Thread: 14 jo kata
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:29 PM   #18
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 35
Re: 14 jo kata

Erik Struys wrote:
The techniques as we train them in Aikido will change depending on how tall, how heavy or how strong the training partner is. Therefore I would not call this a kata training at all.
I would happily agree that there is no kata in aikido, though not for the reasons you cite. Indeed, some aikido schools don't refer to their weapons work as kata, in fact.

Kata ('form', as already mentioned) in the koryu arts are the pedagogical tool through which waza are taught. Kata certainly do require adjustment for how tall the opponent is, or how rough the ground is - you can't just do it rote and walk into the sword, neh?

Still, I hesitate to think of gendai arts as being kata-driven study. The koryu weapons kata were initially formulated by folks who were testing them on battlefields or duels. Historical drift notwithstanding, there was some sort of nonsubjective validation there. Aikido weapons have their pedagogical purpose, but they are profoundly removed from koryu weapons, and are not tested or - in this day and age - testable. Kata teaching (in my head at least) doesn't refer just to the method, but also the content. I can make up kata for my school of squirrel-ninja-jutsu, but ...

There's some in-between ground, of course. Kendo and judo have kata that connect back to koryu as part of the contemporary curriculm. Still, regardless of what one wants to call it, I can't really see koryu kata and gendai 'kata' as being the same thing.

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