First...the why...of course.
A martial system is based on concepts, strategies, tactics. and techniques. One does not just "go fight", or "go shoot" as much as the simpletons of the American gun scene would have you believe. Fighting - whether hand or gun - is learned. Fighting must be mindless and automatic to bring victory. And for that to happen...it must be based on a series of accepted concepts that lead to a strategy of combat. And the tactics and techniques that are developed around such things must be physically memorized and trained until they can be done without analytical or conscious thought.
For example, lets take our system of gunfighting. Not a theoretical matter at all, nor one based in sports. I have killed men with the things I teach you thus the system has not been diluted from the actual experience, nor been through as many clean hands as say...karate or kendo has. We define fighting by the assignment of initiative. Either you have it, and thus you begin and end the fight with nothing but timing and marksmanship. Or your adversary has it, requiring you to respond to his attack...receiving it and maneuvering for a counter attack.
We defined the parameters of proactive and develop the mental, emotional, and spiritual attitude to draw a pistol, align it on another man's face and press the trigger...taking his life like a bite out of an apple. A cold and calculated maneuver preempting his advantage.
We also defined the dynamics and parameters of reactive, and study the situation as well as what is required by the situation to prevail. Recognition of attack. Determination of line of conflict and direction of pressure. Avenues of evasion and movement. This last taught as the "Take Off", combined with weapon access and deployment mid evasion. And all the concepts and ideas we discuss relating to the matter at hand.
That is our system. That is Suarez-Ryu if you will entertain the analogy...
As I have been drifting back into my original life...my original study of Karate I realized that I personally have been feeling some frustration at the misunderstanding of what we teach. I suppose I am not the first...and that is why the old teachers developed the kata...or simply "Pre-organized Self Directed Study Systems". Because they, like me, realized they would not be here forever, that the students needed a structured training plan, and that what they had learned needed to be codified lest their life's work be forgotten with their passing. Yes, such things need to be codified...and set down...lest it all be for naught.
In Asian martial systems, the kata served as a catalog of the movement, and strategies, and tactics, and techniques of a given teacher. What worked for him was organized into a set practice regimen for his students. And thus the old teachers left their life's work for their students to know and to study in the kata. And I think we need to do likewise. The lazy untested fatheads of the industry will likely roll their eyes at this, but I could not care less what their opinions are as they stuff their faces with doughnuts while watching gun porn on the internet.
What I have devoted my life to is not for games...and I am beginning to understand deeply what some of the old teachers felt. Knowledge needs to be organized to be practiced and remembered. As well as to be taught to others. And it needs to be done by the founder of the study...the one with bloody hands.
Consider the progression - Combat success leads to codification of concept and strategy...recognized via success of technique and tactic. Technique and tactic are trained and refined as individual movements. In order to crystalize those movements and codify them for the future, and thereby also teach concept and strategy, they are set forth in a formal practice set of movements - the kata.
This is backward planning at its best.
We learn what works based on experience. We define and identify those points, and refine them for teaching. Students then learn the kata, and thereby the concept and strategy that birthed it. The same, 100 years from now, barring dramatic weaponry changes, as they are done today. Consider the east and the west systems of combat. The medieval west had very refined and developed combat systems, but for the most part they have been lost to history. Had the west used the concept of organized self-directed training, the methods of the west would be as remembered today as those of the east.
Simply put - A kata is a catalog of strategic and conceptual movement, taken from successful fighting methods, proven in combat, and organized in a brief collection of movements, easily remembered and repeated. The practice thereof leading to technical excellence as well as automatic execution under duress.
More to follow very soon