four means of studying kata

  1. normal imbusen (Sip-geup Illustration)
  2. opposite imbusen (Sip-geup illustration)
  3. reverse imbusen (Sip-geup illustration)
  4. opposite reverse imbusen (Sip-geup illustration)

*These four means are illustrated below with Sip-geup kata:

five elements of kata

  1. shin - imperturbable focus, visualization
  2. ki - inward fortitude projected outward
  3. ryoku / waza - technique
  4. unsui - rhythm & flow
  5. bunkai - application

three stages of kata development

  1. A kata is first developed by learning proper sequence and technique.
  2. A kata is further developed when demonstration is intuitive, focused inward, and undeterred by outside distraction.
  3. A kata is finally developed when demonstration is instinctive, focused outward, and attended by eight-directional awareness.

seven principles of kata interpretation*

  1. Kata is a self-defense atlas meant to be studied and applied, not memorized and performed.
  2. Kata is completely practical and should be interpreted against real world attacks.
  3. There are no blocks in kata; and virtually every action can be applied against pressure points.
  4. Kata conceals information in both normal progression and the rhythms of reversal, often promulgating what you need to know as opposed to movement you need to perform.
  5. Effective self-defense technique often lies between the postures.
  6. There is more than one correct way to interpret kata movement; there is more than one way to perform that movement.
  7. Many of the secret treasures of kata are hidden in plain sight; the problem is we cannot see them or are never told about them. Thus, to train in basics is to train in the very secrets of kata.

*These principles are based upon and derived from George Dillman's teaching in Pressure Point Fighting Secrets of Ryukyu Kempo (Dillman Karate International, Reading, PA: 2012) as well as Miyamoto Musashi’s 17th Century teachings in The Book of Five Rings (Shambhala Publishing, London: 2005) and the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba as reproduced by Neil Saunders in Tomiki Aikido (Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC: 2007).

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