Thursday, June 09, 2011

Take the ceremony out of kata

A couple of interesting excerpts from Otaki & Draeger:
Jigoro Kano intended kata as a medium  for self-discovery and self-realization through judo.  He intended kata as the steering gear for the technical development of every judoist. But kata as "grammar" or theoretical bases, must be joined to the practical side of training so that it may fulfil its theoretical purpose.  To do this you must learn to take the ceremony out of kata. (p411)
Whoa! there's more...
Too often, through misunderstanding kata is thought of by inexperienced judoists as nothing more than a ceremony and of little lasting training value. Kata is scorned by them as unfit to be included in the training routines for a "fighting judoist." It is only tolerated because, perhaps, it is a basic requirement for advancement in judo rank.  The study and practice of kata is often left to the last-minute training rush by students and instructors alike. (p417)
Otaki and Draeger are not advocating getting rid of kata.  They are advocating reviving and reinvigorating them so that they are real, productive training methods.  They are advocating taking them out of the realm of formal ceremony, exhibition, and show, and making the kata a part of your everyday life and training - so that kata is nothing extraordinary - nothing especially different from what you ordinarily do.

Patrick Parker
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