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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Beyond The Wall


    The more I train these pistol katas, the more value I see in them. The goal is mindless execution of a correctly applied technique. You won't get there shooting a piece of cardboard. In fact, the shooting part is almost irrelevant, or at least an afterthought. The progression is this.

    Learn the specific technique. By technique I mean a take off and an example.
    Drill it with a cooperative partner to physically memorize in context of application.
    Pressure test it periodically, but not always. Pressure testing is not pressure drilling.
    You cannot learn something when under high pressure. For learning to happen the pressure must be lightened.
    Drill the technique in combination with other techniques to learn contextual movement, and true balance and agility.
    Take the technique and deliver true force with this context, take the method out of the kata and do live fire with it.

    live fire without all the preceding work is really just a waste of time...kinda like somebody punching the bag without knowing how that punch is applied in a real fight. Thus the kata feeds the deveolpment through drills and the drills feed the thinking behind the kata. And both build the sort of fighter that is a truly dangerous package.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Western WA
    There was a time when I did not get much value out of kata. I did not see the point. The techniques in the Casa we’re not very useful for sparring, and we practiced our basics meticulously anyway. The emphasis was on perfect performance...for competition. My first instructor taught me to move with precision, something that has helped me to this day. However, no one had taught him any real application or deeper meaning to the kata. We did not have access to the resources we have today, and without instructor is willing or capable to share this kind of knowledge, it simply wasn’t available.

    Around 1993 or so, my school hosted a big tournament. We brought in the head of our system from Japan, along with several of uis high level black belts. The tournament was fun, but my favorite part was training. Getting to train with people demonstrating karate at this level was a true joy. In our last session before they headed home to Japan, the master spent a few hours teaching us applications to several of the Kata. This was what I had been waiting for! To my amazement, even his top black belts had not even seen this material; honestly, based on their reactions I’m not sure it’s something that even occurred to them. (it was us Americans who had asked sensei to teach us the applications.)

    Much as it pains me to say it, looking back at that experience I cannot think of a single application he shared that I consider realistic or worthwhile. I teach better stuff to brand new students the first month that they train with me.

    In my competition days, we trained hard and fought hard. We wore armor and beat the shit out of each other. It was good training but even at the time I knew something was missing. The karate I trained at that time was simply focused on competition, And it had the insidious effect of blinding us to a much deeper and richer world.

    We were always told that “Kata is the soul of Karate”. I think we all believed that in a generic sense but did not understand it at all. Much like the boy who has read about sex but has never been alone with a woman.

    The kata is the recipe book. And you can cook without a recipe book but unless you are intuitively gifted you will never be a master chef. There is a method that goes much further beyond simply following a list of steps.

    Kata contains the DNA of the fighting system. Not only the fighting techniques but also the methods to ingrain them. Think on this deeply, as Musashi would say.

    I have been practicing kata for over 30 years. They still teach me new things. I will watch a jujitsu or aikido instructor perform a technique, and I will recognize movements straight from kata, applied in ways I had not considered before. I will be practicing a training drill and kata movement will come out without thought or preplanning...which is really the whole point. Mindless execution of correct and effective movement in response.

    Applying the same idea to gunfighting is so clear and self evident to me now. And I would say this is something we should have done years ago (we have been thinking on it a long time), but things like this happen when they are supposed to.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Exactly. Take a simple, clear, and practiced movement and it always works. The environment and impulses change the application but not the hard wired performance of that simple move. Muscle memory + creativity and need = applicable use.
    Greg "Hyena" Nichols
    Instagram: tacfit_az
    Facebook: SI Instructor Greg Nichols


    Always entertaining, mildly offensive
    IANative: Indeed, when you grab Brent (or he grabs you), it feels like liquid unobtanium wrapped in rawhide... whereas Greg is just solid muscle wrapped in hate, seasoned w/ snuff and a little lead.

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