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  • Kata in Kansai

    I was talking with Alex on the wekend about the lack of Kata in my 'Kendo Diet' at ther moment!! Is there anyone out there in the Kansai area who would be interested in starting up a Kata training group, say one sunday a month? We could also do a little jigeiko afterwards.
    What do you think?
    Lockie.

  • #2
    Kata in Japan (Osaka as well)

    I was in Osaka in for the better part of a year and a half practicing with Osaka University. For the entire time I was there we never practiced kata except the week before the test dates. I am curious if kata is emphasized nearly as much in Japan as in other countries. Although kata is mentioned all the time I did not observe much practice in the dojo. Was this just the dojo where I practiced or is this typical of kendo in Japan? Sorry this is outside the topic a little.

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    • #3
      Although I can't speak for every dojo in Japan, I would say that unfortunately your experience was representative of most places in Japan. I do know of some places where kata is heavily emphasised, but they are the exeption, not the rule.I have seen people who were attempting to go for third and fourth dan gradings actually learning, not revising, the kodachi kata, the day before the exam!! And I have spoken to Sensei involved in international kendo, regularly going outside Japan to teach kendo, and they say; "Foreigners can do kata better than us Japanese!" Also, I think kata is more heavily emphasised in gradings overseas. (ie: the number of kata you have to perform).
      So who wants to do some kata training, eh?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lockie Jackson
        Also, I think kata is more heavily emphasised in gradings overseas. (ie: the number of kata you have to perform).
        So who wants to do some kata training, eh?
        Um, isn't the number of kata one has to do for each rank standardized by the IKF? That is, 1-3 for ikkyu, 1-5 for shodan, 1-7 for nidan, and all 10 for everything higher. I suppose some federations may require kata for lower kyu tests, but that wouldn't really change anything.

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        • #5
          Not exactly sure what the case is now, but I remember grading for Shodan in Japan 1995, amd I only had to do Kata 1~3 inclusive. If I had graded for shodan in Australia, I would have had to do Kata 1~5 inclusive. I had to do Kata 1~7 incusive for my nidan grading in Australia, and I am lead to believe that it would have been kata 1~5 had I graded in Japan. I was graded on kata 1~10 for my sandan grading in Australia, athough it is my understanding that kodachi does not appear in kendo gradings until yondan in Japan. (but I am not 100% sure on this, I'll check it out, and stand corrected if I'm wrong!) If anyone does know for sure, let us know! We should probably be starting a new thread for this one!
          Anyway, who wants to train in Kata around the Kansai area?

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          • #6
            Curiouser and curiouser

            Well, that certainly is odd. Two years ago, two of my friends were in Tokyo as exchange students. They both studied kendo, and ended up getting ranked, one as ikkyu, the other as shodan. The one who received ikkyu had to do ipponme through sambonme. I'm pretty sure, though I'd have to check again, that the one who received shodan had to do up through gohonme.

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            • #7
              Perhaps it depends on the prefectural kendo renmei within Japan? I will check it out at training tonight, and give you a reply in the near future. Thanks for your input.
              Regards,
              Lockie.

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              • #8
                A number of years ago a guy from Japan came to my city to study at the university. He joined my dojo during the time which he was here. The confusing thing about this is that he was nidan but didnt know any kata! I didnt even think that was possible. Can kendoka in Japan get as high as nidan without kata nowadays?

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                • #9
                  Hi.

                  My dojo does kata quite often .... at almost every class. This year we've had a couple of japanese guests ...... we had a sandan who remembered ipponme (just), a yondan that could remember up until sambonme... and a godan who looked horrified when I mentioned 'kodachi' ......

                  Cheers,

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                  • #10
                    In our Sakurai-ha Kohgen Itto-Ryu dojo, we practice iaido, kata and shinai kendo on an equal basis at each training session - which tends to last well over 4-hours since we devote time to each art.

                    Because kata is part of our core curriculum, by the time our students reach Ikkyu, they are already very proficient at IpponMe through Nanahonme, and have a general understanding of all three of the Kodachi kata.

                    Our Soke always reminds us that the individual parts (meaining iaido, kata, shinai kendo) provide a greater understanding of the whole.

                    Regards,

                    Lito Ramirez

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                    • #11
                      Kata practice

                      Recently we had our semi-annual shisa. It was surprising how few people were really "good" at kata my self included. I have to admit I don't relish practicing kata and it seem I am not alone.
                      One quick story about kata I took sho-dan in Japan and in Osaka that only requires the first 3 kata and at that time that is all I knew well. I was in that states for three months I decided to attend a summer Gosh-ku. When I arrived I was ridiculed for only know the 1st three katas being that I was sho-dan. This would have been OK except the folks that were giving me a hard time were 3rd kyu and were not very good kendo players from an overall skill perspective. I would ask based on this discussion is kata really that important to being a good kendoist?

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                      • #12
                        Yes I would say its very important, if it was not why teach it.
                        I practice kata every morning and night for about 20minits.
                        I see kata as a form of discipline, in kendo I am very eager to attack which leads to my down fallEbut with kata when Shidachi (I think thats defender not to sure) you have to wait for Uchidachi to make his/her cut before you make the kill, from that I have learned to wait for an opening before I attack. As an ex soldier its easy to see the necessity of kata, its the foundation of all attacks or defence or even drawing your opponents attack out used in kendo, have you never used part of kata as an attack? Or seen your opponents use kata to build an attack?
                        I think musashi made a reference in his book to yonhonme about using an attack to draw your opponents attack out.
                        the point I am struggling to make here isEkata is more theory of how to do it right with out it your kendo would not be as good thats just the way I see it I have not taken a grading yet so would welcome any comments if I have totally go it wrong

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                        • #13
                          I agree that kata can be an integral training tool. First, kata teaches the importance of maai, and how to maintain it. Second, kata can teach proper tenouchi, posture, and zanshin. Finally, I think kata is very important in teaching how to effectively respond to various kamae.

                          Our dojo is of the classical, pre-World War II kendo tradition which demphasizes the sporting aspects of todays modern kendo. As such, we are taught from the very beginning to effectively fight not only in chudan but in gedan, hasso, jodan, yotoh, etc. as well. Why? Because proficiency in different kamae brings flexibility in both offense and defense. If you always fight in the same kamae, your opponent will always know where the strike is coming from and where it is going.

                          Whenever I keiko with my modern kendo friends, they always seem rather confused whenever I drop into gedan; lest to say that they also always tend to freeze whenever I take jodan because they have faced this kamae very few times and are unsure on how to respond to it. When was the last time you saw someone take any other kamae except chudan during shiai? Maybe jodan from time to time, but hardly ever gedan or hasso.

                          Please don't ge me wrong; I enjoy modern kendo shiai immensely. I admire it for its speed and its intensity, and it is simply amazing to watch.

                          For me, kata does an excellent job in teaching the inherent effectiveness of each of the different kamaes and provides a more broader complement of possible strikes and counter-strikes to choose from.

                          Regards,

                          - Lito Ramirez

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                          • #14
                            Hasso and gedan

                            Lito,

                            That is an interesting point about confusion and other postures. I had a chance to play with a few "pre-war" kendoist while at the University of Utah. A group headed by Dave Beblanco came to the dojo for a visit. It was interesting to play against hasso and gedan. I guess from an efficiency standpoint chu-dan and jodan are just plain faster, however in the right hands hasso could be deadly (effective). As for Jodan, I see more and more young students playing from Jodan and even ni-to. Thanks for the response.

                            Durrell

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                            • #15
                              Durell -

                              Could the gentleman's name be "David Diguanco?" If it is, I know David very well because he is a member of our ryu (Sakurai-ha Kohgen Itto-Ryu), and is the sensei at our sister dojo at Weber State University (also in Utah).

                              Regards,

                              - Lito
                              Last edited by Lito Ramirez; 14th March 2002, 08:18 AM.

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