Traditional Kata is fine. Nothing wrong with it. I spent a weekend a few months ago with Ushiro Sensei doing sanchin kata and learning alot of good structure and form.
For example, it is possible for one to go through the mechanics of Sanchin Kata and it can be totally "dead". Then you can have Ushiro Sensei perform it and it can be "alive".
Why is that?
Also, many might say that HIS Sanchin kata is "Advanced". What makes it advanced? ...especially when it is regarded as such a basic kata!
Imagine I taught you the typography of French and drilled you closely on the all the sounds, until you could read a passage of Baudelaire that would make a Parisienne literaire weep for beauty and her legs wobble in desire. And yet -- you would not have the slightest clue what it was you said -- the intended reference that the sound encodes would be missing. Most kata is like that -- except that kata movement is not quite
as divorced form what it encodes and so some hit or miss on getting it.
encodes what in some aiki
circles has been called asagao
. It is a mechanical principle shown by the thing that asagao
refers to -- the opening and closing of the morning glory blossom
. It starts extended longitudninally and torqued -- as with the end of the strike in sanchin
and then opens untorquing laterally, as with the withdrawal and chamber of the strike in sanchin
, and then slightly torquing to lock in the "open" position. The characteristic structural aspect is that extension in one axis is compensated by shortening in another axis coupling the two with the "internal" torque.
Both of these reciprocal movements are seen also in various sword work, but most notably in O-chiburi
-- where the "wringing" action of the hands on the tsuka extending it in seigan
is increased, and then the back hand released, the blade is opened widely, sweeping outward and forward -- untorquing initially from the release and and then torquing up to take up the momentum at the extension. Then the cleaning sling shortens and closes inward, untorquing initially and then torquing inward again in turn to take up the motion and bring the blade to rest -- but "sprung" in a sense -- and ready to move again from that position.
the same thing is going on in the lower body as well which is why the torqued-in pigeon-toe foot posture and "drawing" form of step -- it is an exaggerated aspect of the dynamic being traced out.