The Way of Kata
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337 pages

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The Principles for Understanding Kata are Largely Unknown – Until Now

The ancient masters developed kata, or "formal exercises," as fault-tolerant methods to preserve their unique, combat-proven fighting systems. Unfortunately, they deployed a two-track system of instruction where an 'outer circle' of students unknowingly received modified forms with critical details or important principles omitted. Only the select 'inner circle' that had gained a master's trust and respect would be taught okuden waza, the powerful hidden applications of kata.

The theory of deciphering kata applications (kaisai no genri) was once a great mystery revealed only to trusted disciples of the ancient masters in order to protect the secrets of their systems. Even today, while the basic movements of kata are widely known, advanced practical applications and sophisticated techniques frequently remain hidden from the casual observer. The principles and rules for understanding kata are largely unknown.

This groundbreaking book unveils these methods, not only teaching you how to analyze your kata to understand what it is trying to tell you, but also helping you to utilize your fighting techniques more effectively—both in self-defense and in tournament applications.

Fifteen general principles to identify effective techniques

  • Twelve discrete rules for deciphering martial applications

  • Comprehensive insights into kata history, strategy and tactics

  • Vital physiological considerations

  • Well organized materials for easy reference and comprehensive understanding



Publié par
Date de parution 01 avril 2009
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781594391439
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 10 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0040€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


ii Kushanku throw. Even though karate is primarily a striking art, it contains many grappling and throwing techniques. Here, Iain Abernethy applies a throw from kushanku ( kanku-dai ) kata . The recipient is Gary Herbert. Photo courtesy of Iain Abernethy,
iii The Way of Kata
A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Martial Applications
YMAA Publication Center
Wolfeboro, NH USA
iv YMAA Publication Center, Inc.
Main Office
PO Box 480
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
1-800-669-8892 • •
© 2005 by Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Editor: Eleanor K. Sommer
Cover Design: Katya Popova
Illustrated by Kris Wilder
ISBN: 9781594390584 (print) · ISBN: 9781594390586 (ebook)
Publisher’s Cataloging in Publication
Kane, Lawrence A.
The way of kata : a comprehensive guide to deciphering martial applications / Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder. -- 1st ed. -- Boston, Mass. : YMAA Publication Center, 2005.
p. ; cm.
Includes bibliographical references, glossary, and index.
ISBN: 9781594390584 (print) · ISBN: 9781594390586 (ebook)
1. Martial arts. 2. Martial arts--Psychological aspects. 3. Hand-to-hand fighting, Oriental. I. Wilder, Kris. II. Title. GV1102.7.P75 K36 2005 2005930892 796.815--dc22 0509
Warning: Studying these materials may give you, or cause you to acquire, a certain degree of power that you did not previously possess. The authors and publisher expect you to use that power responsibly. Readers are encouraged to be aware of all appropriate local and national laws relating to self-defense, reasonable force, and the use of martial techniques in conflict situations and act in accordance with all applicable laws at all times. Neither the authors nor the publisher assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of information contained in this book.
All martial arts are, by their very definition, warlike and dangerous. Training should always be undertaken responsibly, ensuring every available precaution for the safety of all participants. No text, no matter how well written, can substitute for professional hands-on instruction. Consequently these materials should be used for academic study only.
vii Table of Contents
Foreword—Dr. Jeff Cooper
Foreword—Iain Abernethy

C HAPTER 1 Background Fundamentals
What is a Kata?
Chinese Kung Fu
Okinawan Martial Arts
Kanryo Higashionna (Naha Te)
Chojun Miyagi (Goju Ryu)
Origin of Kata in the West
Kata as a Textbook
Types of Applications
Types of “Fighting”
Why Applications are Not Readily Discernable in Kata
More Than One Proper Application Exists
Hidden Applications between Kata Movements

C HAPTER 2 Strategy and Tactics
Effective Applications Must Be Grounded in a System’s Strategy
Strategy vs. Tactics
Do Not Confuse the Quality of the Strategy with the Skill of the Fighter
Once You Have a Strategy, Use It
The Decision Stick
Strategy of Goju Ryu
Principles of Enforcement
Tactics of Goju Ryu
Forms of Compliance

viii C HAPTER 3 Principles
1. There is More Than One Proper Interpretation of Any Movement
2. Every Technique Should Be Able to End the Fight Immediately
3. Strike to Disrupt; Disrupt to Strike
4. Nerve Strikes are “Extra Credit”
5. Work with the Adrenaline Rush, Not Against It
6. Full Speed and Power
7. It Must Work on an “Unwilling” Partner
8. Strive to Understand Why It Works
9. Deception Is Not Real
10. If You Are Not There, You Cannot Get Hit
11. Cross the T to Escape
12. Stances Aren’t Just for Kata
13. Don’t Forget to Breathe
14. Use Both Hands
15. A Lock or Hold is Not a Primary Fighting Technique

C HAPTER 4 Rules
1. Do Not Be Deceived by the Enbusen Rule
2. Advancing Techniques Imply Attack, While Retreating Techniques Imply Defense
3. There is Only One Enemy at a Time
4. Every Movement in Every Kata Has Martial Significance
5. A Hand Returning to Chamber Usually Has Something in It
6. Utilize the Shortest Distance to Your Opponent
7. Control an Opponent’s Head and You Control the Opponent
8. There is No Block
9. Kata Demonstrate the Proper Angles
10. Touching Your Own Body in Kata Indicates Touching Your Opponent
11. Contour the Body—Strike Hard to Soft and Soft to Hard
12. There is No Pause

C HAPTER 5 Physics, Physiology, and Other Considerations
Characteristics of Violence
Physiological Threat Response
Brain Activity in Combat
Non-diagnostic Response
Levels of Response
Catching Bullets
Stealing Time
Speed Kills!
Vital Points (Kyushu)

ix C HAPTER 6 Process
Bringing It All Together
Dojo Practice
Cooperative Performance

C HAPTER 7 Kata Examples
Gekisai (Dai Ni)

A PPENDIX A Bubishi Poem—Eight Precepts of Kempo

A PPENDIX B Kata of Goju Ryu

A PPENDIX C Kata Application Evaluation Checklist
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Techniques
Praise for Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder...
About the Authors
xi Foreword
by Dr. Jeff Cooper
My karate teacher, John Roseberry (a pioneer of Okinawan martial arts in America—9 th degree black belt in karate, 7 th degree black belt in judo and 3 rd degree black belt in aikido), used to say of kata , “ Kata is our textbook.” He would similarly state, “It’s all in there.”
The problem for me was that although I could go through the motions of the kata , I apparently was having a difficult time “reading” the text. Through my association with Kris Wilder, Lawrence Kane, and others (e.g., Marcus Davila, Scott Schweitzer, Kelly Worden to name just a few) I have been taught how to read the textbook.
Although many people have learned to read, it is Mr.’s Wilder and Kane that have taken the time to put all the reading lessons together in one place. The authors of this book have taken their practice of traditional Goju Ryu karate and delved deeply for meaning to its strong emphasis on kata .
“Why practice kata?”
“Is kata just dance?”
“How does kata enhance my ability to defend myself?”
These are just a few of the questions posed regarding the practice of kata . This book presents concepts that can help any practitioner gain more meaning from form practice. Looking at the techniques presented in a form, one starts to extract the underlying tactics and, from them, to understand the strategies from which those tactics spring. Once those strategies are identified and understood, the kata of a system become rich in meaning and in usefulness as further tactics and techniques are extracted.
The gaining of the strategic and tactical concepts of one’s system is the reward of the approach put forward by Mr.’s Wilder and Kane. Modern defensive tactics systems and “reality-based” systems have largely excluded kata . This book offers students of systems that include form practice a guide to understanding the meaning of the forms. It provides guidance regarding the strategy and tactics within the forms. This book helps to bridge the gap between traditional, form-based martial arts and the modern, eclectic defensive systems, which do not choose to include or emphasize form training.
Readers from either side of that gap will reap gains from this book regarding the application of strategic and tactical thinking, training, and principles common to all the combative arts. Basically, it’s a damn good book.
– Jeffrey Cooper, MD
xii Jeffrey Cooper, M.D., is a fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and a clinical instructor of emergency medicine. He has been involved in the martial arts for some 25 years, achieving the rank of yodan (4 th degree black belt) in Goju Ryu karate. As tactical medical director of Toledo (Ohio) SWAT, he has received advanced training in hostage extraction, hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and knife fighting. Dr. Cooper is also a commander in the US Naval Reserve Medical Corps.
xiii Foreword
by Iain Abernethy
There are many differing views on the value of kata . Kata is regarded by some as the very “soul” of the martial arts. By others, it is regarded as a complete waste of time. To my mind, both views have merit depending upon what is meant by kata and how it is approached.
One thing I think all martial artists can agree on is that the study of kata is definitely not a prerequisite for combative effectiveness. There are many highly effective martial arts that do not include kata on their curriculum. If kata training is not critical to developing fighting skill, why do so many “traditional systems” like karate make such a big deal about it?
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