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Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms

Author Topic: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms  (Read 42253 times)

Offline robc

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Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« on: April 24, 2005, 09:27:25 PM »
Greetings,

Does anyone know of any kajukenbo-related arts that no longer teach forms?  I am only aware of Mr. Hackleman's Hawaiian Kempo as a related art that has done away with forms/kata.  Any others?

Regards,

Rob C.
Rob Canestrari
Washington, DC

Offline Enfemus

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2005, 01:33:35 PM »
I don't know of any.... :-\
Brian Thompson
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Offline Sifu Sin Bin

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2005, 06:40:28 PM »
Then why answer?
Professor Rob Peladeau
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Offline lairkenpo

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2006, 01:16:05 PM »
Aloha!

Sorry to wait so long to respond to this question, but I just got the chance to sit down to The Cafe (down-time due to illness).

My school no longer teaches forms/katas to the under-belts, but resumes the teaching of the basic katas when a student reaches Brown Belt (5-to-6 years training), in order to prepare them for their Black belt Instructor Certification, which is a separate rank in our school. Confusing to the uninitiated, but we differentiate between a "Black Belt" and a "Black Belt Instructor".

We do teach some standardized punching, kicking, punch-kick, knee, elbow, and flow (from one empty-hand weapon to another) drills that are practiced against impact equipment (focus gloves, Thai pads, heavy bag, air shield, etc). These are the methods used to teach basic techniques in our school, and these drills take up over 65% of our training curriculum time. The majority of the rest of the time is training with partners to learn to apply these same techniques in simulated real-life scenarioes. However, you can only make this training so realistic. It's not realistic, nor prudent, to beat the living hell out your training partners in order to find out if your techniques have "substance". Besides, if they survive a training session of "full-contact" street techniques, then your techniques aren't too effective, are they?

This comment does not apply to "sport-style" sparring, including the recent NHB and MMA methods. Uh, even they have restrictions, folks. If you have listened to the teachings of Sijo Emperado and company, all the things you can't do in the "ring", or the "octagon", are the first things you do on the street!

I believe that you can't develop a true punch, kick, or strike by hitting air any more than you can develop your bench press by laying back on a bench, and practicing you bench press motion without using weights. After a lengthy career in law-enforcement, and the training of such personnel, I have found nothing to dissuade my belief (at this time, anyway!).

The katas/forms are necessary to connect us with the history of our art, and the arts that make up what we do. As instructors, it isn't right to water-down what our students are able to offer once they become Instructors. They should teach everything to every student, as our teachers did for us, and allow their students to pick-and-choose their own personal styles. Not every student will become a teacher. Some students need the real-world combat effective training that Kajukenbo has to offer. That's why they chose KJK instead of some other art.That is why I wait to such a late point in their training to introduce the katas. If the student is going to be a teacher, they need to know it all, understand it all, and be able to teach it all, even if they don't personally use it all!

Plagued by injuries at my half-century on this planet, I appreciate the katas more than I did when I was younger. I'm glad that I learned them, and find myself practicing them, from time to time. But, I have to admit, I still prefer hitting things...I'm just not as hot on them hitting me back, as I once was!

Know what I mean?

I hope that this answers your question, and explains why this particular school made the choice it did.

By the way, and however, we are a small, non-commercial dojo that deals primarily with high-risk personnel. They can't very well do a kata when some lunatic is trying to choke the life out of them! But, the defense for said choke IS contained in KJK kata!

And, how cool is that?

Mahalo & Aloha!

Sibok Robert Windle
The Lair Kajukenbo Kenpo
Jonesboro, AR

"Train as you live...Live as you train!"
Robert L. Windle, Sifu (Retired)
6th Degree Black Belt, Kajukenbo / Hawaiian Kenpo
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Offline sifutimg

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2006, 10:01:38 PM »
Happy New Year and may all have a breakout year in training.

Forms/Katas hmmmmmm...

When I was a younger student I never understood why we did forms.  As Mr. Windle pointed out kicking and punching air didn't make much sense to me.  However at this point in my training/teaching and thinking about mind, body, and spirit integration I am an advocate of forms/kata practice definitely.  Why???? Although doing rounds, pounding each other, drills, and whatever else we all practice I haven't found a better exercise to connect the mind and body.  In forms practice you have to control finger tip to toe tip.  How many instructors out there who have taught forms have witnessed a student who while executing a punch say with the right hand watched the left hand float with no connection to the body at ALL?  Now while engaged in sparring and different exercises and drills that have a faster tempo in execution have you witnessed the same phenomena?  Not as much in my experience (maybe I need to work harder here).  I fell it's because of the speed and what the eye can perceive as instructors that we may miss such phenomena in our students.  My purpose of forms practice is to connect the mind and body having our being connect and control without fail every aspect of movement, drill, or exercise.  To this day I have not found a better exercise for a student to practice or an instructor to monitor a student’s ability for this connection.  This connection in my humble opinion is to extend the intention of movement, control, and ability into our various techniques.  Not just our techniques that go out but also the tools that are covering areas defensively and are in preparation to execute offensively.  Again I remember watching while sparring (not forms practice now) execute a great jab but their follow up right cross is floating around trying to maintain balance because the feet are moving and absolutely could not be engaged in a follow up fashion.  This was unconscious to the student.  Also as the added benefit as Mr. Windle stated it is truly important to connect with our history and such no doubt about that.  What can be done however is to put a bag in front of forms practice for kicking and punching so you’re not hitting air.  I have posted here previously about what I call the 5 ways of forms.  If anyone is interested I would be happy to email them off line as to what that is as that email is buried somewhere in this forum.  Forms practice IS important although I do respect anyone's opinion and would like to hear pros and the cons of whether to practice them or not.

Peace and happiness,
Sigung Tim Gagnier
Professor Tim Gagnier
Student of Great Grandmaster Charles Gaylord & Grandmaster Sid Lopez
Chief Instructor Pacific Wind Kajukenbo
Student Forever
Yamhill, Oregon

Offline lairkenpo

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 06:08:53 PM »
Aloha!

I agree wholeheartedly with Sifu Gagnier's response to my letter! Form/Kata always have been, and will always be, an important of any Martial Art program, regardless of whether the individual instructor calls them by that name or not. It takes as much discipline to develop a focus glove drill (with the rear hand carried in the proper position) as it does to develop any of the original Palama Sets. They both become a movement where "proper form" contains all the components of proper body discipline (ie., stance, weight distribution, position of the head, position of the non-striking hand, recoil/retraction, etc.). Therefore, the focus glove drill becomes a kind of "kata", I would guess.

Overall, the important thing to remember is that we're all trying to achieve the same thing ... self-defense skills, body control, self-discipline, and so forth.

I've been training for this art for 38 years, and have seen many different approaches. Kajukenbo is a progressive method of self-defense, and varies from practitioner-to-practitioner, sifu-to-sifu. Sijo Emperado, and the other founding fathers, wanted it to be this way. Try to make something better, just don't forget where you come from!

The rural South is known for its' colorful witticisms, as any Jeff Foxworthy fan will a tell you. I think that one applies here:

"Some of us drive a car, some of us drive a truck, some of us ride a motorcycle; some of us take the highway, some of us take the off-roads; but, basically, we're all trying to get to the same place. We should wish one another luck on the journey!"

Teach the art with a good heart, good purpose, and be true to what this art has to give, and you can't go wrong!

Thank you, Sifu Gagnier!

Mahalo & Aloha!

Robert Windle
Robert L. Windle, Sifu (Retired)
6th Degree Black Belt, Kajukenbo / Hawaiian Kenpo
KSDI #5069
The Lair Dojo

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2006, 11:17:29 PM »
Personally, I am into forms, but I think they should be used in a different manner.

Most forms I have seen seem to be added rather created while the rest of the
program is created.  For example, pretty much every style performs some version
of the Naihanchi kata even though it is not representative of the style.  Perhaps
this inclusion is out of respect for the efforts of our elders, but I think forms should
be used to reinforce the style.  If forms include techniques, body motions and strategies
 that aren't in the core style,  the form seems to be little more than a manly dance that
has it has lost its meaning and context. 

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Offline NYKaju

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 12:13:53 AM »
Interesting take Sifu Gagnier, but I must say I see the exact same phenomenon you describe working in a completely different negative fashion. Most traditional kata include the drawing of the hand to chamber (fist upside down underneath the armpit) and I've found that after extensive practice the student could do one hell of a form, but couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. The constant repitition of drawing the hand to chamber brought on bad habits that had to be broken later in the form of drilling and free sparring to stop them from getting punched in the face. Also the concepts of moving from stance to stance are completely unnatural and unlike anything similar to actual combat causing incredibly bad footwork.

Kata is a part of the system of Kempo that I teach, but I find it of the utmost importance to emphasize it as a tool to build focus and discipline in oneself as well as a form of personal moving meditation and physical exercise. Treating it as something which would build good habits for fighting or self defense is something I wouldn't personally recommend.
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handsofstone23

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 10:46:10 AM »
When I teach palamas is explain first that if you can't execute these movements with speed accuracy and balance and these are SET movements that never change, how can you be fast accurate and balanced with someone trying to knock your block off? Forms help A LOT! And many of the movements are found in the techniques we do. My students are amazed when I point out foot work and body mechanics that we use in boxing grappling and self-defense. We use a bow stance in the palamas and we use it when we are defending a takedown, we use a kneeling stance when we do knee on belly or drop a knee on someones head. It was mentioned that we don't or you can't use chambering your hand in a fight, but when fighting for underhooks look where your hand ends up. People chamber their hands all the time in boxing and ufc. Obviously you can't walk around in a horse stand with hands chambered but you don't do that in forms either, you execute a motion and then move to the next. For people who say they only want to hit things, how do you train without a partner or heavybag? You shadowbox right? That's a form of freestlye KATA. Just my point of view tho

Offline grand master hemenes

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 01:12:43 PM »
i will make this short you have to learn the katas its the foundation you start with and then you build from that if you dont have that your not a true martial arts school. anybody can put a pair of gloves on and hit a bag.

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Offline Ron Baker

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 01:36:16 PM »
When I teach palamas is explain first that if you can't execute these movements with speed accuracy and balance and these are SET movements that never change, how can you be fast accurate and balanced with someone trying to knock your block off? Forms help A LOT! And many of the movements are found in the techniques we do. My students are amazed when I point out foot work and body mechanics that we use in boxing grappling and self-defense. We use a bow stance in the palamas and we use it when we are defending a takedown, we use a kneeling stance when we do knee on belly or drop a knee on someones head.

Well said, Ruben.  It's kinda funny to see the look on students' faces when they realize that the horse stance I'm always barking about, is actually a necessary part of their grab arts.
Sigung (Shihan) Ron Baker
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Offline KajuKel

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 01:56:35 PM »
I think the most important aspect/purpose of the forms has been overlooked in this conversation.  The forms are a library of knowledge - they are the non-written - universal form of communication used to transfer knowledge on from one generation to the next for thousands of years.

You can relearn a form over and over again and find new meanings each time as your collective knowledge & experience increases.  Some one said earlier in this thread that the fist chambered palm up under the armpit is not practical in fighting.  I disagree - it is very practical if you think of it not necessarily as a load but as a grab that has pulled your adversary off balance and to your center where your simultaneous attack has great power.

The forms are what you make of them and I think this applies equally to the teacher and the student.  I never really cared form them in my early days when I looked at them as simple little dances required to get to my next rank.  But as my current professor has taught me "All the secrets are in the forms" - you just have to open your mind and ask yourself is this punch really a punch or could it be something else.  The one thing I love most in going to seminars and having the privilege of learning from our elders is how they have learned to use knowledge, distraction, deception and the very basics to overcome an adversary's youth, strength and speed.  I think if you go back and look at the forms you'll find it was in there all along - you just weren't seeing at the time because you weren't ready yet.

I like to take small bits and pieces of the forms now and see how many different ways they can be applied - that includes empty handed as well as with weapons in either my hands or my adversary's or both.  I think it makes me a much better fighter - not necessarily in an MMA or competition sort of way but in the way of our roots - Self Defense / Street fighting.

Just my humble opinion and with all do respect.
Kellen Houk
Under GM Frank Wohler
Delta Kajukenbo - Gaylord's Method
Tracy, CA
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Offline Ghost Rider

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 09:28:47 AM »
I do not teach forms to my adult class.
I only teach them to the youth class.
Forms may help to improve your balance and to connect you with your inner self.
But they are based on a very specific set of (choreographed) movements
A fight is a living breathing thing and can change again and again at any point
As far as fighting skills go, I personally find no use for the forms.
Sparing is what helps you to improve your fighting skills.
If I get in a fight the last thing you will see me do is go in to a low squatting stance or do a specific set of movements.
If you like forms then train in them, they are fun and offer many positive results.
But I don’t think they are preparing you for a real fighting.
There are many forms champions that would have trouble in the streets.
I know I am stepping on toes but that’s how I feel.
I do not train to be a martial artist, I train to be vicious
If my school is not a martial art school then I don’t know what it is.
Martial art’s is the art of war.
The only thing that matters at the end of the day is what you have in the win column.
As Sigung Jeff said in a different post, we are evolving and so should our knowledge and teaching methods.

I do think the forms should be taught to the youth as a way to keep our roots alive.
Remember that what you read here is just the opinion of others, don’t be insulted and
don’t take the opinions of others as the law of the land.
Greg Harper

« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 09:35:40 AM by Ghost Rider »
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Offline Patrick Campbell

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2010, 12:34:21 PM »
I do not teach forms to my adult class.
I only teach them to the youth class.

Ditto.

Pat
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handsofstone23

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Re: Extended Family Arts that Avoid Forms
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2010, 03:22:30 PM »
A jab is also a very specific movement. Its a set movement that cannot be changed otherwise it would cease to be a jab. A cross a kick or anyother movement is set. Its what we do with those specific and set movements that is key. The example I gave in my original post was a bow stance. Watch any UFC fight where a fighter is pressed against the cage and you will see them gain balance and foundation from that stance to avoid being taken down. How many times to we go into bow stance in the palamas? We also shadow box and use fixed and specific techniques. Jab cross hook uppercut. I don't think it makes a fighter more or less vicious if he shadow boxes or does palamas. But again its my point of view.