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#1 User is offline   hbw 

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 08:11 PM

The kata demonstrations at the Kodokan's kagami biraki last Sunday were interesting to watch, but I'm curious if anyone with competition grading experience watched them? It seems to me that many of the performances would not have received high scores in competition...

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#2 User is offline   revil 

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 10:46 PM

Some of the demonstrators there were the ones who won gold in the Kodokan international Kata tourney.
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#3 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 02:12 AM

View Postrevil, on Jan 21 2008, 07:46 AM, said:

Some of the demonstrators there were the ones who won gold in the Kodokan international Kata tourney.


:hap:
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"Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
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#4 User is offline   hbw 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 02:26 AM

View Postrevil, on Jan 20 2008, 05:46 PM, said:

Some of the demonstrators there were the ones who won gold in the Kodokan international Kata tourney.


and some were old guys who haven't competed in years...
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#5 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 04:32 AM

View Posthbw, on Jan 21 2008, 11:26 AM, said:

and some were old guys who haven't competed in years...


I feel for you, man. Hope you never have to go through it yourself. I'll make sure they'll euthanize you in time. <_<
"The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
"Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
"Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
"I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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#6 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 06:56 AM

View Posthbw, on Jan 21 2008, 11:26 AM, said:

and some were old guys who haven't competed in years...


Oh, maybe they were just off their Geritol that Sunday......

Sounds like fun. Did you ask why there weren't better performances that day?

Some places, folks might think "De gustibus non est disputandum."

But in Japan, they might think 「馬の耳に念仏。。。」 and think of a somewhat earlier solution for you than euthanasia.

Other than the ancient, non-competing kata guys, how was the kagamibiraki? You notice anything else interesting?


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#7 User is offline   hbw 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:13 AM

View PostNBK Judo, on Jan 21 2008, 01:56 AM, said:

Oh, maybe they were just off their Geritol that Sunday......

Sounds like fun. Did you ask why there weren't better performances that day?

Some places, folks might think "De gustibus non est disputandum."

But in Japan, they might think 「馬の耳に念仏。。。」 and think of a somewhat earlier solution for you than euthanasia.

Other than the ancient, non-competing kata guys, how was the kagamibiraki? You notice anything else interesting?


I didn't mean to imply that the kata was not good, simply that the kata was different than what you normally see in competition and I was curious if anyone had any useful observations about how and why this performance might have been different ... but of course, I was simply observing and am not a kata judge. Cultural differences or maybe different standards?
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#8 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:22 AM

View Posthbw, on Jan 21 2008, 04:13 PM, said:

I didn't mean to imply that the kata was not good, simply that the kata was different than what you normally see in competition and I was curious if anyone had any useful observations about how and why this performance might have been different ... but of course, I was simply observing and am not a kata judge. Cultural differences or maybe different standards?


Could it be because in competition one sees so much crap ? :o

Uma no mimi ni nenbutsu ... -_-
"The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
"Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
"Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
"I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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#9 User is offline   hbw 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:41 AM

View PostCichorei Kano, on Jan 21 2008, 02:22 AM, said:

Could it be because in competition one sees so much crap ? :o

Uma no mimi ni nenbutsu ... -_-


So what you saw last Sunday was much better than at the recent competition at the Kodokan? In what way specifically?
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#10 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:55 AM

View Posthbw, on Jan 21 2008, 04:13 PM, said:

I didn't mean to imply that the kata was not good, simply that the kata was different than what you normally see in competition and I was curious if anyone had any useful observations about how and why this performance might have been different ... but of course, I was simply observing and am not a kata judge. Cultural differences or maybe different standards?


Fair enough question, I'll take a stab at an answer, but maybe more like a tangential story that might give you a better idea of what you saw. I'm sure there are more direct answers winging your way soonest.

(Meanwhile, check out the lllllong, incredibly informative posts at
1476"]Kodokan International Kata Championship 2007, Results, Reports and Discussion

Keep in mind, I'm paraphrasing here, working from fallable memory, so I might miss in detail but am pretty sure I got it right overall.

I'm always curious about the reactions when foreign judoka come to Japan. During the Kodokan international kata contest last year, (the first, and for the foreseeable future, the last) I talked to a number of foreign competitors and coaches, etc., about what most impressed / upset / surprised them.

Having watched and decided, with my own limited kata knowledge, that most of the foreign competitors were clearly outclassed, I expected just about any number of rationales that any red-blooded competitor would make for getting so decisively stomped: e.g., jet lag, they made us drink 8 liters of cheap sake last night, the cat ate my cheatsheet, my mascara got in my eyes, my stomach decided natto isn't really fit for human consumption....

But instead a couple of senior foreign judoka claimed that the Kodokan had 'changed the kata', and since the Japanese competitors had access to the 'latest version' of kata instruction, of course they won.

So, I responded suavely, mouth hanging wide open
¿¿¿Qué??? :o They changed the kata ? Since when? (Now, I know that there have been minor adjustments, but these were seemingly more significant.)

The follow-on conversations disclosed that some individual coaches, and maybe even certain "National Governing Bodies" for judo, had bought some of the old Kodokan kata tapes and studied them as if they were the Bibles of kata. So, every shrug, every misstep became implanted in 'n' number of generations of kata instruction. Not from living kata experts, but from old tapes that had the production values of mediocre home movies. (Much better now, NHK produces them, I think.)

One very precise European gent seemed to writing down a list of the 'changes', in order to go home and rectify them, to bring their local kata instruction back up to the 'new' Kodokan standards.

AFAIK the old Kodokan kata VCR tapes were (at the very least) somewhat inadequate for kata instruction; in fact, my impression was that they were probably never meant as precise teaching aids, but more for general overview and review purposes. The new generation of KDK kata materials seem much more precise and perhaps designed for more serious study. But, I don't really know, not having ever tried to use the old materials for anything.

As far as different standards and cultures go, didn't know there were others; I reckon there's only one standard that counts, and the formal, proper name 'Kodokan judo' pretty much sums that up. And you saw one of the most significant ceremonies of the entire year that Sunday, so they probably put their best foot forward.

So, it may be that what you're accustomed to seeing is not quite up to standard. It is very difficult to get complex kata movements right without direct instruction from someone who really knows what they're doing. Not someone who only read about it.

Or, we could apply Occam's Razor, and just answer 'yes' to CK's question:

"Could it be because in competition one sees so much crap? :ohmy1: " .


;wry)
Cheers,

This post has been edited by NBK Judo: 21 January 2008 - 09:42 AM



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#11 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:05 AM

View PostNBK Judo, on Jan 21 2008, 05:55 PM, said:

Fair enough question, I'll take a stab at an answer, but maybe more like a tangential story that might give you a better idea of what you saw. I'm sure there are more direct answers winging your way soonest.

(Meanwhile, check out the lllllong, incredibly informative posts at
1476"]Kodokan International Kata Championship 2007, Results, Reports and Discussion

Keep in mind, I'm paraphrasing here, working from fallable memory, so I might miss in detail but am pretty sure I got it right overall.

I'm always curious about the reactions when foreign judoka come to Japan. During the Kodokan international kata contest last year, (the first, and for the foreseeable future, the last) I talked to a number of foreign competitors and coaches, etc., about what most impressed / upset / surprised them.

A couple mentioned that the Kodokan had 'changed the kata', and since the Japanese competitors had access to the 'latest version' of kata instruction, of course they won.

Having watched and decided, with my own limited kata knowledge, that most of the foreign competitors were clearly outclassed, I expected just about any number of rationales that any red-blooded competitor would make for getting so decisively stomped: e.g., jet lag, they made us drink 8 liters of cheap sake last night, the cat ate my cheatsheet, my mascara got in my eyes, my stomach decided natto isn't really fit for human consumption....

So, I responded suavely, mouth hanging wide open
¿¿¿Qué??? :o They changed the kata ? Since when? (Now, I know that there have been minor adjustments, but these were seemingly more significant.)

The follow-on conversations disclosed that some individual coaches, and maybe even certain "National Governing Bodies" for judo, had bought some of the old Kodokan kata tapes and studied them as if they were the Bibles of kata. So, every shrug, every misstep became implanted in 'n' number of generations of kata instruction. Not from living kata experts, but from old tapes that had the production values of mediocre home movies. (Much better now, NHK produces them, I think.)

One very precise European gent seemed to writing down a list of the 'changes', in order to go home and rectify them, to bring their local kata instruction back up to the 'new' Kodokan standards.

AFAIK the old Kodokan kata VCR tapes were (at the very least) somewhat inadequate for kata instruction; in fact, my impression was that they were probably never meant as precise teaching aids, but more for general overview and review purposes. The new generation of KDK kata materials seem much more precise and perhaps designed for more serious study. But, I don't really know, not having ever tried to use the old materials for anything.

As far as different standards and cultures go, didn't know there were others; I reckon there's only one standard that counts, and the formal, proper name 'Kodokan judo' pretty much sums that up. And you saw one of the most significant ceremonies of the entire year that Sunday, so they probably put their best foot forward.

So, it may be that what you're accustomed to seeing is not quite up to standard. It is very difficult to get complex kata movements right without direct instruction from someone who really knows what they're doing.

Or, we could apply Occam's Razor, and answer just 'yes' to CK's question:

"Could it be because in competition one sees so much crap? :ohmy1: " .


;wry)
Cheers,


:manoyes: :manoyes: Excellent post !! :lol:
"The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
"Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
"Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
"I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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#12 User is offline   hbw 

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:55 PM

[quote name='NBK Judo' date='Jan 21 2008, 03:55 AM' post='332323']
Fair enough question, I'll take a stab at an answer, but maybe more like a tangential story that might give you a better idea of what you saw. I'm sure there are more direct answers winging your way soonest.

(Meanwhile, check out the lllllong, incredibly informative posts at
1476"]Kodokan International Kata Championship 2007, Results, Reports and Discussion ...


I'm always curious about the reactions when foreign judoka come to Japan. During the Kodokan international kata contest last year, (the first, and for the foreseeable future, the last) I talked to a number of foreign competitors and coaches, etc., about what most impressed / upset / surprised them.

...
As far as different standards and cultures go, didn't know there were others; I reckon there's only one standard that counts, and the formal, proper name 'Kodokan judo' pretty much sums that up. And you saw one of the most significant ceremonies of the entire year that Sunday, so they probably put their best foot forward.
....
So, it may be that what you're accustomed to seeing is not quite up to standard. It is very difficult to get complex kata movements right without direct instruction from someone who really knows what they're doing. Not someone who only read about it.

Like you, I am always interested in non-Japanese responses to judo in Japan. Living here, studying judo and being non-Japanese myself, I too try to talk with other visitors. I was not able to attend the kata competition last year, but heard many reactions from my Japanese friends and did, believe it or not, actually read through the looooong posts about the competition and the results. I did not find, however, a great deal of information about exactly what made the Japanese, as my friends claim, "obviously superior" to any other competitors.

Thank-you for taking the time to give me a thoughtful response. I believe you are correct when you describe people trying to find some specific "piece" of a kata that will make it "correct" and getting so caught up in the details that they forget the overall challenge.

The closest I could come to understanding was when Komata sensei explained that the "flow" of the kata makes it real and that "should" be what the judges are looking for. I find it interesting that the names that everyone seems to drop (Osawa, Daigo, Abe) are people who are extremely willing to teach kata to anyone interested in learning it, no matter how limited our skills or experience. I have studied kata with all of these masters and have learned much from them and have found them to be most encouraging. And fun to spend time with as well.

If you saw both events, did you notice any significant differences in the performances? According to the sensei I asked about it over drinks last Sunday, one should not have expected them to be the same, because one was for competition and one was a "tribute". A typical response in my experience here and one I will be spending the next few years' worth of kata classes attempting to understand.

HBW
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#13 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 01:28 PM

View Posthbw, on Jan 22 2008, 04:55 AM, said:

.......I was not able to attend the kata competition last year, but heard many reactions from my Japanese friends and did, believe it or not, actually read through the looooong posts about the competition and the results. I did not find, however, a great deal of information about exactly what made the Japanese, as my friends claim, "obviously superior" to any other competitors.
...........
The closest I could come to understanding was when Komata sensei explained that the "flow" of the kata makes it real and that "should" be what the judges are looking for. I find it interesting that the names that everyone seems to drop (Osawa, Daigo, Abe) are people who are extremely willing to teach kata to anyone interested in learning it, no matter how limited our skills or experience. I have studied kata with all of these masters and have learned much from them and have found them to be most encouraging. And fun to spend time with as well.

If you saw both events, did you notice any significant differences in the performances? According to the sensei I asked about it over drinks last Sunday, one should not have expected them to be the same, because one was for competition and one was a "tribute". A typical response in my experience here and one I will be spending the next few years' worth of kata classes attempting to understand.

HBW


http://www.judoinfo.com/quiz0297_4.htm seemingly makes a point about flow.

Key point: "The minute you wrap your arms around him, lift your opponent up."
.....Judo in Action by Kazuzo Kudo


I have a notion that the time cited is not exactly what Kudo-sensei had in mind but will leave the 'flow analysis' up to the senior judo engineers :construction:.

Meanwhile, I will hazard a guess (a strawman?) about the competition versus tribute comment. And yes, I saw the International Taikai, but not the Kodokan Kagamibiraki.

The Taikai was straight competition - competitors chosen from a variety of competitions 'worldwide', more or less. The second place Japanese nage-no-kata team launched a ura-nage that was like a moon launch - strong attack / no hesitation, tori diverts uke's attack into outer space - I'd love to have caught it on film - but those guys are husky, mid-30ish policemen, not septegenarians closing on 80. Obviously that sort of pure physical prowess declines with age.

Aren't the kata demonstrations at such events as the Kagamibiraki primarily a tribute to judo's history and traditions? Being chosen must be a great honor - or a reward, or recognition (or even a challenge to be met - I saw one last week :wink1: ) . I don't have a clue who chooses the demonstration teams at the Kodokan, maybe someone does, but I suspect you saw a mix of the reward / recognition (i.e., the winners of the International Kata Competition) and the honor / recognition (i.e.,the older gents).

Surely you've seen a Master's teaming of competitors in... something. Golf, tennis, whatever. There seem to even be old college basketball player leagues cashing in on nostalgia. Some people are chosen for their skill at competition, and some as a tribute to their prior skill at competition, or their contributions to the sport, or life, or whatever.....

Is that a proper analogy with the seniors' kata? I dunno, I'd always assumed so, but would like to hear more myself.


じゃ、ね。。。。


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#14 User is offline   Tsurumaki 

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 02:19 PM

View PostNBK Judo, on Jan 22 2008, 10:28 PM, said:

Aren't the kata demonstrations at such events as the Kagamibiraki primarily a tribute to judo's history and traditions? Being chosen must be a great honor - or a reward, or recognition (or even a challenge to be met -.... I don't have a clue who chooses the demonstration teams at the Kodokan


They are an honor but didn't used to be a reward or recognition. Foreigners used to be involved on a regular basis, I think. What about in recent (the last 10-20) years? In my case, sometime in the preceding December, Teizo Kawamura told me that I would be uke to Gunter Romenath's tori for the kagami-biraki Katame-no-kata in January. We only had a couple of weeks to practice, and, as far as I remember, I had never, ever done Katame-no-kata. Doing it was part of Gunter's test for his 5th dan, and my performance might have been filed away for my 4th dan (although I have a vague, elusive memory of having to do Nage-no-kata, or part of it, for Shibayama).
Kawamura was a good friend of my brother's, which might have played a part. He took me to Risei Kano's office soon after I came to Japan so that Risei Kano could personally hand me my 3rd dan certificate. So it might have been Kawamura dropping the other shoe of friendship.
But it was an order. And as I've written before, on the Wednesday before the ceremony, Kawamura told me I had to be tori, because Gunter had irked Kotani et al. by constantly forgetting the moves.
I'd like to hear from other foreigners who've taken part in KDK kagami-biraki kata, or from spectators who've observed foreigners doing the kata.

This post has been edited by Tsurumaki: 04 March 2008 - 02:22 PM

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#15 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 04:59 PM

View PostNBK Judo, on Jan 21 2008, 08:55 AM, said:

Fair enough question, I'll take a stab at an answer, but maybe more like a tangential story that might give you a better idea of what you saw. I'm sure there are more direct answers winging your way soonest.

(Meanwhile, check out the lllllong, incredibly informative posts at
1476"]Kodokan International Kata Championship 2007, Results, Reports and Discussion

Keep in mind, I'm paraphrasing here, working from fallable memory, so I might miss in detail but am pretty sure I got it right overall.

I'm always curious about the reactions when foreign judoka come to Japan. During the Kodokan international kata contest last year, (the first, and for the foreseeable future, the last) I talked to a number of foreign competitors and coaches, etc., about what most impressed / upset / surprised them.

Having watched and decided, with my own limited kata knowledge, that most of the foreign competitors were clearly outclassed, I expected just about any number of rationales that any red-blooded competitor would make for getting so decisively stomped: e.g., jet lag, they made us drink 8 liters of cheap sake last night, the cat ate my cheatsheet, my mascara got in my eyes, my stomach decided natto isn't really fit for human consumption....

But instead a couple of senior foreign judoka claimed that the Kodokan had 'changed the kata', and since the Japanese competitors had access to the 'latest version' of kata instruction, of course they won.

So, I responded suavely, mouth hanging wide open
¿¿¿Qué??? :o They changed the kata ? Since when? (Now, I know that there have been minor adjustments, but these were seemingly more significant.)

The follow-on conversations disclosed that some individual coaches, and maybe even certain "National Governing Bodies" for judo, had bought some of the old Kodokan kata tapes and studied them as if they were the Bibles of kata. So, every shrug, every misstep became implanted in 'n' number of generations of kata instruction. Not from living kata experts, but from old tapes that had the production values of mediocre home movies. (Much better now, NHK produces them, I think.)

One very precise European gent seemed to writing down a list of the 'changes', in order to go home and rectify them, to bring their local kata instruction back up to the 'new' Kodokan standards.

AFAIK the old Kodokan kata VCR tapes were (at the very least) somewhat inadequate for kata instruction; in fact, my impression was that they were probably never meant as precise teaching aids, but more for general overview and review purposes. The new generation of KDK kata materials seem much more precise and perhaps designed for more serious study. But, I don't really know, not having ever tried to use the old materials for anything.

As far as different standards and cultures go, didn't know there were others; I reckon there's only one standard that counts, and the formal, proper name 'Kodokan judo' pretty much sums that up. And you saw one of the most significant ceremonies of the entire year that Sunday, so they probably put their best foot forward.

So, it may be that what you're accustomed to seeing is not quite up to standard. It is very difficult to get complex kata movements right without direct instruction from someone who really knows what they're doing. Not someone who only read about it.

Or, we could apply Occam's Razor, and just answer 'yes' to CK's question:

"Could it be because in competition one sees so much crap? :ohmy1: " .


;wry)
Cheers,

That's why a real, live teacher who grasps the riai (meaning) of the kata beats a video (or DVD even0 every time
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