Form and function as a way to judge technique.

So I thought I would give this blogging thing a try - since I am already fond of drunken karate diatribes I thought it would be a fairly natural extension to explore. First off all my knowledge comes from my teachers, and all my mistakes are my own.


Why do people do karate? This is, in my opinion, the most important question that the practitioner needs to ask themselves. Being trained as an engineer I had the axiom that form always follows function drilled into me, and I see technique the same way. If you know the problem then you can see how well your solution works to solve it.








I like to use the analogy of a knife. Knives have many different purposes and thus have many different forms. The Swiss army knife does many things, but doesn't do any of them particularly well; conversely a combat knife is designed for killing people and therefore has a shape that suits this purpose. Cooking knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes some for de-boning, carving, or hacking. Each shape optimized for its purpose.


Kata means shape or form. Given that, then one can apply this concept to their kata. Why does one stop at this particular spot in kata? Say, for example, if you are trying to gain range of motion from a position. Then the answer is much simpler: does this position optimize range of motion, if not how can one change it to improve its implementation?






So if you are unaware of why you do karate or any martial arts then you lack a critical evaluation criteria. My first question is always 'Why do you do karate?' if you don't know the answer to this question then you have no direction to reach your goals.

James East


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