FIST LOGIC

GREETINGS FROM THE EDGE.

How we decode the data is the key, not what we call it or opine about it…..

A while ago I was having a conversation with a D.J. about how Karate was sourced from White Crane Kung Fu, and that at their heart they are the same thing, this led to him asking me if Chinese Forms and Japanese Kata are essentially the same things.

There is an opinion within Kung Fu circles, or at least within the Wing Chun circles I was part of that Forms and Kata are completely separate and different from each other.

I disagree, from my standpoint FORMS and KATA are just different words for the same thing, all training, be it subtle or overtly physical, is nothing more than the accumulation of information, the collection of raw data.

How we decode the data is the key, not what we call it or opine about it.

I think we can benefit from the approach that Wing Chun has FORMS and KATA.

Where is our starting point, and what is our position?

It is the usual thinking that FORMS are about understanding our shapes/postures, understanding their physical/emotional/mental make-up, and how to create and maintain that shape/posture.

The practice of moving slowly, and softly, allows a greater opportunity to ‘clearly’ observe how the shape/posture is constructed and how it relates to the rest of the frame, an observation that would be disrupted by the overt use of active muscles that would cause such tactile feedback as to wipe out the subtle nuances of joint control.

On the other hand, KATA is considered to be Shadow-Boxing exercises performed at full power with the mental image of actual contact and the deliberate injection of overt strength and tension.

Sadly, I have often experienced partisan, myopic snoberry calling out KATA as being way too forceful for a person to be able to feel anything, implying that they are somehow less than FORMS.

I think it is worth repeating myself here, all training, be it subtle or overtly physical, is nothing more than the accumulation of information, the collection of raw data.

How we decode the data is the key, not what we call it or opine about it.

FORMS and KATA do not teach us how to FIGHT, they teach us how to THINK.

As a memory aid FORMS and KATA are two different methods to explore the same sequence.

FORMS are somewhat passive, while KATAS are somewhat dynamic. 

They are two sides of the same coin, a touchy-feely tactile method that we use to help us connect with our training.

It is so important that we do not drift off into some fantasy world in any aspect of our training, but especially so in FORMS and KATA, they are memory aids and not fighting tools.

When push does come to shove both FORMS and KATA are inappropriate and useless.

FORMS and KATA do not teach us how to FIGHT, they teach us how to THINK.

Some say that FORMS are a type of mindfulness training while KATAS are a type of shadow-boxing, but in reality, the only difference between these two ideas is not the content just the context, i.e. If you think that you are being mindful, you are being mindful, or if you think that you are shadow-boxing, you are shadow-boxing as you go through the same set of movements.

If you think you are on the can… it is what it is…

With this is mind, if we so wish, FORMS can be used as KATA and KATA can be used as FORMS.

Forms and Kata are just data, albeit two different methods to extract information from the same data.

FORMS are information about ‘SHAPE and CONDITION’, whereas KATA is information about ‘MOVEMENT and SEQUENCE’.

When observing the complete SIL LIM TAO FORM { comprising S.L.T. Chum Kiu and Biu Gee} our focus is on how we create certain shapes, firstly just hand/arm shapes but leading on to whole body shapes, but of equal if not greater importance is how we live inside of these shapes.

Our Body Being, or the ‘Condition’ that I refer to as CRAZY HORSE.

In FORMS there is no promenading, no movement through space, everything happens in one spot, and what movement there is in the FORM is just repetition, mental reinforcement.

The shapes/postures we study in the SIL LIM TAO FORM are starting shapes/positions and finishing shapes/positions, there is no set, organised way to get from one place to another, from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

The SIL LIM TAO FORM is, as we all know, an IDEA.

The whole reason for doing THE SIL LIM TAO FORM is to observe our Body doing the SIL LIM TAO FORM, to observe the shape and condition of our body as it does the SIL LIM TAO FORM, and not to observe us doing anything else.

Especially fighting off an attacker.

This point alone is worth serious contemplation.

FORMS exist like a frozen moment in time, an aspect of ‘ONE SHAPE, ONE MOVEMENT, ONE BODY’ but let’s not go there today.

So what of KATA in Wing Chun?

KATA is everything else, the missing bits, the reflections.

If we regard FORMS as still pictures, KATA is a movie made from those still pictures.

If FORMS are simple shapes, conditions, and intentions KATA is a method to transform those simple shapes, conditions, and intentions into action.

 And then optimally progress from one action to another action.

FORMS are impractical, KATA is the very heart of practicality.

Heads/Tails, Yin/Yang, two sides of the same coin.

If we buy into this type of thinking that says we can have the SIL LIM TAO FORM as well as the SILL LIM TAO KATA, where is this dynamic physical practice to be found and explored?

MOK JAN JONG, the wooden dummy.

 LIK BOON DIM QUAN the six and a half point pole.

 BAAT CHAM DOA, the eight cutting/slashing knives.

From the perspective of the Wing Chun structure, there is nothing new introduced as we progress beyond the Biu Gee Form.

What is introduced is a method of dynamic movement and physical power production.

Performing KWAN SAU on the Dummy, the vigorous side slash of the Knives or the lunging thrust of the Pole what are these actions if not a KATA.

Understanding why FORMS ‘are the way they are’, has the potential to teach us more about FORMS than practising them ever can.

Spend time contemplating this statement…..

We do THE SIL LIM TAO FORM for no other reason than to observe our Body doing the SIL LIM TAO FORM.

For no other reason than to observe the shape and condition of our body as it does the SIL LIM TAO FORM.

We do not do THE SIL LIM TAO FORM to observe our body doing something else!

Especially fighting off an attacker.

Why does man kill?  He kills for food.

But not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
– Woody Allen

WHAT MOON?

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