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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Gun kata?

Hi All,

Something as a bit of fun: I have an intellectual exercise for those who make use of firearms in training. We’ve loads of kata for “historic weaponry”, but, as far as I am aware, nothing for modern handguns. If there is something out there? If not, we may have the opportunity to create an entirely new type of kata :-)

The idea came to me from four sources. Firstly, there is this scene from the film “Equilibrium”. Obviously this is movie based fantasy, and this is not what I’m suggesting!

The second source of inspiration came from this tongue in cheek article from “Karate By Jesse”:

http://www.karatebyjesse.com/exposing-the-biggest-best-kept-super-secret-of-karate-ever/

Again, this is not at all what I’m talking about.

The third source – a much more practical one this time – is the book, “The Modern Day Gunslinger”. In the book the author covers many drills and techniques for drawing a pistol, various shooting positions, shooting while moving, the actions to take to clear various forms of jams, how to quickly change magazines, techniques for use in low lighting (i.e. the combined use of a torch), drill for shooting while changing angles (i.e. pivoting), how to reload should one hand be injured, etc.

It struck me that many of the drills could be done with an unloaded gun / with “dry fire” in order to increase efficiency / fluidity of the motions. And if you put those drills end to end you have a kata where many of the key motions could be practised and rehearsed.

The final source for this thought was a friend, who is both an extremely experienced marital artist and was a competitive shooter (before handguns were banned in the UK). He told me he would drill clearing jams in just the same way he drilled his martial arts i.e. through endless repetition until it was second nature. He said that in competition he’d often cleared jams before he consciously realised they had occurred as a result of this training. A kata could therefore be helpful in giving a way that repetitions could be done either as part of the kata, where a jam was mimicked, or by practising a “subsection” where the jam was recreated using empty casings.

Just like standard kata, the “gun kata” should be viewed as a support to live fire training on a range (or in simulations) and not as a substitute for that training. There is obviously the need to drill these motions in more realistic ways, but as a supplementary form of solo training, and a record of key motions, it could be useful.

Primarily though my thinking is that it would be an interesting intellectual exercise that would no doubt give insight into the process by which the traditional kata we have today were created.

There could even be a series of kata (like the Pinans) where the first covers basic drawing and shooting positions, later kata cover postures and foot work for shooing on the move, you could them move on to clearing malfunctions, high up you could have a kata for shooting, reloading etc with one hand (should one have been injured), etc.

Even if it transpires the end product is not worthy of keeping, the process of trying to create such a kata may have value, and above all else it would be fun too!

Do our more experienced shooters know of anything like this already in existence? What considerations would be needed for such a theoretical creation? Is anyone tempted to give it a go and share their early creations?

All the best,

Iain

NOTE: The civilian use and ownership of guns is always a controversial topic. This forum is a martial arts forum, not a political one, so we have a policy of never discussing the politics around civilian ownership of guns. There are plenty of other locations on the internet where this issue can be more appropriately discussed. I’d therefore be grateful if any political viewpoints could be left to one side. All political posts (for or against) will be deleted.

JWT
JWT's picture

An interesting idea Iain.

In my experience I'd say that the kata are already in existance (in the military).  They form the drills that we practise (and are tested on regularly) again and again in the lessons for the weapon systems.  They are applied in the classroom, on the DCCT (Dismounted Close Combat Trainer) on the ranges and on training areas in addition to real use.

While I prefer to teach drills with a weapon system in my hand, I can quite happily demonstrate without the rifle if need be an visualise the weapon system in my hands as I go through various motions.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Iain,

Looks pretty impressive. Don't know about the combative value though. That's more for entertainment purposes I guess.

Regards Holger

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi John,

Thanks for the input.

JWT wrote:
In my experience I'd say that the kata are already in existence (in the military).

Do you know of any footage we can post? Are these drills something that martial artists would recognise as “kata”?

JWT wrote:
While I prefer to teach drills with a weapon system in my hand, I can quite happily demonstrate without the rifle if need be and visualise the weapon system in my hands as I go through various motions.

I was thinking of the kata using the actual weapon, but it would be unloaded. That way magazine switches etc can be more realistically rehearsed.

All the best,

Iain

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi Holger,

ky0han wrote:
Looks pretty impressive. Don't know about the combative value though. That's more for entertainment purposes I guess.

I enjoyed that! I guess the parallel would be that is more like competitive kata bunkai demos. Great skills, but nothing directly applicable. It got me exploring YouTube though.

This video on dry fire practise covers the some of the issues a gun kata would need to consider.

Not watched this all the way through, but this guy seems to have produced a kata of sorts. Put these drills end to end and you have a gun kata:

There are also some drills on this video that could easily be combined to form a kata.

What interested me in this video was the recommendation of using blanks for dry fire practise. Whereas handguns are illegal in the UK, blank firers are not (so long as they meet UK standards i.e. bright orange in colour, top venting, incapable of being adapted, etc). So this could be a way for those who don’t have ready access to live guns to practise / retain some of the basics when not in a county that permits live shooting.

So close with some of these videos :-) Surely someone must have already produced what is essentially a gun kata?

All the best,

Iain

JWT
JWT's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Hi John,

Thanks for the input.

Do you know of any footage we can post? Are these drills something that martial artists would recognise as “kata”?

I had a look around on the net.  There's a lot of videos of people airsofting, and footage of personnel engaged in real contacts or cadets firing the weapons on exercises, but unsurprisingly no footage showing personnel going through the drills as per the Pam.  I can't post the Pam because it's a protcted document.

Sorry

John

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

JWT wrote:
I had a look around on the net.  There's a lot of videos of people airsofting, and footage of personnel engaged in real contacts or cadets firing the weapons on exercises, but unsurprisingly no footage showing personnel going through the drills as per the Pam.  I can't post the Pam because it's a protected document.

Thanks for looking John. I guess we need a civilian experienced with firearms to produce a modern-day kata :-)

I remain surprised that there is not a martial artist somewhere who has created a dry-fire routine in a kata format. It would seem to be more pragmatic in this day and age than Sai Kata (for example) and yet we have many people practising kata with ancient weapons with modern weapons seemingly being overlooked. I’ll share this thread via my links and we can see if others know of something … and if they don’t if anyone is prepare to create one :-)

All the best,

Iain

DaveB
DaveB's picture

Iain, why not contact the author of the book and see if he/she would help you create a Gun kata series. 

With the right expertise on board you could develop a whole modern weapons system. 

That being said, how would you feel if the perpetrators of the next mall massacre had trained using weapons kata you created?

For me guns cross a line into much murkier waters than ordinary self defence. But I am a soft Londoner prone to worrying...

Holgersen (not verified)
Visitor's picture

I don't know about others, but my normal dry fire practice is usually a draw from the holster from concealment, "fire," perform an immediate action drill, like tap rack bang, and then fire on another target, so forth until I run out of snap caps and then reload. I usually just set up some paper to replicate the el presidente drill to act as targets. Then I reholster and start over.

So basically it's left hand either clearing away the concealment garment or in a defensive posture to ward off blows, right hand draws, aim, fire, tap rack bang, look around, holster. Rinse and repeat.

I like doing the immediate action drill every time I cycle the slide because I feel that without doing the tap it's just wasted movement. This is just for practicing fundamentals though.

I'd count that as a kata.

Dale Parker
Dale Parker's picture

I'm sorry Holger, but the US Navy handles its guns better than the US Marines...

Not to mention Navy beat Army 34 to 7 this last Saturday for the 12th year in a row.... GO NAVY!

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi Dale,

I just did a short search for rifle spinning and that clip jumped my eye.

Dale Parker wrote:
Not to mention Navy beat Army 34 to 7 this last Saturday for the 12th year in a row....

Didn't know they compete... Wow thats impressive. GO NAVY! smiley

Regards Holger

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

The Korean's have one already in use. If you can't wait go to 1.30 and watch

I prefer this one

Peregrine
Peregrine's picture

Absolutely.  I use a number of kata in my firearm training, both solo and 2 person kata, as do most people in the competitive or defensive training world.

Most of them don't understand the drills as "kata" simply because they don't understand what kata are and they've gotten a bad rap in so many sporting and combative arts.  As a result they're likely to be reluctant to describe them as such.

However, kata/dry fire practice is a hell of a lot cheaper than live fire practice, and a hell of a lot safer for partnered work, or for allowing you to train at home.

So yeah, all of the above.  Drawing practice, transitioning from unarmed to armed, reloads, malfunction management is trained through kata.  And I encourage my karate students to do the same (particularly those interested in the self defence side of things)

Perry Dace

Durban, South Africa

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Black Tiger wrote:
The Korean's have one already in use. If you can't wait go to 1.30 and watch

Nice find! Thanks for posting. Not sure about the forward rolls though ;-)

As an aside, I was once on a BCA instructors’ course where Matt Clempner was teaching various aspects of Russian martial arts. One of the things we did early on was break falling while holding a weapon. On your standard rolling break fall to the front, the arm comes across the body (as they do on the clip). The danger is that the weapon can go off and you shot yourself / you can stab yourself if you are armed. So, on the course we practised turning the arm out and away while rolling forward. A little unusual, but it worked well and I could see the logic of it. Of course, if the break fall was in response to a throw, the enemy would have hold of your arm so you could not do that, but then they’d be the one getting shot or stabbed. Anyhow, back on topic …

Is anyone aware of anything broken down i.e. a formal gun kata explained move by move? Now we know they are out there, it would be interesting to see one in detail.

All the best,

Iain

stevem
stevem's picture

I've never so much as held a handgun, let alone fired one, so I['m coming into this frmo the viewpoint of a complete amateur... that said, if I were looking to get involved in firearms training, I suspect it would be beneficial to have various 'kata' drills (long or short) which would break the various movements & 'rules' into small chunks. For me, as a karateka, I'm used to learnign that way anyway but outside of karate I find the 'you eat an elephant one chunk at a time' approach applies in almost all arenas.

I suppose, with kata designed accordingly (I wouldn't even pretend to know whether the various 'kata' in the videoes already posted include this or not as I don't know what to look for), the correct 'habits' for holding and firing various firearms; just as how in karate we'd promote the correct standes & posture for various techniques I'm going top presume different motions in firing a gun could have similar elements.

Hope this makes sense... tricky to talk sensibly about a subject you're not well-versed in! I suppose I'm saying that, yes, if they don't exist in the required format already then any form of weapons training could and would benefit from the genesis of well-designed 'kata'.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Peregrine wrote:
Absolutely.  I use a number of kata in my firearm training, both solo and 2 person kata, as do most people in the competitive or defensive training world.

Awesome! Do you know of anywhere we could see footage of such a kata broken down? Or do they tend to be for personal practise i.e. the kata are not taught, just created by the individual for their own use?

Peregrine wrote:
Most of them don't understand the drills as "kata" simply because they don't understand what kata are and they've gotten a bad rap in so many sporting and combative arts.  As a result they're likely to be reluctant to describe them as such.

That’s interesting. Kata are often much maligned; because they are misunderstood … they are even misunderstood by people who do them, and that is a big part of why they are so maligned. When poor understanding is presented as “kata”, karateka create their own straw man argument for others to knock down.

However, people do see the value in solo-drills that support live practise. Therefore most do “kata” of a sort. If “kata” has became a negative term, then the blame for that is likely to lie at the door of the karateka who don’t understand kata, but who still nevertheless practise it and promote their warped view of it.

Kata is kata; even if another name is preferred. To quote Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. James Whitcomb Riley’s duck test would also apply: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” :-)

Peregrine wrote:
However, kata/dry fire practice is a hell of a lot cheaper than live fire practice, and a hell of a lot safer for partnered work, or for allowing you to train at home

So yeah, all of the above.  Drawing practice, transitioning from unarmed to armed, reloads, malfunction management is trained through kata.

It’s good to know that the idea has been considered and is already I wide scale use. Any footage of such practise would be great if we know where any can be found?

All the best,

Iain

Stan Meador
Stan Meador's picture

I haven't seen what we would call kata. I have seen something closer to line drills. Repetitive practice of techniques is very common, but stringing them together seems to be rare.

On another note, I have seen bayonet work adapted from Xing Yi short spear training. I have also seen long arm control struggle drills from jo training (think struggling over a shotgun in a home defense scenario). So, some aspects of modern warfare weapon concerns are covered in traditional weapon training. However, the actual draw, aim, fire, change clip, etc is not, to my limited knowledge.

One other aspect would be the old school preference for point shooting, in which formal stance and aiming are not nearly as refined. See this article for more on point shooting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_shooting

So, there are a few more ideas that can come into play when thinking about gun skills and kata formation.

hext
hext's picture

There is something accross in my own findings called "Hojutsu-Ryu" which is a Gun based Martial System.

They have a KATA!

 Whilst on first impression I thought it was a little goofy the guy actually appears to have some decent experiance..

"Jeff Hall is a retired Alaska State trooper, former soldier, and NRA instructor, and is a life-long shooter and martial artist."

Enjoy!

Creidiki
Creidiki's picture

Actually got me thinking laugh

Military formation drill originates from time before firearms, the pikemen would take different formations based on tactical situation. Marching to new quarters? form three lines to fit to the road. Expecting cavalry charge? Form four rows.

Would it not be funny if in the year 3000 Gunpowder Fu-enthusiasts debated on the meaning of shooting routine?

  • Present empty weapon
  • Load & lock
  • Remove safety
  • Perform shooting drill (e.g. Mozambique drill)
  • Apply safety
  • Present empty weapon

Some of the stuff done is purely practical, some of the stuff done is purely for safety, some falls in between. All is meant to ensure that you are able to perform the routine under pressure while ensuring that you will not shoot yourself or anyone other accidentally.

Peregrine
Peregrine's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Peregrine wrote:
Absolutely.  I use a number of kata in my firearm training, both solo and 2 person kata, as do most people in the competitive or defensive training world.

Awesome! Do you know of anywhere we could see footage of such a kata broken down? Or do they tend to be for personal practise i.e. the kata are not taught, just created by the individual for their own use?

Most of them are pretty personal, and usually pretty simple/short in my experience.  (More like iai kata than karate kata, reasonably enough)

Peregrine wrote:
Most of them don't understand the drills as "kata" simply because they don't understand what kata are and they've gotten a bad rap in so many sporting and combative arts.  As a result they're likely to be reluctant to describe them as such.

Iain Abernethy wrote:
That’s interesting. Kata are often much maligned; because they are misunderstood … they are even misunderstood by people who do them, and that is a big part of why they are so maligned. When poor understanding is presented as “kata”, karateka create their own straw man argument for others to knock down.

However, people do see the value in solo-drills that support live practise. Therefore most do “kata” of a sort. If “kata” has became a negative term, then the blame for that is likely to lie at the door of the karateka who don’t understand kata, but who still nevertheless practise it and promote their warped view of it.

Couldn't agree more :)

Iain Abernethy wrote:
Any footage of such practise would be great if we know where any can be found?

Here are some short kata being worked for drawing and presenting the firearm.

 

I respect, and make significant use of Kelly McCann's material

Malfunction management

Unarmed to handgun transition two person resistive drills, but still definitely in the kata area, in my opinion (probably around your stage 3 of kata practice, Iain), with a very naihanchi feel to some of it.

Some more good stuff from Kelly McCann

(TBH there's more of a view of the kata in the title portion), this video is worth it to just about any martial artist, I think.

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Let's not forget the gun dojo oath ...

wink