New Schedule and Location for 2016

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Katame no kata

Recently we’ve had a new aiki partner at classes. Jill comes to us from a judo background but is getting into aikido. She lives and works locally, so it seems like she could end up being a good, stable workout partner at Mokuren. She’s also dating the judo instructor at Lafayette, so she represents some more connectivity with the rest of the local judo scene. Welcome, Jill.
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Last nite at judo Rob and I warmed up as usual with ground cycle #1 and then I introduced Rob to katame no kata. This is an interesting exercise. Required for demonstration at nidan, sandan, and yondan levels, it is comprised of 15 grappling techniques, almost all of which the shodan has already seen – just not in this form. The really neat thing about katame no kata is that it is a hybrid between kata and randori.
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When you are doing randori and you get into a bad position you don’t want to avoid that position in the future. You want to recreate that position over and over and over until you learn from being at that particular disadvantage. Well, in normal randori, often it is hard to recreate a particular situation because your observant mind is not working as well as your habitual/reflexive brain. So sometimes it is hard to figure out how to recreate the position you just got into. Well, katame no kata gives us an exercise for exploring fifteen pretty common ground situations.
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Katame is done switching back and forth between kata and randori mode. Tori approaches uke, applies a precise form of a hold or choke or jointlock, and as tori cinches the position, uke takes that as a signal to switch to randori mode and attempt to break the hold or neutralize tori’s advantage. In practice it is often done with uke struggling full-on against tori’s position of advantage. For kata demonstration it is done with uke attempting three explicit escapes/neutralizations for each position then tapping. Below is a pretty good demonstration of katame no kata You have to forgive the silly posturing and crawling around on the knees – that’s part of the specified formality of the thing. Pay attention to uke attempting to reverse each position tori places him in. This video also gets the award for cool, funky background music!
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At aiki for the past couple of times, Weve been introducing Jill to how we do aiki. We worked on warm-ups, ukemi, about half of tegatana no kata (the walking exercise), about half of hanasu no kata (the wrist releases), and aigamaeate and oshitaoshi. She’s doing great and seems to be having fun. I can tell from the giddy grin when she smears a guy twice her size facedown on the mat in an armbar. We’re looking forward to having her at class and progressing – like Kano's motto...

You and me going forward together.


2 comments:

  1. It's nice to see a demonstration of a formal kata. It reminds me how much more there is to learn. The music however makes me think one of them should be laying down on a stone slab/altar with the other raising a ceremonial dagger and wearing a large mask with feathers sticking out of it.

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  2. I watched the video first before reading your description. It makes a lot of sense. I wonder if this kind of thing could be applied to TSD or other "stand up" Martial Arts. Having the kata have rondori moments is brilliant. Absolutely fascinating. The formality is pretty - formal. Wow.

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