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)


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