Thread: appearances
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Old 01-12-2003, 12:01 PM   #20
jimvance
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Mesa, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 199
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This is not an attack...

Okay, let's dissect this a bit, because I want to know a bit of where Paul is coming from. I am not trying to wholesale refute what you are saying, maybe just come to a consensus by offering my thoughts on your premise.
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...In an environment where nearly everything is defined (who attacks, who defends, what the attack is, what the target of the attack will be, what the response to the attack will be) is a kata environment (which may not be the best word to use.....)
So far so good, that is a good, loose definition of the kata method.
Quote:
Paul wrote:
... I submit that such an environment is not the place to worry about timing. If you know that I'm going to strike shomen to the top of your head, it's very, very easy for you not to get hit by a shomen strike on the top of your head, regardless of our respective skill levels.
Stop. I agree, I think shomen strikes are a waste of time, but that is just my opinion, no disrespect meant to anyone. Yes, it is easy to see and avoid a shomen strike, especially if it is slow. And if you simply want to avoid the "slow" strike, timing is not that important. But not getting hit is pretty easy, just don't be there. That is not really Aikido training, that is just common sense. We learn that in kindergarten when they tell us to look both ways before crossing the street.

Unless you belong to the school of thought of "get off line and clobber the guy", the technique requires you to take advantage of some portion of the attacker's (let's call him "uke") posture, balance, and energy. I think everyone in Aikido will agree with that, regardless of my views of "shomen strikes". It's like running a relay race. You can run really slow when you are passing the baton, and it doesn't take too much focus, but timing the handoff is still a factor. Uke is trying to give you something. If you ignore the gift and just clobber them, you aren't doing Aikido..
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...This training environment, as Ron noted earlier, is a set up. It ain't real. I'm convinced it's a waste of time to try and make it real by taking about "what if?".
Exactly. For that matter philosophers are still trying to figure out what is "real". But in kata, there is not room for "what if", if everything is set up. The people who created the kata saw to that, or at least the good ones did. I think this is probably where your definition of kata blurs, but I don't know you or your instructor, I am just going out on a limb.

Kata isn't just a diagram you lay on the floor like when someone is trying to learn some dance moves. They are typically designed by people who spent many years studying what worked and why it worked and used kata to factor out the dangerous elements in favor of learning the things that worked. I feel like this element (or elements) is missing more and more, much in the same way things get lost when passing information through the grapevine.

When people depart from what is dictated through kata, the "what if" phenomena occurs. It is both participants' responsibility to ensure adherance to the kata; in koryu practice, this is predominantly uke's (uchi tachi) role. That has been lost in the world of Aikido, and uke is the throw dummy most of the time. People only get to do Aikido 50 percent of the time, then they switch and become uke for the other 50 percent. That is really too bad, uke has a very important role to play in keeping the kata dynamic.
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...What this environment (kata) is ideal for is instruction. It's perfect for that. It may even be vital for instruction. So let's work cooperatively there for however long it takes (probably 5 - 15 mintues).
It is also ideal for creating neuromuscular memory that combines elements of spatial and temporal awareness.
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...After that, let's take this technique that we've been instructed on and put it in a dynamic environment or a drill or a scenario and work on timing there (the majority of the class).
This is just my definition of kata. Your definition is just smaller, less inclusive. I am not sure if it would actually be called kata. I think you are just talking about instruction and modeling. Modeling someone a few times is not what I would consider definitive kata practice, although it is part of the kata method.
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...Here we can create an environment where it's ok not to succeed, where people can play and see what works for them. In this dynamic environment it's ok to reverse your partner, it's ok to change to a different technique, it's ok to get thwared and all those other things that happen and cause the "is this person a jerk because when we train they...." posts that appear here on a regular basis.
This is where I spend most of my time in kata practice, although the line gets blurred into randori a bit. The emphasis is more on doing something correctly as much as I can. I work in a restaurant, and any good cook or server will agree with me. The food is never the same (in reality, you can't serve the same food twice, now could you), but each plate should look consistent with what the menu and the recipe dictate. A BLT is just another form of kata; would you like fries or a salad?
Quote:
Paul wrote:
...(alive, functional, and motivated uke) cannot exist in an environment where they are: 1. "uke" 2. have a specific attack 3. with a specific target .... because those things define a kata, and kata ain't dynamic.
If I told you to put an apple on your head and hold still while I hit the apple with a throwing knife, even though you are "static", your activity would be pretty dynamic, wouldn't you agree? Why? Because there are always the factors of human error and random happenstance involved, and you just might get hit between the eyes. That is kind of like kata. Real kata takes the idea of timing into account and adjusting it to the above circumstance would be more like: Put the apple on your head and walk across the room and I will use the knife to knock it off your head while you are moving. That is "real kata". And maybe I am again going out on a limb, so I don't mean to offend you, but I just don't think you have ever been exposed to it.

Jim Vance
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