Why do people study the ins and outs of karate, the katas the rituals the philosophy and then change what they have learned into something else ? For years I have wondered after practicing karate that me and many of my fellow students are not able to use what we have been taught, so I thought that I would look into it in a bit more detail.
I studied Wado Ryu for some years and thought that I was getting quite good at the moves I would watch my instructor and copy what he did I would try to be as fast as him and I would try to mirror his every move. He used to say to me that one day if you train hard you too would become a black belt and that the moves that you do will become second nature.
I liked Wdo Ryu the moves felt smooth and everyone seemed to be enjoying the teaching It kept me fit and helped me to focus. There is a lot to be said for Wado Ryu. We learnt how to attack and defend against an opponent and the way that we did it was very structured and formal. This I found quite appealing because it felt that I was getting good at kicking and punching, my opponent would punch at me and in a set and formal way I would do either an upward block or a downward block my instructor would look at what I was doing and say good , good block here or block there and it would all be very satisfying. He would say things like if your attacker in the street does this you do that , problem solved, great I thought when I go out and get into trouble I will just do this and then that will happen.
After doing two man practices I would find myself quietly self assured at my progress towards mastery. A few years after training in Wado Ryu I got into a street brawl and I remember trying to use the blocks and punches that I was taught and I remember that the moves that I had learned just went out the window and I ended up on the floor as if what I learned had not registered at all. This was a wake up call for me I remember wandering what happened and where did all that training go. My opponent didn’t throw straight punches at me they were sort of all over the place I was confused because my instructor told me that if he does this you do that. I am not saying bad things about Wado Ryu I am just saying that I couldn’t do what I was taught , maybe it was just me.
I found that what I did in the fight was closer to what a boxer does this felt more natural maybe it was because when I was younger I had watched boxers like Muhamed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. The way that Ali and Leonard moved was simple and without all the complicated moves that I had to sift through, because a fight is fast and it makes you fall back to what is easiest to execute in the shortest possible time.
Sugar Ray Leonard
Karate has many benefits, health, focus, timing, spacial awareness. What I found odd about my karate training was that when we sparred we didn’t use the moves that we practiced in the kata or in the two man prearranged forms.
I enjoyed what I got out of karate but I think that when you start any form of martial art you should know what you expect to get out of it.
The karate instructor is given a syllabus to follow and that is passed down the line to the student without question and without the student being able to say I don’t think that will work or I don’t think this will work. Because we go to the class we are then expected to do what we are told worked for many years in the past but we are not from the past so we don’t really know what is true and what is just tradition or politics. I think this way of teaching and hanging on to my style does this and nothing else stops a style from evolving.
Boxing vs Karate What’s the difference ?
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