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JazzKicker
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 164
Location: NJ
Styles: JKD, TSD, MMA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:01 pm    Post subject: Resources for researching meaning of Kata/Hyung movements? Reply with quote

This could apply to Shotokan and styles with similar/common forms.

I'm interested in web or published info that explores meaning and/or applications of movements in forms, beyond the obvious "block, punch, kick".

I first got into this many years ago, with some guidance from a friend who was big into the ryu-kyu kempo pressure point theories of George Dillman.

I don't want to revisit that stuff, but in the various Tang Soo Do hyung (practically Shotokan) I do, I realize there's more to figure out about what was really intended in some of the obscure movements.

I know I have to figure it out for myself, to a point, but I'm looking for some guidance
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29377
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iain Abernethy has several books on the subject: https://iainabernethy.co.uk/shop/product-category/book/

Lawrence A. Kane and Chris Wilder also have a good book on the subject: https://www.amazon.com/Way-Kata-Comprehensive-Deciphering-Applications/dp/1594390584

Stuart Anslow has done some researching into this subject matter in the ITF TKD forms, as well: https://www.amazon.com/Stuart-Paul-Anslow/e/B003TRVHW6?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_9&qid=1572900742&sr=1-9

I hope these resources point you in the right direction.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1876

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kane and Wilder’s book is probably one of the best publication available about form. The authors focus on Goju ryu karate because that is what they practise, but their book gives a great insight on how learning from forms/kata is supposed to be done. The explanations and methods of understanding forms can be applicable to any style/system relying on them as the main individual training exercise. Highly recommended !
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Kane and Wilder’s book is probably one of the best publication available about form. The authors focus on Goju ryu karate because that is what they practise, but their book gives a great insight on how learning from forms/kata is supposed to be done. The explanations and methods of understanding forms can be applicable to any style/system relying on them as the main individual training exercise. Highly recommended !
I agree. I really loved their work on the subject. They do a great job of laying out guidelines to consider in regards to deriving the applications to the techniques, and it translates over to whatever form or techniques one happens to practice quite well.
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Spartacus Maximus
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
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Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is one point about using the Wilder/Kane book for reference that should be emphasized. The information is only relevant if one has a good instructor to AND if one is not a beginner in one’s system/style. Otherwise it will only be confusing to the point of being useless.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
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Joined: 28 Feb 2016
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the premise that karate systems are based on either the stick and the whip principles and everything in between, then generalizing bunkai in katas, to explain them all will lead to patches of dead space and routines leading nowhere, where they become flash instead of reality
https://youtu.be/d714Dxu6qEA

Perhaps starting from where your chosen karate system preferences are, will help you discover if you should be like the stick or whip, or a combination of both as this will vary from one school to the next
https://youtu.be/WbDVrzZqGK4

As katas contain everything starting from defending to many obvious things, where throwing and grappling can change as a closed fist can also be a grab if need be.

Where as to use a grappling manoeuvre from a kata that have learned against a much larger opponent, is asking for trouble, therfore having options available and using the right one for the situation becomes important.

Otherwise following a kata blindly without considering the best alternatives is putting oneself in danger.

If a person isn't good at kicking, then this is where an alternative will work best, as the consequence could be that instead of landing a kick might be landing on one's back side.
https://youtu.be/fY2Hw3543AQ

Also the alternatives can be anywhere from just enough force used for the opponent to release their hold or to using a disabilatating fatal strike (think of Miyagi in the karate kid, when was about to chop the throat of the bad sensei, then squeezes his nose and does a Honk!)
https://youtu.be/7KF4iJzBVWM

In other words, make the bunkai fit your needs, search for the alternatives that work best for you and specifically you alone, making karate custom fitted towards protecting your health and wellbeing.
https://youtu.be/-lkCV7Z89Lk

Considering that your opponent is armed with a short or long bladed weapon, then adapting quickly is crucial, this is where practicing practical bunkai is important that always assumes that the opponent is armed where you are not.

Where grappling with an armed opponent in a struggle there is no room for errors or wondering about bunkai possibilities.
https://youtu.be/hNOaAZk4nDI

Bunkai informatinon should prepare the user with quick solutions as one second can change the outcome in an instant.
https://youtu.be/rYJKimc0EG4

Playing with bunkai for its historical roots and academic authenticity as interesting enough that it can be, just consider that this will take away from its purpose as a tool; as try this in MMA bout and see how far you get
https://youtu.be/NFmkIpQocqI

As bunkai should be training the nervous system of the user to be able to access appropriate applications without debate or hesitation, whereas the saying:
"I do not hit, it hits all by itself"
https://youtu.be/-1ANvTgiFmo
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
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Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The robotic nature of kata needs to be something discussed where we as humans are not mechanical.

Having said that, like kung fu drawing inspiration from nature we can also find benefits from mechanics in a variety of ways; therefore cars, trains, wind mills and every thing else mechanical have a place in martial arts.

Yet when talking mechanical there is usaully a metallic taste to the conversation, whereas in reality there are many types of elements such as oils, plastic, rubber, glass, air, fuels... contributing to this machine; including different types of engines.

I like to think of kata as a type of machine where similar to on a factory floor, that can be a very dangerous place.

As once wearing a tie was a part of the usual thing to wear, as to look smart, until getting caught up in the machine, causing death and serious injuries.

As I look at katas as types of machines, on a factor floor, where the opponent will get pulled in and churned up if not careful; this is a very powerful option towards becoming effective for self defence.

Also machines have their weaknesses, as putting a stick in to the front wheel of a bicycle will flip it, o so easily; which is the main principle of how karate works, one move with one end; as if every movement ends the fight, as if the first doesn't do the job the second one does and so on...
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You refer to Kung Fu as more natural, but Karate more mechanical in regards to its forms. Doesn't Kung Fu have forms, too? Would they not fall into the same mechanical reference?
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Alan Armstrong
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Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
You refer to Kung Fu as more natural, but Karate more mechanical in regards to its forms. Doesn't Kung Fu have forms, too? Would they not fall into the same mechanical reference?
Drawing from nature is not the same as being more natural as you have taken to Imply.

Please forgive my generalisations of karate and kung fu but their intents can most oftern be very different.

Whereas there needn't be an intent to have an imaginary opponent with kung fu forms, where some are and many are not.

As practicing kung ku with soft flowery movements for the health and harmony benefits are enough, while flowing with the rythems of nature, such as water and wind for example.

As with the intent can be very different with karate, as usually striking movements in the katas are performed with full power.

Where at the end of practicing kung fu forms the practioner feels invigorated and can feel connected with the universe, whilst playing with Yin/Yang energies.

Whereas in karate the katas are likened to a full out fight with an imaginary opponent, to end it as abruptly as possible with decisive intent and actions.

Of course there are many other reasons and things to consider about katas and kung fu forms as in aesthetics and functionality are often seen by the uninitiated.

Of course it is the "intent" of the practioner that counts when practicing katas or kung fu forms that it matches reality; be it for fun, health or against an imaginary opponent.

As katas and forms are full of history and hidden intents to pass on lessons from the past, which being family secrets and encoded patterns that needs a lot of time and effort towards understanding how they can be used effectively.

Katas and forms can most certainly feel very good when practicing them, it really comes down to each individual's personality, needs and wants, to make them viable for fighting purposes or not.

Organizing movements for combat is efficient in many ways to train with, but not always effective, if it becomes a clear substitute for sparring against another person.

Personally I never want to loose the importance of katas and forms, while also never forgetting that there are limitations to over Indulging in them.

However katas are excellent for giving explanations with, on how a system of movements and concepts can work together, also helping to remember them; that can be used to pass on from one generation to the next.

Just like everything, there are limitations, katas and forms are not exempt, as flowery or robotic, natural and mechanical, we all have choices, just hopefully they are the right ones.
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