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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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Is Kata Training for Self-Defense?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

A person once stated that Okinawan’s didn’t practice contact practice like kumite because it “Eschewed the concept because their techniques were too potentially lethal.” I get this itchy feeling whenever I hear someone spout the deadly applications of karate. Granted, at one time long, long ago - historically speaking of the early 1600’s - the techniques applied as Ti or Toudi may have been devastating but as to deadly I perceive that as more a result of gravity or weapons over Te (karate as it is called today). 

In the early years as karate was introduced in this country it was almost exclusively about kicking and striking. Seldom was any other, regarding karate in a strict sense, methodology referenced toward self-defense. Mostly, it was about competitive aspects and we all know that competitive aspects has nothing to do with self-defense, fighting or combatives of the empty hand, i.e., hand-to-hand, kind. 

Personally, as I have come to understand, karate as to striking and kicking has its human limits governed by survival of the tribe and the human instinct to communicate through violence, when necessary, in a way that is guaranteed to prevent grave bodily harm or death, i.e., those proverbial potentially lethal applications. 

Striking and kicking are about getting what you want and enforcing rules that often govern human interactions be they in a family environment or a more tribal societal family like environment. It was not meant to be a deadly lethal system. I repeat, karate in its bare educational sport oriented form, was not meant to be a deadly lethal system. 

If you goal is to cause grave bodily harm or death then your best bet is to get a weapon and apply it with a killer mind-set/mind-state because unless you accidentally cause an adversary to fall where gravity kills them karate ain’t going to get the job done. Violence, except in rare cases predation violence, seldom results in grave bodily harm and/or death (here agin is where accidents happen). As one source indicated, it is about communications. 

Bunkai, Henka, Ouyou-bunkai, Omote-Ura and Embusen are being touted as the way of self-defense but in reality those training paths are about learning concepts and principles but fall way short of providing the kind of defensive goals one needs in conflict and violence. They are paths a novice needs to open the conepts up for interpretation and understanding but are NOT about defense against violence of a predatory nature. 

This brings me down to self-defense. SD is about avoidance, avoiding the socially emotionally driven monkey dances almost all humans, especially males, endure from their testerone overloaded youthful interactions that don’t often end in grave bodily harm and/or levels of lethal force that would end in death. This comprises what I would say is about 98% of modern violence. I would also say that 98% of martial arts in modern times is about sport competition rather than self-defense. I would go a bit further to say that the teachings of modern martial arts is about 98% ineffective in real self-defense, i.e., a predatory resource/process situation. I would say that for 98% of martial artists who believe they know self-defense that only about 2% of those will ever deal with a predatory resource/process type assault. I will go even further to say that 98% of martial artists who believe they know self-defense that only about 2% of those actually know and understand the full comprehensive understanding of self-defense. 

I will also say that 98% of all martial artist who believe they know self-defense have no experience nor have they received training from anyone with experience in self-defense, fighting and combatives. Lets add one more, 98% of all bunkai taught as being applicable self-defense, fighting and combatives is not valid, i.e., they won’t or don’t work in self-defense, fighting and/or combative situations. 

Kata is not training self-defense. Kumite is not training in self-defense. Sport competitive participation is not self-defense. Bunkai do not teach self-defense techniques. Martial arts self-defense models do not teach self-defense that works. 

I could go on but I sense that it may be overkill. Karate, all martial arts, have benefits and are beneficial to all who partake of its studies but as to kata or other distinct parts they are not the means to achieve proficient ability in fighting, combatives or self-defense (especially SD).

Note: Such terms used in a teaching model like bunkai, henka, ouyou, omote/ura and embusen are just excuses to tell ourselves we are actually learning a combative fighting defense system. Yes, they have purpose but in the end they are just ways to describe things so the initiate can achieve greater understanding toward actual hands-on ability to fight, defend and apply combatives in a violent way. 

Note II: Being traditional or classic or even modern does not equate to ability in the fight. It may get you started but it won’t take you the entire way. This stuff has been a bane of discussion since the first moment the caveman lifted a piece of tree to club an attacking beast over the head for protection. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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