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    Kime-no-kata - Japanese Championships 2013

    Cichorei Kano
    Cichorei Kano


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    Post by Cichorei Kano Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:04 am


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    Hanon


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    Post by Hanon Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:40 am

    To debate or not to debate, that is the question.  Smile 

    This is without a doubt a very entertaining exhibition.

    The reigi is good.

    The performance certainly falls in line with what is taught today as kata.

    To critique it will cause numerous problems.

    Questions. What is the purpose of practicing this kata? Why on earth practice a set of actions that has seemingly noting to do with kodokan judo?

    If one can answer those questions then one will understand why this rendition, though entertaining and polished, was like a vodka and tonic without the vodka.

    One thing. One all pervading issue. Look at the action-reaction in the attacks? Where is the tai sabaki? The most fundamental of the kime no kata core principles?

    This is an excellent rendition of an exercise performed by two judoka who have never understood self defence OR have been told to perform the kata this way?

    I suggest for national and international championships that live blades be used. We will either see much less of the theatricals or an awful lot less tori.

    If one aspires to learn and practice the kime no kata as it was intended then this is not really the way to practice it. I have to add this. To win a championship in kata one may HAVE no option but to perform a rendition in this manner. Crying or Very sad 

    Just another tiny but highly significant point. Count the pause time after attack has been made and the time it takes tori to complete the control? IN real life this is time enough for tori to wake up dead! Think nage no kata- kata 'guruma', Pause to show control? Rolling Eyes 

    Another tiny point, but again the difference in life and death, is tori NEVER leaves his body in front of a weapon, first action is tai sabaki, or get of the tracks mate as a train is coming.

    There is a lot to admire in this exercise. To those who are modernist in understanding and practice this is an excellent rendition. It is not and never can be however, kime no kata as the founder intended it to be practiced. Why? because it misses the point by a barge load of coal and then some.

    There ya go said it. Twisted Evil 

    Mike

    CK sensei you have an awful lot to answer for. silent
    NBK
    NBK


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    Post by NBK Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:04 am

    Why practice kime no kata?

    Kano shihan wrote that it embodied the core of judo. That alone is good enough reason.

    When he wrote that, judo was still evolving into the restricted, safer form of judo we know today, but it is the kata that embodies combative, koryu jujutsu style techniques.
    Cichorei Kano
    Cichorei Kano


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    Post by Cichorei Kano Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:29 am

    Hanon wrote:

    CK sensei you have an awful lot to answer for. silent

    Moi ?  Na-aaah !  I have nothing to do with it. I am only posting a scene from an important championship without prejudice.

    I was doing some research today about bugei in the early 18th century. This period in Japan was characterized by a thriving artistic cultural climate. Interestingly, this is also the time that the martial arts licensing system was created in many schools. By that time actual fighting and dueling (taryū-shiai) had become outlawed, and there were no battlefields anymore, so many of those practising martial arts no longer had any real fighting experience. And then I saw a text read (note that we are still talking about classical bujutsu, not even Kôdôkan jûdô here !!): "some observers noted that bujutsu had degenerated into no more than “flowery displays” because of the flamboyant kata that had emerged. New ryūha began to emphasize spiritual theories based on Zen and Confucian teachings rather than developing combat-effective techniques. The menkyo system of awarding licences of proficiency became ubiquitous, and the number of ryūha continued to grow rapidly. Learning swordsmanship and spearmanship was considered the duty of bushi, but practicing the techniques became increasingly formalized in kata forms, and some students were awarded licenses (menkyo) in exchange for money, or through personal connections."

    In other words, the problems already started long before Kanô was born !  Our friend NBK has previously used the terminology "invented tradition" with regard to bushidô, but that "reinvented tradition" applies as much, and probably even more to budô itself and most certainly to Kôdôkan jûdô. Many of these schools and techniques were no longer "self-defense skills" but "performance arts" like "shows". The irony of this is that in the end the current deplorable development we know as "Jûdô show" may be hardly more extreme than that what was going on.

    Many years ago I was practicing kime-no-kata with Satô Tadashi while Abe Ichirô, then still a 9th dan, was giving pointers, and I remember him telling me I had to be calmer when executing my techniques. At the time I was puzzled, but didn't give it much more thought. I was thinking: "my opponent has knife and sword, and he wants to kill me. Where in this equation fits me being calm ?"  In my mind, what I was striving for was: speed, explosiveness, effectiveness of my defense, hard and precise well-aimed atemi in the spirit of maximal efficiency at minimal effort, but 'calm' ???????

    Later when I saw kata at the Kôdôkan degenerate more and more I could see Abe's comment as emphasizing the importance of walking before one can run, and making sure that stability, control is present and that movements don't become erratic outbursts of anger, sure, but still, as you suggest, it IS a kata of decisiveness were one faces life or death. So my thought are identical to yours.

    You mention tai-sabaki. That is interesting. I have noticed that in both kime-no-kata and Kôdôkan goshinjutsu, especially in contest kata, tai-sababi these days is sometimes completely absent, whereas it is one of the most critical components of self-defense. The body is uses to achieve kuzushi in an efficient way thus at minimal effort and to establish and maintain control. I was looking earlier today at the Kôdôkan goshinjuts demonstration during the 2013 Kôdôkan kagami biraki which was characterized by some extremely poor kata performances. There was no tai-sabaki at all. None. At each defense the uke could have simply continued attacking and likely killing uke. But I guess as a peformance art, one could consider it as a nice display of colors views, movements, poses, just like an abstract modern dance.
    Cichorei Kano
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    Post by Cichorei Kano Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:34 am

    NBK wrote:Why practice kime no kata?

    Kano shihan wrote that it embodied the core of judo.  That alone is good enough reason.

    When he wrote that, judo was still evolving into the restricted, safer form of judo we know today, but it is the kata that embodies combative, koryu jujutsu style techniques.  

    NBK,

    I think that what Hanon means is not "why practice kime-no-kata", but rather "why practice kime-no-kata like that" vs, "practicing kime-no-kata in a realistic way that instead of simply duplication actually improves your reaction time, explosiveness, effectiveness, control, and actual usability of that what one is learning in a real street fight". At least that is how I read his post. I think that what he is saying is that he does not understand why someone would practice it purely for the performance rather than for what the exercise aims to achieve.
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    Hanon


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    Post by Hanon Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:41 am

    Exactly.

    When is a kata not a kata? Take a look at the above and the answer bites one in the butt. Judo show maybe greater entertainment? Both are equally non productive to the judoka.

    Mike
    NBK
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    Post by NBK Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:46 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    NBK wrote:Why practice kime no kata?

    Kano shihan wrote that it embodied the core of judo.  That alone is good enough reason.

    When he wrote that, judo was still evolving into the restricted, safer form of judo we know today, but it is the kata that embodies combative, koryu jujutsu style techniques.  

    NBK,

    I think that what Hanon means is not "why practice kime-no-kata", but rather "why practice kime-no-kata like that" vs, "practicing kime-no-kata in a realistic way that instead of simply duplication actually improves your reaction time, explosiveness, effectiveness, control, and actual usability of that what one is learning in a real street fight". At least that is how I read his post. I think that what he is saying is that he does not understand why someone would practice it purely for the performance rather than for what the exercise aims to achieve.
    I'm sure. But for the probably Quixotic goal of providing more education than grousing, I inserted Kano shihan's rationale for preserving and promulgating Kime no kata.

    Nowadays it is typically done to fulfill the next dan requirement.
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    wdax


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    Post by wdax Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:13 pm

    Hanon wrote:To win a championship in kata one may HAVE no option but to perform a rendition in this manner. Crying or Very sad 

    I could say a lot about the clip, but I will limit myself to the point, that there is nothing shown, that deserves a major international medal. A lot of work for them in some details an in some general points.
    Cichorei Kano
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    Post by Cichorei Kano Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:30 pm

    I think there are a couple of interesting phenomena that we don't know for sure what really causes them. It may be tempting to drag in competing in kata, but it is not always fair to do so.

    Consider this, before kata competition existed, we simply did not know how everyone was doing kata. How would we get to see how someone in other countries was doing kata or even in our own country, unless we constantly attended international kata clinics. But apar from the Kôdôkan's summer seminar there weren't really any other international kata clinics which were regularly organized. With the creation of kata competition and the existence of YouTube, we are now confronted and get to see many more kata demonstrations than we used to. Because of this we can't really in a reliable way quantify if the situation is getting worse. I think we 'SEE' many more bad performances, but that is not the same as that there really 'ARE' many more bad performances. Also, when we see performances that predate the starting date of international kata competitions oftentimes they do not look better at all; in fact they often look worse. So, I think that the kind of media we have access now also distort the picture we get about kata.

    But there is, of course also another phenomena. In the past how did we change our kata ? Chiefly in two ways. We changed it because our sensei gave comments, or we changed it because we were preparing for a rank test and knew what one or some of the examiners' pet peeves might be, so whe anticipated that and changed our kata to please them to ensure we passed. To this, you now have third criteria, namely that we change our kata depending on what a Kôdôkan video shows of how a kata contest gold medal winner does. The risk there is that in this way certain features get the staus of "how it should be done". Certainly, over the years we have seen strange phenomena enter kata, and of which there is no historical basis. I think that some of these "strange phenomena" explain part of the concerns which Hanon-sensei has, but of course not all of them. It may be useful and also interesting to reflect on these. I list some of these phenomena below:


    - the insertion of intervals where the action is arrested. I saw this for the first time during the 2007 International Kôdôkan Kata Tournament. In nage-no-kata, suddenly a period of rest was inserted before actually throwing the opponent. This seems to have been adopted by some performers since. This produces some rather awkward things, such as in kata-guruma after lifting the opponent waiting before throwing (oftentimes this is not throwing but just dropping) the opponent. This makes no sense whatsoever, and also breaks the kuruma-principle. There is no historic basis to this phenomenon.

    - the constant adjusting of the gi between every technique. There is no historic basis for this, yet this has become very prevalent. Why ?

    - the insertion of resting intervals in kime-no-kata and Kôdôkan goshinjutsu, where we now often see that after the atemi is given, the action stalls, before it is continued with an armbar or choke. There is no historic basis for this, and logically, during the stalling of the action, the opponent could and would logically counterattack with an atemi, kick or other.

    - the cessation of action between steps in Koshiki-no-kata. This is very obvious during the first two techniques. We also see uke walk by himself, not kuzushi. The latter is also very prevalent today in the the third technique. There is no historic basis to any of this.

    - The disappearance of proper tai-sabaki and kuzushi. This is very prevalent in the self-defense kata. There is no historic basis to this.

    - The counting of steps, the direction in which one is looking at specific steps, and the robotic posing, which all contribute to making kata very unrealistic and mannered and which have no historic basis.


    The logical questions are why ? Where is this all coming from ?

    My speculation is ... 20 years ago, if I or whoever would develop some strange habit in kata, who would adopt it ? Probably my students in my club, and perhaps those who would attend national clinics I would teach. There is no way that my awkward peculiarities would reach performers in a different country or across the globe. Howevever, with the distribution of Kôdôkan DVD's, the availability of YouTube, and the international presence during international contests, many of those awward things have a far great reach and affect people who do not always have thorough background in kata. In consequency they may adopt many of these things as they consider them as the standard of "how it should be done". In other words, why this is happening is --in my opinion-- a multifactorial process, but one I am not sure how to stop. Well, that is to say, one way to STOP things, certainly in kata contests is to label them as "mistakes" for which points will be subtracted. There probably is nothing more sensitive for the kata competitor than to lose points since that goes straight into the objective of participating, at least for most people. I have at least twice participated in such things not with the objective of scoring as high as possible but solely as a public manifesto as how it should be done. This is, however, probably not a very realistic option for most kata competitors who may have to travel very far, pay out of their own pocket and feel a duty of justification towards their own federation. In other words, the "public manifesto kata approach" while noble probably misses its effect in most cases. The alternative, that is to make these awkward things into official mistakes for which you will lose points, is a bad approach too, I think. It is this demonizing of certain things which has already led to many unnatural things because instead of realistic and natural behavior, the principle of guidance becomes to not lose points. Moreover, I am strongly against the negativist approach to kata where everything one does is expressed in terms of "mistakes" and "losing points". Nevertheless, I do think that what I describe in this post are some of my major concerns, frustrating concerns as those things are --in my opinion-- not really improving. At best they are shifting to other, new arising awkward phenomena.
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    wdax


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    Post by wdax Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:33 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    (...) I list some of these phenomena below:

    - the insertion of intervals where the action is arrested. I saw this for the first time during the 2007 International Kôdôkan Kata Tournament. In nage-no-kata, suddenly a period of rest was inserted before actually throwing the opponent. This seems to have been adopted by some performers since. This produces some rather awkward things, such as in kata-guruma after lifting the opponent waiting before throwing (oftentimes this is not throwing but just dropping) the opponent. This makes no sense whatsoever, and also breaks the kuruma-principle. There is no historic basis to this phenomenon.

    - the constant adjusting of the gi between every technique. There is no historic basis for this, yet this has become very prevalent. Why ?

    - the insertion of resting intervals in kime-no-kata and Kôdôkan goshinjutsu, where we now often see that after the atemi is given, the action stalls, before it is continued with an armbar or choke. There is no historic basis for this, and logically, during the stalling of the action, the opponent could and would logically counterattack with an atemi, kick or other.

    - the cessation of action between steps in Koshiki-no-kata. This is very obvious during the first two techniques. We also see uke walk by himself, not kuzushi. The latter is also very prevalent today in the the third technique. There is no historic basis to any of this.

    - The disappearance of proper tai-sabaki and kuzushi. This is very prevalent in the self-defense kata. There is no historic basis to this.

    - The counting of steps, the direction in which one is looking at specific steps, and the robotic posing, which all contribute to making kata very unrealistic and mannered and which have no historic basis.


    The logical questions are why ?  Where is this all coming from ?

    (...)
    Very good points! All this can be seen and is documented in various clips. I totally agree your analysis about the significance of new media in the field.

    I also do not like the mindset behind the "mistake-oriented" scoring of kata in competition, but no matter what kind of scoring system we use, things like you mentioned should result in low(er) scores. This is the case in todays scoring system. Everything you mentioned is either little (discout of one) or a medium mistake (discout of three points), depending on the massiveness of the problem.

    Some problems can be tracked down to certain people, be it sucessful competitors or instructors. This is really sometimes strange....

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