Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Goshin Jutsu no kata

Hang onto your chairs, guys, I'm about to speak heresy again. ;-) 
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Last week I wrote a post in which I mentioned that in my understanding, Kodokan Goshin Jutsu is not really a kata, and doesn't have to be practiced like a kata.  Instead it can be practiced like a set of pointers or suggestions - starting points from which to diverge into self-defense practice.
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Well, it seems my article scandalized LF in Houston.  He responded pretty vigorously on his blog.  I respect LF's knowledge, and his experience - both of which are much more vast than mine.  But I hold to my assertion and I thank LF for his counterpoint - you've given me enough material to write about on my blog for a week!
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From day-one of my experience with Goshin Jutsu, my instructor emphasized to us that Kodokan Goshin Jutsu is not really a kata but a set of things to explore.  He made note of an interesting point that I'd like to bring up here.  If you look in the Kodokan Judo book, all the things that were conceived as formal kata bear the name, "________ no kata."  That is, you have nagenokata (forms of throwing), katamenokata (forms of holding), kimenokata (form of decision), etc...
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Then you have "Kodokan Goshin Jutsu" - not "Goshin Jutsu no kata..."  There are other exercises in judo that are sorta like kata but don't reach the level of formal kata - exercises like Kimishiki and Seiryoku Zenyo Kokumin Taiku.
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It seems like just the past few years that the judo powers-that-be have started standardizing the practice of Goshin Jutsu and promoting it as a kata.
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I'm not trying to put this forward the name of the thing as proof-positive of my point.  The naming of kata is not definitive, but it is suggestive of my point.  Names of things have power, otherwise there would have never been any feud over Tomiki using the name aikido for what he was teaching.  Names have meaning, otherwise Tomiki might just as well have stuck with the Aikikai naming scheme and we would be practicing ikkyo now instead of oshitaoshi.
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It also doesn't offend me if you want to treat this thing as a kata and practice it that way.  I prefer to use it as a jumping-off point.  I hope that doesn't provoke you to send a bunch of aiki-ninja from Houston to kill me in my sleep ;-)
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I figure to address (not disprove or discount) some more of LF's points over the course of several posts.  Stay tuned...

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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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