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    Kata learning discussion

    heikojr
    heikojr


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    Post by heikojr Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:36 am

    I was teaching Ju-no-kata last night and noticed that one of the students who normally has no problems learning kata, could not remember the techniques.

    This made me think back to when i was first taught ju-no-kata. Everything was a mess. I remember that i could not understand any of the techniques let alone remember them! As i was thinking about this, i thought that when i see ju-no-kata, i see a long string. I mean that i see the techniques, but they are one long movement all connected, while other kata i see each technique (nage-no-kata, for example, i see 15 throws right and left).

    Has anyone else had this experience?

    heikojr
    Jacob3
    Jacob3


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    Post by Jacob3 Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:20 am

    Well, I can partly recognise what you mean. I learned ju no kata only two months ago. We had one day ( about 5 hours ) of instruction in it. And since then, my partner and I have been practicing it bit by bit on a weekly basis. So we are complete novices in this kata.

    When you never did it before, most of it looks quite unrecognisable. Next thing I noticed, is when being instructed and practicing it, one really needs to have a serious background in other kata, to really understand what you are actually doing ( and what the use is ). And secondly, a big difference in this kata, is the fact that there is not one attack and one defence, but multiple actions combined. That is probably what you describe. That is indeed very different from other kata. At other kata, we need to remember mostly 'what technique comes next', but at ju no kata, we need to remember the same thing, but also 'what were all the movements again in this technique...'


    I must admit that me and my partner had the idea of having a relaxing time, after two days of hard work on other kata. And how wrong we were... It is much, much harder than it looks, and it requires much more skill then is seems.
    This weekend I am going to adress the ura nage of ju no kata, in a sort of 'camouflaged' kata class, to a large group of youngsters, of whom by far the most have never even heard of kata. Let alone practiced it. I am really anxious to see how they will react to exercises like that...

    Cichorei Kano
    Cichorei Kano


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    Post by Cichorei Kano Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:28 am

    heikojr wrote:I was teaching Ju-no-kata last night and noticed that one of the students who normally has no problems learning kata, could not remember the techniques.

    This made me think back to when i was first taught ju-no-kata. Everything was a mess. I remember that i could not understand any of the techniques let alone remember them! As i was thinking about this, i thought that when i see ju-no-kata, i see a long string. I mean that i see the techniques, but they are one long movement all connected, while other kata i see each technique (nage-no-kata, for example, i see 15 throws right and left).

    Has anyone else had this experience?

    heikojr
    Heiko,

    Not sure this is an answer to your question, but I see distinctively different patterns in the average judo student today when compared to myself and friends many decades ago. Even before I had learnt certain techniques I would be studying ahead. I had two little judo books and was fascinated by everything in it, trying to memorize names and order of techniques. I now see brown belts who each time they come to practice and you ask them a simply kansetsu-waza, shime-waza or even osea-komi, each time they start by "Oh God, what's that again ?". If you ask them a turnover, each time they do one or two basic ones and then have to ask someone else if they know any others. You have to know that we have seen dozens, from fairly straigthforward to complicated, no doubt. Not in the least that I expect them to know them all, but I do expect them to now at least 3 or 4 others. They come to practice and somehow have adopted a view that practice means that you succeed in once being able to do what the teacher did, without realizing that unless you try out these techniques in randori on several occasions with different partners till you know where your weaknesses are, how you have to shift your weight, how much power you can withstand, etc, you will never not only know them but probably also not remember them.

    Anyhow, if this is how most students are in judo, then how can it be different than not remembering ?

    Besides, ju-no-kata is a special case. Nage- en katame- en even kime, move nicely on one axis. You know where your jury is and you know what side of your shoulders each time needs to be to the jury. But ju-no-kata, the constant twists and turns make it a very confusing kata to teach or learn, unless you constantly build in reference points and clarify its structure. But that structure is not easy. Even after each series, there is not the same degree of clear interruption and returning to initial places allowing you to start all over. Koshiki-no-kata is very complicated too as far as that is concerned, only, by the time one does koshiki-no-kata one is so much further experienced and at ease with judo that one simply has a much stronger foundation than when a student is starting with ju-no-kata.

    I know a number of professors of music who have been retired for a decade or so. They find it extremely difficult to teach music today, because no student even remotely puts in the same time as they used to. 60 years ago there was not TV and most of the distractions that exist today. People could focus on studying, and the study itself was fascinating in a sense. Today, kids can't and even adults can barely really focus on anything constantly obsessed by their SMS, phone, iPhone and other little gadgets which rule their life.
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    DougNZ


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    Post by DougNZ Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:41 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:Today, kids can't and even adults can barely really focus on anything constantly obsessed by their SMS, phone, iPhone and other little gadgets which rule their life.
    Amen!
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    Hanon


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    Post by Hanon Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:44 am

    heikojr wrote:
    ........... As i was thinking about this, i thought that when i see ju-no-kata, i see a long string. I mean that i see the techniques, but they are one long movement all connected,

    heikojr
    This level of understanding, if ever reached, takes years and years of practice and study. I am so pleased you are at that level. You are to be warmly and sincerely congratulated.

    Heart warming to read such a post. Makes me proud of you.

    Very best wishes.

    Mike
    heikojr
    heikojr


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    Post by heikojr Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:28 am

    Cichorei Kano Sensei,

    I believe that what you write is true in all activities now: there are so many lazy, easy, mind numbing things to do that take our mind away from the real world. This is the way today. And this is also why some students of judo can not show you more than a few techniques.

    I also believe that it is true that Ju-no-kata differs from other kata, but don't you feel that there is a similarity with Ju-no-kata and Itsutsu-no-kata in this respect? I see each technique much more clearly in Itsutsu-no-kata, but I still see a long movement.

    heikojr

    heikojr
    heikojr


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    Post by heikojr Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:30 am

    Hanon wrote:
    This level of understanding, if ever reached, takes years and years of practice and study. I am so pleased you are at that level. You are to be warmly and sincerely congratulated.

    Heart warming to read such a post. Makes me proud of you.

    Very best wishes.

    Mike
    Thank you, Hanon Sensei.

    heikojr
    Cichorei Kano
    Cichorei Kano


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    Post by Cichorei Kano Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:36 am

    heikojr wrote:Cichorei Kano Sensei,

    I believe that what you write is true in all activities now: there are so many lazy, easy, mind numbing things to do that take our mind away from the real world. This is the way today. And this is also why some students of judo can not show you more than a few techniques.

    I also believe that it is true that Ju-no-kata differs from other kata, but don't you feel that there is a similarity with Ju-no-kata and Itsutsu-no-kata in this respect? I see each technique much more clearly in Itsutsu-no-kata, but I still see a long movement.

    heikojr

    Yes, but ... you are also a multiple national and continental kata champion, and a long-time kata practitioner, under at least two dedicated sensei with a far more than average grasp of kata, which all together --more than just 'slightly'-- distinguishes you from most and probably any of the jûdôka you are teaching to. Considering that, what is the likelihood that they at their level will remotely see any of the connections that you do ? You are a modest person and that is good, but the reality is that when it comes to that area, most of the people you teach to are not your peers, even if they have the same or even a higher rank. That's just the way it is. You can expect peer-knowledge and peer-insights from peers, not from the rest. People have limitations, some absolute, some relative in which case they can only transgress them if they are willing to put in the same dedication as you did in times of hours, travel, money, time and teachers. Few will, which explains why you should feel lucky if you end up with a single student who realizes those expectations. As teachers that is one of our big frustrations. Dedicated teachers want their students not just to become as good as they are but to exceed them. It's noble goal, something to aim for, but that may be extremely difficult to realize, especially in today's climate dominated by the "gadget generation".

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