WHAT ABOUT KATA?
The original martial arts contained
no formalized movements. This is a truth that no one wants to admit because nearly all modern martial arts use a pre-determined
series as forms training. Bruce Lee would not accept this and instead broke with "tradition" and trained in a free-form manner.
He did not know that the precedence was in his favor. In reality he had stumbled upon Jiyu Kata or Mukei (No
form). For Bruce it just made since. Anyone who has been instructed in Mukei feels the same.
Set patterns for training did not occur in Japan until the above mentioned Edo
period during the 17th century. In little Okinawa, Mukei was the sole method of training until 1902, when Yasutsune Itosu taught school children.
He wanted a way to teach school-age kids without worrying how they would use what they had learned. Only being taught the
movement and not the applications, they would not be able to use it to cause mischief and violence. When Karate was transferred
to mainland Japan, it was this "institutional" version that went with Gichin Funakoshi.
The older version still exists
here in America with the last people who have been taught the complete art of Gotente, the Motobu family's style
of Bushi Te. We still teach Mukei, and we teach Yakusoku Kata. It is common for a student to have been trained by another
teacher before coming to our system. This may well be the last Okinawan native
system to be instructed in the truly ancient manner.
In America this is one KARATE School that has chosen to continue the ancient tradition and teach
Jiyu Kata. All Yudansha (black belts) practice Mukei with all Waza (techniques). This allows the practicioner
to react in a spontaneous and natural manner.