Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009

Shotokan Kata performance

My opinion regarding the performance of kata is a subject i have blogged about before, so bear with me as i revisit this subject. I think real karate-do should be maintained as an art that has real potential to knock someone out (or worse) and i also think that kata is our "library" of technical ideas. Furthermore i think of them as a great way of drilling correct body mechanics, provided we do not change them to suit the whims of judges that sometimes are less than familiar with the subtleties of our style.

Does that mean i think we shall not change the katas, ever? Well, yes and no. I think its acceptable to change the kata if the new way will make for better mechanics and ease of understanding. If one needs to think bout whether this is wise, then i suggest comparing kata from 1955 and kata from 1985. One should be able to see that enhanced ways of training have produced a more polished look and smoother ways of moving throughout. Then for the changes i dont like; Theatrical entrance and exits, bowing that is too formal even if you meet the emperor, 5 seconds pauses in the middle of the kata, kiai-ing that sounds like people are being killed, excessive breathing and my biggest pet-peeve; changing the technique so that they *appear* faster and stronger yet in the process they lose any relevance to martial application.

Below here i have included some kata that represents the kind of karate-do that makes me wanna go and practice. In my opinion; None of these are "perfect" (nothing is) but to me this is art.

Mr Osaka; Bassai Dai

Mr Ohta; Nijushiho

Ms Mimura; WKF-Shitei kata Kanku Dai (Note the "illegal" dogi)


Friday, March 06, 2009

Jon Stewart exposing the "news"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Which kata; what level....

In my opinion; Everyone should know all the kata below their level and at least one kata from the level above (preferably all on the next level, so that one can make an educated choice as to which kata to perform for the next test)

Then figure out which kata one like and which one does not like. The ones you like, you can probably do well (which usually is the reason we like stuff) and the ones you dont like are probably emphasizing a point that is weak in your karate. In my opinion, we should work on improving both of those. The ones like are the ones I recommend for tests and competing. When choosing kata for competition I suggest not going too low or too high in terms of difficulty-level. Most important is to gain a sense of happiness with what we do, so even though some parts of our kata is difficult, there is no reason to beat ourselves up and get frustrated with progress that may seem slow. Enjoy the process and make sure that you actively strive to get more confident and own your own karate. The sooner you can say; “It is what it is and i enjoy it” - the better.

Below is a list of the standard shotokan kata; Go through it and find both your favorite and the weak links. Try to figure out which you wanna do for your next test and lets have fun with it.

9-3 kyu
Kihon Kata
Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan
Tekki Shodan

2kyu - Shodan
Bassai Dai
Kanku Dai

Bassai Sho
Kanku Sho
Tekki Nidan

Gojushiho Sho
Gojushiho Dai
Tekki Sandan


The rank-levels I have set on these katas are meant as a rough guide and at danlevel you can often discuss this with the examiner and do your choice, even if I have listed it at a different grade.