Whether you call them kata, taolu, or hyeong, forms are an interesting source of debate.

Watch a martial artist train and you may believe forms are only rehearsed tactics for self-defense.

Watch another martial artist and you may believe forms to just be an unusual dance, one that teaches coordination and the harmonies of the body.

Watch yet another martial artist and you may believe it is simply an exaggerated performance meant for the eyes (and ears) of tournament judges.

Spoiler alert: none of these are fully correct nor are they fully inaccurate.

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The Key Is to Customize Your Forms by Playing With Them!

When facing a real attack, creativity and fast thinking are crucial for overcoming an opponent. The human problem, however, is that in a moment of stress, people tend to resort to a single, familiar response — whether it works or not. The goal of martial arts training is to help the student develop the ability to solve various tactical problems in moments of crisis. To achieve this, several attributes must be cultivated. One of the most important is the flexibility of mind needed to make good tactical decisions. What may be surprising, however, is the method that traditional arts use to develop flexibility of mind: kata.
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The Sai

A Classical Approach to Wielding a Classical Weapon

There has been a sea change in thinking among practitioners of the traditional martial arts in the past 30 years. Previously, students faithfully accepted what they were told and furiously practiced those methods — which might be of questionable utility based on the interpretations commonly assigned to the movements within the kata. Then Taika Oyata showed that the common interpretations were not at all what kata were supposed to be about.

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Team: NMAC

Date of Birth: March 11, 1998

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