If Kata is the textbook and essence of Karate; does it matter what school you train in?

I mean if you train in an western based school that really teaches the bunkai of kata and self defense is it better than to train in an Okinawan or Japanese based school that doesn’t……

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6 Responses to If Kata is the textbook and essence of Karate; does it matter what school you train in?

  1. Josiah says:

    It does not matter as long as their teachings are true and not about turned money

  2. Kokoro says:

    If your not taught how to read then what good is the book

    If they don’t teach you how to intrepid bunkai then how do you expect to understand kata.
    The level of bunkai that the instructor understands is important. As well as other aspects such as kumite and kihan, not all of the bunkai will be taught to the beginners many parts are left as you get more advanced.

  3. Earthshine says:

    Hello .Yes i think kata is one of the most important parts of karate.You can take them outside of the club.Do some at home or in a garden.Great for balance and concentration.I stopped training at club level 4 years ago.Reason:I stopped enjoying it.The fighting part became over important.Too many egos at work also.Having said that i do miss it a times.I developed strong legs due to the sumo and straddle stances . I do think that true karate has lost it’s way in the western world.So yes a club that teaches kata is always better i would say.cheers

  4. Jim R says:

    As Kokoro said, the level of bunkai varies widely between individual instructors. Japanese styles like mine seem to me to be a little bit “shallow” for lack of a better word, compared to Okinawan styles. Or maybe it is that they understand and use it slightly differently. I know from experience that both of these concepts have merit. that said, the kata also vary between styles, and the teachings and bunkai of the pinan series differs from that of the hian series, though they are the same basic kata. It is better to remain in one style until you have a “foundation” which is a much deeper understanding of the forms from your style, then perhaps you may learn much from other people from other styles.

  5. jwbulldogs says:

    I believe that Kokoro said it best. What good is the book if you don’t know how to read it?

    I may have to use that one day.


  6. idai says:

    Hi there

    In order to learn any art requires the instructor and organisation to know what there talking about. In traditional Karate’s case that is knowing both the kata and the bunkai. Now if your talking about other western schools teaching a modern version of karate then thats ok as long as you know what your signing up for which will be a watered down version.

    Why train in Japan or Okinawa? Why go to Oxford, Cambridge or Stamford to study when you can go to some unknown university? Its all about the pedigree of where your training comes from. Its not a problem if you just want the self defence aspects but if your a traditionalist or a purist then it matters quite a bit!

    A lot of traditional martial artists are form collectors and for some unknown reason they think that memorising all the forms and practicing them to perfection makes them better martial artists? It doesnt! The principles within the bunkai and more importantly being able to strip them out and use them is what is key to all kata.

    Why do traditionalist get it wrong? Well thats how they were taught it! Its that simple. Was it always this way? No! Japanese history has shaped their arts over the years and some of it wasnt for the better. Theres a lot of backward engineering required with kata to make them work

    Best wishes


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