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SAAMAG
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 01 Feb 2012
Posts: 10
Location: San Antonio TX
Styles: It varies

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:50 pm    Post subject: Karate without Kata? Reply with quote

So as one of my first posts in this forum, I wish to pose a theoretical question to you all:

Is there such a thing as Karate without Kata? By that, can you learn karate techniques and movement with simply kihon and kumite?
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MasterPain
Black Belt
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Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 1949
Location: Parts Unknown
Styles: Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Backyard Kali, Satsui no Hadou

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that depends on your definition of the word "is."

I say yes. Kihon, I am led to believe is made up of parts of kata. Even if a person learned letters out of alphabetical order and could not sing the abc's, they could still use letters to make words.
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evergrey
Brown Belt
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Joined: 21 Jun 2010
Posts: 734

Styles: kyokushin

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I believe so. But I'm maybe a freak that way. ;}
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bassaiguy
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2011
Posts: 161
Location: Maine, USA
Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you can certainly learn to fight without kata - look at UFC, boxing or any half-way decent street fighter. However, you cannot learn karate without kata, IMO. If you look at karate as a system of body development and self-defense, a way to enhance your own life, not just disrupt someone else's life (even if they deserve it), then learning kihon and kumite without kata just doesn't cut it.

It comes down to the purpose of kata. If it's just for aerobic conditioning and as a memorization tool then there are better ways of achieving those goals. If, however, kata teaches a way of interpreting body movement and of integrating attack and defense - if it provides a platform of analysis rather than a mere catalog of techniques - then it is a unique and worthwhile practice that is integral to karate.

In my own field, as a history teacher, I can make the comparison between history and historiography. History is a collection of facts, dates and biographical details. Historiography, on the other hand, is the systematic analysis of those facts in a particular conceptual framework. In this analogy kihon are like historical facts, you can know a lot of them and use those facts to win arguments, trivia contests or whatever, but you cannot understand their real significance until you can put them in a historiographical framework (like kata).
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Dobbersky
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 19 Jul 2006
Posts: 1320
Location: Manchester. United Kingdom
Styles: Black Tiger Karate Do

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Re: Karate without Kata? Reply with quote

SAAMAG wrote:
So as one of my first posts in this forum, I wish to pose a theoretical question to you all:

Is there such a thing as Karate without Kata? By that, can you learn karate techniques and movement with simply kihon and kumite?


In the UK its called "Freestyle Karate"!!!!

They tend to work on Basics, Sparring Techniques and Self Defence. Kata (Forms) are useually if required Self Created for Dan Grades, sometimes to Music!!!

Karate Without Kata is like a Hot Dog without the Dog in it!

Kata is what makes Karate Karate. We practice Kata and this is where 90% of everything else comes from. Before Books and Writing was common, Kata was the only way a Teacher could pass on his fighting system to his students!
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andym
Green Belt
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Joined: 05 Jul 2011
Posts: 487

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[/quote]So as one of my first posts in this forum, I wish to pose a theoretical question to you all:

Is there such a thing as Karate without Kata? By that, can you learn karate techniques and movement with simply kihon and kumite?
Quote:



As dobbersky said, here in Britain it was called 'Free Style' Karate, from the 1970's to the 1990's. What is interesting that, as the 1990's progressed and bunkai training grew and became more and more wide spread . The 'free style' groups had to do a 180 degree , about-face, and learn kata. Interesting how many kata and bunkai experts there are out there, who originally were 'free style'.
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JohnASE
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Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 492
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, kata is a tool for teaching karate, and if someone chooses not to include it in his style, it can still BE karate.

If you say that karate has to have kata to be karate, what next? Do you then need to determine which kata are acceptable and which are not? Is the kata too short? Does it teach anything of value? Is having one kata enough, or do you need at least 5 or 8?
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brickshooter
Green Belt
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Joined: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 443


PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Karate without Kata? Reply with quote

SAAMAG wrote:
So as one of my first posts in this forum, I wish to pose a theoretical question to you all:

Is there such a thing as Karate without Kata? By that, can you learn karate techniques and movement with simply kihon and kumite?


I think that one can learn 80% of Karate. And it would probably take longer to learn Karate without Kata.
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tallgeese
KF Sensei
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Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6604
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Karate without Kata? Reply with quote

[quote="Dobbersky" Before Books and Writing was common, Kata was the only way a Teacher could pass on his fighting system to his students![/quote]

Maybe true, but now we have those things.

Additionally, we have focus mitt drills, all sorts of training equipment, no social or political reasons for masking training in any way, and a better understanding of psychology and learning.

Yes, you can have karate without karate. For the bulk of my time studying karate based arts I haven't used kata. Having tested what I learned from said system, I found that the lack of kata in no way impeded my ability to deploy it in a professional setting.

We're talking about learning tactics associated with fighting. Let's look at a progression of training from our military (and police, which is where my familiarity with such things comes). At one time, pre-WWII and during that conflict, we trained soldiers to shoot (and cops) by having them plink at bulls eye targets. This made great marksmen. However, the ability of a soldier to even fire his weapon in combat was very low as shown by the British study by SLA Marshall. This was due to a lack of stress inoculation in training and a non-realistic training simulation.

Moving to Korea and Vietnam, the military went to an E-type target which was a more realistic approximation of a human silhouette. This drove firing rates to 55% (Korea) and over 90% (Vietnam).

Now we've moved into an era of photo-realistic targets, pop ups, moving targets, projected shoot back simulators, ect. All in an effort to make combat troops (and cops) more effective at deploying skills. The numbers and research bear out that they are working (see Grossman's works for reference).

It's working so well, that the state I live and work in has mandated it. The case law laid down by the courts has stated that cops will shoot in: low light, force on force scenarios, against moving targets, while making the distinction between shoot and no shoot target, ect. The list is actually pretty long. They understand that we can't do our job by standing on a line and repetitively doing the same, unchanging routine. No matter how pretty we might make our patterns on paper look.

It's the science of combative development. Shooting the bulls-eye target is like kata. You can make a pattern look great on paper. You can have it wired without hiccups. And we trained that way for a while before modern research came to light. But it does not fully prepare one for combat, the actual occurrence is too little like the training environment.

The additional realistic elements added, continually, since WW-II are like the progression of modern training methods, equipment, and psychology in martial arts. They function under the same principle.

Yes, you can do karate without kata. Just like you can shoot without using bull's eye targets as the basis for your combat preparation.
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sojobo
Green Belt
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Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Posts: 462
Location: United Kingdom
Styles: Wado-ryu Karate-do, Nihon Koryu Budo, Iaido, Kenjutsu, Traditional Jujutsu, Aiki-Jujutsu

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today, people can make great sounding music without having to know how to play any musical instruments.

If you view Kata based Karate - purely as a combat skill, or self protection system, then there are far more efficient methods to achieve your end goal.

However; people learn how to play a piano, for example, not merely to make a nice sound, but as part of the challenge and sense of achievement that goes with acquiring the skills required to play.

Although kata may have existed as the most functional way to transmit and preserve fighting methods (at the time), they have evolved into what we see today as a “discipline” that goes way beyond it surface level combat effectiveness. Kata is very much part of "budo" in this respect.

The thing about practicing kata is that you can always improve on it and as such this famous quote springs to mind:

“It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards.”

I can fully understand why that way of thinking isn’t everyone cup of tea and I am not saying practicing non kata based martial arts can’t yield similar rewards, but I can’t help feeling that kata is what makes karate complete as a martial art - rather than just a codified method of violence.

Sojobo
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