Thursday, July 01, 2010

The voice of my kata

I have a confession. I hope you don't think I'm too crazy...
Kata speaks to me. I don't mean, "I like kata," or, "Doing kata makes me feel good." I mean, kata talks in words and sentences with a voice to me.  Kata and I have long conversations over a beer like old friends sometimes.
Junanahon kata, for instance, tells me different things at different times...
  • Occasionally it's like a lover's spat, and all my kata will say to me is, "Thou shalt step just so, and having steppest thusly, thou shall press with utmost precision upon uke's chin, and then and only then shalt thou..."
  • But more often it says something like, "Always start with shomenate or oshitaoshi and go with the flow from there."
  • Or it might say, "Try to avoid contact, and if that doesn't work, do #1 or #2, and if those don't work, the rest of the kata is your backup plan."
  • Or it can say something like, "Try #6 and if that doesn't work, try #7 and if that doesn't work, try #8, and if that doesn't work, then try #9..."
  • Or it might say, "Try #6, and if that doesn't work, Try #6 again. And again... and again. I promise it'll work here in a minute."
  • Sometimes it says, "That was pretty good, but couldn't you have been a little bit easier on uke?"
  • But at other times it tells me, "That seems to have worked this time, but isn't being so easy on uke a bit risky?"
Since my kata talks to me, does that mean it is alive?
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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