The HAPV-Theory & Kata Definitive Description

Described in various cultures by different names, Kata bring together various unique conceptual engagement exercises in creative template-based solo practice routines. The individual templates, which make up the Kata, are most usually brief sequences, which [unlike today’s etched-in-stone practices] focus upon engagement principles and not necessarily “fixed” techniques. Their original purpose was actually meant to culminate the lesson[s] one had already learned, rather than designed to impart the lesson, which has become the theme of practice in modern karate. Based solely upon the original idea that an attacker is rarely predictable, NEVER compliant and brutally aggressive in his assault, learning how to use principles, over depending exclusively upon “fixed” technique, was its entire purpose. Such conceptual engagement exercises were learned, practiced and honed in 2-person scenario-based re-enactment drills. Understandably, these practices were imparted gradually and using passive resistance until such time as the learners gained familiarity with the various scenarios and confidence in the application process. The gradual to exponential use of aggressive resistance in scenario-based training would ultimately become the determining factor in testing the veracity of one’s application skillset. The idea of fluid movement and unpredictable change during violent brutality served as the means of learning to use principles in changing conditions while developing a sense of calm during the onslaught, which resulted in controlling or subjugating the attacker. Collectively, such 2-person practices represented the timeless and central core of any/all functional fighting arts before the development of its so-called, modern counterpart. Pedagogically speaking, it’s widely acknowledged today that focusing one principle at a time is far more valuable to the learner than is absorbing an entire Kata without understanding its conceptual application process and practice. 

The creative magic, if you will, was subsequently discovered by linking together the brief template-based conceptual engagement sequences in solo practice routines, which created something greater than the sum total of its individual parts... Kata! Where the technical ambiguity, confusion and lack of functionality first surfaced, is traced back to Japan’s radical period of military escalation. Two-person drills ultimately fell quietly dormant not long after the end of the Ryukyu Kingdom Period. Surviving solo routines were, for the most part, heavily modified and subsequently, “etched-in-stone,” for the expressed purpose of being put into the Japanese school system. There, they would be used as rote-drilling exercise vehicles to prepare future military conscripts.

Nowhere could this evolution have been more detrimental to the original and highly functional fighting art than during that period of Japan’s terribly inflexible culture of conformity.

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