Monthly Archives: March 2014

Kata

Kata – a set of pre-arranged movements, a form to instill principle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kata

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Kata forms the basis of most traditional Budo. The more modern the Art generally the less importance is placed on Kata and Kihon. With the rapid increase of competition in martial arts such as Karate and Judo {with exceptions}, Kata are being performed less. There must be a reason why so many traditional martial arts {China as well as Japan} placed such emphasis on Kata. In my study of Katori Shinto Ryu, Daito Ryu and Takemusu Aikido I have found that the importance of Kata and Kihon should not be underrated. Katori Shinto Ryu is an art that places such a high emphasis on Kata to the extent that the syllabus is composed entirely by it. As far as I understand it, Kata where practice as a safe and effective means to ingrain concept and an instinctive understanding of combat. Through repetitive movements the warrior develops the ability to move without hesitation. Kata being repetitive allows the practitioner to focus in a unique way. One that is both relaxed and alert. This is also the reason why it is usually better to wait and focus on just one or two as a beginner. If too much is studied the student will be spending the class trying to remember the form, which is not practicing it.

I spent about 3 years practicing the first Kata of Katori Kenjutsu. Sometimes this was frustrating but now 4 years later I feel the benefit. Quality must come before quantity. The rest of the Kata I learnt in about 6 months.

In Takemusu Aikido Kata is very important. The weapons syllabus mirrors in many ways the Taijutsu. For a beginner studying the Bukiwaza {weapons} allows an easier way to learn to relax, easier holding a Bokken or Jo than if someone bigger and stronger is grabbing your arm with all their might.

Kata provides a truly wonderful quality to training. One that should not be lost, in any Art.

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See also Kata is Not Waza  by Aikido No Sekai. Some good points about the difference between Kata and Application.

aikidonosekai.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/aikido-kata-is-not-waza/

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Takemusu Aikido Ireland Spring Course. Thomastown and Waterford. Sensei Simone Chierchini 5th Dan.

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Another weekend of throws, pins, cuts and rolls, some Kokyu breathing, then off to the pub.

Putting it so simply hardly gives it justice. This seminar was interesting on too many levels to mention. Sensei Simone’s ability to explain and demonstrate both technique and principle is remarkable. The adaptability of Takemusu Aikido and the sure scope of content could leave many confused. Fortunately for us Simone is able to put into words and show things in such a way that our beginners can understand and improve their own Aikido.

This seminar was held in 2 locations. We started on Friday with a short class in our Waterford Dojo. Sensei Simone emphasised flow and flexibility and covered about 4 techniques. He spoke about the important of being able to perform a technique from many different situations and the mental state required to do so.

The next day we trained in the beautiful hall of Camphill Jerpoint, Thomastown. Sensei Simone started a class with a Kokyu session. Kokyu exercises are a kind of breathing movement mediation similar to QiGong. We were also fortunate to be able to listen to Phillip Cullen playing the piano during this. After lunch we trained in Bukiwaza {weapons} , covering the sword katas of Iwama Ryu. This is a wonderful way to train. Not only are the katas interesting by themselves but also in relation to the Empty handed Aikido. Sensei Simone always likes to explain the close relation between armed and unarmed technique.

On Sunday we returned to our Waterford Dojo. There we continued with a simple series of technique in an almost kata like fashion. Focusing on flow and then returning to more basic kihon practice we were able to both capture the basic principle and to look into other possibilities. Our Bukiwaza was Jo {staff}. We learnt a short kata and went over the basic suburi exercises. Our course finished with a grading ceremony. The first students of Waterford Dojo received their 5th Kyu.

Thanks to Camphill Community Jerpoint and Black Belt Academy Waterford for hosting the event.

We hope to have Simone back this Summer.

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