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15 old Tomiki kata


I think that it is really interesting to look at the historical development of a martial arts teaching system. Take for instance, Tomiki aikido. Tomiki's teaching system is characterized by kata, of which there are several. Students start with footwork exercises (tegatana, unsoku, etc...), move on to wrist release techniques (hanasu, shichihon no kuzushi, etc...) and then into the seventeen fundamental aikido techniques (junana) - all before delving into the mass of variations contained in the six koryunokata.
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The part that is really interesting to me is to see a glimpse of how Tomiki struggled and wrestled in his mind with how to organize and present the system. A great example is the 17 fundamental forms (junana). This kata did not spring forth form Tomiki's forehead fully-grown. Rather, there was an evolution during which techniques were sorted and organized and codified (kata-fied).
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Originally, Tomiki said there were 15 fundamental forms. There were no floating throws (maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, hikiotoshi) and there was a left- and right-handed version of several of the wrist techniques. Some techniques were added (i.e. kotemawashi) that weren't seen in Junana, while other pairs of techniques from Juanna were combined into a single idea in the 15 kata. All-in-all, this makes the 15 a wholly different kata from the 17 - not just a smaller predecessor.
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Nick Lowry at Windsong Dojo has recently put an immense amount of high-quality demonstrations on YouTube, including a technique-by-technique demonstration and discussion of the 15 old fundamentals kata. Definitely worth a look if you are interested in the evolution of Tomikiryu, or even if you have an interest in how teaching systems in general are constructed.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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