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    Gonosen-no-kata Empty Gonosen-no-kata

    Post by Jonesy Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:07 pm

    Gonosen-no-kata 後の前の形 (Forms of Reactive Initiative Response Techniques)

    In judo the term “go-no-sen" refers to defeating an opponent using techniques that respond to (or counter) an attack.  This is as opposed to using techniques that pre-empt the opponents attack, “sen-no sen”, and the even more refined concept of “sen-sen-no-sen”.

    The Gonosen-no-kata is not a recognised Kodokan kata, but is one of several kata of counter techniques in existence.  It includes counters for a number of common throws, and can be classified as a Randori-no-kata as its practice supports the development of randori skills.

    The most popular reference text for the kata is Mikonosuke Kawaishi's seminal book “The Complete Seven Katas of Judo”.  Therein, Kawaishi-sensei suggests that Waseda University (a private university mainly located in Shinjuku, Tokyo) played a prominent role in the popularising the kata - though there appears to be no widely known primary evidence to confirm this, or the broader speculation by some that the kata was created there. Others sometimes claim that the kata's creator was Kawaishi-sensei himself, but again this is unsubstantiated.  What is true is that Kawaishi was a student at Waseda from 1920 to 1924 - majoring in Political Economics, and that techniques utilising gonosen were studied at Waseda.

    Writing in the early post-war period, Kawaishi describes the kata as “being practiced less in Japan than in Europe” and interestingly none of the authoritative Japanese judo scholars in kata ever mention Gonosen-no-kata in their work - indeed, it is not known of a single Japanese-language judo book in which the kata features.  Moreover, a Japanese language search on Google Japan does not yield a single return in text, pictures, or videos.  Where the Gonosen-no-kata does seem to be popular is in France, the Netherlands and Germany - countries which would have had exposure to Kawaishi-sensei in his formative years in Europe, and to a slightly lesser extent, the UK.

    The techniques of the Gonosen-no-kata are as follows.

    • Osoto-gari countered by Osoto-gari
    • Hiza-guruma countered by Hiza-guruma
    • Ouchi-gari countered by Tsubame Gaeshi
    • De Ashi Barai countered by De Ashi Barai
    • Kosoto-gake countered by Tai Otoshi
    • Kouchi-gari countered by Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
    • Kubi Nage countered by Ushiro-goshi
    • Koshi-guruma countered by Uki-goshi
    • Hane-goshi countered by Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
    • Harai-goshi countered by Utsuri-goshi
    • Uchi Mata countered by Sukui Nage
    • Seoi Nage countered by Sumi-gaeshi

    There is no standardised method of performing Gonosen-no-kata, and considerable latitude is allowed in its demonstration.  Popular variants include:

    • Uke attempts to throw Tori at normal speed, but Tori counters immediately at normal speed;
    • Uke first throws Tori at normal speed, after which Uke attempts to throw again at normal speed, but Tori counters at normal speed;
    • Uke first throws Tori at normal speed, after which Uke attempts to throw again in slow motion but Tori counters both in slow-motion (demonstrating the precise counter technique) and then at normal speed.
      Other possible mixtures of slow-motion and normal speed throws, attacks and counters.

    Additional degrees of freedom include:

    • Movement – the techniques can be demonstrated statically or on the move;
    • Tori and Uke may change their position relative to joseki after each throw/counter pair;
    • When Tori and Uke pause to tidy and adjust their judogi – e.g. after a set of 3 counters.

    It is not usual to see Gonosen-no-kata broken down into sets of techniques though it is sometimes split into two main sets of Ashi Waza (Leg Techniques), Koshi Waza (Hip Techniques) and  a  third Te Waza (Hand Techniques)  set of 6, 5 and 1 techniques respectively.  In this configuration Tori and Uke tidy their judogi between each of the three sets.

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