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jimw449
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Kata / Hyung for Firearms

At a recent seminar, we discussed the possibility of kata or hyung for firearms.  The John Wick films are a wonderful example of Gun Fu, but the question was whether a kata or hyung could be developed for this type of modern weaponry. 

After thinking about this, it seems to me that the art closest to my firearms training would be Iado; drawing the sword and making a cut, then returning the sword.  I am sure that all reading this are familiar with the concept, so I picked a lovely example to illustrate.

 

The exact hand placement, economy of motion, and adherence to the "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" principles are evident.  They are equally evident in this breakdown of drawing a handgun from Sig Sauer.

 

I also see some possibilities for practicing weapons retention in a kata or hyung format.  I'm interested to hear other's thoughts on this.

Iain Abernethy
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jimw449 wrote:
At a recent seminar, we discussed the possibility of kata or hyung for firearms.

We did! I find this a really interesting subject and I appreciate you starting this thread.  

jimw449 wrote:
After thinking about this, it seems to me that the art closest to my firearms training would be Iado; drawing the sword and making a cut, then returning the sword.  I am sure that all reading this are familiar with the concept, so I picked a lovely example to illustrate.

That sword kata takes me back … that was the first one I learnt when I studied the sword 20 or so years ago.

jimw449 wrote:
The exact hand placement, economy of motion, and adherence to the "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" principles are evident.  They are equally evident in this breakdown of drawing a handgun from Sig Sauer.

The comparison with the Iai-do form is a good one.

We did discuss “gun kata” a few years ago (https://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/gun-kata), but it seems many of the videos we looked at are no longer on YouTube.

Here are some that have survived that would seem to be relevant (I refer to those with great knowledge of firearms with regards to the quality of what is shown):

This video would seem to an illustration of the kind of “kihon” (basic techniques) that a gun kata may wish to include.

 

jimw449 wrote:
I also see some possibilities for practicing weapons retention in a kata or hyung format.  I'm interested to hear other's thoughts on this.

You could have the rehearsal of close-range motions, such as the ones in the video below. As with all kata, it would need be a part of wider training matrix. No substitute for hands on practise, but a kata to inform and support that practise would seem to be potentially useful .

 

It does surprise me that there are not more “gun kata” out there. I can see why that may be the case in Europe, but in the US – where many martial artists also shoot – it does surprise me so few have sought to integrate hand guns into their wider martial weapons practise.  I can imagine such a kata (or kata series) would be hugely popular.

As I say, I think the comparison with Iai-do kata is a solid one. Those kata are all about drawing and retention of the sword. Applying the same principles to modern firearms would seem to be an obvious extension of this.

I’ve fired handguns a handful of times, so I know next to nothing about their combative use. I am always keen to learn though and handgun kata (that I could do with a UK legal plastic replica) would be a start and it would fit nicely with my wider practise.

There’s this video of Rory Miller going over the basics with me when were both teaching in Seattle in 2010 (eight years ago!). Again, the basic motions would seem to be something people could put in a kata format.

 

I hope this thread is one that gathers momentum because I feel it is a very interesting topic.

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.

Anf
Anf's picture

I have a couple of thoughts on this.

When you see military folk 'square bashing', is that not kind of a firearms hyung? Apologies if that's a daft question. I know nothing about either army life or guns, but I do see them going through various motions that appear to me to be about training the handling of the weapon.

My other thought, as a UK civilian, is that I think it might be just as useful, if guns are involved, to look at disarm techniques against a gun. I know there are some. My son used to practice aikido, made practical by the instructor who was ex army, and they had various gun disarm techniques that I think could go well in a hyung.

Iain Abernethy
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In an amazing piece of serendipity, this weekend I met a gentleman who practises and teaches “gun kata”. He showed me the first part of the first form (drawing and scanning actions) and how that flows into weapon retention motions. Looked good to me, and – as Jim suggested – it had an “iai-do” feel to it. Fascinating stuff. I asked for more information and sources, and as soon as I have that info I will point you all in that direction too.

All the best,

Iain

Ian H
Ian H's picture

Having a set of "standard procedures" for using a firearm is, as I understand it, generally seen as a good thing ... so a kata to help get them ingrained in the memory could be very useful.  This can also be a means of training, either empty-handed or with a rubber gun, when not at the range.

Of course, when we get a "gun-fu kata" where the practitioner jumps up to dodge one bullet, lands flat on the ground to dodge the next bullet, and then springs up to disarm the attacker ... we'll know that the 3K folks have followed us ;-)

Iain Abernethy
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Well worth a watch!

A detailed discussion on traditional kata concepts applied to the use of hand guns. I’ve set it to play at the point where the kata is discussed. This was shared with me by Brent Yamamoto.

All the best,

Iain

Iain Abernethy
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The second gun kata as performed by Brent Yamamoto:

J Coder
J Coder's picture

As a firearms instructor, I find this thread very interesting. Thanks for starting this conversation.

Marc
Marc's picture

(Disclaimer: I have no experience with firearms at all.)

A very interesting topic.

Comparing the Sig Sauer video on drawing and holstering your gun with the two Pistol Kata videos I would say the former is a kind of kihon training while the latter are truly kata.

Kihon is isolated training of techniques or movements, in this case how to get your gun out of the holster and back in safely and efficiently.

Kata on the other hand is more than that. Katas convey strategy, tactics and principles in the form of examples. In this case how to get offline while being able to aim at the cause of trouble, and how to behave after dealing with the immediate threat.

Of course all the details of kata can be trained as kihon. But kata should not only be a list of basic techniques. They should combine basic techniques into effective methods that take the bigger picture into account.

As an aside: I noticed that the Pistol Katas have more resemblance to bagua forms than to karate forms in that they move relative to a center point (the threat) instead of relative to the practitioner. I would believe that it is more intuitive that way, given the longer distance as compared to close range empty-handed combat.