Cichorei Kano wrote:
On what grounds or knowledge authority did Kotani sensei make so many changes to the koshiki no kata? Kotani sensei had no education the the koryo?
So he's the one who changed and the Dutch didn't change and went on doing the old thing?
To some extent, perhaps, but not entirely. Two different things. Indeed, Kotani made lots of changes, I believe around 1968. And separate from that what is referred to as Busen reflects in fact Kôdôkan in a certain year ... THUS of someone who decided "look I have a decent knowledge (despite my own limitations at that point) of how Kôdôkan kata needs to be done, and for whatever reason I am now not going to change it anymore with each change the Kôdôkan, makes, and I am going to continue doing it as I learnt it (thus Kôdôkan style anno whatever).
The waters get murky when Ebii-sensei gets dragged in. I never met Ebii in person, but ... at least two people on the old forum, two senior people, one from Japan, the other from elsewhere did. One of those people actually trained under Ebii and if he decides to do so, could talk to you about the many things he and others learnt or did not learn from Ebii, and similar things. However, it is not permissible per Judo Forum policies to drag in private people into a public debate who are not here and do not voluntarily wish to participate in such debate. That's all I can say.
I do have some nice pieces of documentary evidence that show Ebii-sensei. Whilst unfortunately even I do not have film showing Ebii-sensei, the documentary evidence I have certainly shows a deep level of experience. But, because they are stills it is not possible to accurately assess the technical aspects in detail. Ebii-sensei was a leading and still famous former sensei of my dôjô in Japan, although I must hasten to say that I am not implying at all that this would mean I or my knowledge would have personally benefitted from that since I never met the man and the both the sensei you mentioned and the ones I mention are older than me.
IF one really wants to assess to what extent someone saying or claiming they are performing it exactly as some legendary master, then probably the best way to get an idea of this would be to ask someone who did extensively train under said sensei. People like Ellis-sensei and Hanon-sensei can almost immediately see if they see someone do jûdô to what extent such person truly reflects skills he would have learnt from Abe Kenshirô-sensei. I am choosing my words carefully without implying anything. I cannot assess this with regards to Ebii-sensei since I was never a pupil of Ebii-sensei, but as said, someone on the old Judo Forum was. So, this presents one avenue of research. To what extent is what is shown actually an accurate reflection of what Ebii-sensei did. Given Ebii-sensei's very advanced skills ... I would venture that oneself would need to have extraordinary kata and jûdô skills in order to reflect the skills of such a man.
One of my sensei is Okano-sensei, but you are never going to hear me suggest that what I do accurately reflects what Okano does with comparable skill. There are of course certain things that will reflect this that will show it is a mindset I am strongly following and trying to achieve, but the truth simply is that Okano will probably have forgotten more about judo than I will ever be able to learn. I think it is fair to say to some extent the same may apply to Ebii-sensei's kata skills and knowledge.
Why did Kotani implement changes. I have a document somewhere, but I can't immediately recall which and where, that explain that one of the reasons is the changed size of the tatami. In the old days, nage-no-kata was done differently. The next movement was started where the previous one ended, and not with the return to the starting spot in the line of the kata. Well with koshiki-no-kata, the original form was geared towards practice in much more confined spaces than a full classical IJF tatami of 16X16 m. So, for technique 5-8 a change was implemented that the movement would be done using the diagonal of the kata. In classical Kitô-ryû, the switching of jûdôka was not consistent. In the changed Koshiki-no-kata it is is. The current Koshiki-no-kata is therefore easier to remember than the classical koshiki-no-kata.
There are things that entered kata in the 1980s that point towards increasing formalization. A good example of this is the stepping. People would step what felt naturally. It was then formalized toward if stepping back, one would start with the right foot, and if one would step forwards one would step forwards with the left foot. However, historically, there is little or no basis to this. If you watch Mifune demonstrate kata, you will see that this convention is not applied by him and the man did know jûdô and was a student of Kanô.
One can't argue, for example that if I would now refuse to apply the consistent backstepping right/foreward stepping left, that this would imply that I am not performing Kôdôkan but Busen. No, it means that I am practicing Kôdôkan year 19-whatever.
Another example. I owed much to Fukuda Keiko for my jû-no-kata. I think that she was a superb reference as Fukuda's practical jûdô teachers were Noritomi Masako (and mostly Honda Ariya, but also Mifune- and Samura-sensei). So when I demonstrated jû-no-kata at the Kôdôkan and no one there knew me yet, I remember Umezu Katsuko (now the higher ranked female in the world with a big smile pointing at me and saying "Fukuda-sensei"). Why ? Because she recognized that I was doing (as did Fukuda) really jû-no-kata anno 1955 ! But you know that's OK ! The principles are still the same, and no self-respected sensei at the Kôdôkan would mark you down for it. Only idiots who do not know jûdô would. I could have claimed that I was doing "Busen jû-no-kata", but I was not.
Jû-no-kata is not 'ESSENTIALLY' changed, but it has been somewhat streamlined, certain things being more consistent, adaptions consistent with a larger tatami, and some things that our friend wdax who practises this kata a lot will also know about very well. What I am saying here is very important though. Someone who really knows his kata ... It does not matter if he demonstrates how he learnt it in 1955 or in 2013, the principles are still the same; kuzushi is still kuzushi, throwing still throwing, debana still debana, and the kata is not worse if it turns out that at one point one of these changes is present or not, though obviously for top-teachers and performers such things at that level may merit discussion. One such point is in ryô-kata-oshi in jû-no-kata when tori starts progressing forward what position he/she ends in. Many people today end standing on the tip of their toes, whereas historically many did not, Fukuda did not. You can debate this. On the other hand, there are also modern phenomena which are plain stupid. Such an example is naname-uchi in jû-no-kata where uke is lifted up in an ura-nage-like movement. In modern days, many performers at that moment suddenly look up into the sky as if at the point the sky would be opening up and angels would be descending in a circle of bright white light. I have no idea where this is coming from, but historically there is no basis for it. Fukuda did not do this, and my research shows it is much more credible not to do it than to do it. What rationale could someone possibly have for taking this devout expression on the face ? But would that justify me who does not do that arguing that I am performing Busen-style jû-no-kata ? No, not at all. It simply means that my (completely permissible personal choice) is in these aspects to stick with the 1950s convention, whereas I do consistently step back right foot first, and forward left foot first just like it is taught today. Doing so does not affect the principle of the kata and makes it more consistent. Looking at Angels does nothing about movements of the kata, but as innocent as it is, in terms of spirit and inner experience I cannot find any ground to justify that and it is an anomaly.
Such historic preservations have use, particularly when kata teaching completely deteriorates due to conventions dominating, while principles and essence is no longer understood. The less well-read Kôdôkan teaching staff have found a remarkable arguments to deal with that though. If you refuse --like I do-- to implement nonsensical formal things that have removed the spirit of kata and are plain wrong they will say "Ah, no, no, that's jûjutsu, not jûdô !", which is complete bullocks ...
If the explanation were true that taking the kata seriously would be jûjutsu, then this would imply that Kôdôkan only does and maintains kata as an "Entartete Übung", a degenerated exercise that pertains to be merely aesthetic depleted of any realistic application to fighting, where the action/reaction principle has disappeared and where the only reason one jûdôka does A, is because it is prescribed and not because it is a prescribed effective reaction to B.
Music still is one of the best guiding principles for jûdô. Let's speak violin music. David Oistrakh, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, were three absolutely extraordinary violinists. The music they played was prescribed, no ? They all play the same notes, yet if you listen to their Brahms or Tchaikovsky or Beethoven violin concerto there are huge differentces. None of them playes it "Busen". It's all the same Brahms, Tchakiovsky, Beethoven. It's clear all three have far exceeded the limits of conventions. Only an idiot would try appreciate what they do by taking the music score and a metronome and compare to what extent they notes are equally long. Moreover, you will see that the same concerto played by one player is much longer or much shorter than that of the other one. It is a living thing, and jûdô kata above all MUST be living art. Of all these kata clips which currently terrorize YouTube many excel by showing dead jûdô. If your kata shows dead jûdô, then what does it matter that you 100% were in agreement with all conventions ? How does a dead kata improve your jûdô. It is these where are the questions to ask.