Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

aikido articles


dojo search
image gallery
links directory

book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews


rss feeds

Follow us on

Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Training

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Thread Tools
Old 01-13-2003, 08:06 AM   #26
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Hi Paul,

You're right, a few minutes on the mat would probably do wonders. Perhaps you are just not familiar with the way some of us perform "kata". I'm not sure that it always translates to the "introduction" phase. If that's the way you use it though, nothing wrong with that.

I've been hit in kata, I've hit my partner...its sure not something to brag about in either case, but it happens. Especially when pushing the envelope. Kondo Sensei refers to something called "promise training" which I think describes well the upper limits of what is possible by kata training. Its the kind of thing you do only with someone you know and trust really well. I've seen an entire dojo with two different groups of MAists go absolutely stone cold silent watching a partner and I do "kata" training. And I'm not even that good.

Ron Tisdale

Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2003, 12:50 PM   #27
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Mesa, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 199
I guess I am still willing to discuss this idea with Paul. (Please excuse my digression.)
Paul wrote:
Now, it's very easy for nage to not get hit in the side of the head. Nage can take both hands, cup the back of their head just above the ears, interlock their fingers and point their elbows straight in front of their face. Nage's forearms now protect the side of their head, so any attack will hit their forearm and not their head.
What if the uke is holding a sharp implement? The kata teaches what to do in a variety of situations, not just how to deny uke the opportunity to whack him upside the head.
Paul wrote:
Now, uke can very easily deny ikkyo to nage. As soon as uke strikes they can deliberately fall on their back before nage can even respond to the strike (action is faster than reaction). No ikkyo there.
Then uke's real attack was to touch nage and then fall down. No yokomen there. And I know that if you fall onto your back while I have contact with your arm, you might be minus an elbow due to your own body weight. That is a skill that is developed through kata, not a result of big muscles, a natural inclination to scrap, or a tough demeanor (of which I have zero).
Paul wrote:
Both of these behaviors are easy to do, take virtually no training, and make the exercise completely pointless.
I don't want to sound disrespectful of the people who are teaching you Aikido, but I would venture a guess that you've just never been challenged by someone who could stand you on your head with ikkyo or any other technique at will, regardless of how fast you attack or what counters you try to perform. You probably won't without having someone hurt you.

That's okay, it shows a strong spirit, and I admire that. My first martial arts teacher was the same way, had both of his wrists sprained by Kisshomaru Ueshiba from kotegaeshi. If you want to start your own training philosophy, then all the more power to you, but please don't say the method doesn't work if you have never defeated it in principle and application against world class people.

Jim Vance
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2003, 01:49 PM   #28
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768

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.

Think about the name of the stage "introduction". I'm thinking this is the stage we (as aikidoka) should be in when we show someone ikkyo for the first time, or koshi for the first time, etc.... If students are familiar with ikkyo or koshi or whatever, then there's no reason to be in the introduction stage that I can think of.

Does that clarify things?

As for the rest of your post, I'm going to write it off as our continued misunderstanding. Does that seem fair to you?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2003, 03:41 PM   #29
TomE's Avatar
Location: Belgium (EU)
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 35

I see I've missed a bit while I was away. Other people have already brought forward some of the points i was going to make, so I'm not going to repeat them.

Paul, I have to say that your "learning to drive a car comparison" seemed a bit off... according to the definition you give here, nobody above 5th kyu would be doing any more kata.

But let me just recycle the "car" analogy to clarify my own point of view...

First, you go sit behind the wheel, and your instructor will point out what everything is, what it's for and how you use it. This is the wheel, it turns like this, this is how you change gears, this pedal is the brake, etc. In a car, that takes about ten minutes. In aikido, we start by explaining and showing a newbie some of the basics: this is kamae, this is tenkan, here's how you do shomen uchi, etc. The main difference is that in aikido we don't explain everything before moving on to the next level - instead, we explain every new technique as it comes along. This is the intoductory stage you describe, but it's not yet kata as I would define it.

Then comes the next step - and this is where, IMO, kata begins: integrating all these elements into a process that is more than the sum of it's parts.

In the car, this is where you start it up and begin using your new knowledge to drive the thing. And I can tell you, a driver who sits behind the wheel and tries to analyze everything as he goes along will be a crappy driver - much like the caterpillar who could no longer walk as soon as he started wondering which foot he had to move first. In a car, you'll now start driving around (at the end of my first two-hour driving lesson, I'd already spent one hour on the road, although at a leisurely pace and in only moderate traffic), see what you can and can't do (estimating distances, taking turns at the right speed, moving between obstacles...). In short, this is where you start applying your new knowledge to interact with your environment. Just like in aikido practice, kata are where you have to extend awareness of your actions beyond what you're doing, to also include your partner - and eventually, your whole environment. Without that, you're just mimicking things without doing anything that "works", and while that may be a form of practice, it doesn't fall under my definition (or many others', apparently) of "kata".

In short, what I'd call "kata" is the process where you integrate everything you've learned so far, and where you will practice this until you begin to grasp the principles that lie behind the form - eventually, ideally, entering a stage where you go beyond the formal restrictions and can act spontaneously, applying what you've learned without even having to consciously think about it - which would be jiyu-waza/randori in its highest, purest form.

I see all this as one long, organic process, and the boundaries between the three stages I described here are vague at best - as you gradually move away from one, you'll slowly move more into the next, except that you never really leave or enter one because they're not really separate (this is where the concept of "beginner's mind" becomes so much more important, I guess). I just wonder if you're not limiting yourself too much when you hold on to your definition of practicing kata as merely an "introduction stage".

Other analogy: I'm a graphic designer, and I've discovered the same similarities between aikido practice and free-hand drawing (=martial art & graphical art) - start by learning what your tools are and what you can do with them (=intro), then learn to look and analyze, and let your hand draw what your eyes see (=coordination, integration = form = kata), and eventually just draw what you see without hesitation, stop thinking about things like perspective or anatomy, or how to hold your piece of charcoal - and it'll work, because these things have become a natural part of the process and they'll happen naturally without you having to "control" them. The same principles apply to everything, really. Drawing from an analytical point of view and trying to focus on the many technical details will get you nowhere (trust me, I learned that the hard way), just begin without worrying about the result (or whether there should even be a result) and do it. If you fail, do it again, without holding anything back - eventually all the pieces will click into place.

I'd like to rant on, but it's getting late and I need sleep now. And anwyay, I think it's getting clear that we're just bickering over the meaning of a little four-letter word, not the process of aikido study itself ("any discussion, if continued long enough..."), and i've been talking way too much about aikido and doing far too little of it. Later, when we're both 8th dan, we'll laugh about this


  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2003, 04:18 PM   #30
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768

I appreciate your post. I honestly, sincerely, appreciate your post. Much of it is again, "what Paul says is kata isn't what kata is", as I understand your post --- and I don't necessarily disagree with that. I regret using the k-word and should have begun with Thorton's terminology, which is "introduction stage".

I'll conceed that the car example wasn't a good one and let it go at that. In the past, I've often used sporting examples or examples from other martial arts/styles and tend to receive 3 or 4 posts about aikido not being a sport (can't win for losing....). And I agree that at this point were talking about definitions, not processes.

As for 8th dan, well, when you get there, let me know and I'll buy you a pint (or two).

Warm Regards,

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2003, 06:32 PM   #31
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
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.
Hi Paul;

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.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2003, 11:39 AM   #32
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Paul, I think one of the difficulties with 'what you call kata is not what I'm talking about' is that you were pretty specific in your definition.

Kata, you say, is when the attack and the technique are proscribed. That is also kata for me. I find that, within that structure, there is much room for work on timing. For a student on their first day, that might not be the place to focus, although working with a beginner that is often a great place for me to focus.

So, I guess I'm not sure I understand what it is that you are referring to. Whether you call it an 'introductory stage' or 'kata' or whatever. If all you mean by it is 'proscribed techniques' then I don't think I agree with you. If you mean 'before the student is ready to understand timing,' then I might agree with you but I would say that you are speaking tautologically. We could also discuss whether there is such a stage, which is a different question.

Yours in Aiki
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2003, 03:02 PM   #33
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768

et tu?


As I posted earlier I regret using the k-word. Forget I ever said it. Instead, I should have used Thronton's language, which would be introduction stage.

If you still don't understand, the only thing I can do is let Thornton speak for himself.

In anticipation of the various questions that will follow, let me re-post a previous section on what we call, for lack of a better word, 'I' method.

As an example, I will use a footlock (achilles lock). But you could use any *thing* or any combination of *things*


All the fine points of the basic footlock are taught. Grip, position, and WHY it works. The WHY is important. Again we want to teach people to think for

themselves. So teaching an athlete why a joint must be immobilized first, prior to

breaking it, explains the position first principle. Why you pinch your knees

together. Why you are on your side and never on your butt, etc.

This should take anywhere from 10-15 minutes, per position.

--- from Matt Thornton
There is no resistance in this stage it is completely cooperative and therefore, timing is skewed so much so that this isn't an effective use of time to worry about timing issues.

In case you are wondering, there are two following stages that Thornton then progresses to, where timing would be a worthwhile topic of study. If you think it helpful, I'll add them.


  Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2003, 04:21 PM   #34
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Actually, that helps a lot. I'm not sure we 'see' this stage you are talking about very much in AiKiDo (at least not the AiKiDo I've experienced), although there are occasional students for whom it is a necessary first stage and occasional exercises that sound sort of similar to it.

In general, the AiKiDo I've experienced has not used 'no resistance' or 'comnpletely cooperative' as an introductory stage or a training tool for beginners. Rather, it tends to be more of an aspiration of the advanced students, never quite reached.

Yours in Aiki
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Takemesu Aiki -> Basics? drDalek General 19 06-09-2004 06:50 PM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:07 PM.

vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2018 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
Copyright 1997-2018 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate