I love Kata.
I am just just beginning to train in Shintani Wado-Kai Karate, and look forward to studying the Kata.
There’s generally a few types of people when it comes to kata.
Those who hate it,
Those who love it,
Those who do it because they’re told to.
There’s also a love/hate, where people love to watch and study and criticise Kata, but never practice it as much as others.
It’s pretty intense how much Bunkai, application, is possible through Karate Kata. Be creative! Be unorthodox, then you will stand out and have the element of surprise!
But the traditional Kata must not be modified… I believe in creating your own through your own certain concepts and ideas, but only once a certain level has been achieved where you can understand Kata.
Personally I think that Kata are wonderful when done correctly, and provide a great body conditioning exercise when done to the fullest potential many times over.
You can only do a “that” Kata once… So do each one at your best.
Being a “little brother” to Shotokan and it’s dynamic style, Wado-Kai is also dynamic, and it shows it will be an excellent workout. There also looks to be many variety of bunkai application within the Katas. I am particularily fond of the idea of Taisabaki, the transitioning and repositioning between different stances to evade attacks. A Japanese Kenjutsu, or swordsmanship, idea. I think this footwork will be very useful, and an extreme conditioner for the legs.
It’s also a big change compared to my base, fairly linear Tae Kwon Do footwork style. In Tae Kwon Do, the footwork is very strong, and linearly mobile. Straight forward, straight back… the steps are done directly towards and retreating from opponent, but also spinning techniques are where it stands out in counter attacking.
In Muay Thai Kick boxing, the stance basically stays the same like in boxing, and the body spent most of the time side stepping or shuffling forward or back. Very mobile, defensive. When the shell block is utilised, and the way the hands are held as if looking through a window, shaped by the arms, it’s a very difficult to penetrate posture.
In Wado-Kai, the steps are done in a circular motion,
there is far more emphasis on deeper stances for generating and building strength and power in the legs, higher in combat of course.
There is a lot more hip motion.
This would make blocks more efficient for sending off balance and utilising their energy against them, and make it more difficult for the opponent to make contact with you, once the movement becomes natural.
All are good things to learn… :)
I wonder how useful Wado-kai footwork will be when it comes to kumite, sparring.
Read the next segment with an open mind, Karateka… don’t get offended.
***I don’t necessarily agree with the “sport karate” style of kumite… it seems to take a lot away from the actual fighting aspects of Karate since there is such a giant, diverse variety of techniques. It’s not a sport, it’s an art, and a means of self defence… and limiting an artist with a wide arsenal of skills to only a few of their tools… what does that do? With time they can’t think outside of the box right? Only striking to the torso, above the belt, below the neck, the front only.
Karate, yes is definately primarily striking based. But it has an arsenal of trips, throws, locks, pins, weak/pressure point strikes, hidden within Kata, and at higher level. And when there are no strikes to the head allowed at all in competition, there is of course a lessened chance of concussion but still no preparation for head-hunters in real life. Especially when you learn to keep your hands down and not protect the head… Simulated drills will only take you so far in traditional schools.
No offense intended, I greatly respect all martial arts, but there are just some things that seem impractical for the sake of sport, if self-defense is the aim.
But I guess it’s very difficult to actually practice the crippling blows and throws without actually crippling your training partner. I guess that’s where Karate would draw the line into Japanese Jujitsu, though the techniques for grappling are definately in Karate Kata.
Think, the Double Downward block, or Gedan Juji Uke… On the ground, instead of a block. A strike to the throat perhaps? A Choke using the collar?
Ever think of the double inner to outer block, as a means of escaping a choke hold?
The blocks can all be used as strikes, and their sweeping movements along with the circular steps of the feet are signature of takedown movements when utilised correctly if you look at the mechanics of japanese jujutsu and Aikido. There’s so much to discover in the massive art of Karate, and martial arts in general.
There’s lots more but I am done for tonight. I need some rest.
So before, when I was younger, I used to hate working with kids!!! But now… I kind of enjoy it :)
Since I’m older and they look up to me, I have a little bit more influence on them. They’re so innocent and easily teachable! When you’re trying to teach those who are older and think they know everything, or are struggling to concentrate while holding onto all of their life issues, it’s difficult to teach them.
Children absorb like a sponge, so take warning while teaching them so that you don’t pass on bad habits, watch what you say.
It might just be me growing up too, haha…
Today was a wonderful day, despite being frustrated with my job. I walked back into the place where I spent most of my growing up years training. I am finally back. T.K. Tae Kwon Do, Manitoba.
I think we’re kind of roughly based off of W.T.F., but with our own curriculum and other techniques. I still have to ask Master Terry about our roots. I was never really that concerned about authenticity before.
But. We’re not a “McDojo”, that’s for sure. I’ve seen a few of those…
9 years of training in my life took place there. Been a year and a half since I was out of there. Stupid Vertigo.
It was nostalgic and euphoric. When we started the warmup and exercise, it was like going back in time, like nothing had ever changed… When I was instructing I still knew everything like the back of my hand… The class went by too fast, but those who still knew me welcomed me back. It feels like family. It felt as if I had never left.
I’ve got an instant spark to train for my second degree! Going to work so hard!
Martial arts is what I live for.
Conditioning. This is lacking in a lot of martial art schools nowadays. There’s many schools who teach martial arts but don’t condition the limbs or body for blows… These sport oriented schools help people be able to fight in a circle, but not in life. There’s also more than just body strength when it comes down to it…
What good is being able to perform a Roundhouse kick if you break your shin, toes or foot against the opponent? You should train to have iron limbs.
What good is that finger strike, spear hand, knife edge, punch, anything with the hands, if your bones are weak and unconditioned? You’ll break your hand trying to defend yourself.
What good is that high block if your bones are so weak that your arm shatters?
What if you get jumped by some losers, and they shatter all your bones by stomping on your body?
I personally want to train to make my bones tough enough to break baseball bats with my blocks… then I’ll know I’m strong.
If you ever achieve that, why would you have to strike your opponent in a self defense situation? They attack, you destroy their limbs… then what is left for them to attack with? Nothing. You win without having to fight and you completely demoralize the enemy so they no longer wish to.
If you’re ever taken by surprise… say you’re walking past a group of guys and suddenly you get jumped! Martial artist or not, if you don’t see it coming you’re going to get hit. It’s not like the movies where they have eyes on the back of their head… you can observe your surroundings, but 9/10 times a surprise attack will get the best of anyone.
If you have a conditioned body, the better your chances are for escaping without any Real injury… if you’re weak and get pounded on, you could be in the hospital for a long time, or worse. Buried.
Basic conditioning is not very difficult. And can be helpful for you for life, whether it be in a fight or an accident where something strikes you. I’m not saying you’ll be invincible, I’m saying you’ll have a greater chance of shaking it off.
There’s Chinese iron shirt Where someone repeatedly gets hit with hard objects against their body and limbs and toughen up. Iron palm where you strike your palm against hard surfaces for hours on end, lol… but there’s more to it, I’m just not that familiar with chinese techniques.
In Karate there’s an iron arms training technique, where you strike the blocking surfaces of your arms together hard, to build iron blocks. That can also be done against trees… There’s also striking against the makiwara to condition the hands, knuckles and leg striking surfaces. There is Sanchin Kata and the “shime” for it, where you strike the practitioner as they perform sanchin. It creates muscle tension and a sort of armour against blows.
I’ve also seen traditional kyokushin Karate drills, and boxing/kickboxing/Muay Thai drills where you hold your arms high and someone rapidly strikes your midsection in hardness slightly above your tolerance level so you build up a tolerance to abdominal strikes.
I’ve seen muay thai drills where practitioners roundhouse eachother directly on the shins to strengthen the bones and deaden the nerves. This also goes for the body too, seeing as the Thai Roundhouse is viciously strong, if you can withstand that, you can withstand a lot.
There’s also a conditioning exercise where one gets a bucket of sand… and strikes into it with either fists or fingers to train the hand strikes. This changes with time from sand to gravel to iron balls.
Alongside the last exercise, with tiger claw training, you strike into the substance, take a handful of it. You then turn your palms upward and squeeze it as hard as you can for a few seconds. You are to then turn them back down, release, and do it all over again. That type of training helps a martial artist be able to thrust their fingers through wood, rock and other absurd substances to achieve this superhuman strength.
Through this training, the strength and tolerance in your body helps the mind become more resistant to fear, which results in more confidence and strength in daily life. “It builds character!” As you’ve you have heard your father or some manly figure say. And it goes for more than just the physical.
These are all my thoughts anyway.
“In the old days the martial arts started in order to train people to fight better in the battlefield, nowadays there is no such battle. Today the concept should be changed. Centuries ago they emphasised the physical part, but these days we should also equally emphasise the other-side: compassion, friendship, wisdom etc. In this manner we can influence people positively.”
A great article by Terry L. Wilson about Tae Kwon Do Grand Master Young Bo Kong.
He discusses that speed is not everything, how to set up an opponent for attacks and the vicious power of the Tae Kwon Do Axe Kick!
Once I recieved my first degree black belt in my Tae Kwon Do school, I took a break and ventured off into Muay Thai. I trained for nearly a year. Then I was struck with vertigo, which has seemed to nearly completely clear up now. For now.
I was down and out of the martial arts world for a painstaking year… I felt absolutely useless. It might not sound very long but to me it was an eternity.
During that time, I became extremely depressed, fearing it was permanent and that it would ruin my life. I also had some relationship troubles too.
I was stuck in a rut for a year, and recently I was reminded of something from one of my friends:
I am a black belt. This symbolizes more than just physical skill. It symbolizes discipline, confidence, strength, character… and I am supposed to be setting an example for other people in my life. This pitiful feeling sorry for myself is no way to do that, or to be a leader. I feel so ashamed of myself!
So I’ve decided that I’m going to go back to my old Tae Kwon Do school, and continue my training there again.
I read recently in a few articles that once one recieves their first black belt, they feel as if they have mastered their art, or they take a break after training for so long. They hit a slump.
For you black belts out there, you know this “mastery” isn’t true, and that the first degree simply marks the end of the beginner cycle. The surface has finally been scratched open for you to see some the larger world.
My break is over. And now that I have somewhat healed up, I will resume training as usual. I hopefully will have some videos and pictures of training to post soon. :)