MY TAKE ON FORMS
Hyung, Kata, Poomse etc are combinations of self-defence moves put together in a pre-arranged pattern.
There are forms in nearly every Martial art and knowing the moves, are really just not enough! The student and teacher should know what the combat applications are and how they are applied. If you only know the moves on their own, then what`s the point! Forms are a great way of training, especially when you do not have a training partner. When you execute the forms in the manor they were created, then you will not only gain a great way of self protection but attain a high level of fitness and awareness of your own body mechanics….
Most traditional styles of martial arts have the same forms, but are executed slightly different. By this I mean, the originator of a certain form passed their knowledge and system on to their student/students. Over the generations, the `translation` of forms have changed. As we have evolved, so has certain aspects of the forms we learn. Here in the western world, we do not need a system of fighting to protect our land and families from marauding armies. So, the emphasis is going to be different in how we learn and execute our martial skills.
I personally believe that, how you train in class whether it be doing forms, sparring, one-step etc, is how you will react in the street. I have seen many instructors/teachers teach forms with a `calm face`. If you were attacked by someone, your facial expressions would change according to how bad the situation is. So, if someone tried to stab you and you got the upper hand, you would hit them as hard as you can. When you feel anger or are aggressive, your facial expressions change, so use that when doing your forms. That is a truer reflection of what you will be like in a conflict situation.
In a class room environment, when your partner punches at you, it is in a controlled manor. This avoids injury and gives you time to react. If you were to video yourself being attacked by your partener in a controlled manor and then attacked at full speed with the intention of taking your head off, look at how your body movement and facial expression change. They have to, because that is how we humans are.
The same could be said when we are having a conversation, in that, we use our arms, body movement and facial expressions to convey how we wish a word or a comment to be excepted. In telling a story or a joke for example, we use the whole of our body to put our point accross. Standing still and not moving any part of our body to tell the story/joke etc, would be boring and most of the translation would be lost!
When I practice a form, it is with intent and using maximum force and power. Therefor, I have a true feeling of myself and how I would look and feel when I am under attack. I have seen people scowl and pull all sorts of scary faces, it works! When someone has been angry with you or verbally aggressive, do they look serene and have a `calm face`? do they heck as like!! They look like they want to cave your head in… and that`s if your lucky.
So to sum up my philosophy on forms, One-step, Self-defence etc, use your entire being. Stay in control of your body and emotions, but put EVERYTHING into your training. Don`t be satisfied with half measures, for if you are ever attacked (god forbid), you will need to summon up all of your might and put your Martial skills to the test!