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isshinryu88
06-16-2002, 05:00 AM
I've seen a few references here and there regarding Kata in Aikido. My experience with Kata comes from Karate where a typical kata is a string of mostly related techniques that lasts up to a minute or so. Are kata in Aikido similar? Or am I misinterpreting the use of the word? Are there weapon katas as well as non-weapon ones (using my karate definition of kata that is)?

Thanks.

Jem8472
06-16-2002, 05:56 AM
Hi, in the dojo that I do Aikido we don't do any Katas. I think that Aikido is a very flowing art and to do set katas is not really what Aikido is about. It seems that in Aikido there are no rules about where you can move when an attack comes in so why just do katas? is it just to get a better belt??

I have heard stories of some ppl in some martial arts can get to black belt in about a year, just by learning the katas well for their grading. I don't know about anyone else but I would not want to get to black belt in a year.


Jeremy

Chris Li
06-16-2002, 06:51 AM
Originally posted by Jem8472

I have heard stories of some ppl in some martial arts can get to black belt in about a year, just by learning the katas well for their grading. I don't know about anyone else but I would not want to get to black belt in a year.


Jeremy

OTOH, it's not unusual for people to get to black belt in a year in Japan. I know people who have made ni-dan in about two years at Aikikai Hombu.

It all depends what you think a particular rank means - since there are really no widespread standards "black belt" has no particular meaning at all unless you know where and how the person in question is training.

Best,

Chris

deepsoup
06-16-2002, 07:23 AM
Originally posted by isshinryu88
My experience with Kata comes from Karate where a typical kata is a string of mostly related techniques that lasts up to a minute or so. Are kata in Aikido similar? Or am I misinterpreting the use of the word? Are there weapon katas as well as non-weapon ones (using my karate definition of kata that is)?


Hi Dave,

Most styles have some form of weapon kata, with the jo at least. A good example is the 31 count jo kata common (with minor variations) to many styles. Like karate kata it consists of a sequence of techniques and is usually performed as a solo excercise. It can also be performed as a paired kata, where an uke provides the attacks and counter-attacks to set those techniques into context.

Whether or not there are 'empty-hand' kata depends a lot more on which style you're looking at I believe. There seem to be quite a few excercises which are very 'kata-like', even if they're not strictly speaking kata.
(I'm thinking of Ki Society taigi and the Yoshinkan kihon dosa, but I dont know enough about either style to comment further.)

The style I study, Shodokan, does have formal katas, consisting of a sequence of techniques performed by two people, tori and uke.
The most fundamental kata in Shodokan, the randori no kata (aka junanahon) consists of 17 techniques in a logical order, and usually takes around 2 minutes to perform.

Sean
x

akiy
06-16-2002, 11:57 AM
There's an excellent article here on AikiWeb regarding "Kata Training and Aikido" by Diane Skoss:

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/skoss2.html

-- Jun

chadsieger
06-16-2002, 02:44 PM
Ms. Skoss essay is well worth reading. I not sure/care if she trains Shokodan, but everything she said makes perfect sense. How can you learn 360:circle:/eight directions better than with a kata?

PeterR
06-16-2002, 07:57 PM
It's a good article. Dianne has I believe a yondan from the Japan Aikido Association which means Tomiki but she has long since moved into Koryu. For that reason alone her perspective has added weight since kata is a very traditional means of training.

A kata is a pre-arranged form - it can consist of one technique to, well last Saturday I did one that contained 24 and that was only part of a larger one. It can be highly formalized or just a defined attack and response. Based on the above definition most Aikikai dojos learn by and practice with kata. It is the role of various forms of free practice (jiyu waza or randori) to break away from kata.

Shodokan kata tend to be more formal but are done at full speed. A look at Judo's Kime no kata will give you an idea of highly formal kata - ie. slow. A well performed kata is not just a series of moves but demonstrates a high understanding of ma ai, kuzushi and other basic principles of Aikido or whatever art is being practiced.

Jermaine Alley
06-21-2002, 03:58 AM
My memory seems to come and go at will now a days, so help me out...anyone.
I think that i read something about O'sensei not wanting to use Kata in Aikido because it limits practioners fluidity of movement and creativity in a way.
He was describing or writing about Takemusu Aikido or martial creativity in relation to or versus the pre defined techniques in Kata.
There are systems of Aikido that do utilize Kata as a way for beginners to understand fundamental movements I believe..(question).
j

PeterR
06-21-2002, 04:09 AM
Hi Jermaine;

Please read my previous post. I believe that all forms of Aikido use kata in their training.

Takemusu needs a fluid situation to develope. Randori in alls it's varied forms is meant to provide that situation. Anything else (pre-arranged attack and defence) is kata.

Bruce Baker
06-21-2002, 07:42 AM
Many of you are mistaken about the function of Kata.

Did you ever imitate the movements of, say, irimi while seated in sieza while an instructor was showing details of entering, then variations into a throw ... your immitation is kata.

It may be too simplistic to put it this way, but that is essentially the purpose of any kata, to give you a prearrange set of movements and forms that makes you aware of possibilities.

For that matter, every indidual technique you learn or practice could within itself be a kata, but with thousands of possibilities available for variations that would make you learn over ten thousand basic kata's ... how practical would that be? Not very.

Don't get caught up in trying to get a leg up in learning this kata or that kata. In most cases it will take over a thousand rounds of practice to begin to show a benefit or understanding.

Sure many people have put together some interesting movements that train body, mind, and make you aware of multiple attackers in different situations, but without foundation you are the fool dancing in the park doing 'Kung Fool fighting".

So take the time to learn your basics in hand to hand, and understand how they connect to bokken and jo practice ... then if you want to apply them to preset movement of kata you might be able to see the variations, or even the imaginary attackers the movements were meant to give you awareness to.

Sorry bout that, but eventually all kata's change or are changed, which is probably why calling a 31 count kata, or 22 count kata is a foolish thing. Most people don't who do kata take years to grasp the individual movements and adapt them to real situations even after they become teachers, which is another one of my pet pieves for awareness.

Should you pick up a kata outside of your normal classes, write it down, practice with open eyes, apply it to your foundations, then you might be able to see how you can take movements from it and apply somewhere else ... which I have always believed to be the purpose of saving certain movements in kata.

Which is why the Three Stooges are my hero's ... who else could make pain look so funny without causing other than minor injury to each other, outside of an Aikido class of course.

Ron Tisdale
06-21-2002, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Jem8472
Hi, in the dojo that I do Aikido we don't do any Katas. I think that Aikido is a very flowing art and to do set katas is not really what Aikido is about. It seems that in Aikido there are no rules about where you can move when an attack comes in so why just do katas? is it just to get a better belt??

Snip...

Jeremy
Seems you have some misconceptions...
From a post I did on e-budo sometime ago.

Back to kata... from "Dynamic Aikido", by Gozo Shioda:



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Though aikido is normally practiced in kata form, this does not mean that the movement is "dead"; on the contrary, each repetition must be effective. The essense of aikido practice is that both partners perfect their movements and try to obtain real strength by applying the techniques correctly. Though aikido differs from other sports in that it goes beyond the normal concepts of victory and defeat, the object of controlling the opponent and gaining superiority must never be forgotten. At the same time, as mentioned earlier, the aikidoka must always strive for "mental harmony".
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Now, here we have one of the "founder's" long time students, who trained with him both pre and post war, making a definitive statement about the use of kata in aikido. Shioda Sensei goes even further; from his statement, we can infer that it is through kata that "both partners perfect their movements and try to obtain real strength".

In my own experience, a technique that is truly controling, but done with flow, power and speed, is devestating to a partner who does not understand the proper movements. Even a technique built around 4th control, like suigetsuki yonkajo osae ichi or ni. This technique contains an atemi from shite to uke's face, which uke must block, or be hit by. And even though I consider 4th control to be a relatively "weak" control, if done with the proper body movement, especially on the 2nd technique, it is possible to slam your partner's face into the mat, even if you miss the actual pressure point.

Kata is not just one person performing movements regardless of what your partner is doing. It is two people harmonizing to produce one technique. One movement involving two people. If either one doesn't know their part, the possibility of injury goes up dramatically. Therefore, it is necessary for both people to learn the kata, slowly with focus and control. But that doesn't mean the movement stays that way...as both partners progress, the kata can be (and is) done with varying levels of speed, power, control, etc.

One of the complaints often heard about aikido is that "the object of controlling the opponent and gaining superiority" is sometimes forgotten. Properly performing the movements in a technique with "real strength" using kata is one way this complaint can be silenced.

Shioda Sensei again;


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thus, since aikido can be practised as energetically or gently as desired, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and both sexes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Quotes from pages 17 and 18 of Dynamic Aikido, Kodansha International, paperback edition, 1977.

Ron Tisdale

davoravo
06-21-2002, 01:51 PM
Dave,
If you now want to ask about "single person, without partner, empty hand movement sequences kata" I think the Yoseikan do some karate like kata. Sensei Ledyard should be able to reveal all.

PeterR
06-21-2002, 08:00 PM
Hi Ron - we meet in the strangest places.

There are also individual movements in Shodokan Aikido - unsoku (taisabaki) and tegatana dosa but I would call those exercies rather than kata.

Dean H.
06-21-2002, 11:17 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Bruce Baker
[B]Many of you are mistaken about the function of Kata.

______________
You seem to post fairly often and with a sense of authority. May I ask what is your rank in Aikido? What style(s) do you study?
How long have you been studying Aikido?
Thank you very much; this is all fairly new to me.

Andy
06-21-2002, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Dean H.
[QUOTE]
You seem to post fairly often and with a sense of authority. May I ask what is your rank in Aikido?
Bruce is 5th kyu.

Ron Tisdale
06-24-2002, 08:38 AM
Hi Peter,

Yep, I usually don't post here, just browse. But I needed to add some info under a seminar posting I had, so since I got an id, thought i'd use it. I read more than I post these days, for various reasons. Good to chat again,

Ron

Bruce Baker
06-24-2002, 10:41 AM
To answer one question, officially in aikido per testing certificates, I stopped testing after my second year in kyu ranks.

My own moral, and personal decision not to pursue rank as an ego rating for ability by the color of a belt. Training should never be to gain favor by your peers or teachers, but for your own polishing of the spirit ... so it has been for me ...

In the changing world of made up historys, omissions of facts, and misconceptions, I try to open your mind to how most of the inventions, or finds of this world merely bring to your attention things that were already there. So don't get all high horse about absolutely knowing this, or a style of fighting coming from that, it will change as time goes by.

I was taught to be open to finding why things work in martial arts, and find out how simular styles use simular movements to achieve different results. If you read, search, and study, then somewhere, in your middle aged decrepidation maybe, you too will reflect on your past musings and experiences in life, be they right or wrong, and tell long boring stories too.

Eventually, you will see no rank when you train in Aikido, or any other martial art, but you will see dedication, experience, expertise with almost no flaws, and people who happy to have you train with them. When that happens, politeness will be a formality of saying hello, even though it is still a bow in Aikido class.

So, for Kata ...

What do you see when you do a Kata given to you by someone?

Do you see a memorization of movements that don't mean anything, or defense/ offense of people attacking you, or do you see an interconnecting of physical movements training your mind and body for things yet to come?

These are only three of the things that I see when learning a new kata. I tend to learn in these three terms, but that is my way of learning, understanding, and remembering some of the depth of movements saved with Kata.

That is why I sometimes consider Kata to be a music. It can be changed, varied, jazzed, melodied (is that a word, too late now), harmonized, or rewritten any number of ways maintaining its original intent, just like music.

You can measure a person in the modern industrial way by the certificates on the wall, or the toilet paper degrees they hold as they go forth in the world and cry foul, or you can be just who you are and make a difference because you have a spiritual and moral fortitude that makes you a better person.

I am sorry that Andy Russo has to bitch and moan at everything I have to say, and it may not be in good taste to respond, but I hope that he will find a better attitude in training in Aikido before he dies. It would be ashamed to miss many of the fine spiritual qualities that allow Aikido students to make their lives better.

As for Kata, I hope to find a few more gems before my deteriorating condition forces me to change my lifestyle, like visiting with John Stevens, teacher and author, in July 2002 in PA.

Now there is a guy who gets into Aikido practice, with gusto.

Ron Tisdale
06-25-2002, 02:27 PM
Dear Bruce,

Nice post, and I hope to meet you at the seminar. You're right, John Stevens has a most joyfull attitude about his practise, and it is infectious. I look forward to training with you.

Ron Tisdale