Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kata = Movement + Transfer of Kinetic Energy

The above equation is the most useful way to think of kata. It allows it to be adaptable and versatile. It is just moving yourself in a way that leads to the most efficient transfer of kinetic energy. I'm not talking about ballistic attacks like punching and kicking, but throws, locks, chokes and all the other good stuff.

This is why bunkai is so important, by this I mean analysis, not application. The transfer of energy remains the same in the kata despite the size of the practitioners, but the size of the practitioners does have an effect on how they will be able to apply that transfer of energy. I'll explain. A 6' 7" person trains in head punching. Everyone they punch at will most likely be shorter than them, because they are so large. Their head punches are going to be different. Now a 4' 5" person might not want to throw head punches at all. They might not be able to effectively reach a Threat's head and would be better served by groin punching. They both can practice punching, but how they apply it will be different. Now apply that to every technique in a kata and every variation of a kata technique. The bottom line is some things will work for some people that won't work for others, but they can apply that transfer of kinetic energy in another way that serves them.

With this in mind, an interpretation of a kata movement for specific encounters becomes relatively useless. It already was for different reasons, but this is yet another.

Analysis brings on a whole new importance. It is self discovery. It is finding what works for you within a template of proven effectiveness. (Generally the fighting traditions that survive did so because the fighting traditions that taught crap got all their followers killed. They endure, because they worked.) It is the same as finding the best way for you to use a sword, or a gun. What works for you will be different especially when it comes to unarmed combat because our bodies are not the uniform products of an armorer.

With this in mind we can keep the emphasis on ourselves. We don't have to memorize something that might not work for us. We'll discover what works for us through patience, practice and play.

There are many paths up the mountain, but the view is the same, but first you have to climb a fucking mountain, so get climbing.