It's All in the Kata

At least that is what my buddy was told.

Seems he stopped in at a local, new karate school here in order to give another guy a ride home. Now the karate guy had said he wanted to get involved in some type of grappling, but his parents enrolled him in the new karate school (he is 15).

So my bud shows up, and class is still going on. The guy is teaching grappling. At the moment he was showing the Americana from the mount. He said the lock was ok, but the guys mount was weird. How so I ask. He said the guy on bottom had his legs flat, and the instructor (on top) had his knees on the ground at the guys hips, then his feet were hooked over the guys thighs and his toes were pointed down inside the guys legs, supposedly for control purposes. Seems to me, in my limited experience, that this would provide little base and allow for an easy bridge and roll.

It goes on, and now he is showing the kimura from the guard. He says the instructor just reaches over and grabs the wrist, pulls the arm to him, and remains flat on his back. Then proceeded to crank pretty hard. He said he had to really strain to get the guy to tap. Never shifted his hips or moved to the side, just remained flat the whole time.

When it was all over, the instructor came to talk to him. My bud asked him where he got his grappling, to which he gave the classic response "It's all in the kata".

Ya know, I do like the idea that there are schools out there that are trying to incorporate grappling into their systems, but man be honest about it. It is not in the kata. If it was, why did you wait until BJJ was kicking everyone's tail until you decided to pull it out of the kata? I know there's been plenty of other stories like this, just thought someone might get as much of a laugh from it as I did at the time.

LOL. Kata, indeed. Maybe if he analyzes his kata further, he'll discover that "base" and "hip movement" are in there as well. hahahahahaha

They need to quit kata and begin practicing solo drills. BJJ people are always looking for "solo drills."

If you read Renzo Gracie's book - mastering jujitsu - there are other explanations for the claimed superiority of BJJ training methods - it's more than rejection of kata . . .

Still it is fun to mock McDojo's . . .

A few years ago, they found a proof for Fermat's last theorem in the kata. True story.

What an interesting revelation, do you realize what this could mean? The cure for cancer and many other ailments may actually be found in "Kata". Somewhere deeply entwined in these contorted postures and grunts lye the secrets of life. We may even find the Ark of the Covenant or Jimmy Hoffa. Forget about the prophecy and psychics, I'm taking Karate. ...Black Bart

Einstein found E=MC2 in the kata...


I teach BJJ out of a kenpo school where I trained for many years before switching into more alive training. Many of the instructors there will actually claim that their cooperative techniques and movements from kata demonstrate 1) my BJJ moves and 2) ways to stop them. I've actually had them argue with me that they can stop me from doing something (takedowns, etc.). Only one or two will actually let me try it and then attempt their theoretical response. They have never succeeded, but they still claim it works.....

Ah well. If everyone were on the right track, we wouldn't have people to compare ourselves too. :-D


ClydeusMaximus: That's pretty hilarious! If it's the guy I visited last year, he flat out admitted all his technique comes from books. It's part of his total defense
system. He has a booming kids biz because he picks up the kids in a van from school, gives them a snack and a class
while Momma and Daddy are at work. It's a lot cheeper than day care; so, enrollment is no problem.

I don't think he was around last year, as far as I know, he just opened up shop within the last few months.

Funny, I studied this particular style for a little while, after having been in Judo for about 5 years at UT. I would sometimes ask a question from a grappling mentality. It was an honest question stemming from a desire to understand what I was being shown. Many times there were movements in the kata, which to me resembled throws I had learned in Judo. I would ask something like, from that movement, could you not be grabbing the arm and throwing? Especially in instances where you were turning 90 or 180 degrees. Or I would ask something like, what if your foot gets swept from having it so far forward while doing some self-defense technique. I honestly wanted to know and learn and improve. I always got the same exact answer "We don't grapple, we would never have to grapple or go to the ground, no one would ever get close enough to take us down." And now I find out that, in fact, the grappling was in there all along. ;-)

ttt for Andrew Wiles :) They actually made an entertaining book about him and the theorem. It's pretty good.

Being that I'm about to get a blackbelt from Dillman...

Part of Dillman's Kata theory is that blocks aren't blocks, they're pressure point strikes.

So, I'm at the seminar, and he goes off on a tangent about Karate being created to fight other arts, and he shows a "downward block" that defends a wrestler "diving in."

What does this tell us? Assuming Dillman's right, TMA guys 400 years ago still had a crappy defense to a shoot. :)


As an old school Karate-ka that defected to BJJ. I will say that my training in classical JJ and BJJ as well as judo opened up a whole lot of options in the OLD kata I had learned over the years. However, I must say that it was in the kata before I saw what it MIGHT BE. What I am saying is that the JJ techniques hidden in kata were there all along just that the way most people have been taught karate was not even close the real meanings. We all have to thank the likes of Dillman, Gracies and many others who opened the flood gates for learning for YOURSELF.

And yes it does seem odd that every system known to man miraculously now has a complete ground fighting system that was never before taught. :)

Just my rant not to step on toes

Eric Myers

While I generally agree that too many classical martial arts (particularly Karate guys) are making claims that their Katas contain all sorts of tecnhiques (namely grappling techniques).

Kata is essentially techniques chained together.

With that said Bjj is full of katas. They are not the same katas of those traditional/classical karate styles they are still katas nonetheless.

The three-point mount attack in Bjj is a kata.

So you should show that Karate instructor a Bjj kata he will stop claiming his Karate katas show the same thing.

The more jiu-jitsu or jujitsu you learn, the more you will see it in the kata. Eventually, you will quit the kata and just train jiu-jitsu - unless, you don't like to sweat too much.

just say no to kata.

There are Bjj katas it is basically all the Bjj technical sequences and flows that you instructor shows you.

Katas sans the formalities

Kata is holding an icicle and saying "this can do anything water can do."

Icicles do not flow.


I'm gonna have to disagree with the talk about Bjj/judo katas.

The reason most of use feel katas are ridiculous is because you are usually practicing ridiculous moves against an imaginary opponent.

If you a doing a Judo or BJJ sequence, chances are you are practicing timing on a set of usable holds.


Shadow boxing . . . .

Well, I was not necessarily focusing on the kata. We can argue the benefits, or lack of, in doing kata. I am neither here nor there on that. They helped my coordination and flexibility when I did them. I can even see the point of "BJJ kata" when talking of a flow of moves. It is the statement that his mount and guard work and his keylock from the mount and kimura from the guard were out of the kata; when prior to this the mantra from this style was we don't grapple, don't need to. And the very moves that they are saying represent these techniques now were being shown as something entirely different a few years ago. I know, I trained at a few schools in the area in this style.

As a matter of fact, we had, perhaps the highest ranking practitioner of this style in the nation and possibly the world with his school right here in Knoxville. Guy had studied under the founder of the system while stationed over seas. Another friend of mine was training there, and I was doing Judo. Said he mentioned to said person that he had a friend that did Judo, to which the guy said "tell your friend if he really wants to learn to fight, come here and learn a real martial art. We don't wrestle, we don't need to."

Just feel it is a little on the "less then up-front" side to now pull out the "it is all int kata" card. Why not admit you are adding another dimension to your game. Why not make arrangements with a qualified teacher to give a seminar or mini-camp or something. That is all.