Kata & Forms

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    Positives & Negatives of Kata
    What are the positive and negative aspects of kata? And when I say kata, I mean Karate kata, Taekwondo forms & patterns, Wushu Taolu, etc. For example, some of the positives of kata include solo training, muscle memory of different techniques, fitness aspects, etc. Kata negatives include imaginary opponents that "don't hit back", it can be too slow, etc.

    We have a lot of Karate and Taekwondo members so I am sure we can come up with many more positives. We also have a number of members who do not use and/or dislike kata... and I am sure that they can help with the negatives. :)

    The wiki has a page with some of the benefits and perceived drawbacks of kata but I would like to expand it with your help - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/benefits-of-kata

    Remember this is supposed to be a friendly kata discussion... so please no attacks on anyone's beliefs about kata. Thanks!

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      Nuria Macia TKD As all you guys have pointed out if we can't find the value of Kata/Poomsae is because they haven't been taught correctly, I couldn't agree more with that statement. I also think it depends on the maturity of the martial artist and how deeply involved wants to get in the martial art.
      Besides all the benefits mentioned in the wiki page which I endorse, I find poomsae a way of dynamic meditation. As they say in this article from The Journal of the International Association of Taekwondo Research - http://www.jiatr.org/archive/index.html?gubun=4&no=19&year=2016&vol=3&ho=1&page=26&ifv=1 "The training of poomsae has its own end; independent from kyorugi training, this end is found in healing and harmonizing oneself with the control of qi"
      However, so far I've never seen a Dojang teaching poomsae as dynamic meditation. What do you guys think about this aspect of Poomsae? I would be happy to hear your thoughts! Thanks!
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Due to everyone's comments, I have added two more kata benefits to the wiki page - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/benefits-of-kata

      1. Honor the ancient traditions of a martial arts since kata has been taught for centuries.
      2. Slow kata can be used a form of "moving meditation" or "dynamic mediation".

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Kata: my favorite past time ! meaning I highly support Kata and I've spend a live-time of it and still do ! I will repeat, as I've mentioned in many other threads, that kata is essential to the basics of karate development. Without kata development you will not be able to recognize a strike and defend against it in time. Most folks don't like kata for various reasons, but I think its because they arn't being taught correctly and they don't practice bunkei, the practicality of kata development. One, two, three to five step sparring drills are included. This takes time,( not weeks like a college course), to develop and along with your belt levels and belt degrees. Most advanced karate-ka understand its value when devoted to it and become proficient. The true value of kata comes when you have become very experienced and grasped the various entities in which you can combat the techniques much easily. Grappling is the furtherance of kata for locks, holds, and throws to truely understand the karate kata. Without kata development your development will be prolonged and depressive. Grappling moves are strong moves performing faster at the beginning then decreasde speed and increase tension. The reality is to grab your opponent quickly, then apply the lock or hold.This pertains to karate and not to other martial arts although I would include Taekwondo. Pros: memory increase, quicker reflections, cooler pace and more intelligent thinking in sparring, proficiencey in contact in withholding killing techniques, body and mind control and self-satisfaction. I also find solo kata without a partner my thing as to say, for I let in the spirituality portion of it in the quiet time of a dojo. This is where I perfect my contact, techniques without a bag or with a bag in control of killing techniques and controlling speed contacts. Kumite practice is the test of solo and partner practices while withholding any killing techniques. Hard bags develop your feet and hands and good for jumping techniques, and applying strong kicks and punches equalizing to breaking strength ! Hard bags should only be used for experienced karate-ka who have developed good techniques where injuries should not occur. Other Pros are: softer bags are used for those inexperience karate-ka where mistakes can be make without breaking bones etc. Kata can also be used in stress relief, body building, exercise, sleep depressions, and group or unit parrings (kata drills) for timing and coordination of movements in fast and slow paces.
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    Competition Kata - Improvement Techniques
    This year I've taken my first step towards competitions, see me in action on the Members Showcase, and I'm serious about performing Kata at competition.

    What I would like is tips on improving myself and techniques/skills for competition kata
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Hi all ! KATA, my favorite past time! The question is what are the tips to improve. @ Andy & @ Will - Black Belt Wiki advice is real good. My addition is: know the meaning to the kata and emplify the movements to show its meaning. This is what judges look for besides the obvious things as timing etc. You must show CONFIDENCE in your presentation and complete focus. Confur with your higher level practictioners or sensei for periodic feedback while you practice, practice, and practice. The mental aspect becomes more of a challenge than the physical one. When you recognize it for your self, then you are ready to be judged in your next competition. Not to be redundant, but Andy's technical advice must be taken seriously adhered to or you fail technically. You must be totally prepared physically and most of all, mentally!! Good luck.
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      Andy Ok joking aside :)
      I agree with @Will - Black Belt Wiki and @James, to achieve fluidity (and avoid robotic transition which i still maintain is not inherent in ANY martial art when learned to a sufficient degree despite what some other members think!) break the Kata down into elements, practice the foot work separately focusing on the transition of the stance from one position to the next, practice the basic elements (the Kihon involved in the kata separately (as you do in everyday training, remember that Kihon and kata are not supposed to be separate elements but part of the whole), watch demonstrations of the kata you are going to perform by other practitioners on YouTube and in class (you can learn from more experienced practitioners by watching for the minute pauses in the relevant places and the overall execution of how they perform the kata and you can also learn from watching other less
      experienced practitioners by being critical and observing where you think they could have done things better).
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      Superamazingbadgerman How does it feel to do the form?

      I know judges don't tend to like my forms (I don't have "snap" or "power", whatever that means), but I've found that EVERYTHING works MUCH better when I don't care what it looks like and focus on what it does and how it feels instead.

      I noticed in the video you posted that you're always doing one of two things with your posture-- leaning forward or letting your torso sink backward. When you do that long stance, it's HUGE. When you do anything with your hands, it's very stiff.

      What that tells me is you're putting ALL the attention into your hands and arms or your legs and feet or your upper torso. You're SO focused on making your limbs show the judges what they want to see, you're forgetting about your center (dead center hips).

      That point is what holds EVERYTHING together. You literally revolve around it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      If you focus on controlling that point and you don't hurry or over extend yourself or think about any other part of your body too much (which creates odd, oversized stances and motions and off balances you as you experienced), it's gonna fix most (if not all) of those problems you had.

      If that doesn't work, imagine taking all your feelings of heaviness or stiffness or tension (whatever feeling unintentionally tensed up muscle groups give you) and letting it flow down into your legs. That's another way to accomplish the same thing.
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    Siljun Dobup "Real Sword Training" Art Forms (Kata)
    A sampling of Siljun Dobup Art Forms (Kata) - Set Ji (Earth), Set Soo (Water), Set Poong (Wind), Set Hwa (Fire) and Set Cheon (Sky).
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      Ben Nice and efficient.

      Coolness...
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki [187953,Brandon]

      Nice! I like how you never take your eyes off the target.

      One question (asked as a non-katana person) - Why do you sheath your sword and then pull it out part way & resheath it a second time?

      Will
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      Andy [187953,Brandon], excellent! :) this looks very similar to some forms of Japanese batojutsu/iaijutsu.
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    Low Roundhouse Kick Tutorial
    Since we are talking about low kicks, I thought you might be interested in this video. I will also post a Muay Thai low kick video in a second or two.

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      Jonie Lynelle Spivey Enjoyed this tutorial. I used to do high roundhouse kicks always but it's better to mix it up. Thanks.
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    Help tracing kanji for kata
    In my spare time (laughing!!) I have started taking sho-do classes. This is partly to understand more kanji when I see it and help with Japanese in general and partly to help with a larger project I am doing to preserve the history of our style. Anyway I was wondering if anyone could point me to (preferably) kanji or otherwise kana (katakana I guess) for the following Kata: Surinja (and also what the word surinja really means), Empi Ha (as cf Empi) and tenshoa (as cf tensho) from USA Urban Goju Ryu, and Wanduan (as cf Wando if the kanji are different) and Hakkucho from Shorinji Kempo / Shorin Ryu (Okinawan). We have a lot of kata in our system as it is comprise of 3 systems (pretty much in their entirity!) so I want to get the Japanese right before I get stuck in too much further. Don't get me wrong it's going to be a fun project but I want it to be accurate. Thanks in advance.
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      Michael Keep in mind, many Kata names are a transliteration of Chinese (typically a Chinese person's name). For example, Empi Ha cannot be a Japanese name, as all consonants must be followed by a vowel (except "n"). Therefore the closest Japanese could be Enpi Ha. The only Enpi I found in Japanese is 猿臂, which means "monkey arm". In other words, I think you need to first find the origin of the name to find out if it can be represented in Kanji/hirogana or if katakana is needed (which would be the case for any non-Japanese word).
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      Andy Hi [172080,Rachel DS], sounds like an excellent project, I'm afraid my Japanese is rudimentary at best so I can't realy help, you could try this http://www.sljfaq.org/cgi/kanjiabc.cgi, though to be honest the results can be a bit hit and miss. On the subject of Kanji being changed to suit, the original meaning of Karate was China hand but the kanji for China (kara) was later changed to mean 'empty' (as in Karaoke which translates as empty box) so now karate is translated as empty hand (as I am sure you and many of our other members will be aware).
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      Rachel DS Hi - yeh....been kinda busy and about to get busier.....more on that later.....after it's all said and done. ;) Re the kata. I mostly want the kanji for the kata (I have gathered most of them); the ones I am missing are the really old ones (tomari-te based mostly so perhaps lost to the sands of time and then reinvented) and the newest ones (urban goju ryu - which were developed or modified by a westerner so his Japanese may not have been as good as a native speaker). There are also other random things that I have found in my research about masters just assigning random kanji and changing names / kanji as they saw fit....all well and good but makes tracing these things kinda tricky! In terms of our styles history I am focusing mostly from okinawan origins to the present day and the development of our style, but I will probably do something brief on Daruma (Bhodidarma)....depending on what I can find as I really think the poems he wrote are great and very applicable. Also Sho do is really great....there are lots of parallels between that and budo activities even some of the stroke names I found familiar ....probably why Bun bu ryo do is a thing - lol.
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    How to overcome stage fright when performing a kata...
    When practicing my kata at home I do ok – performing even in front of one person I tend to freeze up and forget everything….so frustrating.
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki You might like to read the articles below on how to deal with stage fright. They have some tips like "Give up trying to be perfect and know that it is OK to make mistakes", "Try to limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as much as possible", "Practice ways to calm and relax your mind and body, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, yoga, and meditation", "Really know your content inside out and practice (preferably in front of a live audience) as much as possible to build your confidence", "Arrive Early Obviously, if you are late, this will only heighten your anxiety. Arrive early and acclimate to your surroundings", etc.

      http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatment/conquering-stage-fright
      http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/10/overcome-stage-fright-speaking-in-public.html
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      Al W [213195,Jody] [171807,Andy] You never know, dutch courage may be what the Shihan ordered lol
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      Jody [199522,PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS] , [171807,Andy] , @AI W, [212430,James] , [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki]
      Thank you everyone for your suggestions - I'm going to try them all. :)
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    Which kata would you retain?
    If you had to disregard all of the kata that you have learned with the exception of one, which would you keep hold of, and why? What sets it apart from the other kata in your arsenal?
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      Andy Up until now I have refrained from answering this question, the reason why is simply because I can't! I believe that ALL kata and forms have something important to offer! I shall however post some examples of (in my opinion) excellent weapon kata as requested by @Will - Black Belt Wiki starting with https://youtu.be/APTur6EEqaY, https://youtu.be/STtxUDYjK74, https://youtu.be/uV3OKsvWDyA, https://youtu.be/HYQtwOVNrpA
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      timothy Up untill now I think that there are only karate katas mentoned. But another, in my opinion, truly beutiful kata is the Itsutsu-no-kata from judo. take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBv2lJdH7vc
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      Christopher Adamchek very thought provoking question
      id go with gekisai dai ichi
      its simple, covers different heights, blocks, ect. good self defense bunkai
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    Is Tai Chi a real, natural, instinctive martial art?
    Are there too many set moves and patterns in Tai Chi? Is Tai Chi becoming too rigid for a flexible martial art?
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      Richie I have used Tai Chi in a fight. It is all about getting away from your attacker by throwing/tripping and strikes to vital areas. As all things it is all about the Sifu/instructor. It is hard to find a true Tai Chi "Chuan" studio. I mostly see just Tai Chi which is just the exercise and not the martial apps.
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      Goldin Christie I think both, the stylists try to stick too rigidly to each style and by doing so they are starting to look like robots, not as soft as the arts are meant to be, an example would be, I punch with my left fist and you defend with cranes beak and then stop, reset and then you punch with your left fist and I will block with needle at sea bottom
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      timothy what do you mean with "rigid"? Because I don't think that if done correctly your body is rigid. Or do you mean the system is too rigid (not evolving(?)) for being a "flexible martial art"?
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    Is kata useful or useless?
    Some martial arts value and use kata (forms) extensively (i.e. Karate & Taekwondo). Other martial arts find very little value in kata (i.e. Boxing and BJJ).

    Do you think that kata has any value?

    Some martial artists think kata is useful because it teaches things such as memorization, balance, basic techniques, visualization, etc Moreover, they think it is especially useful for younger color belts and/or when used as bunkai (practicing kata attacks and defenses with a partner).

    Others are in the middle. They think sparring with a partner is much more useful. However, they see solo kata as useful if you have to train alone (i.e. outside the dojo). Similar to using a kicking dummy, solo kata is seen as a way of practicing techniques without a live partner.

    In contrast, there are many martial artists who feel that kata is a waste of time. They believe it is impractical because it does not teach students how to deal with a live and unpredictable opponent.

    On Black Belt Wiki, we have a poll that asks about the utility of kata - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/what-is-your-opinion-about-the-utility-of-martial-arts-forms

    Most "voters" answered that they loved kata (almost 50% of the poll voters). Only 6% said that they hated kata and/or that kata was not practical.

    What do you think about kata? Useful? Useless? Or somewhere in between?

    For more information about kata, please visit the main Kata & Forms section - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/forms

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
    http://www.blackbeltwiki.com
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      (deleted) started off in shotokan. then kyokushinkai. i used to enjoy kata as a workout. but dropped it in favour of muat thai which has no kata. i turned pro as a boxer and thai boxer and did no kata for many years. i "rediscovered" kata after retiring from pro fighting and saw the value of having a foundation for your fighting system. some solid paterns to practice specific technique as well as the all round health benefits of doing kata. it is also good to look into the practical application(s) of the movements and techniques. i thought it was fun when i took up martial arts. forgot about it. then discovered the great value of practicing kata. it is incredibly important and stands you in good stead your whole life. obviously though it has to be taught properly...and ideally not changed by commanding ranks every couple of years. it also gives the practisioner a syllabus to work to when not at the dojo...or on holiday etc.
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      Kenneth Winthrop Another way to look at kata is to consider the following supposed you were in the far East in the 1800's and you came upon a martial art master who was willing to teach you techniques from his style. You spent some time with him and learned many techniques. How would you remember what he has taught you you ask. He says to you within the katas I have taught you there are all the techniques you have learned from me. I leave you with this wisdom. I also leave you with one other bit of information every move you have learned has within it both defensive and offensive techniques. All you have learned is contained within them. So keeping this in mind take a kata that you have learned and see how many self defense applications you can find. You will be amazed,
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      James Anderson Hi everybody,
      The great question of katas. There are techniques within katas that are very useful. If we look at basic blocks such as a high defend open hand. We know that it is useful. Basic front kicks, side kicks and round house are useful as well. These type of moves are incorporated into our katas, or at least some them. Right? After all being a black is only stating that you have or should have mastered the basics techniques in your art. If we are honest with ourselves full contact fighting shows us a good idea of what works and what does not in our art and our technique as well as our true skill level. I also was not talking about full contact on a professional level either. Amateur and novice full contact under controlled environments works too.
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    Kwang-Gae Variations
    Hey all! Sorry to interrupt your holiday break; hope it's going well.

    I'm new to this site, so I'm not sure if I'm out of place by asking this. I've been looking to find a variation of Kwang Gae. I've seen the original one numerous times, but my school teaches two different Kwang Gae forms. Mainly looking for the second one here, but both would suffice. I've come to find it nowhere, although the original one is very popular on YouTube and such. Thanks in advance and Happy New Year's!
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      KSP08 I'm from an ITF school and ours is similar to the videos shown on the link below (we chamber differently on some moves). I couldn't get the second link to work to compare.
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Hi [235098,Jakub]

      Welcome to the wiki community! Your question is definitely not of place. This community was designed for people to ask questions and share martial arts info.

      Here is the wiki's page on Kwang-Gae (ITF Taekwondo) - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/kwang-gae

      How does your second version differ from the "popular" version? Is it a single teacher/school version or one used by other ITF schools?

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
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    Kururunfa: first move and bunkai application
    Ive just fallen in love with hiw versatile the first move of this kata is
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      Richie Nice! look forward to more!
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      Andy [171786,Christopher Adamchek] , hey Chris, good stuff, though I am afraid I am going to have to reports you to Child Services for the cruel and unlawful employment of a minor as your camera operator! 😑
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    Genealogy of Kata/Poomsae
    Ok peeps and peepettes, I had this idea. There is a serious lack of bunhae (bunkai) on a significant portion of marital arts of an other-than-Japanese persuasion. Here's my proposal to you, the Black Belt Wiki (I almost wrote BBW, but didn't) community: Let us work on really scrubbing the relationships between different forms and techniques, really working to explain how this form is different from or the same a this form, and working to try and trace the lineage of our disciplines in terms of application and training. I think we can do it team!
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      Andy Hi @Chris Ashcraft, though not a TKD practitioner i think that is a great idea. I have just had a look online and there does seem to be a lack of Bunkai or analysis of Korean forms. One of the first videos I came across was this https://youtu.be/fL2pY57QQb8 that in my opinion completely missses the point of Bunkai application and instead hilariously has the attackers coming in in prearranged attacks designed to suit the form. As I said I am not a TKD practitioner but the art is similar enough to karate that the forms and applications are not only similar but in many cases identical to karate kata and applications. Kata and forms are not meant to be taken literally (as in the above video) but are rather a collection of techniques and transitions that should be broken down and studied in their seperate elements. We do this anyway with the more basic techniques or Kihon. It is the more obscure moves found in kata and forms that should be analysed and practiced in Bunkai. Here is a better video I found https://youtu.be/6qX51DyBxbc,
      Also as you have mentioned there is a lot of excellent stuff online regarding karate kata Bunkai so I would also advise TKD students who want to look deeper into the practical applications of the art to look at Karate Bunkai as well, as like I said many of the actual techniques are identical.
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      Chris Ashcraft Alright, so today I was presented with something that illustrates why this is so important. Before I begin, let me say that I have the utmost respect for my instructor, but I don't always buy some of his explanations. For instance, his discussion of the Kicho hyungs (taikyoku kata) sounded to me like there was a version of it in most marital arts styles, be it japanese, chinese, or korean. I looked into it, and found out that the kicho hyungs are a distilled version of the Pyungan (heian/pinan) forms. The Pyungan forms are based on Kong San Soon, which is based on a Chinese diplomat to the Ryukan Islands in the 18th century. That guy was trained allegedly by Shaolin monks, meaning his background is in Chuan Fa.

      In a sense, what he said is right, but I'm not super convinced of what I understood his message to be. What I'd like us to do is 1.) trace lineages, and 2.) catalogue techniques and maneuvers in forms to better discern what forms are related.
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      ChuckD Maybe hook up with some karateka that do a lot of bunkai. It might help accelerate the application part, probably wouldn't help the lineage part though.
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    Functional Kata
    I have been working on the Ashihara Karate section of the wiki. I like how they break out their kata by function. Rather than some elaborate traditional kata with a huge variety of moves (i.e. kicks, punches, throws, sweeps, etc.) & hidden meaning/techniques, they break their kata into "fighting kata", "throwing kata", etc.

    Here is the wiki page on Ashihara kata if you want to take a look - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/ashihara-katas

    I need to study these videos more closely but I am not sure of the difference of their "sparring kata" versus their "fighting kata".

    FYI - Ashihara is a full contact Karate style.

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS An offshoot from Shotokan as Asri: Although more modern, still good for kumite with grabbing or throws in which I personally like that goes to combative techniques.
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      Andy [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki], this is a good progressive style that on the surface sounds similar to Wado Ryu (with the incorporation of Sabaki), however the Tai sabaki in Wado is derived from traditional Koryu jujutsu (Yoshin Ryu) whereas the sabaki in Ashihara appears to be a modern inclusion. I really like the idea of the Bunkai being incorporated into grading as opposed to being left to the sensei's discretion!
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      James A good style that is an offshoot from kyokushin. The major difference in tournament is briefly grabbing to throw is permitted.
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    Children & Kata
    If kids at your school are having trouble with kata, you should show them this video. This little girl is amazing - such focus and intensity. Hopefully, your students can learn from her.

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      Michael Wow! I think she puts my performances to shame, and I work very hard at perfecting my kata.
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      JINXEDFOXY Wow so awesome! We are lucky if our kids listen for 5 minutes to learn a kata. Ugh! lol
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS The youtube attachments - view the katas as a standard to adopt ! for they will set a new high level standard for yourself and to improve your performance. Some of the other films are good dojo practices to also help improve your techniques and training ethic etc. Dojos of Japan are based upon high level standards to be met and not to be deviated, for they will make your karate improve through agressive training for quality performance and nothing less. Let these films be an incentive to improve your karate ! I have been there to experience this ! There are many little girls and boys like in this featured youtube, she is fortunate to be truely excellent as (advanced talent) at her young age.
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    Best way to learn advanced kata
    Learning the kata is probably one of the things I find the most difficult thing to do. Once I've got it, I've got it and can perform them pretty well with power, speed and tension as appropriate but getting them sunk in to my thick skull is the issue. The next kata on my list are Saifa, Tencho and the three taikyoku kata performed in Ura. I'm interested to know if anyone has any tips on how to learn the sequences that I am not already doing.
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      Al W Baby steps (pidgeon stepping as we call it). Break it down into blocks of 3-4 moves and the practice those blocks over and over, combining them as you go
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      Rachel DS I like to do it in chunks and find it easier knowing what I am doing ie bunkai. Also I find writing myself step by step instructions helps me. I do a table which includes the stances strike or blocks or kicks and transitions and add pauses and kiai points in once I get them. Also I get my instructor on video and check to make sure I am moving like him. Good luck. The more you learn the easier learning the next one becomes.
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS You may find a kata chart on the Internet that shows every step or follow Internet youtube. Perform repetition of kata drills in your mind then apply them on the floor to perfect each technique. To perform the kata without thinking about it becomes natural, then you've got it down. Good practicing !
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