Form or pattern
Oh oh here she goes again… it must be food.
Lol, nope. Not this time.
In martial arts this, and they are all one and the same, is a combination of techniques. This is like a dance, moves that build your speed, accuracy, control, power, flexibility, a pattern of moves.
Each level in grade, moving from white belt to black belt and beyond, will have a pattern. In Tae Kwon Do, Poomsae is the term used most often, but my early instructors called them Katas, so this is how I refer to them as well.
I love them.
They are movements that engage an imaginary opponent in offensive and defensive moves. It can be beautiful to watch, well for me. But to do them is a work out. The movements need to be crisp, exact, blocks, strikes, kicks, jumps and twists…
Your gi, the usually white uniform martial artists wear, is usually a heavy cotton. During the kata you hear the snaps from the sleeves and legs as the material breaks the sound barrier. Like a towel that you flick to annoy someone. I get lost in them, moving through the pattern, a combination of moves, blocks, strikes delivered crisply, moving in another direction, another block, twirling in a blur and kicking high over your head with your foot still on the ground, then yet another direction. More blocks, strikes, a leap and a kick. Balance maintained with an exactness, your stance controlled, aggressive or defensive, designed to generate power. It is great.
Every move has an effect, you don’t just block with an arm movement, you control the exact spot you strike with, and there are twists.. your hips pivot at the moment of strike, you settle in your stance, becoming firm, anchored, all the power in your strike, your wrist that strikes also twists, that little bit extra increasing the force of the strike, your other arm moves as well, normally in the opposite direction, to your side, it also twists, ready to strike or defend. It is complex, no move is simple, there are many moves at the same time, this occurs with repetition.
It isn’t like the competition fighting you may have seen in the Olympics. That is point fighting… *sighs*, not the same at all. It isn’t like what you see in the movies either, where one hits another or kicks… and they keep fighting. A strike or kick in Tae Kwon Do is very accurate and very powerful. Most will not get up.
I will spend long periods of time moving through them, fighting the imaginary opponents, a blur of moves. They develop an instinct, when you fight you block but you strike as well, and not one strike, but many, when an attack comes you don’t have to think about it, you just react, it happens so fast.
It takes years to advance, but you can have great benefits from a very short time too.
Oh I know, you don’t want to hurt anyone. Nor do I.
So why? What good is it?
hmm, where to start.
body toning, physical fitness, meeting people, a hobby, self defense for that time you may need it, Confidence.
yup, it really builds it, for all aspects of life.
Classes are a great way to meet other people too, you practice together, spar with each other (sparing is usually zero contact fighting, to practice blocks and attacks, you learn control by not hitting)
You talk with each other during breaks, each class.. your body becomes more healthy, more toned. You don’t build massive muscles, they are long muscles, more for speed than strength. The muscle bound weight lifter is slow, the martial artists punch is close to or above 100 mph, kicks much faster.
But the biggest gain is meeting people. Sitting at home alone?
Go take a class, you don’t have to become a black belt, but you will get a time out, meet people, perhaps make some friends… friendships that could end up in dates even?