Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

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


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 (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“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 (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“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

Search This Blog

Kata, Forms and Drills - Oh My!

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Trying to find historical accounting of kata seems daunting especially since there is little to no accounting of its origins in any definitive historical document. There are many theories, idea’s and beliefs all from various studies, studies done more in our modern times from a strong curiosity by the practitioners to gain a bit of understanding as to what are kata, where were kata first created and practiced, when did they first do kata, how did kata become the foundation for martial arts and why were kata created and so on ad-infinitum. 

The only source that I could find on kata is a study and presentation written by Boye Lafayette DeMente on the cultural system of kata the underlies every aspect of Japanese society, i.e., “Kata: The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese.” 

Where I also theorize on the idea of kata from this source is both Japan and Okinawa were influenced a great deal by the Chinese influences as to both culture and etiquette. Since that seems to be true it supports the idea that, like taking off shoes upon entering a home or dojo along with bowing, etc., such cultural etiquette’s are not unique to karate and martial arts but simply the natural inclination of the martial artists to use those same cultural etiquettes in the dojo. When you view how the society works in every day living you see bowing and kata like aspects that have made their culture and efforts, especially in creation of products, so spectacular.  

It also explains quit well why certain aspects of teaching karate and martial arts is more observational then taught through words because everything is kata and kata is everything means that once a kata is created the harmonious beliefs of the culture require learning by observing and not by talking, questioning and listening especially since words are often, at the times kata became a part of social practices and conditioning, inadequate to explain things. It was therefore expected that a student would observe and practice until what they performed as kata exactly matched the kata of sensei. 

Take the written characters of the Japanese language, you can include Chinese and Okinawan as well since almost all of it is derived from ancient Chinese influences. The characters are exact, they have certain patterns that must be followed and they all require a huge amount of practice, practice and more practice to master and commit to memory. There are certain patterns followed as the student achieves a certain level of competence when learning to write, read and understand those characters, i.e., kanji, etc. so one can perceive a kind of kata-esque process to learn and memorize a huge volume of characters. 

It appears that many of us, in the West, due to early influences and limited knowledge and understanding of karate, martial arts and their kata assumed that the kata were unique and an intricate part of karate and martial arts. Like many other cultures where military training involves drills, i.e., also a combination of moves and techniques in teaching inexperienced military to fight, etc., the kata-esque practices are not exclusive to Asian military disciplines. These kata are practiced throughout history and are critical not just to learning and teaching combative aspects of war but also critical to the ability to analyze the atomistic concepts to create, or synthesize, new more appropriate tactics and strategies so that military expertise can achieve the goals of war that are most effective to the times where fought.  

I also feel we tend to attribute more meaning to the kata than is meant and necessary. It is more about certain principles and applications of methodologies then specific/specified techniques, offensive vs. defensive and their combinations toward a more dynamic changing situational applications. In a time long ago where words used were more symbolic rather than exacting, where such exacting words of description along with observational teaching and learning requirements put the principles and methodologies in the dark where over time and with experience practitioners came to know of them in a more primal conditioned way rather than one easily related and connected to articulation vs. just physical demonstrative methods. 

Kata are, like drills and other methods of other cultures, exceptional in passing down knowledge of combatives from generation to new generations with a requirement toward analysis and synthesis to accommodate changes in time, culture and the way of war that always evolves. The ancient Chinese “Cheng-n-Ch’i” concept is critical to learning from and teaching kata like methodologies that tend to transcend time. 

I like to liken kata as to words, i.e., each word is a technique driven by a methodology, an idea, that is coupled with other words to form, kata, an idea or theory or concept appropriate to the moment or situation and the sentences collected appropriately to tell the story, the story of kata work in a similar fashion where as time passes and kata evolve along with the culture and beliefs of the society that word or words change, the structure of the sentence changes and the meaning of the sentences and paragraphs convey a new, yet ancient, story appropriate to the modern times at that moment and in those situations. 

To truly understand kata, forms and drills you have to learn and connect them to the ancient ones but you also have to allow them to evolve, even if only in how they are interpreted and applied, according to the changes of human social evolution or they become merely artifacts of a time long past. To truly learn, understand and accept kata for what they are requires being open to change and evolutionary necessities of the kata. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

No comments: