.

    But people latch on too forms and think they are the Holy Grail when they are just another tool to learn how to move and react and act.








  10. #10
    NeilG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMAd MMAx View Post
    I have also been attending Judo at least once/twice a week. I have asked one of the Sensei's there about Kata and he said that there is some "but I just can't be arsed to learn it".
    Most judo federations require that you demonstrate kata at dan gradings. Therefore I should hope your sensei was arsed to learn it at some point, as you will also be required to learn it if you continue.

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