Within Shotokan Karate we have 27 Kata, each containing a selection of high impact strikes, stand up grappling strategies, close range strikes, throws & takedowns, chokes & strangles, arm locks, neck wrenches, and wrist locks.
The Karate community tends to use Kata mostly as a presentation device, with competitions focused on form rather than function of the Kata, with the bunkai or applications contained in the Kata taught within the dojo, but not tested competitively.
In reality the Kata itself is simply a method of containing the combat applications of the person seeking to pass on his or her combat methods, hence the understanding of Kata is not just knowing how to string each technique in the sequence in thin air, but being able to apply parts instantly against a resisting aggressor.
If we were for a second to invert some of the contemporary Karate training methods:
- Focus on Kata as the source of the Karate syllabus;
- Work with resisting partners, not drill lines, working Kata bunkai at close range;
- Remove the GI and train in shorts & t-shirt.
We would more than likely end up with a class which most Karate-ka unaware of the circumstances would not recognise as a Karate class. There would undoubtably be some who would look on the above as a MMA class of some form.
It’s interesting to understand that the real difference between many martial arts is not the techniques they contain, but the training philosophy they use. Take most martial arts and standardise the training methodology, keeping the core set of techniques, and there will likely be a large core that is very similar in function.
This begs the question therefore, what is the real difference between Traditional Martial Arts and Mixed Martial Arts, the function within the Kata/form, or the methods used to explore these? As Traditional Martial Artists are we more closely related to Mixed Martial Arts than we think?
The following article is interesting because it seeks to invert the typical views of MMA, highlighting similarities between TMA and MMA, and presenting a startling fact that MMA is safer for the participants than many full contact sports such as Boxing that focuses on repetitive head impact.
Mixed Martial Arts and the Quest for Integrity
Like punk rock, mixed martial arts seemingly smashed its way onto the public scene without compromise and upset the current order in a way that hadn’t been seen for decades. As with the petulant bastard child of rock ‘n roll, MMA began as a hard-edged spectacle that outraged the establishment and promptly got itself banned all over the place. Both were considered trends, but few realized just how well they would adapt, survive and thrive.
Continue reading here: http://clubbchimera.com/content/mixed-martial-arts-and-quest-integrity