paul watt (paw) wrote:
I'm not saying kata is bad or worthless. (read that a couple times, please) I've never said kata is worthless on this thread (read that a couple of times too) I'm saying that there is an environment (one that I'm going to call the "introduction stage" because the k-word is causing trouble) where I believe talking and examining: "what if", counters, timing, and the like is not a good use of time. That's all. <==== that last character is a period.
I guess kata is one of those words. Kata done at/as the "introduction stage" is quite different than it's full potential.
Let's discuss the use of "what ifs" at any stage.
Of course for a beginner this has as much reality (to use the car analogy) what would you do if a huge massive big truck decided to rear end you on purpose when (experience wise) you haven't even got out of the parking lot. However, as your driving skill increases three things probably happen. Firstly, you don't think of the "what ifs" as much; secondly, your solutions diverge from fantasy (360 degree spin, rev and play chicken) to reality (find twisty road quick); thirdly your what ifs probably run to more likely scenerios (kids leaping out between parked cars).
The what ifs in an Aikido setting, at any stage, do have a purpose in that they allow the student to feel relevance. The danger of course is that they begin to fool themselves - that of course is why we have advanced students.
Even at kyu grades we have free embu. In this situation you get to make up kata. For a kyu grade student to watch both free and fixed embu of higher levels the power and speed make their early attempts look down right silly.
As a side note I have seen certain jujutsu schools that teach literally hundreds of scenerios as kata. What ifs gone mad so to speak. I've also seen Aikido dojos that seem to bask in variations. Kata training done right can bring everything to a very high level.