for those who have been in a real full on fight or attacked will know that fights are fast, brutal and over in seconds. we are born with the human natural instincts to fight back, and no matter how much we are trained in the martials arts or a fighting system we will always go back to mainly punching, kneeing and maybe elbows.
The Pinan / Heian Kata are childrens Kata's right? wrong. if any of us were to create a Kata, would we create one without dangerours tactics contained within them, would we create a sport like version of a Kata that we could use in a real fight? i think not. if we did create a Kata it would contain everything one might think so it could be used in a real combat situation and aimed at geeting the fight over as quickly as possible. howver, having created a Kata that has it it all, how long would the Kata be? as long as say Kushnaku or short like Pinan Shodan / Heian Nidan?
Remember, fights are fast, brutal and over in seconds. Master Itosu created the Pinan / Heain Kata's, do we really think he would have created a series of Kata's one would not be able to use in a real combat situation? i think not, its also important to remember that there were no such things as competitions back then.
Master Itosu said that the Bunkai must be learned before one learns a Kata and that the Pinan / Heian Kata's were designed so one could advance through them in a short time, and they can be used for a quick attack and the application must be transmitted orally.
A single Kata is a complete fighting system in itself and i believe to really unlock all the fighting tactics held within it should be studied for about five years, this may sound madness to some, but its important to remember that the masters of old only knew 3 to five kata's at the most. If we think about it the Pinan / Heian Kata's alone are perfect for just this as there are just five of them, one does not need to really know a vast amount of Kata, it really is pointless is we are studying a martial art for real self-protection and not to say " i know 25 kata, but i dont know all the applications and wouldnt have the confidence in a real fight"
So we should really ask ouselves, why are we really studying a Martail Art (karate), is it for self-protection or to learn a vast amount of Kata just to boast, ask yourself, could you honestly apply the fighting tactics of a single kata in an emergency? of course its important to have a structure for instructors but whats more important honestly, learning a new kata every 3 months, or really getting to grips with a single kata. Sudying the pre-emptive strikes contained within, the knockout tactics, stand up grappling, seiza grappling, ground work, defence against weapons and multiple attackers, focus miit drills from the Kata and heavy impact using the tactics contained.
This is really how we should be studying Kata, Pinan Shodan / Heian Nidan for example i believe has everything ones needs to defend themselves if the Kata is studied properly, after all in 3 months one could not achieve the above. remember an ordinary person may use Karate in a self-defence situation maybe once in a lifetime if at all, so when the masters of old would say that it would take a lifetime to really understand a single kata we begin to understand.
One can still have a grading syllabus and structure but instead of learning a new kata every 3 months (although a great achievement) i think its more important to have realistic Bunkai drills inplace of the kata for Kyu grades.
Master Itosu said: if one were to train 2 to 3 hours per day for 3 to 4 years one would possibly be able to understand the hidden parts of the Kata.
How many out there (students) have trained an hour a week for 4 to 5 years, know 12 or more kata and wearing black belts and maybe could not handle themselves in a real situation, in this the black belt earned means nothing. if one studied a single kata for five years, understood the applications in detail and could really apply them in an emergancy and combat situation, is this not a real black belt?
The above are my own beliefs but im interested in those who may train the way i do (regarding the indepth study of one kata) or have the same thoughts?