When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
I have spent some time studying the changes that occurred during the late 1800's and especially the early 1900's. The early 1900's were pivitol in the nature of karate practice where it was converted from the fighting system to a health, fitness, and school system of practice losing many important aspects in regards to fighting.
No where in any of this have I come across any inference to kata being of an artistic nature. I have not found any inferences either direct or hidden that say kata are artistic in nature or that a primary aspect is its aesthetic form. I feel kata do not meet these traits directly. I feel kata are not either artistic or aesthetic in its teachings.
I do feel that both the artistic and aesthetic of kata are simply byproducts of learning and applying fundamental principles of all martial systems. This I believe.
The "artistic" of kata was born when it converted from a fighting civil system to a sportive, health and fitness system for the school systems of Okinawa and later Japan. Artistic kata came about as the sporting aspects grew when it was necessary to create scoring systems to differentiate the performance enough to allow for it. It continues to be expanded with each successive generation of sport practitioner.
When I see explanations of adherence to and applying such kata meaning as regarding body alignment, structure, etc. I don't see this as naming it aesthetics. These are fundamental principles not aesthetics. The appearance when viewed by others my seem aesthetically pleasing. It is not aesthetics but the byproduct of applying the fundamental principles of martial systems.
I am trying to emphasize that "naming" things can give false impressions as to what is being taught, being done, and most important being applied in fighting/self-defense/self-protection. If strictly speaking to sport it still does not adequate "name" what is being taught and applied. Even in kata competition they loosely look to its possible application of technique as if in a fight. Just because about 95% of those participating in kata competitions have not experienced fighting or gained any fighting experience/proficiency does not indicate that what is displayed in forms competition and graded as such is actually applicable to fighting.
Kata have many functions for martial systems with emphasis here on karate. It may have some artistic and aesthetic byproducts. It should not be expressed as a major meaning of kata. It is merely a byproduct of other more important principles that make kata and karate work.
I often look to see if the forming of an applied technique fits a some what aesthetic form. I look for this after I look to see if the principles applicable to that technique are present and that it is correct. If some aesthetic form results this is what I note. If it does not then I simply ignore the possible presence or absence of aesthetic form. It is not that important, the principles are far more critical to making things work.
I cannot fault any system or organization for this as the traditional (sport oriented) practice of karate is greatly sportive not combative. It comes to play when folks either promote, teach, or think that what they do is a part of survival in fighting and/or predatory violent encounters. It is just not that simple!
John Vesia Sensei of "Martial Views" blog posted on kata competitive aspects of theatrics and how that relates to kata function. He inspired this post and you will find his post here meaningful and relevant. http://www.martialviews.com/
"All too often we see great emphasis being placed on ensuring that the limbs etc are in the correct positions whilst none is placed on what the student should be thinking and feeling." - Iain Abernethy Sensei, Bunkai Jutsu