Post by supergroup7 on Jan 11, 2008 21:36:05 GMT 8
This Shorin Ryu Martial Arts Instructor has kindly placed three videos on Youtube so that I can see what he has been working on with the Pinan ( Heian/ Pyung Ahn) kata. He has incorporated sword movements, and other weapons to the kata, and looked at such concepts as Tai Sabaki ( body movement) while executing the kata. This is the second video of the series where he pulls all of the concepts together. The first video shows basic sword techniques, and the last video shows other weapon work, and emtpy hand demonstration of bunkai ( without a partner.. Wow!):
Ok, I'll bite. Here's what I'm thinking... The gentleman has clear expertise in the area of empty hand. His stances were well executed and his movements deliberate. I could tell that he is dedicated and diligent in his practice. The applications were reasonable. As for the weapons work - uh, I'm no master of weapons, but his sword-work in particular seemed inelegant. I realize that he's using a bokken, but it still looks inefficiently swung and too percussive. But then again, I'm a minimalist and believe in minimal motion from empty-hand to weapons. If the line is not maintained, the openings are untenable. The power generated from big circles and muscles is not real and easily exploited.
Thanks for answering Will. I appreciate your honest assessment of the person's skill. In a posting discussing this video on another forum, the Sensei does admit that he is at a rudimentary level concerning weapon use. He just noticed that the various kata that he has been adept at can translate well into weapon movement on the battlefield situation.
Thats what I'm wondering.. If we look at the various kata available to us, how well would they translate into a weapon kata? Have Martial arts researchers looked into the various Kung Fu weapon patterns to see what key movements might have been integrated into the empty hands segment of practice? Is it possible that such kata as the Shotokan Empi kata, or the Naihanchi ( Tekki) kata could have been useful with a sword, or Bo? Would it be possible to re-experience the potential of weapon kata by adding weapons to an empty hand pattern? Or are the lessons within such kata too fixed on "no weapons"?
I have always thought that this kind of exercise, although often fun and thought provoking, shouldn't be taken too seriously. I usually find it's more along the lines of wishful thinking.
For example, I also do ballroom dancing in my spare time. If I was to use a dance routine and turn that into a kata, would it be a valid kata? If I turned a kata into a dance routine, would it be a valid dance? Most of the time, I don't think so.
A teacher of mine once said that you should be able to use any move from the Tai Chi form against any incoming attack. While this is true, I think in some cases it requires re-inventing that removes it far from it's origins. I feel this is the case in using empty-hand movements as sword movements.
When looking at translating kata, I've always found it much more useful to think about what the kata is a response to.
What is the attack? What approach is used to respond? Does that same approach apply when using my new criteria? If not, how would I approach the attack within my new criteria?
In my opinion, this kind of approach is more true to the form, than bastardising movements. So in this way, I think some of the lessons can be translated.
I hope that all made sense. I have a bad case of Daddy Brain this morning.
I am skeptical as to the simple translation of an empty hand kata to a weapon kata. I am sure that a translation could be accomplished, since empty hand and weapon kata are related, it is just that the mechanics, timing and distancing are quite different in magnitude.
I agree with Bill's Tai Chi instructor, to some extent. In Martial Arts study, there are underlying principles that find outward expression as some given technique. The more universal the principle the more situations in which it can be used effectively. For example, in Karate-Do, there is Gedan Barai. This is the 'down-block' of karate. As Rick Clark discusses in his book, 75-Down Blocks, the principle of the downward sweeping block is nearly universal in its application - ranging from the generally accepted practice of blocking someone's punch, to throwing someone. Contrary to beginner and intermediate practitioner's beliefs,what you see is not what you get. To say that using Gedan Barai as a throwing technique is wrong and blocking the arm is right or that Gedan Barai is meant to block a punch or kick with a downward sweep of the hand to Chudan is not incorrect, it is simply unstudied and unsophisticated. The technique (down/downward block) is simply one expression of the underlying principle of the downward sweep (gedan barai).
Not to belabor the point, but what is a punch? In one sense, it is a technique that culminates in a closed fisted strike. However, it can (and I argue that is should) be considered a principle that involves the fist's extension. Too oversimplify, a punch can be a strike, a block, a parry, a lead, etc...
If I was to use a dance routine and turn that into a kata, would it be a valid kata? If I turned a kata into a dance routine, would it be a valid dance?
I wish that I had the time to discuss all of the different concepts contained in your response, but I don't, so I will jump on this one.
I can see your point. I've seen a dance routine built around martial arts moves. I was able to recognize the stances, and strikes in the dance routine. Did that make it a Kata? I would say no because the movements were not intended for efficient self defense, but for entertainment.
I've read of one Sensei who created bunkai to fit the Makarana dance. He did this to show that any physical movement can be adapted towards a self defense moment.
But part of me wonders if weapon kata could have been a big influence on our modern empty hand kata. I know that Sensei Itosu, and Sensei Matsumura were great kobudo experts. Sensei Gichin Funakoshi also trained with weapons. We are encouraged to see our opponents hands, and feet as swords. When studying a kata, I think that one can start to look at weapon manipulation and see how the movements can be similar. Knowledge, and appreciation of Bo, sword, and other weapons can help us understand what we are doing with our empty hands. I think that adding weapon work to the Heian Kata isn't an action to replace the original intention of the movements, but to see how the actions translate, and what could work, or not work.