The "abc" Kata allows each student the opportunity to coalesce their knowledge and technique into a truly improvisational format.  Master Archibeque emphasized that fundamentally, martial arts is a metaphor for action.  If he found you thinking, or analyzing, or entering into philosophical discussions or debates with others...he would gently remind it is the ability to "act", not "philosophize" which stands at the core of Gun Fu (and all other arts for that matter).  When teaching Kata, Master Archibeque underscored "you and your Kata are one...whatever you do, is your Kata.  Kata is who you are, what you stand for...now!"

"abc" forms can be found in virtually all schools of Gun Fu.  They also coincidentally exist in other schools, and systems, in some form or another.  The concept is simplicity itself.  You call out a letter of the alphabet, then you execute a technique, then you call out the next letter of the alphabet, and execute another technique...and so on, until the fight concludes after the final technique (letter "z").  It's okay to use numbers (counting 1-26 instead of saying the letters of the alphabet).  It takes a little practice, but before long, you'll become quite smooth at the exercise.  Then, instead of doing a single move with each letter of the alphabet, start doing two moves, and when that is mastered, go to three moves, and so on.  The total period of time improvising through the form should never exceed one minute.  You should work to accomplish as much in that minute as possible.  As you become more efficient, you will begin to finish sooner.  Continue to add moves until you fill the full 60 seconds.    Then you can further experiment with different combinations of moves (always improvising of course), or you can elect to increase even further the number of moves with each letter called.  Try it, figure it out by executing!

No-one knows exactly where this started.  Sometimes, a good idea takes root in many soils simultaneously.  We don't claim to have invented the concept...Gun Fu always aims toward improvisation.  One day we were doing it with the alphabet, another day with numbers, and suddenly we were doing it in groups.  This is "where it's at."  If you aren't using this drill, you should start now.

Here are two versions performed (improvised on the spot) by colleagues of the Iron Crane School.

Ralph

Howard

Ralph Howard demonstrates

Calvin

Devereaux

Calvin Devereaux demonstrates

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