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GNARL's picture
Machida and Kata

I came upon this link.

Shows Machida in an open workout doing some kata. Got me thinking about kata, traditional martial arts, and UFC. Do you guys think this just a "publicity stunt" to show his traditional roots and to set him apart from other UFC fighters or does he actually get concerete tangible benefits from kata training that carry over to his fighting in the cage. I have read him say it helps with his breathing and focus which is great but these are surely side products of kata training. Its personally hard for me to believe that a lot of time spent on kata training in this sense would get any sort of favorable results in the cage. Just like Iain has previously said, it's the sparring, groundwork, wrestling, mit work, etc that he does that help him be so successful. Thoughts?

ky0han's picture


Shotokan Sochin and not that bad either.

I saw GSP doing some Kata and Bunkai here

Maybe they are just having fun with the media.

Regards Holger

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

I think I read somewhere that he no longer practices Shotokan it's now Machida Karate. So, I guess he's promoting what he's selling.

Honestly, that was just about a passable sochin - from a shotokan perspective it lacked a lot of what would normally be looked for in posture, kime, intent and so on. But then he's only giving the photographers something interesting or different to shoot.

gazrichards's picture

I think its quite obvious by his kata performance that he doesnt do it too often.

If it was an open session for the media it was probably pretty much a day off/rest day for machida. a bit of stretching and a light workout whilst posing for some pics-the pad work he was doing seems a bit laughable too for a world class mma fight like Machida. All for show.

I belive Machidas dad is a shotokan instructor? I would say he probably turns up at the dojo every few months to "scratch the itch" or to give his dads dojo a bit of publicity.

In my opinion that is the great thing about karate kata!

Its a good workout and a way to push yourself and just about the only way to practice karate alone as well as being a fantastic display of technique, physical prowess and ability (ie michel milon, luca valdesi etc. 2 great kata performers but couldnt fight their way out of a wet paper bag!)

Oerjan Nilsen
Oerjan Nilsen's picture

Here is another video of Machida performing Sochin:

gazrichards's picture

From 2001!!!!

obviously back then he was paying a lot more attention in his training to correct form, focus and kimae.

There are also videos of him in traditional karate points scoring, semi contact fights and he looks pretty awesome.

There is no doubt that he is a fabulous athlete and whatever chosen area of karate/martial arts he focused on he would be one the best around at it.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I think kata can have secondary benefits, but I think we can safely say that the kata are something these practitioners learnt in their martial study prior to their MMA careers. It maybe something they may keep going alongside their competitive MMA training, but I would doubt they consider it a vital part of their professional MMA training.

All the best,


PS I think this collection of MMA kata needs Bas Rutten’s take on things in order to be compete :-)

Bob Hopwood
Bob Hopwood's picture

Yes. GSPs famous Pinan 4.5


Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

It's frightening that GSP looks so smooth in the ring and so stiff when he's doing kata and 'bunkai'.

That old video of Lyoto Machida in the kata competition too, still not that impressed to be honest. Too much upper body with little connection to his hips (especially). Looked rushed in places. Still, it was 10 years ago. I'm sure it'd be better now.

Good job there's no video of me doing kata knocking around. I'd hate to have people dissecting it in fine detail. ;)

Iain, I always like to watch Bas. He was a good competitor and has just the right amount of showmanship in him.

nielmag's picture

From what I can tell in the ring, the things he got from "shotokan" is more the point fighting stuff:  distancing, gyaku zuki (reverse punch) as a counter, faking low kick then kicking high,deashi barai etc.  However, he did a great knee to the midsection of tito ortiz which one could argue (and that would be a not so great argument) was out of Heian 4 towrads the end when hand grab out and come down to knee with loud kiai.  Again, as is often stated, kata was mostly for close range combat, and Machida's game is all about staying outside and darting in.  He looked great in the first round doing that.  However, dont think there's a kata bunkai for getting taken down by a 6'4 super athletic freak of nature, getting forehead split open by an elbow, then getting put in a nasty guillitoine (although I was hoping he would!)

Tony Smith
Tony Smith's picture

In my eyes one of the things that kata teaches is self- control, and with any martial art, sport or otherwise, self-control is very important. Kata also helps (at least with me) to clear the mind, somewhat like a form of moving meditation. As far as why Machida is doing kata as to benefit his training or for publicity—I don’t know, for I am not Machida. However, I do think it is great that he does not forget where he came from, weather he uses the actual movements of the kata in his matches or not.


Tony Smith

michael rosenbaum
michael rosenbaum's picture

I never look at karate, MMA, Judo, etc as an either or thing.  For instance if you do Judo then you don't do karate well.  If you do kata then you can't fight MMA and if you do MMA then you can't get anything out of kata. As skilled as the above fighters are I'd say they can can perform kata on par with almost anyone. And I'd dare say that in their own way they do reap something from kata, though I wouldn't bet they spend long hours practicing solo kata. But then again I've been training in karate since 1976 and now spend more time hitting the bag and lifting than I do solo kata, and that's after having authored a book on it. Everyone gets something from karate/kata, however not everyone gets the same thing, especially when talking about the skill levels of the above examples.  Put simply, that is, IMO.


Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

Hi All,

We don't really know the context of the videos above but it looks more like publicity for Machida, i imagine he may still practice kata for fun, but i can't see him doing it when preparing for a fight. As with GSP, the bunkai he shows doesn't seem the most realistic. Again, we don't know why he was doing that (i did notice that the badges on his gi were covered up) but i wonder if these top class fighters don't see what they do as self defence? Do they beleive that what they do is purely sport?

Mark Laderwarg
Mark Laderwarg's picture

Anyone else notice that the blue gi guy above (St-Pierre?) started doing Pinan (Heian) Yondan and switched to Godan in the middle.  A common beginners mistake.  

PASmith's picture

Heh...not quite a beginners mistake but more like a really experienced guy messing up something he's forgotton how to do because he doesn't do it anymore. smiley

The one thing GSP has really taken from his Karate training is ettiquette and respect. Hands down he's one of the classiest guys in MMA and always carries himself well.