· Based on this correct understanding of what true karate is “…it is unequivocally clear that kihon and kata are for kumite: the trinity of karate-do. And kumite, in budo is not limited to prearranged drills; but rather, it directly pertains to proper jiyu-kumite, traditional shiai (competition) and, indeed, actual self-defence”. Therefore, the idea of ‘grafting’ or `sourcing’ bits and pieces from a variety of individuals, styles, organizations—`FOR STYLES SAKE’—has NO RELEVANCE for authentic budo karate.
· It is important to point out that jiyu kumite is different in this regard—grafting is fine. Grafting is a part of the unique character of developing jiyu-kumite skills. For example, we may find a technique or tactic that is useful then steal it (this is why it is called `free’ sparring; nonetheless, clearly in the context of jiyu-kumite, it is not `art-for-arts sake’). I.e. – the assimilation of an effective variation of tsuki, unsoku/ashi-hakobi, keri, a shimewaza (strangulation technique) etc. Nevertheless, I must stress again that kihon and kata should never be grafted/multi-sourced. To reiterate let’s now consider “Why would someone want to graft different ways of doing kihon and kata?”
2. If they find something difficult or awkward grafting on another approach can help them get around the challenge: once again, this is not related to true budo/martial arts—rather, just karate as some form of abstract `art’.
3. They are not sure about the correct way, so they play around with techniques, learn from books/online resources etcetera (or instructors who have done this). This is a major discrepancy between karate in Japan and the vast majority of karate outside of Japan. Essentially this is the propagation/handing down of ‘guesswork’ (cosmetic karate) as opposed to first-hand knowledge. It is worth noting here that first-hand knowledge always leads one down the path to martial effectiveness in jiyu-kumite and, certainly, beyond the realms of the karate-dojo.
4. Grafting is also done by instructors who lack first-hand knowledge of budo karate—in order to create a vast array of `shallow technical repertoire’. This is literally ornamental karate, which is unambiguously not focused on the technical objectives of budo karate. As I have stated recently, this type of instructor (and these types of organisations) have gained popularity as they offer a fluffy version of karate.
HOW TO RECOGNISE `SHALLOWNESS’ IN KARATE?
b. More deeply, and as stated before (and as emphasised on the JKA Homepage), “…when kihon, kata and kumite do not form the trinity”—with the technical purpose of downing the opponent with a single blow—the technique is shallow. This is actually very easy to see, but many don’t want to as it is `not so fun’ and means that training becomes intense; repetitious; and the levels of danger inevitably increase.
c. Another obvious way to recognize shallowness is a lack of proper jiyu-kumite (please follow this link if you would like to read more about this: http://andrebertel.blogspot.jp/2015/02/the-criticality-of-jiyu-kumite-in.html). As discussed, extensively in the past, a lack of high quality and challenging jiyu-kumite means `a lack of testing one’s techniques in an open context’. All kihon, all kata and all forms of yakusoku (prearranged) kumite must lead to effectiveness in a freestyle context.
No one here in Japan, who practices budo karate, thinks “I will change my kihon or kata to make it easier for myself” or “I’ll copy and graft on so-and-so’s different way of doing this technique, and this other organisations method of doing this kata (because it looks cool)”. These ideas are `off the radar’ for budo karateka. Why? Because budo karate is not superficial, it relates to jiyu-kumite and self-defence as a whole. Doing `the moves’ is an idea that is really foreign in Japan and pointless—blatantly counterproductive—for those seeking the martial art of karate.