Is your kata/form redundant?
From an early age I have been mesmerized by all these fancy martial arts movements by shoaling monks and most of us have seen Bruce Lee in Enter the dragon, in that he was practicing a form when O’Hara busts in his room and remonstrates that he must wear a uniform for tomorrow’s ritual. Bruce holds a perfect side kick and tells O’Hara ‘‘Outside’’
Now there are a few messages there;
- He did not like being told to wear a uniform.
- He is a free spirit and he does not conform to the usual constraints placed upon us.
- He does not like O’Hara because of what he did and was chastising and showing him his displeasure.
What I would like to talk about was that series of movements Bruce did in the film. Were they effective fighting techniques or was it a way of just practicing and keeping fit?
Many styles have katas, patterns and forms and I have been a staunch advocate of Shotokan karate for more years than I care to remember.
When I was practicing Shotokan in its heydays with Master Tomita and Master Enoeda great emphasis was placed on learning katas (which are a prearranged set of movements that you would do for each new belt).
Now these katas I was told were a series of strikes, blocks and throws and we would just follow what the Master said and did not dare question anything he told us. If sensei said it was a block then it was a block even if you were blocking a front kick with a downward block and broke your wrist in the process, we just did it.
For me in katas there are just too many blocks, I thought to myself the samurai were trained killers they did not block people to death! Some katas had block after block after block without actually hitting anyone, there had to be more to these movements or why the hell were we devoting so much time to them. I searched out all the books I could find on kata applications and even the Karate-do kyohan the bible of shotokan still had too many blocks in it. I even found a book on hidden karate bunkai by Gennosuke Higaki but again it did not go deep enough into the real applications although some were better than the applications I was used to but still very shallow. I bought the Bubishi, books on Dim mak and many other old text books hoping to find the secrets.
Over time I came to learn that Japanese karate was different to the karate in Okinawa, where there, they practiced through the kata movements all the pressure points, nerve strikes, joint locks, breaks and all the applications were mapped out to the vital organ strikes that you would use to maim, injure and or kill an opponent.
This knowledge is in all katas, patterns and forms whether it is Chinese, Japanese or Korean it has always been there but some masters did not want to share it or they did not know it and so it became lost or watered down so much so that it was like a game of Chinese whispers and looked nothing the original. Lots of masters died and took their deadly secrets to the grave.
Now we are lucky as through our studies of science and the human anatomy we can put this vital lost knowledge back into our arts. On my site I have many downloads and DVDS on Pressure points, nerve strikes and when you subscribe you will receive a free pressure point book.
Please contact me if you would like a seminar on pressure points and self defence applications or you would like a seminar on kata bunkai.
Stay safe train safe