Thursday, March 01, 2012

More Hoare on Gonokata

Another fine piece of commentary from Syd Hoare - this time  on the topic of Gonokata.  Apparently, Kano found gonokata to be unsatisfactory for unspecified reasons, and he shelved the kata.  Below, Hoare ventures some guesses as to some of the problems with the exercise (as reconstituted and recently demonstrated on YouTube)...

The kata, as available on the internet, does not flow that well and the responding techniques do not especially 'click'. For example there are a number of times where tori moves behind uke and does a rear daki-age/uranage-like move which as it stand is virtually unworkable. See how wrestlers do it. Also the tension that is created with the pushing and pulling is either handled by turning on the periphery of it or is simply converted with a
ju yielding motion. Some of the techniques look like sumo and taichi especially its 'pushing hands' exercise (tsui-shu). Finally some of the jigotai postures cry out for a ko-uchi-gari. If you can't go through the arms attack the legs!

The Go no kata is a very interesting historical relic of judo. I do not think it holds any answers to the prevalent muscular style of judo. Sumo is much better at dealing with resistance than judo especially with its technical use of doshin (concentricity) and its hiraku and soto/uchi muso techniques (The pushing hands practice of Taichi, however, could be worth doing on a regular basis. Perhaps the go ju no kata also owes something to the Chinese martial arts practice of strong (go) breath out and soft (ju) breath in. Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.

Read the whole article - it is very interesting.

Patrick Parker
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