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Kata Oshi question At the moment immediately before Tori starts stepping Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   kujosan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 05:18 PM

I was watching the Yokoyama/Omori version of Ju-No-Kata (winners of JNK at the 2009 Kata WC in Malta) and I noticed something I had not before during Kata Oshi, second technique of the first set. The technique starts with Uke pushing Tori's shoulder and Tori bends at the waist. Right before Tori starts her backwards stepping, there is an exaggerated motion, almost like a sudden release of tension. I can't really describe it. It's like Tori is resisting Uke's push through 90 degrees of bending, but then at the last moment right before stepping back, Tori releases the tension in her back muscles and snaps downward. You can observe this in the following two videos at the times indicated:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=aPcqP26YbnU
(see 1:48)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=F3jUWJ9ONu4
(see 1:35)

Is this sudden "release of tension" in order to create kuzushi in uke? I have not read about this anywhere before, but I think there is no question that this is happening purposefully in Yokoyama/Omori version of Ju-No-Kata. Is this actually an important principle to observe? What do you think?

Thanks,
John.
Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. -- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings.
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#2 User is offline   wdax 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:46 PM

View Postkujosan, on 23 April 2010 - 07:18 PM, said:

Is this sudden "release of tension" in order to create kuzushi in uke? I have not read about this anywhere before, but I think there is no question that this is happening purposefully in Yokoyama/Omori version of Ju-No-Kata. Is this actually an important principle to observe? What do you think?

I would say, yes! I practiced JNK with Omori im Summer 2008. She is much lighter then my normal Uke, so everything felt very, very easy - with two exceptions. In kata-oshi she pushed me so strong, that I accidently had to step forward to keep balance. So I know, that Tori resists first and then releases. And if you try it, you will find out, that it works and it makes sense. But I don´t know exactly if it is always taught this way.

The second surprise was btw kiri-oroshi, when I tried to break her balance with my elbow. She stood almost like a rock....
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#3 User is offline   heikojr 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:58 PM

I think that it is common for many people not to realize that there should be a resistance during this push. They see that the kata like a dance and they know that tori must bend at the waist when uke pushes tori's shoulder so that is what they do not realizing that there should be so much more happening.

You beat me to it wdax! You are much more qualified to answer than i am. How have you been?

heikojr
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#4 User is offline   kujosan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:33 PM

View Postwdax, on 23 April 2010 - 11:46 AM, said:

I would say, yes! I practiced JNK with Omori im Summer 2008. She is much lighter then my normal Uke, so everything felt very, very easy - with two exceptions. In kata-oshi she pushed me so strong, that I accidently had to step forward to keep balance. So I know, that Tori resists first and then releases. And if you try it, you will find out, that it works and it makes sense. But I don´t know exactly if it is always taught this way.

The second surprise was btw kiri-oroshi, when I tried to break her balance with my elbow. She stood almost like a rock....



Wow, you are brave to imply that your normal Uke is heavy! Haha, just kidding. You and your partner seem like a very good match. I was taught to give resistance, but I don't remember being told about the release... and thus I was trying to understand why Yokoyama/Omori did it that way. It looks exaggerated, but as you suggested, perhaps it is because Uke is pushing so firmly? BTW, this also shows that Uke's push is always perpendicular to Tori's shoulder.

Regarding Kiri-oroshi, I have a problem with that too. I was just discussing with my partner how when I try to create kuzushi I am only moving his arm, and it's not very apparent. But when watching the video, it is clear that Uke's whole torso is moved. At first I was thinking the direction of force of my elbow was wrong (maybe it is still), but from your description of Omori, it sounds like Uke should try to resist like a rock... this might make it easier to move Uke's torso then?

View Postheikojr, on 23 April 2010 - 11:58 AM, said:

I think that it is common for many people not to realize that there should be a resistance during this push. They see that the kata like a dance and they know that tori must bend at the waist when uke pushes tori's shoulder so that is what they do not realizing that there should be so much more happening.

You beat me to it wdax! You are much more qualified to answer than i am. How have you been?

heikojr


Yes, so often we hear that the principle of ju is to be "gentle" and "redirect", etc. and it seems like it would be easy to apply that here too. When Uke pushes your shoulder, you bend over to yield to that pressure... but as you said, this is wrong! The resistance is needed to build up some tension first before the technique begins. I am glad I have good teachers and places like Judo Forum to learn from.... because if left to my own devices, I could easily have gotten this one backwards, and therefore completely misunderstood the technique. A little nit-pick, Heikojr though, is that a good dance pair have an intimate understanding of leading and following, balance and unbalance, which is maybe closer to kata than one would think? Or are you thinking of the way that you dance (I gather badly, haha!)? No offense -- I am a terrible dancer! However, I have taken lessons and I know it's more than just a stepping pattern. There's a whole structure going on with the arms and transmission of forces and movement surprisingly similar to judo tai sabaki.

Thanks for the responses guys. I will try it during our next practice.
Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. -- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings.
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#5 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:21 PM

View Postwdax, on 24 April 2010 - 04:46 AM, said:

I would say, yes! I practiced JNK with Omori im Summer 2008. She is much lighter then my normal Uke, so everything felt very, very easy - with two exceptions. In kata-oshi she pushed me so strong, that I accidently had to step forward to keep balance. So I know, that Tori resists first and then releases. And if you try it, you will find out, that it works and it makes sense. But I don´t know exactly if it is always taught this way.

The second surprise was btw kiri-oroshi, when I tried to break her balance with my elbow. She stood almost like a rock....


There are many details that used to be forgotten or unknown in Western teaching of jû-no-kata. I thought I knew jû-no-kata well until I met Keiko Fukuda. I know there are 1950s things in what she teaches, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about subtleties that most Western jû-no-kata teachers simply do not know. She made me 45 minutes step back as uke in kiri-oroshi to get the moment right. Getting private attention from Fukuda-sensei is an enormously useful occasion. But I really mean, being taught by her, not by an assistant, not the comments by an assistant. A lot gets lost when others try to explain what Fukuda meant. You HAVE to take the time and BE PATIENT and insist on her opinion.

Another of those details is the control of the arm in tsuki-dashi in the final position. You really need to pull that arm. I have virtually no one seen doing that in the West. Most of them just hold the arm.

Sadly, I have less access to Fukuda-sensei now, but Umezu and Abe remain good and useful sources. There is a quite a difference in approach between Fukuda-sensei and Abe-sensei in jû-no-kata though. I will restrain myself from describing her reaction when I told her that I had learnt some of the details in jû-no-kata from Abe Ichirô. But at the end of the day, about everything these most senior people in jûdô give you as advice is useful. I must admit too (to be fair) that I have seen Yamamoto give some useful suggestions to some people too. In fact, one of the moments I am thinking of was probably the one I appreciated him the most, and I am generally not a big fan of him.

Ômori-san is fun. Practising jû-no-kata with her is fun. She is indeed very light. She used to love practising jû-no-kata with me because that made her feel even lighter she used to say. It's a while ago, because since she now participates in so many international tournaments, she usually can't stay very long at other events, because she has a full time job, and not much vacation. I have practised Koshiki-no-kata with her too explaining some of the difference between Kitô-approach and Kôdôkan approach. In Sao Paulo during the masters they first did a performance in simili yoroi, and it was announced by a known US kata teacher that this was as it was done in Kitô-ryû. It wasn't, because they did the Kôdôkan version as they had never learnt the historical version. Ômori-san always listens very carefully and asks very thoughtful question. Her partner is much shier.

This post has been edited by Cichorei Kano: 23 April 2010 - 10:25 PM

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#6 User is offline   kujosan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:37 PM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 23 April 2010 - 03:21 PM, said:

There are many details that used to be forgotten or unknown in Western teaching of jû-no-kata. I thought I knew jû-no-kata well until I met Keiko Fukuda. I know there are 1950s things in what she teaches, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about subtleties that most Western jû-no-kata teachers simply do not know. She made me 45 minutes step back as uke in kiri-oroshi to get the moment right. Getting private attention from Fukuda-sensei is an enormously useful occasion. But I really mean, being taught by her, not by an assistant, not the comments by an assistant. A lot gets lost when others try to explain what Fukuda meant. You HAVE to take the time and BE PATIENT and insist on her opinion.

Another of those details is the control of the arm in tsuki-dashi in the final position. You really need to pull that arm. I have virtually no one seen doing that in the West. Most of them just hold the arm.


...



CK-sensei,

My partner and I got a small taste of Fukuda-sensei's direct teaching earlier this month (BTW, she just turned 97, I'm sure you know). We were doing Mune-Oshi right in front of her and I was not stepping correctly at the end of the throw. It took us about 10 minutes before I finally understood where my heel was supposed to be with respect to Uke's heel. I find it incredibly difficult to step to the right position without looking at my feet. I am very inconsistent. I'll step in, then look down at my feet. Wrong. Again. Wrong. Again. Wrong. etc. It's only be sheer luck that I step to the right spot once every maybe 20 tries. I must say, however, that in this case, I do not understand the importance of why the feet need to be placed so specifically that she spent 10 minutes to explain the physical placement. I am amazed that I learn something new at every practice of JNK. I guess eventually after many years of practice I might learn a little something about everything in JNK?

You said you stepped back as Uke in kiri-oroshi for 45 minutes to get the moment right. Did you mean as Tori? I believe Uke steps back twice. The first step back is to prepare the strike. The second step back is in response to Tori's advancing steps. So... I assume you mean Tori's backwards step to avoid the kiri-oroshi. Yes, I know I have a problem with that. Well, let's be honest -- beyond knowing the order of throws and the big basic movements, I only have to work on... everything! I'm trying to understand, and I can definitely see some things... but I also know there's much more depths to be discovered.

You mentioned the pull in Tsuki-dashi. I also learned recently about the pull in various moves like Ryote-dori and Kata-mawashi. The kuzushi pulls to Uke's front. As Tori turns, the pull to Uke's front is maintained and Uke is never given a chance to regain balance. I don't know if this is one of the details that you are referring to, but it's something that we learned at Fukuda-sensei's dojo and it instantly clicked that these techniques are real judo. Now that I know it, it seems like something pretty trivial. However, prior to knowing what what going on, I was doing it wrong because I did not maintain that tension/kuzushi as I was getting into position to do the throw. I dare say this kind of revelation has already had effects on my randori.

I recently started reading TP Leggett's book "Spirit of Budo" and he has an interesting section on the importance of "sincerity". I really appreciated that. What you wrote about taking the time to be patient seems to be what sincerity is about. If I didn't care about learning JNK/Judo, then probably I will give up. Probably I won't go to every clinic or practice so many hours. But if I am sincere, then patience is a by-product of that sincerity.

Thanks for your post. I would like to learn directly from you some day. I will be patient to wait for that day :-)
John.
Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. -- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings.
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#7 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

View Postkujosan, on 24 April 2010 - 09:37 AM, said:


You said you stepped back as Uke in kiri-oroshi for 45 minutes to get the moment right. Did you mean as Tori?


Yes, of course, my bad, I goofed. I meant to say tori's backwards step to evade uke's shomen strike. I just had my cat euthanized a couple of hours ago, and I considered her my most faithful friend. So, it's hard to focus. She often used to lie in my lap when I was typing posts for the judo forum, and now I keep staring to her place on the couch which is and will remain empty.

This post has been edited by Cichorei Kano: 24 April 2010 - 12:08 AM

"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 ?)
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#8 User is offline   kujosan 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 12:52 AM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 23 April 2010 - 05:04 PM, said:

Yes, of course, my bad, I goofed. I meant to say tori's backwards step to evade uke's shomen strike. I just had my cat euthanized a couple of hours ago, and I considered her my most faithful friend. So, it's hard to focus. She often used to lie in my lap when I was typing posts for the judo forum, and now I keep staring to her place on the couch which is and will remain empty.



Dear CK-sensei,

I don't know what to say, except that I'm so sorry for the loss of your most faithful friend. Posted Image

Sincerely,
John.

This post has been edited by kujosan: 24 April 2010 - 12:53 AM

Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. -- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings.
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#9 User is offline   Hanon 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 01:45 PM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 24 April 2010 - 03:51 AM, said:

There are many details that used to be forgotten or unknown in Western teaching of jû-no-kata. I thought I knew jû-no-kata well until I met Keiko Fukuda. I know there are 1950s things in what she teaches, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about subtleties that most Western jû-no-kata teachers simply do not know. She made me 45 minutes step back as uke in kiri-oroshi to get the moment right. Getting private attention from Fukuda-sensei is an enormously useful occasion. But I really mean, being taught by her, not by an assistant, not the comments by an assistant. A lot gets lost when others try to explain what Fukuda meant. You HAVE to take the time and BE PATIENT and insist on her opinion.

Another of those details is the control of the arm in tsuki-dashi in the final position. You really need to pull that arm. I have virtually no one seen doing that in the West. Most of them just hold the arm.

Sadly, I have less access to Fukuda-sensei now, but Umezu and Abe remain good and useful sources. There is a quite a difference in approach between Fukuda-sensei and Abe-sensei in jû-no-kata though. I will restrain myself from describing her reaction when I told her that I had learnt some of the details in jû-no-kata from Abe Ichirô. But at the end of the day, about everything these most senior people in jûdô give you as advice is useful. I must admit too (to be fair) that I have seen Yamamoto give some useful suggestions to some people too. In fact, one of the moments I am thinking of was probably the one I appreciated him the most, and I am generally not a big fan of him.

Ômori-san is fun. Practising jû-no-kata with her is fun. She is indeed very light. She used to love practising jû-no-kata with me because that made her feel even lighter she used to say. It's a while ago, because since she now participates in so many international tournaments, she usually can't stay very long at other events, because she has a full time job, and not much vacation. I have practised Koshiki-no-kata with her too explaining some of the difference between Kitô-approach and Kôdôkan approach. In Sao Paulo during the masters they first did a performance in simili yoroi, and it was announced by a known US kata teacher that this was as it was done in Kitô-ryû. It wasn't, because they did the Kôdôkan version as they had never learnt the historical version. Ômori-san always listens very carefully and asks very thoughtful question. Her partner is much shier.


I hesitate before writing this. Not sure at all if I should pass comment? What is your evaluation of the clips shown?

One of the major reasons I am not in favour of kata 'championships' is the way they enforce each pair to physically conform to a specific physical form of performing each action. Hell for me to explain.

Lets take a deep look at the clips. Are the technical aspects correct, perhaps. Are they performing ju no kata, only on times. Ju, where? I saw so many stops and pauses. I am certain it was technically okay no incorrect actions (perhaps), this is not realy the point of the kata though is it? I once asked Koboyashi sensei to give his assesment of my ju no kata and he said "Not bad, too many pauses, not smooth". I saw the video clip and could see exactly what he ment. If we are going to perform the kata there is a much bigger picture than making each step a certain distance, for that distance MUST differ to a tiny degree on EVERY single performance. No two renditions, even by the same couple, should be or can be replicas. No one can manage to attack in the very same manner with the same step, same speed, same force. To this end what I see in these clips is perhaps a little clinical, perfection in terms of waza and sequence BUT and oh BUT what I fail to see is a 'ju no kata' I see a pair trying for pefection in exact action and this is impossible. Ju no kata above all other kata simply must demonstrate the principle of ju and to this end we should see true attack, true defence but also pausless reactions even though that will result in minor disatance differences with every performance, what we must see is a warm, heart felt, rendition void of the concept of 'winning' and total perfection but a rendition that demontrates from the word go the action and reaction to and with ju. I find these championships cold and mathmatical, dead from emotion and overall physical explanation of the principle.

I prefer the performnces of WDax Sensei who I know, by his very actions, he truly understands what this kata is about. WDax Uke will also grow into this understanding.

I did not enjoy the clips shown above. I feel rather isolated and more detached from kata with every clip I see. I truly am questioning my own ability to asses these performnces as they are so void of all the things I have been taught and teach.

I hope you can understand my points. I do not desire to trash yet another set of clips. What am I missing here? Rather depressing for me. :sad(

Mike
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#10 User is offline   Hanon 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 02:06 PM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 24 April 2010 - 05:34 AM, said:

Yes, of course, my bad, I goofed. I meant to say tori's backwards step to evade uke's shomen strike. I just had my cat euthanized a couple of hours ago, and I considered her my most faithful friend. So, it's hard to focus. She often used to lie in my lap when I was typing posts for the judo forum, and now I keep staring to her place on the couch which is and will remain empty.



Dear friend,

I am SO sorry to read this. My heart goes out to you at this time. Oh dear.

Have a hug and be assured I am here for you.

Mike
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#11 User is offline   kujosan 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 06:23 PM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 23 April 2010 - 03:21 PM, said:

....
Ômori-san is fun. Practising jû-no-kata with her is fun. She is indeed very light. She used to love practising jû-no-kata with me because that made her feel even lighter she used to say.
....



I was wondering about your statement about "She is indeed very light." and her statement that you made her feel even lighter. You are not talking about her weight, are you? I had someone say that about me once when doing Kata Garuma, and I was a little confused because I am 190lbs. But he said that I made myself light to allow him to lift easily. I have no idea what I was doing to become light. The only thing I can think is that I was not resisting his lift and somehow when he came in for the kata guruma my momentum came in line with his lifting vector. Is this the lightness you mean? Or do you mean that she is physically light?

View PostHanon, on 24 April 2010 - 06:45 AM, said:

I hesitate before writing this. Not sure at all if I should pass comment? What is your evaluation of the clips shown?

One of the major reasons I am not in favour of kata 'championships' is the way they enforce each pair to physically conform to a specific physical form of performing each action. Hell for me to explain.


........

I did not enjoy the clips shown above. I feel rather isolated and more detached from kata with every clip I see. I truly am questioning my own ability to asses these performnces as they are so void of all the things I have been taught and teach.

I hope you can understand my points. I do not desire to trash yet another set of clips. What am I missing here? Rather depressing for me. :sad(

Mike


Hi Hanon-sensei,
I was hoping you would comment, and I am sorry to distress you by posting these two clips. Yes they received first place in the 2009 Kata WC in Malta, so from an IJF standpoint they seem to represent the best there is "in the world". I seem to recall CK mentioning before that they are unbeatable, but again, it was in reference to competition. What you said about cold and mathematical, I think I know what you mean... like robots? I have to be honest -- I watched several clips by this pair and I had a hard time differentiating if I was watching the same version from a different perspective. They are extremely consistent, which is also extremely difficult, I am discovering. Speaking as a beginning learner of Ju-no-kata, I thought their version was amazingly good, and I think I learned many things from it, such as the original question I posted (by the way, what do you think about this question regarding the resistance and release of tension?)... then again, I can also see your point about the cold/mathematical. I just don't know... probably there is a balance of perfect technique and true spirit. I wonder if there is also a difference in the way you train versus compete? Maybe Yokoyama/Omori train in a way that you would approve of, but when they compete, maybe they go into a higher precision mode and try to achieve perfection, so to speak. I also remember CK mentioning that watching and experiencing are very different, and how once he had a deep experience while doing a kata but when he watched it afterwards it didn't look so amazing. All I mean to say is that maybe that is the fatal flaw of kata competition, i.e. it emphasizes the external, but there is so much more going on that is unseen. Maybe WDAX of Heikojr can share their thoughts on that since they compete at the highest level.

John.
Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. -- Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings.
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#12 User is offline   wdax 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 08:02 PM

I only have time for a short answer.

There are things in kata beyond pure technique and there is no doubt about it. But there should IMHO also be no doubt, that there is nothing beyond a wrong technique...

So technical perfection is the the first thing we have to work on. After that, everything else will come with the time.

Back to Yokoyama/Omori. Everytime I found out a new detail in ju-no-kata and took a look at their performances, I found out, that they already were there. The video cannot catch the spirit of the performance, but they really are impressive.
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#13 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 08:38 PM

I had a long discussion with Katsuko Umezu-sensei, the most senior female sensei at the Kôdôkan, and the world's only female Kôdôkan 8th dan. Umezu used to joke about me that she could immediately spot the Fukuda influence in my jû-no-kata. My question was about my frustration that no non-Japanese succeeds in doing jû-no-kata as a Japanese, no matter how perfect. There is a level of inner calm, a level of ... 'detachment' which only the Japanese have. I mean "Japanese in Japan". The Japanese Americans do not have it either. When the best Western jû-no-kata performers do jû-no-kata, there is almost painful tension, a focus on perfection. With the Japanese, it is almost the absence of that which characterizes the performance. The exercise becomes natural as it is not guided by the mind striving to be perfect, but by 'it', with their bodies simply following the flow.

That is particularly so in Yokoyama/Ômori performance, but I also saw it in some of the next best Japanese jû-no-kata performers such as Kuroda-sensei. When you see a Westerner, you can just SEE them 'thinking' during jû-no-kata. When you see a Japanese you can just SEE them 'not thinking' during jû-no-kata. The problem with the Westerners is not the technique. The technique is only a framework. Jû-no-kata is about 'jû'. But what is a 'jû' ? Jû in jû-no-kata is not limited to the lexicological explanation or translation of the term. It is not just about 'yielding'. It is about the taoist 'wu wei' (mu'i in Japanese). Now, virtually no Japanese at the Kôdôkan or anywhere else (talking about jûdôka, not about professors or philosophers) will be able to explain that. Yet, even lacking that ability, they have absorbed this in their intent and their way of moving far more than any Westerner, in particularly in jû-no-kata.

The best Westerners doing jû-no-kata look like Olympic gymnasts, well-trained, focused. But the best Japanese do something that does not belong in the Olympics, but in a small dôjô in an atmosphere of serenity far away from audience, and flashing cameras. Indeed 'jû' above all has to do with naturalness, namely that what happens in nature and that what submits to nature's forces, goes through the cycles of nature, it is all about 'non-interference'.

With regard to Hanon-sensei's question, it is very much like what wdax says. I did not even bother to watch the videoclips. They can't capture it. Remember the threads in which I expressed some of my own recordings and was very dissatisfied with them because they depicted nothing of what I was going through. I mentioned that it is almost like there is another unpronounced factor: "stage presence".

You know, we can understand most normal human being who speak our language and who do not speak a dialect. Yet, if you plan on working for radio or TV they have you do voice tests. Why is that ? Why does it not suffice that they can hear you ? Clearly, there is a known factor of interference, namely the question of how someone's voice will come across on radio or TV.

The same with kata. No matter how well you know the kata in terms of meaning and technical skill, there is still a factor in how well you can project that. I would say even more, in that there is even a difference in how well you can project that life and on camera.

The resonance and acoustics during a classical music concert play a role, no matter how excellent soloist and conductor. Watching Cecil B. DeMille's 10 commandments and see Moses split open the Red Sea when you watch that on a Japanese TV screen the size of your watch just does not have the same effect as seeing that in old 70mm format in a classical movie theater with a giant screen.

So, there are all sorts of technical things that play a role, but also personal things. At the time, I mentioned the example when I was a student in medical school. A friend of mine one day all excited told me about this beautiful girl he had met, who had this long red hair, but who was still underage; I think she was 17 or something, 6'0" and she wanted to be a model.

One day her school (I think she was studying fashion design or something) did a fashion show, and we went to watch it with great expectation. She did nothing wrong, she looked beautiful, yet it was pretty much a disaster since she had no stage presence.

The right people (stylists, directors) can help, but this is still not done in judo. I am not even sure that most kata judges get what I am talking about. I have seen people being awarded high scores and win contests with something that had nothing to do with jû-no-kata. I think that is where I and Hanon meet. In my view, a kata, not matter how technically perfect that does not have the spirit should score low. This is a the problem. In both current Kôdôkan approaches and IJF approaches, a kata which meets the choreographical details gets scored the highest. Although IJF rules do mention spirit as a scoring criteria, most judges cannot capture this with the exception of a self-defense kata like kime-no-kata. But even there, spirit in kime-no-kata is much more than 'real attacks' and being 'quick'. Really, it is about decisiveness. That is also one of the main differences between jû and kime. Kime is about interference, jû-no-kata is about non-intererence.

This post has been edited by Cichorei Kano: 25 April 2010 - 12:30 AM

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#14 User is offline   Hanon 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:06 PM

View Postwdax, on 25 April 2010 - 01:32 AM, said:

I only have time for a short answer.

There are things in kata beyond pure technique and there is no doubt about it. But there should IMHO also be no doubt, that there is nothing beyond a wrong technique...

So technical perfection is the the first thing we have to work on. After that, everything else will come with the time.

Back to Yokoyama/Omori. Everytime I found out a new detail in ju-no-kata and took a look at their performances, I found out, that they already were there. The video cannot catch the spirit of the performance, but they really are impressive.


Hi WD,

There is an essence, an emotion, a philosophy in motion to the performance of a kata. Part of this essence is natural bodily, mental cognitive individuality, Body size, mind, emotion, speed, fluidity, timing etc. No kata can be looked at in sections and marked on a card for points for each individual waza. In particular the Ju no kata has to be one action from start to finish and not seen in parts. If we see 15 correct waza we are not necessarily seeing a proper rendition of ju no kata. A classic example of this is the rising onto tip toe of uke? Why does she do that? Clearly tori is not pulling her uke up on to tip toe, it is therfore a theatrical action and not in the spirit of action-reaction-action? Uke has a brain and will use a pause to reattack. Pauses leave time for uke to change the direction of what next may happen. Once this kata starts both tori and uke must be fully occupied with an interaction of attacks and defences followed by more attacks and counters etc. Pauses allow change and stop the flow of the action of ju. Perhaps this IS where my sensei had the right idea of Kyushindo. Circles. Harmoney. An action by uke is received by tori with control and fluidity of mind and body, then uke may re attack with equal fluidity of mind and body yet still to be overcome by the furthr actions of tori. There can be no breaks in such a sequence of events or the very action started is stopped! Rnd of that given waza?

I was taught in this kata that if uke does not make tori move, stand still. Each waza is a part leading to the next and there is not falsehood in any attack or defence. THE most important thing in this kata is THE most difficult part to achieve and that is constant movement, constant speed without pause and jerks of action. I agree that these women do make real attacks and real defence, I have no problem with that, where I dislike their actions is with these awkward pauses and jerks. It is not a flowing kata. I also accept that they are not 8th or 9th dan. I do get this giut feeling though that they are performing to an agenda and that agenda is to win points and a competition rather than perform how they perhaps now how they should? Guess work on my part as I don't know either party.

To me there is now two ways of performing a kata the way they where intended and the way they are being taught and practiced to win points and medals at a championship. We are the best of friends and I would never deprive any person from attending a championship in kata. I disagree with them as I equally disagree with the overemphasis on shiai. Look at what frequent championships have done for judo. They have tried to make it a spectator sport where the audience can understand what we are doing. The TV rights back in the 60's depended on judo becoming more 'understanable' to a TV viewer public. Out went judo shiai and in came something entirely different. A semi type of shiai built around koka and yuko and the end result was to win a point and the often hang on to that point and avoid further combat. Many rule changes have been made but the ippon of today is nothing, on times, with what was scored as an ippon even 30 years ago! Commercialised shiai. Now we are seeing commerialised kata and it is not going to work as it stands. The very nature of a championship is to win. Before commercialisation it was vitally important how one one or lost.

The same thing is happening with kata. I have read your posts where you correctly write that no top judo kata champion can become a kata champion without performing good technical kata. This may be the case BUT is the Nage no kata simply 15 waza performed left and Right or is there a depth of knowledge that a kata champion can ignore, never learn but still win a kata championship?

No one can say these two women can't perform a rendition of a ju no kata, they can and do. I am suggesting in perfoming any kata to win points on a card is, by defacto, making the pair perform to a cold standard that may well be technically acceptable but still misses the point just as modern day shiai misses the point. Shiai was NEVER ment to be about winning a medal with a point or two but performing judo to the best of ones ability and lossing or winnning by Ippon. We now have judo matches won not by waza but by playing the rules? Of what value is that in the education of the judoka?

I agree with a comment made here that I hope both these women, when in their dojo, will perform a real ju no kata and not a point awarding ju no kata to please a set of criteria printed on a score card.

Though many kata competition participants truly believe these events are bringing kata BACK into vogue they are simply not, all they are doing is de valuing kata and placing kata in the same mess as shiai championships are in today. Both simply miss the point. Perhaps I do? :blink:

Hug,

Mike
BTW, in all sincerity your ju no kata is superior to that of the clips shown.
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Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:14 PM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 25 April 2010 - 02:08 AM, said:

I had a long discussion with Katsuko Umezu-sensei, the most senior female sensei at the Kôdôkan, and the world's only female Kôdôkan 8th dan. Umezu used to joke about me that she could immediately spot the Fukuda influence in my jû-no-kata. My question was about my frustration that no non-Japanese succeeds in doing jû-no-kata as a Japanese, no matter how perfect. There is a level of inner calm, a level of ... 'detachment' which only the Japanese have. I mean "Japanese in Japan". The Japanese Americans do not have it either. When the best Western jû-no-kata performers do jû-no-kata, there is almost painful tension, a focus on perfection. With the Japanese, it is almost the absence of that which characterizes the performance. The exercise becomes natural as it is not guided by the mind striving to be perfect, but by 'it', with their bodies simply following the flow.

That is particularly so in Yokoyama/Umezu performance, but I also saw it in some of the next best Japanese jû-no-kata performers such as Kuroda-sensei. When you see a Westerner, you can just SEE them 'thinking' during jû-no-kata. When you see a Japanese you can just SEE them 'not thinking' during jû-no-kata. The problem with the Westerners is not the technique. The technique is only a framework. Jû-no-kata is about 'jû'. But what is a 'jû' ? Jû in jû-no-kata is not limited to the lexicological explanation or translation of the term. It is not just about 'yielding'. It is about the taoist 'wu wei' (mu'i in Japanese). Now, virtually no Japanese at the Kôdôkan or anywhere else (talking about jûdôka, not about professors or philosophers) will be able to explain that. Yet, even lacking that ability, they have absorbed this in their intent and their way of moving far more than any Westerner, in particularly in jû-no-kata.

The best Westerners doing jû-no-kata look like Olympic gymnasts, well-trained, focused. But the best Japanese do something that does not belong in the Olympics, but in a small dôjô in an atmosphere of serenity far away from audience, and flashing cameras. Indeed 'jû' above all has to do with naturalness, namely that what happens in nature and that what submits to nature's forces, goes through the cycles of nature, it is all about 'non-interference'.

With regard to Hanon-sensei's question, it is very much like what wdax says. I did not even bother to watch the videoclips. They can't capture it. Remember the threads in which I expressed some of my own recordings and was very dissatisfied with them because they depicted nothing of what I was going through. I mentioned that it is almost like there is another unpronounced factor: "stage presence".

You know, we can understand most normal human being who speak our language and who do not speak a dialect. Yet, if you plan on working for radio or TV they have you do voice tests. Why is that ? Why does it not suffice that they can hear you ? Clearly, there is a known factor of interference, namely the question of how someone's voice will come across on radio or TV.

The same with kata. No matter how well you know the kata in terms of meaning and technical skill, there is still a factor in how well you can project that. I would say even more, in that there is even a difference in how well you can project that life and on camera.

The resonance and acoustics during a classical music concert play a role, no matter how excellent soloist and conductor. Watching Cecil B. DeMille's 10 commandments and see Moses split open the Red Sea when you watch that on a Japanese TV screen the size of your watch just does not have the same effect as seeing that in old 70mm format in a classical movie theater with a giant screen.

So, there are all sorts of technical things that play a role, but also personal things. At the time, I mentioned the example when I was a student in medical school. A friend of mine one day all excited told me about this beautiful girl he had met, who had this long red hair, but who was still underage; I think she was 17 or something, 6'0" and she wanted to be a model.

One day her school (I think she was studying fashion design or something) did a fashion show, and we went to watch it with great expectation. She did nothing wrong, she looked beautiful, yet it was pretty much a disaster since she had no stage presence.

The right people (stylists, directors) can help, but this is still not done in judo. I am not even sure that most kata judges get what I am talking about. I have seen people being awarded high scores and win contests with something that had nothing to do with jû-no-kata. I think that is where I and Hanon meet. In my view, a kata, not matter how technically perfect that does not have the spirit should score low. This is a the problem. In both current Kôdôkan approaches and IJF approaches, a kata which meets the choreographical details gets scored the highest. Although IJF rules do mention spirit as a scoring criteria, most judges cannot capture this with the exception of a self-defense kata like kime-no-kata. But even there, spirit in kime-no-kata is much more than 'real attacks' and being 'quick'. Really, it is about decisiveness. That is also one of the main differences between jû and kime. Kime is about interference, jû-no-kata is about non-intererence.



I agree with every word you write. Thank the Lord.

What I refer to as essence you refer to as spirit and presence.

An excellent post my friend.

Mike
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