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
When Kata go Wrong
If kata are combative ability brought together into one or more forms to transmit, transfer and teach us how to apply them for self-protection then they must be important. I would surmise that originally only a very small set of techniques were used successfully so very long ago. I can also make an educated guess that as "Te or Ti" practitioners got together and compared notes they discovered many additional techniques they could learn and use. This also occurred when various villages had contests to display courage, skill and provide "face" for the village that won the contest.
As these exchanges continued and the various village oriented training and practice and application continued those practitioners needed some way to compile all they were learning so it could be easily remembered, as history shows for the Greeks and Romans to name a couple, and passed down from generation to generation. This promulgated innovations by each practitioner garnering new systems and combinations and techniques.
Our kata are a culmination of all the past practitioners knowledge, understanding and ability. A template to teach and learn. A blueprint to build a better house. A house made of straw and branches that now has to consist of steel, brick and mortar - changes are necessary as the architects will make pen and ink changes to the blueprints as the building goes up, right?
What the heck does this have to do with when a kata is disrupted from its original form? Nothing and Everything. I at one time would say the same things when observing kata that go wrong. I would say, "That is not the correct way to do the kata." Is this actually true? Not really and the next part will explain my reasoning.
If I do a kata and mix up the techniques with some other kata I have done nothing wrong providing I applied all the correct principles of martial systems. Why? Because in this instance the individual components be they a single technique or a combination of techniques they are correct and assumed to be applied within the constraints dictated by violence, principles and efficient-proficient-working application. Ok, that is a bit convoluted, what I am saying is as long as those individual or combination of techniques are correct and work then it really does not matter.
Caveat Time: When it does matter is when your teaching new practitioners who need to adhere to the plan until they reach a certain level of proficiency.
Dogmatic adherence to form-function-application is necessary but at the passing of a certain level, unique to each of us, then one must progress into a more chaotic form of practice where the kata no longer needs to be exact and promotes the ability of the mind/brain to draw on, mix and match to the present moment situation.
Maybe this would allow karate-ka to actually utilize kata technique in fight/defense/protection training - at least a form of the technique since that too has to adjust to the present moment application which is fluid, chaotic and messy.