Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Principle Excuse

What is the principle excuse? it is the commonly taught idea that kata primarily teach principles and that the sequence and technical content are there simply to express these principles instead of a specific underlying function. An example of this would be saying that Naihanchi is about developing posture, rooting, generating power, mindfulness or any other number of self evident 'principles' that really do not need kata as a medium to be effectively practised. In fact a form like Naihanchi may be a hindrance in developing these qualities if the purpose of the practitioner is to become say a better fighter due to its very limited technical content and range of movements. 

So what makes more sense as an approach to studying kata?

1. Kata were synthesised to catalogue techniques with a specific function in mind and context for usage. Example - Naihanchi records grappling techniques to be used in the context of civil arrest.


2. Kata were created to record principles (that are usually self evident and do not require recording in a form!) within a group of unrelated techniques in no significant order. Example - Naihanchi is for developing posture, power generation, chi, rooting, mindfulness etc.

Function dictates form? or abstract principles dictate form?

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