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Black Tiger
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Jissen Kata - Ashihara style

Gentlemen and Ladies.

I've added a link to 16 Kata from the Ashihara Karate Sylabus. Done the way we do kata in OUR style of Karate.

The main thing to notice is how fluid the Kata is and the use of Ashi and Tai Sabaki as well as Kuzushi in the performance of the Kata.

Ashihara Kancho explained "Why" in his book "Fighting Karate", page 130, as to why he discarded Traditional Kata and what it meant to him. Note HE was an Uchi Deshi of Oyama Sosai (same time as Steve Arneil) and had access to more "information" regarding "Bunkai and Ohyo" than other students of Oyama etc.

Each Video shows the Kata and the Basic Bunkai for each with the details of each "combination" detailed in the video.

Hope you enjoy it and might help you understand where I'm coming from

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

In my experience traditional karate-ka don't understand these kata, prefering to view them as a sequence akin to 'shadow boxing'.

Why?  In their mind anything not featuring formal stances just doesn't look right.

A severe case of function trying to follow form, instead of form following function.

(Interested observers will note the Ashihara kata featured includes face punches - barred from competition but of course used in general training)

Gary

JWT
JWT's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

In my experience traditional karate-ka don't understand these kata, prefering to view them as a sequence akin to 'shadow boxing'.

Why?  In their mind anything not featuring formal stances just doesn't look right.

A severe case of function trying to follow form, instead of form following function.

(Interested observers will note the Ashihara kata featured includes face punches - bared from competition but of course used in general training)

Gary

I see these as form following function.  To me they are no different from the 'traditional' kata which are also form following function. The difference is a different envisaged function, that's all (and in many cases no clue as to the function).

Cheers for sharing

John

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

They look like great kata designed for fighters - as you said fluid and with lots of smart tai-sabaki. I suppose to expand upon John's post, they look like kata designed primarily for a competitive environment. I know there are face punches and they end with 'finishing' moves, which are not allowed in this format of competition, but they seem to be movement patterns for a 'fight' against another martial artist.

For instance, there are many head height kicks - both straight on, back and spinning - which I think we can agree are not best suited to a self protection skill set?

Whilst much of the movement and techniques could be transferred to a self protection context they don't appear to be designed for that purpose.

Please don't take them as a critcism of them - just an observation of what they appear, to me, to be. If I were training and teaching for fighting I'd be more likely to use these then the 'older' kata commonly found in shotokan, wado, etc.

Have I missed something?

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Jon Sloan wrote:

They look like great kata designed for fighters - as you said fluid and with lots of smart tai-sabaki. I suppose to expand upon John's post, they look like kata designed primarily for a competitive environment. I know there are face punches and they end with 'finishing' moves, which are not allowed in this format of competition, but they seem to be movement patterns for a 'fight' against another martial artist.

For instance, there are many head height kicks - both straight on, back and spinning - which I think we can agree are not best suited to a self protection skill set?

Whilst much of the movement and techniques could be transferred to a self protection context they don't appear to be designed for that purpose.

Please don't take them as a critcism of them - just an observation of what they appear, to me, to be. If I were training and teaching for fighting I'd be more likely to use these then the 'older' kata commonly found in shotokan, wado, etc.

Have I missed something?

Hi Jon, Much appreciated.

Gary Chamberlain wrote:
In my experience traditional karate-ka don't understand these kata, prefering to view them as a sequence akin to 'shadow boxing'.

Why?  In their mind anything not featuring formal stances just doesn't look right.

A severe case of function trying to follow form, instead of form following function.

(Interested observers will note the Ashihara kata featured includes face punches - bared from competition but of course used in general training)

Gary

Gary made some very valid points too. And Agree with him on them

Yes Jon , I would agree to a point that much of the basic Application of these Kata does look more akin to fighting other martial artists in Competition but fighting full contact continuous is closer to the real deal. Grabs and throws being allowed in the Ashihara and Enshin Sabaki Tournaments. The finishing moves are something which is counted in Knockdown tournaments.

The first Kata in the series, Shoshinsha no kata sono Ichi, I have also devised a standup grappling and groundwork application to exactly the same combinations. The Kata can be done on your back.

 Nage No Kata Ni is a kata I've found myself using a lot in certain circumstances.

JWT
JWT's picture

Black Tiger wrote:

Yes Jon , I would agree to a point that much of the basic Application of these Kata does look more akin to fighting other martial artists in Competition but fighting full contact continuous is closer to the real deal. 

How do you mean 'real deal'?  Do you mean that you see fighting full contact with grabs etc as closer to the type of fighting that happens in self defence?

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

(Pulls up a chair)

From my limited experience moving your feet and getting impact on target has always helped.  I make no claims of 'ideal for the street' etc but it's interesting to note that two of the senior Enshin instructors are former Denver and New Jersey cops.  Both are pragmatists who wouldn't be doing stuff they couldn't make work.

Gary

JWT
JWT's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

(Pulls up a chair)

From my limited experience moving your feet and getting impact on target has always helped.  I make no claims of 'ideal for the street' etc but it's interesting to note that two of the senior Enshin instructors are former Denver and New Jersey cops.  Both are pragmatists who wouldn't be doing stuff they couldn't make work.

Gary

I didn't say that it wouldn't work Gary. :)

I've seen some effective punching work from some of the doormen I've had on my courses.

In most cases though, if you were to edit the attacker out of the video footage of the scenarios I run, the stuff that people do to get themselves out of situations resembles traditional kata more than it resembles kumite, even when the person has no martial arts training whatsoever.  

This doesn't surprise me.  What I see in Enshin and Ashihara  is effective close quarter fighting for someone fighting with similar tactics.  It can work effectively against someone using different tactics if the person is in the right mental place to access their skillset.  What I see in the kata of most other systems is effective close quarter fighting for someone fighting against HAOV (which isn't necessarily easier than fighting a trained fighter, as anyone who's paired up with a big and fiesty new student who doesn't knw what he's 'supposed to do' will know).  The two overlap, but they aren't the same thing.  

Did you bring the popcorn?

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

smiley

I thought you and Ken were going to go a few internet rounds.

With me, I just take the view that effective always looks good.  John Arnold - the NJ Police Captain I mentioned above - will have someone on the floor before they even get started and / or punch a hole through them.

So to me it's ability that counts, not style or system.  I always use the example of putting my mum in a Ferrari versus my wife in a Golf GTI.  Both great cars and on paper a sure thing.

Bet on my wife though.  She's a maniac.

Gary

JWT
JWT's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

  I always use the example of putting my mum in a Ferrari versus my wife in a Golf GTI.  Both great cars and on paper a sure thing.

Bet on my wife though.  She's a maniac.

Gary

You'd put your mum in a Ferrari?

Now that's irresponsible. :)

JWT
JWT's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

So to me it's ability that counts, not style or system.  

Styles and systems are courses for horses.  There's only one way to get reliably good at what you want to be good at and that's hard work.  What's important is that you have fun doing it and it improves rather than reduces your health.

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

JWT wrote:

Black Tiger wrote:

Yes Jon , I would agree to a point that much of the basic Application of these Kata does look more akin to fighting other martial artists in Competition but fighting full contact continuous is closer to the real deal. 

How do you mean 'real deal'?  Do you mean that you see fighting full contact with grabs etc as closer to the type of fighting that happens in self defence?

Ok JWT was a training night so could respond until now,

Please these are standard videos on YouTube; tell me which Kumite style is closer to a street fight

EKF - the mainstream type of sparring/fighting taught in Dojos all around the world

or

Ashihara karate

or

Daito Juku - a hybrid of Kyokushin and Judo - they don't practice kata just basics and fighting patterns

Thanks

Now when it comes to proper training there are very few schools out there that do "think outside the box" when they do it doesn't matter what style it is because its taught to be effective not just to walk around with flashy belts on. I'm sure you can agree on the "Freeze" a person can get the first time they got hit hard, at least with Knockdown the chances are they've been hit a lot hard in the dojo than buy some thug in the street.

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Didn't Peter Consterdine write an article once praising Kudo?

Gary

EDIT:  Going senile.  It was here:  http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/future-format-competitive-karate-some-thoughts-and-videos#comment-1414

Quote:  Kudo is as near to the perfect format for a fighting system as it’s possible to get and not just competitively, but as a real and practical combative system.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I like those forms and can see the value in them. There is lots of effective stuff in there for both fighting and self-protection. There is also an “obviousness” about them which in that respect undoubtedly gives them an advantage over traditional forms which can appear “obscure” to some due to the historic process they have been through.

I think it is a fair observation that there seems to be a higher emphasis on fighting in these forms though i.e. the “fighting distance” from which they operate, the inclusion of defensive techniques against karate style kicks, the use of skilled fighting techniques such as head height roundhouse kicks 7 or 8 moves in, lots of block and counter, etc.

As with everything, so long as any given method is attached to context I don’t see any issue with that. It would be easy to teach the form and show the “as is, fighting version” and then show a version more applicable to self-protection. I do that all the time when teaching kata. I’ll start with the  “as is” version (which is self-protection focused) and then run with the technique or concept to look at fighting variations. Something akin to what I do in this clip. I start with the kata technique and then run with the idea of trapping the leg to look at variations that are more suited to fighting. The students are then free to play with all of them in our various kinds of kumite.

You could easily go the other way for the techniques within the kata being discussed which may have a greater relevance to fighting (i.e. mutually agreed conflict). Some techniques in them will happily work as is in both contexts, and you could teach self-protection variations for those techniques that are best suited for fighting. As I say, I can see how some may prefer to substitute these kata for the traditional ones, and if that’s what works for them then more power to them.

While I can see the value in these forms, I can also see the value in the traditional forms and hence I personally don’t see a necessity to abandon the traditional ones in favour of these ones. The traditional ones serve my needs perfectly. I can however see how others would prefer to use kata like these ones.

One wider thought occurs … I have no kata for the fighting side of what we do! I like kata, and see great value in it, but it is only the self-protection side that has a kata component. Maybe I need some fighting kata too?

Black Tiger wrote:
The first Kata in the series, Shoshinsha no kata sono Ichi, I have also devised a standup grappling and groundwork application to exactly the same combinations. The Kata can be done on your back.

If you ever find your way to filming your creations, I’m sure everyone here would be interested to see them.

All the best,

Iain

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:
Didn't Peter Consterdine write an article once praising Kudo?

Quote:  Kudo is as near to the perfect format for a fighting system as it’s possible to get and not just competitively, but as a real and practical combative system.

He did write such an article … and I can take credit as the man who introduced the format to Peter :-) The rules of Kudo are very well put together and deliberately try to prevent some things which distance other competitive formats from real conflict i.e. they encourage attacking as opposed to standing off and trading blows, a wide range of techniques are permissible (head buts, elbows, etc), there is limited time allowed on the ground, etc. It makes for exciting viewing too. It’s a great format and I think it is where the future of competitive karate should lie.

Allow me to wheel out my martial map:

Kudo has much more in area five than most other competitive formats, but it still does not cover other vitally important non-physical aspects of the green self-protection area i.e. awareness, de-escalation, law, home security, etc. It also does not cover some physical elements such as multiple enemies, weapons, escape skills, etc.

Kudo is therefore a fighting format with a much higher crossover into physical self-protection than most. Peter’s quote reflects that as he is talking about “a practical combative system” and not self-protection.

The point I want to ensure does not get lost is that if some wants to truly study self-protection then they should study self-protection (not Kudo). This is especially true of those who are not young and super fit, but who nevertheless want to be safe from crime. If, however, they want a competitive format which is has lots of cross over with self-protection, Kudo would be the way to go in my view.

I think Kudo has lots of other advantages too, which I deal with in this post:

http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/future-format-competitive-karate-some-thoughts-and-videos

All the best,

Iain

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:
If you ever find your way to filming your creations, I’m sure everyone here would be interested to see them.

I will indeed look at putting the formats on Film, looking at waiting 12 months after knee sugery before I start to "play" properly.

I agree with you there's Kata for all situations hence why I still Practice Bassai and Chil Sung Ee Ro Hyung as they more or less have most of the techniques found in the other traditional Kata.

I'm just happy i can show other members of this forum a different point of view and hopefully they will understand my comments posts etc a little better knowing what it is us Jissen KarateKa Practice

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Ken

Thank you for sharing the videos.

I'm not convinced that our opinions are so diverse.  I have said recently here that I rate Ashihara forms highly because the practitioners train to apply them and I think that is better than doing a traditional form and not training how to apply that:

http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/notes-pinan-yondan-pyong-ahn-sah-dan?...

The Ashihara and Daito Juku methods are good training paradigms.

I am wary of judging a system solely by the kumite I see it do.  As an example I have been hit harder (accidentally) in the head and harder (deliberately) in the body in an EKF sparring format school than I ever have in the rare real fights I have had (broken nose, cracked jaw in those - cracked jaw and inability to stand or speak in the dojo). I've also suffered more pain on a regular basis and had nastier (prolonged recovery time) injuries in the gentle art of Aikido than I've had in karate.  I've also done a fair amount of close quarter bunkai with heavy contact in EKF schools.  

In terms of 'closeness' to the 'real deal' I look for 6 things built into the training pedagogy :

Attacks to the head.

HAOV.

Close range.

Contact.

Verbal abuse and distraction.

Multiple opponents.

With these criteria I would score the kumite formats you have posted as follows (based solely on the competition format, not what else they might do in training):

EKF Sparring: 1

Ashihara Sparring: 2

Daito Juku: 3

By that token EKF scores lowly, and rightly so.  If the kumite is the central focus of what a school does then it is what we have to judge it by.  If there are EKF schools that do a bit of training for those competitions but spend the rest of the time hitting pads and working close ramge with HAOV in their kata, then I score them a 4 instead of a 1.

I hope that explains my views.

John

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Must Agree John, I've trained with some "FEKO" schools that follow the same Kumite rules for Competition and "IN" the Dojo are as "hardcore" as Kyokushin, My friend's Dojo is Shukokai but they fight to sabaki rules in the Dojo.

I'm glad you saw my ethos as I placed them in order of "effectiveness" as you scored them as I scored them too.

My school is a bit "scrappier" than the Ashihara One but not as "intense" as the Kudo one.

Ashihara Karate in format teaches Strike to the head in Application just competition disallows it, although in many Dojo's around the world, head strikes are allowed in Kumite.

Ashihara created his style from his real fights with real Yakuza etc, and to look at ways a smaller fighter can work around a bigger heavier fighter etc. many of the kata CAN  be used from being grabbed or from takedowns too

Your points are very valid, thanks John

OSU

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Regards to Kata, Shoshin Kata my first post was hard for my junior students so I formulated these Kata

Takiyoku Kata Shodan

Takiyoku Kata Nidan

Takiyoku Kata Sandan

So basic Kata which more or less stipulates the first few sets of basics, and the strikes and blocks found in the other Kata

I'm more than happy to receive Critique on these Kata - note these are basic Kata not advanced Kata

Thanks

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I like these Ken. Thanks for sharing the videos. I can see the purpose behind them. I can also see how they would be easy for lower grades to grasp and start working with. Good stuff :-)