Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Learning 1-2 karate kata could help you even if you're not a karate guy!

One of the things that can seem alien to a karate guy beginning in aikido or judo is the idea that each of the kata in judo and Tomiki aikido involves two people - tori (or nage) and uke.  All of the kata moves are actually done on an actual person's body.  There are no solo kata in judo or aikido.

Even in karate bunkai, where there are actual people standing in front of you to interact with, you are still pulling or controlling your punches.  You're not actually hitting actual people in karate kata.  That's why they hit makiwara and heavy bags and why they break boards.
2-man kata adds an aspect of reality and complexity to judo and aikido kata that can be missing from solo karate kata, but there are definite positives to solo karate kata.
Because there are no solo kata in aikido and judo, it can be a pain to actually practice. you have to go find a partner and a mat to work on, whereas, karate kata can be done virtually anywhere and anytime.
I recommend that aikido and judo guys find a karate buddy and ask them politely for a few lessons in kata.  It doesn't matter which kata - I promise, if you delve deeply enough into any kata you can find interesting lessons and stimulating commonalities between karate, judo, and aikido.
My favorites include tekki (A.K.A. naihanchi), the taikyoku/heians, and sanchin.
Even if you think kata is useless and doesn't help you learn to fight, I encourage you to learn 2-3 of them and keep them in reserve for next time you're injured and have to rehabilitate yourself or after some life event waylays your practice routine and you need something martial to begin building your fitness back up till you can get hands on a real partner.

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Patrick Parker
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