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Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:03 am
by JuhaR
I hate coming up with subjects, mine never capture the point of my posts...

Ohtsuka Meijin stressed the "aliveness" of kata and kumite. The 10 Kihon Kumite seem to consist of wado kata sections, which are applied according to wado core principles, in a "living" way. Are we supposed to keep analyzing kata, solo and paired, along these lines, and come up with additional variations, until one day we can produce these spontaneously in "combat"?

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:45 pm
by claas

In my opinion kihon kumite teaches stuff that isn't there in the solo katas as explicitely. For example taisabakis and blocking techniques.

Of course bridges between these start to build, but I'd say kihon kumite is also an independent series.

Then again year after year I start feeling a stronger linking between different series, but I'd rather say the solo katas are a form of basic training for Wado movement, also expressed in kihon kumite. And on the other hand kihon kumite as sequences do not cover all the stuff in solo kata.

But to answer the question in the topic, kihon kumite of course also gives interpretations to stuff. Many sensei refer to kihon kumite in their solo kata teaching.

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:10 am
by Wado heretic
I do still practice the Kihon Kumite, despite considering myself primarily a Shorin-Ryu karateka now, because they are the best way to keep my Wado-Ryu roots. I state that as a bit of a disclaimer in that my view, and use of the Kihon Kumite, differs from that of Wado-Ryu purists. I have a couple of theories regarding the Kihon Kumite, and their intent:

1. Ohtsuka Meijin was codifying Koryu, or Shindo Yoshin-Ryu, inspired solutions to the emerging Gendai Budo paradigm. After all, the Uke initiates with attacks derived from Kihon Waza, where as the Shite responds with a variety of sophisticated body-to-body techniques, throws, and strikes to vital points from close range.

2. Ohtsuka Meijin was exploring the weaknesses of karate techniques, and was demonstrating the futility of pure percussive, and also reckless, attacks against a measured response at a closed distance. In that sense, the kihon kumite also explore the issue of collapsing distance; a very real problem in self-defence.

3. Ohtsuka Meijin was codifying some very basic, common sense rules of thumb, and the most fundamental principles for both Uke and Shite. For example; attacking with the closest limb in a non-telegraphed manner, is the safest manner to initiate an attack if you have to. Defusing your opponents strength, and power, by creating and dictating the distance you want to fight at, is also one of your first priorities in a real fight; a principle reflected in the initial defensive movements of of the Kihon Kumite.

When he talked about aliveness; I suspect he meant never to just perform the Kihon Kumite as ritual. After all, there is plenty of video footage, of both Ohtsuka Meijin, and some of his top students showing numerous variations of Kihon Kumite. In the same sense a kata should be performed with the speed, intensity, and power you expect in a real fight, from time to time; not just with an attempt at perfect form each and every time.

I tend to play around with what I consider the "fixed" rules of the Kihon Kumite; basically, the things that if you change it you are not doing the same routine. So both starting on the wrong foot for example will mess you up very swiftly, so we practice getting back into the right position after the attack is initiated. We practice by walking at each other to start the attack, or having one turn around into the attack, instead of from a ready stance; sometimes we collide by accident, but it really forces you to do it properly at speed. Sometimes we practice out of order, or even randomly; the Uke just does the attack he decides to do, and the Shite has to react appropriately; sometimes the Kihon Kumite goes completely off track but it teaches you to do the movements under pressure. Sometimes we change the angle, or target of the attack, which adjusts the range, and the foot-work, if not the techniques in general, which forces us to explore different "shapes" as it were.

From the above experiments; I have found some cross-over between the Kata and the Kumite, in that when the ritual is broken, and goes wrong, it is the kata movements that save your bacon. They are what you go to in the moment when you are under pressure. However, the movements of the Kihon Kumite as presented are relatively distinct from the kata; they have their own flavour, and deal with the notion of attack and defence. The Kihon Kumite should teach you to attack, as much as they teach you to defend. If you do the attacks at speed, and in random order, you can often succeed in getting the attack in while your partner is trying to do the proscribed defense. To do the Kihon Kumite properly; the Shite must force errors in the Uke's distancing, because if he does not, and the Uke does not follow the ritual, he (or she) will get hit. In contrast; the kata are almost all purely defensive movements and concern themselves with recapturing the initiative in a civilian self-defence situation, and often work from the perspective that the distance between yourself and the aggressor has already shrunk to a minimum.

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:48 pm
by claas
Hi Keith,

Out of interest, when you said your use of Kihon kumite differs from Wado purists, could you elaborate a little more on that?

Having seen many different approaches from different kinds of purists, I can't put that part into a context. I personally think Kihon kumite has many different dimensions, one of them being covering some fundamental positionings of the two parties performing, another being taisabaki training and so on...

Do you mean for example that you for example delibaretely focus on some aspects more and compromise or even change others? And I don't mean varying but actual change, for example to make it more compatible with the Shorinryu you're training...

Another question: which Otsuka-videos do you mean, when you mentioned his variations of Kihon kumite? Videos showing Kumitegata or something else?

And a third one, just out of curiosity... What is the stream/school of Shorinryu, that you are practising in?

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:54 pm
by Wado heretic
Of-course; always happy to answer questions.

1. Essentially, yes; I make deliberate changes, and explore the different elements. Sometimes I do the established form "wrong", so I omit a step or a movement, and see the results. I also tend to have my students use attacks from the HAPV model, rather than the kihon waza in the traditional form. Basically; I look at the intended end result of the original form, and then break it down to explore the steps and ideas. If I do the shapes wrong, do the ideas still work, is the question I pursue an answer to.

I do not try to make it compatible with Shorin-Ryu; there are only so many effective ways to fight. I retain the kihon kumite for that element of attack and defence, which you do not find in original karate kata very often. I tend to think of myself as just practising karate these days; it either all works together or it does not. I find the Kihon Kumite to still be useful, and so I continue to do them.

2. A better wording would be to say that you can see many ways in which Ohtsuka performed similar movements, and techniques to the Kihon Kumite, but took a different path to the same end result. Better wording would be that you can see many ways in which Ohtsuka applies the same ideas, but with different shapes. I took a linguistic short cut in just saying you can see variations on the kihon kumite; when really it should have been the ideas you see in kihon kumite.

3. Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu; specifically Kodokan.

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:40 pm
by claas
Thanks for your answer!

Personally I started being very open minded towards mixing arts at one point when I was younger, then became somewhat of a purist and now it's a certain kind of mixture of these two. Now I try to think that the world is universal and there is wisdom to be picked everywhere, maybe leading to a better understanding of a certain other art. So that's the open minded part. Testing other stuff and maybe by either meeting new people, hearing a similar idea or even hearing a conflicting idea, understand something new about Wado for example.

The purist-part is that I think every art should be trained in a way that is as true to the art as possible. Rather make the self the mobile part, instead of the arts. Otherwise one will always choose based on personal preference, not really adding any new knowledge or personal improvement ever and simply not really making anything out of anything.

This is in no way a critique towards you. What you are describing about actually studying the katas could be a very good idea.

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:35 pm
by Wado heretic
Never a problem, and I appreciate informed critique. One of the huge problems in martial arts is a lack of openness to effective critique.

In some ways; that is why I have retained the Wado-Ryu Kihon Kumite, despite moving onto the Shorin-Ryu tradition regarding the solo kata. I find the notion of attack and defence in them incredibly useful, and in fact believe any karateka can benefit from their study. Having studied Okinawan karate more deeply now, I can see why Ohtsuka Meijin felt that dynamic was missing from Karate practice when he first encountered it.

I try to study the Kihon Kumite as they were intended, but I also like to test the boundaries to explore the limitations of the original form. In some ways, this testing is how I justify retaining them beyond just liking them. It provides evidence for the utility of the lessons, and principles they contain.

Re: Are Kihon Kumites just examples that show us how we should analyze wado katas?

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:20 pm
by claas
Now I've got to ask if this is giving any thoughts to Juha? Answers or did we miss the question completely?

Like we say in Finnish: Missä mennään? :)