Kata discovery!

I think today, Kata- be it a one or two man set- has become a display of who can immitate the master the most closely. Now, if the master was acctually capable of pulling his wonderful martial art when push came to shove- then imitating hsi movements might hold water- might. But he can't. If what I learned was true, then the old katas, once you learned how to do the basics, were to teach you how to move and how to link one motion to another fluidly. Probably not the best method, but if your living in the woods or in a temple, its something you can do and your teacher can observe easily. But the variations in motion after the first year of basic study would truly let one grow as a martial artist and let one learn his personal biomechanics, IMO. Today, many training curriculum's are not designed properly. Teachers throw a bunch of skills together in what they believe is a building block method to try and teach students how to fight. However, even if the physical skills are done in a building block fashion (which they rarely are) the psychological teaching proccess is so sorely lacking that students can not fill in the gaps for themselves. Many would be happier with a simpler curriculum but one that they understood, who's end goal was simple and along their lines of thinking. Scott is one of the rare exceptions.


A freind of mine does traditional Kung Fu. We were talking the other day while he was going through his forms. I noticed something different and I asked him about it, his answer, if true reveals a great deal about the Chinese martial arts and ideas similar to grappler's toolbox.

He said; first you spend a year, studying hard how your instructor wants you to move, to breath, to think. After a year, he lightens up an EXPECTS you to make minor alterations to find your points of balance, your biomechanics and your own strengths.

If this is true- then the modern practice of kata and forms is wrong. It is not a mindless linkage of motion where you simply attempt to imitate your teacher- it is the first in a series of symphonies we are supposed to write when learning to fight. They just give us the tuning board and few basic songs- we are expected to write our own songs after a year of practice (just like you can't write for the piano until you learn the keys and basic songs). Many MMAers, in the hunt of merely what looks practical critized internal Chinese MAs for their odd stances. Granted- fighting from them would be more than impractical however try taking one of those stances and walking across your training area- can you see the first step in the the grappler's toolbox right there? Do you never fall into that type of stance, ever in combat. When you are bent over and one leg is stuck out at an angle and your other leg is bent all funny- it does happen. Somewhere along the line the Kata itself somehow got more importance than the biomechanics, balance and strength it was supposed to teach- but that was the original intention. I felt that this was worth sharing with the ROSS crowd since you guys think about this stuff. Supposedly even the College of Physical Education in China that certifies various martial arts only teaches the new forms and does not encourage the old thinking- but it does exist.