Friday, June 24, 2011

Kata Magic

I've discussed Bunkai (the application of Kata) in previous posts. I am always seeing new "Experts" in the field of Kata. Some present some decent material, but a lot are still reaching. I will argue that full contact (in a combat sport if you have no real life fight experience) is the only to learn how to fight. Despite what the experts present, they forget that fighting of any kind requires: timing, reaction, emotions, and reflex. Now they will say that they have drills and that the techniques presented can be done without seriously hurting your training partner, etc. An amateur boxer or kickboxer with less than a year of experience will usually beat a student of another martial art (i.e. Karate or Tae Kwon Do) with a few years or more experience in a scrap (I say this from experience training boxers and karate fighters). Now I am not being anti-Kata. Kata is based on a principles of combat and they give history to what Karateka do. The applications given in most cases become a little overcooked. The best learning method is to spar or compete. Through sparring you can have a non-compliant opponent and you can learn to deal with strikes, throws, submissions, etc. I teach Kata and enjoy it tremendously and I teach them to my students. But, I emphasize sparring and impact training (hitting things). My guys and gals get out there and compete in all combat sports to experience the adrenaline, the pain, the fatigue and the ups and down of fighting. Then they can apply this to their Kata (not the other way around). So, don't be mislead by the Bunkai theorists who tell you that sport fighting is real enough. Notice they never have any fight experience they can show you. Listen to the Kata guy with knock outs and tap outs.

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