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Modifying formalized kata in Kōdōkan jūdō Rate Topic: ***** 2 Votes

#16 User is offline   Mitesco 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:46 AM

View PostJonesy, on 19 October 2011 - 11:27 PM, said:

I do not see much merit in translating this work into Dutch - another minority language, particularly when pretty much every person from the Nederlands I have met speaks German already.

Work of this quality ideally needs to be translated into English. In that way it can reach the maximum number of people and also be subjected to a high degree of peer review.


I agree with you that this text by wdax-sensei should be translated into English. However, I cannot do that, my language abilities for English are not sufficient.

I agree with you that almost every Dutch citizen speaks and understands a bit German. However, in the judo world - weird enough - just a small minority also reads German (and English) in a way that they can also study systematically. This text is more scientific, and most Dutchies cannot properly understand it...
My effort to eventually translate the book into Dutch would be, that even while Dutch is a small language, even while the majority of judoka will still not read good books about judo, we need to do at least anything to bring more systematic judo knowledge about backgrounds, kata, deeper meanings into my country. I also write a weblog with all kind of comparable stuff in the same way. Why do I write it in Dutch and not in English or so? Because like that at least some Dutch judoka will read. I know some do, I know there is interest, so why not?



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#17 User is offline   Mitesco 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:00 AM

Watching the video by mr Goldman, with the 'adapted' kata with music and texts, I must say I understand his effort trying to bring kata to the teenagers and the audience, but...
... maybe this is exactly what the discussion is about... with a lot of remaining questions:

1) Kano was very strict in tolerating modifications, as we learned. Why was he? Knowing the reason for that, gives a direction for the next point raised:
2) How far can we go in modifying, adapting? mr Goldman goes very, véry far. Are there limits? What are they? Why?
3) Kano was always very aware of the proper purpose of everything. Is an adaptation needed because of 'sei-ryoku zenyo' f.e. the specific shape of the judoka, or to please an audience, or just promotion? Is this INK-interpretation done with the right goal and so the proper means chosen?
4) What is the balance between an eventual advantage for kata promotion, and the counter-productiveness while modifying and creating an atmosphere which is not dojo/judo-like?
5) I don't know of course, but I once heard that the principles of INK are really difficult to grasp. Do we as Westerners have sufficient knowledge about the deep meaning to make adaptations without screwing maybe the whole kata up?

I think CK-sensei will be able to give an intelligent analysis about those points... and probably he will find even more questions...



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#18 User is offline   wdax 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:12 AM

View PostMitesco, on 20 October 2011 - 09:46 AM, said:

I agree with you that this text by wdax-sensei should be translated into English.


Thanks for the nice comments, but it´s not that much scientific...

I started to write these articles because in german language we - more or less - only had the dissertation of Niehaus, which is too scientific for most judo-pracitioners and which was out of print, when I started the project. Almost all other sources were written in english. Most of the content is not really new (in english), for example there is "Mind over muscle", "Judo Memoires", "Jigoro Kano and the Kodokan", the history books of D. Matsumoto of Syd Hoare, which I use as sources additionally to Niehaus... and Daigo´s full work about throwing technique, which is only available in japanese and german (not the reduced english version).

I was a bit surprised about the feedback. Quite a lot of people, who monthly receive the magazine, asked me, if I plan to publish it as a book - including the president of the german judo-ferderation who phoned me some weeks ago and offered support of the federation.

A series of articles is different from a book, because the articles must be readable independently from each other and references can only be made to prior articles not to future ons. So it will be another task to make a concept for a book. And maybe I will want to add some more personal remarks, which I separated from the main content to avoid a mixture between what is (more or less) historical fact and personal conclusion.
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#19 User is offline   Mitesco 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:46 AM

wdax-sensei, you are too modest. :hap:

Good books and articles, that describe clearly and systematically exactly the proper points of judo, are rare. No surprise that the German federation wants this to be published.
The reason why I would also want this to be available in Dutch is: knowledge about these subjects seem to disappear. We have so much possibilities to learn (all new media) and to my surprise, judoka are getting more superficial, focussed on everything if only not background study. Your articles could be a great help. Is my opinion.

With scientific I mean: properly rooted in the tradition and the principles. Your articles are.

The weird thing is: about aikido I have similar books in Dutch - with history and explanations why. In judo... the book - for kids! - by Wil Lüschen is almost the only recent book, telling a little bit more about judo than just how to tie your belt and fight...

This post has been edited by Mitesco: 20 October 2011 - 08:48 AM




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#20 User is offline   wdax 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:00 AM

View PostMitesco, on 20 October 2011 - 10:46 AM, said:

... the book - for kids! - by Wil Lüschen is almost the only recent book, telling a little bit more about judo than just how to tie your belt and fight...


Rumors say, that it will be translated to german ;-)

Back to INK:

Quote

5) I don't know of course, but I once heard that the principles of INK are really difficult to grasp. Do we as Westerners have sufficient knowledge about the deep meaning to make adaptations without screwing maybe the whole kata up?


Some remarks. First I must say, that my personal opinion completely differs to the opinion of most of the "high-ranks". Let me explain.

1) INK originally is the display of the "five essential teachings/principles" of Tenjin-shinyo-ryu and considered to be the "last teachings" to achieve full transmission. How old were the students and how many years of practice they had when they were taught it? Usually the training started as kids and it tok about 10 years to full trainsmission. So they were in their mid 20s.... The idea, that it takes decades of training judo before starting to learn these principles seem a bit weird to me.

2) INK is a "learning" tool like every other kata. Einstein´s theory of relativity is far more difficult to understand then INK. But we teach it to 17/18 year old in school in a simplified, but not wrong from, and later in University more detailed. Are there limitations in understanding? Yes of course. Not all pupils in School understand the basics and not everybody, who understand the basics can understand the full theory in detail. So it´s fully acceptable - and must be done(!) - to break down the theory of INK to the level of understanding of the learners. Some will understand it on a basic level, others on a more advanced level with some "extra" points.

INK is a generalisation of basic principles, which are displayed by metaphers. In this way it´s abstract and find it´s concretion in application of techniques in combat and randori. Understanding of INK follows a two step pattern:
- what is the point of each of the five forms (what´s "content" and what is metapher)?
- how is this applied in randori/combat?

Another point is, that Judo itself is a system of (also) moral education. So INK in judo is expanded to a moral dimension.

I see no problem to explain these things to 16 or 17 year old youngster and give them a start. Of course he will not understand the complete thing, but he can grow with it. Years, maybe decades later, (s)he will understand more and more.

But the real problem is: INK is mystified, but it´s not so difficult...

It´s a tool for learning, so we must use it...
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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:42 PM

View PostMitesco, on 20 October 2011 - 09:00 AM, said:

Watching the video by mr Goldman, with the 'adapted' kata with music and texts, I must say I understand his effort trying to bring kata to the teenagers and the audience, but...
... maybe this is exactly what the discussion is about... with a lot of remaining questions:

1) Kano was very strict in tolerating modifications, as we learned. Why was he? Knowing the reason for that, gives a direction for the next point raised:
2) How far can we go in modifying, adapting? mr Goldman goes very, véry far. Are there limits? What are they? Why?
3) Kano was always very aware of the proper purpose of everything. Is an adaptation needed because of 'sei-ryoku zenyo' f.e. the specific shape of the judoka, or to please an audience, or just promotion? Is this INK-interpretation done with the right goal and so the proper means chosen?
4) What is the balance between an eventual advantage for kata promotion, and the counter-productiveness while modifying and creating an atmosphere which is not dojo/judo-like?
5) I don't know of course, but I once heard that the principles of INK are really difficult to grasp. Do we as Westerners have sufficient knowledge about the deep meaning to make adaptations without screwing maybe the whole kata up?

I think CK-sensei will be able to give an intelligent analysis about those points... and probably he will find even more questions...


Thank you for your comments – and posed questions. I would like to respond to two.

3. “Is this INK-interpretation done with the right goal and so the proper means chosen?”

If you are referring to the clip I put on, then I can say the following. (If you were not, then all the same I would hope you find my thoughts of interest as part of a debate)

The fact is there was never a goal as such in putting together INK as I have.. It was something, based on my experience and understanding of judo, as outlined in my previous post, I put together.

I see a lot of beauty in INK. I see it for it's physical beauty and for something less tangible that I find somewhat difficult to put into words here. We all see things differently.

I don’t think there has to be a specific goal or reason for doing something; it can just be part and parcel of one’s personal development.

The clip of the ‘performance’ was taken at an event where many different disciplines of the martial arts were on display in order to raise monies for a charity. If on my part there was a goal on that day, separate to that of taking part of an event to raise monies, then I suppose it was on that day to ‘entertain’ and show that there was more to judo than perhaps the audience and other martial arts exponents would be aware. A spin off of the event, from the clubs point of view, was that it did attract some new members.

4. “What is the balance between an eventual advantage for kata promotion, and the counter-productiveness while modifying and creating an atmosphere which is not dojo/judo-like?”

I am unsure of what you say here? (a) counter – productiveness? Can you expand here please? (b) Are you suggesting the atmosphere created by my adapting Itsutsu “is not dojo/judo-like”, or are you asking others what they think?

Wishing you well,
John Goldman
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#22 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:16 PM

Ok, my honest opinion.
That video is a perfect distillation of everything that is wrong with the way people do kata.
The only redeeming factor was the fine physical performance by the young people involved.

1. The techniques were modified. This is the most advanced kata of Kodokan Judo, I see your red and white belt but it seems a bit arrogant to think that you have the knowledge to modify this kata when even people like Mifune sensei did not. What you do in your own dojo is your own business, what you present to the public as Judo is another matter.

2. Why did you make the modifications to the technique? What are the reasons and basis for the modifications? How does it better express the riai, the core meaning of the kata.

3. Why all the stagecraft? Adding music to kata might in some cases be tolerable, but this was over the top. Why the keiko gi and hakama? I have seen old films of Kano sensei doing kata in hakama, is that what you were going for? All of that added stuff made very little sense and though I am sure though your objective was to make kata more accessible, you just added to a lot of misunderstandings about Judo.

4.What was with the story and the woman in the orange kimono? Made no sense to me at all. I do not mean to be cruel but this was one of the cheesiest presentations of kata I have seen so far.

5.I would suggest in the future that if you wish to express your understanding of Judo and wish to make some specific points that you develop a wholly original kata. It will be a more effective vehicle for your ideas and will avoid the problem of modifying what is really not supposed to be modified.

6. Kata is not a show. Kata is training, kata is doing Judo. The origin of publicly displaying kata lies in what are called embu. These were historically performed at shrines or the home dojo for the benefit of the gods and ancestors. If you do not feel that they meet your needs then you should come up with an original demonstration format.

7. Hopefully you will not take it too personally but I really hated your interpretation. :big grin:
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#23 User is offline   Mitesco 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:25 PM

Mr Goldman,

ad 3) Is kata an objectivation/(pre-)scripted of judo in your opinion, or a subjective approach, always open to what you feel/see/want?

What you say "I don’t think there has to be a specific goal or reason for doing something; it can just be part and parcel of one’s personal development," seems to me contrary to the major principles of the Founder, who made any personal development part of the wider purpose of judo, where all energy should be used in order to achieve that goal. Read the teachings of Kano! Very disciplined and in a certain order. And never without a specfic purpose/goal/aim!!! The goal defines the means, and no way just a subjective individual interpretation: judo is always related to others and the wide spectrum of multifocussed education. Or am I kidding?

ad 4) adaptation and modifying can imho be very counterproductive, if the goal of judo and/or the specific kata is neglected or not integrated well enough. As far as I understand kata, it's meant to be a very concentrated and focussed activity/learning tool, full of judo spirit and attention to your partner and the techniques. Who am I to tell you that maybe the music, the texts, the lights, is distractive, making the focus on the deeper meaning and goal of the kata more difficult. Imho the whole element of 'choreography' is one of the major mistakes considering kata at all. Kata is NOT dance, performance, theatre, it's real exercise, study and education. For me it seems counter-productive to learn kata that way. But as said, who am I, I'm just a mudansha/Dutchman...

But I would be very interested in your answer on question 2): could you share with the forum the reasons for your adapations, not only showing the result, but also your theory, and thus keeping attention to the point made by CK in the OP. "this thread is not about people, but about the idea in general and as it may apply to any kata. "

And so: why making those adaptations, and who is able to discern how far we can go and for what purpose? Like CK-sensei says inthe OP: "One would need an extraordinary understanding of jūdō that goes beyond its techniques, and of Kanō’s thinking in order to do so." Do you understand my question? I would like to see objective criteria for modifications, and not subjective, unless you can prove that subjective/individual feelings are a proper basis for judo techniques.



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#24 User is offline   Save Independent Judo Campaign 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:22 PM

View PostMitesco, on 20 October 2011 - 03:25 PM, said:

Mr Goldman,

ad 3) Is kata an objectivation/(pre-)scripted of judo in your opinion, or a subjective approach, always open to what you feel/see/want?

What you say "I don’t think there has to be a specific goal or reason for doing something; it can just be part and parcel of one’s personal development," seems to me contrary to the major principles of the Founder, who made any personal development part of the wider purpose of judo, where all energy should be used in order to achieve that goal. Read the teachings of Kano! Very disciplined and in a certain order. And never without a specfic purpose/goal/aim!!! The goal defines the means, and no way just a subjective individual interpretation: judo is always related to others and the wide spectrum of multifocussed education. Or am I kidding?

ad 4) adaptation and modifying can imho be very counterproductive, if the goal of judo and/or the specific kata is neglected or not integrated well enough. As far as I understand kata, it's meant to be a very concentrated and focussed activity/learning tool, full of judo spirit and attention to your partner and the techniques. Who am I to tell you that maybe the music, the texts, the lights, is distractive, making the focus on the deeper meaning and goal of the kata more difficult. Imho the whole element of 'choreography' is one of the major mistakes considering kata at all. Kata is NOT dance, performance, theatre, it's real exercise, study and education. For me it seems counter-productive to learn kata that way. But as said, who am I, I'm just a mudansha/Dutchman...

But I would be very interested in your answer on question 2): could you share with the forum the reasons for your adapations, not only showing the result, but also your theory, and thus keeping attention to the point made by CK in the OP. "this thread is not about people, but about the idea in general and as it may apply to any kata. "

And so: why making those adaptations, and who is able to discern how far we can go and for what purpose? Like CK-sensei says inthe OP: "One would need an extraordinary understanding of jūdō that goes beyond its techniques, and of Kanō’s thinking in order to do so." Do you understand my question? I would like to see objective criteria for modifications, and not subjective, unless you can prove that subjective/individual feelings are a proper basis for judo techniques.



Reading yours and others posts here and the reactions and posts on other threads, may I put a question to you?

**What would you, and others if they would care to comment, be saying if I had not made reference to Itsutsu no Kata in the video clip? What if I had said this was a demonstration of judo to music with a 'nice' story?

Re question 2 that you have asked me to answer to; "Why did you make the modifications to the technique? What are the reasons and basis for the modifications? How does it better express the riai, the core meaning of the kata."

As I explained, "With my experience and understanding of judo I have taken the principals of judo as a physical activity and coupled those with what I believe and understand to be the moral aspects and values of judo."

I never suggested, nor do so, that the modifications I made express the core meaning of the Kata in a better way.

In fact I have made no attempt to outwardly/visually express the core meaning of the techniques. Simply put, I took the principals of judo, not the "core meaning" of the individual techniques of INK, and applied those principals to the movements within the kata.

I hope I have given an answer that satisfies as I cannot say more.

I do hope you (and perhaps others who have judged the video) will answer the question I put above**

Thank you
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#25 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:47 PM

Well in answer to your question I would have thought, "wow this is just some weird version of itsutsu no kata" Then I would have thought you were just trying to take credit for something you didn't create.

As I noted before, you would have been far better off to simply create your own new kata from scratch.

The core meaning, the riai, are the principles of Judo. As Judo's most advanced kata, it is considered to be the distilled essence of those principles. When you modify the kata you mess with the expression of those principles. Itsutsu no kata is not about what you think, it is about Judo. No two people do the kata exactly the same of course. The way they do it is their individual expression of their understanding and ability to express the principles of Judo. No extra interpretation or costumes and music are necessary. If you think your audience is not able to relate to that then you should chose a different vehicle to express your message.

Oh, and if you wanted to represent Japanese peasants, a Judo gi is far closer to what they actually wore. Hakama were worn by samurai.

This post has been edited by Taigyo: 20 October 2011 - 04:48 PM

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#26 User is offline   Geoff 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:52 PM

View PostSave Independent Judo Campaign, on 20 October 2011 - 05:22 PM, said:

Reading yours and others posts here and the reactions and posts on other threads, may I put a question to you?

**What would you, and others if they would care to comment, be saying if I had not made reference to Itsutsu no Kata in the video clip? What if I had said this was a demonstration of judo to music with a 'nice' story?

Re question 2 that you have asked me to answer to; "Why did you make the modifications to the technique? What are the reasons and basis for the modifications? How does it better express the riai, the core meaning of the kata."

As I explained, "With my experience and understanding of judo I have taken the principals of judo as a physical activity and coupled those with what I believe and understand to be the moral aspects and values of judo."

I never suggested, nor do so, that the modifications I made express the core meaning of the Kata in a better way.

In fact I have made no attempt to outwardly/visually express the core meaning of the techniques. Simply put, I took the principals of judo, not the "core meaning" of the individual techniques of INK, and applied those principals to the movements within the kata.

I hope I have given an answer that satisfies as I cannot say more.

I do hope you (and perhaps others who have judged the video) will answer the question I put above**

Thank you


It was a bit of fun and a nice way to demonstrate judo to the uninitiated public, nothing wrong with that. The young people had a good time and the crowd was entertained, everyone's a winner. Nice one Mr Goldman :)

Kata is not a sacred text that can not be changed or deviated from, we should lighten up a bit and cut everyone a bit of slack. MIke Hannon made some great points on a previous thread on why, when using kata as a teaching tool we should not deviate too much from the established norms, at the end of the day who really cares as long as people are learning, progressing and happily engaged in productive, safe judo practice.
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#27 User is offline   wdax 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:54 PM

View PostSave Independent Judo Campaign, on 20 October 2011 - 06:22 PM, said:

**What would you, and others if they would care to comment, be saying if I had not made reference to Itsutsu no Kata in the video clip? What if I had said this was a demonstration of judo to music with a 'nice' story?


I don´t see, how this as anything to do with judo. It´s a showpiece and the audience seemed to enjoy it. ok - were is the judo?

View PostSave Independent Judo Campaign, on 20 October 2011 - 06:22 PM, said:

As I explained, "With my experience and understanding of judo I have taken the principals of judo as a physical activity and coupled those with what I believe and understand to be the moral aspects and values of judo."

I never suggested, nor do so, that the modifications I made express the core meaning of the Kata in a better way.

In fact I have made no attempt to outwardly/visually express the core meaning of the techniques. Simply put, I took the principals of judo, not the "core meaning" of the individual techniques of INK, and applied those principals to the movements within the kata.

I hope I have given an answer that satisfies as I cannot say more.


This statement makes everything chrystal-clear - what the kids showed, simply reflects the standard of your knowledge about judo in general and Itsutsu-no-Kata in particular. No need to further comment it.

Just a little point: The principles of judo are "core meaning" if itsutsu-no-Kata including of course including the "moral aspects and values of judo". No need to change the kata to implant something that the kata is all about...

(Taigyo was a bit faster then I was)
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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:58 PM

View PostTaigyo, on 20 October 2011 - 05:47 PM, said:

Well in answer to your question I would have thought, "wow this is just some weird version of itsutsu no kata" Then I would have thought you were just trying to take credit for something you didn't create.

As I noted before, you would have been far better off to simply create your own new kata from scratch.

The core meaning, the riai, are the principles of Judo. As Judo's most advanced kata, it is considered to be the distilled essence of those principles. When you modify the kata you mess with the expression of those principles. Itsutsu no kata is not about what you think, it is about Judo. No two people do the kata exactly the same of course. The way they do it is their individual expression of their understanding and ability to express the principles of Judo. No extra interpretation or costumes and music are necessary. If you think your audience is not able to relate to that then you should chose a different vehicle to express your message.

Oh, and if you wanted to represent Japanese peasants, a Judo gi is far closer to what they actually wore. Hakama were worn by samurai.



I don't entirely follow what you say. However, it does seem you have a very fixed view on what is right and what is not. Ok. We will leave it at that.

It will of course be interesting to hear what others say.
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#29 User is offline   icb 

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:07 PM

View Postwdax, on 20 October 2011 - 05:00 AM, said:

...

1) INK originally is the display of the "five essential teachings/principles" of Tenjin-shinyo-ryu and considered to be the "last teachings" to achieve full transmission. How old were the students and how many years of practice they had when they were taught it? Usually the training started as kids and it tok about 10 years to full trainsmission. So they were in their mid 20s.... The idea, that it takes decades of training judo before starting to learn these principles seem a bit weird to me.

...



I understand your argument here in terms of learning time-frame and transmission of teaching, but I think that problems arise because of the dan-grade system and decentralized nature of judo in contrast to the menkyo system and leadership of a koryu by a sōke. As I understand it, in a koryu the sōke has final say in what is the correct canonical form of every technique and kata, and the menkyo system describes more precisely who is qualified to teach what. In contrast, in judo we now have different judo associations in addition to the Kodokan, and consequently debates about who gets to decide what is the canonical form, as well as dan grades that make it less clear who is qualified to teach what. Consequently, modified forms of techniques and kata in judo might be passed on from generation to generation as if they were actually a true historical canonical form. Clearly some people don't have a problem with that, but others might care more about keeping a tradition of learning and teaching the historical forms, possibly in addition to learning and teaching newer versions.
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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:14 PM

View Postwdax, on 20 October 2011 - 05:54 PM, said:

I don´t see, how this as anything to do with judo. It´s a showpiece and the audience seemed to enjoy it. ok - were is the judo?



This statement makes everything chrystal-clear - what the kids showed, simply reflects the standard of your knowledge about judo in general and Itsutsu-no-Kata in particular. No need to further comment it.

Just a little point: The principles of judo are "core meaning" if itsutsu-no-Kata including of course including the "moral aspects and values of judo". No need to change the kata to implant something that the kata is all about...

(Taigyo was a bit faster then I was)



Sorry, but the "little point" you make; "The principles of judo are "core meaning" if itsutsu-no-Kata including of course including the "moral aspects and values of judo". No need to change the kata to implant something that the kata is all about...

is not crystal clear. It does not to me translate to English (no offence intended)

I would say that your assertion of my standard is rather presumptuous of you and as I understand is somewhat in conflict with how the initiator wished the tone of this thread to proceed.

But never mind, let it rest there.
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