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Kata Crazy!!!

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  • #46
    Josh, thanks for that. I really don't know but I *think* kata in kendo is practiced exactly the opposite of the way you described - that first comes technique, later comes intent. But I'm really not sure if that's how it "always way" or "was always supposed to be." At any rate, this seems to be how I was taught and am coached by Japanese sensei, with an emphasis on technique and only later with feeling - which is not to say they aren't practice intently but just that's where the emphasis is.


    • #47
      About a year ago, I had a discussion with the other instructors about the need of a uniform cool-down, initially from concerns from how to be safer from more intensive training. After analyzing our practices and what could be used as a cool-down, we decided to start doing kata for approximately 15 minutes at the end of our advanced practice, almost every practice. Now, its only on fairly rare occasions that we miss doing kata now, normally when we run out of time doing something else. Mind you we also instituted a change where we also do some form of kakarigeiko or an equivalent every practice, so we redesigned our later practices to be more intensive in the front.

      When we made kata a deliberate part of our practices for more than one reason, it became more an integral part of our weekly routine, and its been very useful fora number of different reasons. I also think that its made people's kendo better overall, not just their kata.


      • #48
        To add on to the discussion Josh and Charlie were having I'd say we practice kata combining both worlds. We emphasis correct technique but also spirit. We often explain that you cannot approach kata as a set of exercises but to approach it as a real fight. We explain that not all uchitachi are going to have the same timing and movement and that as a shitachi you must be intent upon your 'opponent' and use your best timing based on them, not on what you know is going to happen. you must approach each cut, both as uchitachi and shitachi, as a realistic cut with proper extension, motion, posture, foot movement, placement, etc. So technical skill and spirit are both addressed simultaneously.


        • #49
          just a little playlist I put together that has a detailed explanation on how to do the kata, I only have 1-7 on the playlist but i'm sure there are more if you look around


          • #50
            In my club there is a heavy focus placed on kata. It would be unusual for a member to move into bogu without knowing 1-7 at least.


            • #51
              i agree totally on studying kata as often as possible. but here it seems that clubs cater more for the kids and so dont bother with kata. they leave it to the junior high school teams. im just getting 1 and 5 confused a little now. 2,3 and 4 im fine. 1 and 5 are too similar.


              • #52
                Ive finally cracked it!!! with only 20 minute short teachings after practice with one teacher - ive managed to remember both sides and can execute them confidently!!! 20 days before my test and 7 more practices to go i feel i will be confident on the day!!! i was even teaching my 9 year old daughter 1-5 kata. hmmmm probably all forgoten tomorrow ( me...... ) but if my daughter reminds me everyday i can practice without a teacher.
                finally im confident in what im doing!!! i wasnt for my shodan and let the seminar before teach me.....this time the seminar will be to boost my confidence and help others. im feeling very pleased!!!! thank you all for your on going support!!!!


                • #53
                  If you go through them a couple of times each day, even if it's just in your head, it should help with retention. Gambatte with your grading!


                  • #54
                    Congrats! Frankly, let, you can do kata by yourself, just going through all the steps.


                    • #55
                      I attended training at the 37th Australian Kendo championships. Roughly a third of the seminar was focused on kata over two days.

                      During the training, one of the sensei was talking about the 'kata story'. I was very interested as I had only heard the first part before. It is the story of the two meeting on the bridge, and neither being willing to give way, so they draw swords. Also, I am paraphrasing from several months ago, if my representation here is incorrect, it's my own misunderstanding.

                      After the first kata, the shidachi reflects back on what happened. They feel that 'killing' the uchidan was wrong and resolves to find a better way.
                      In the second kata, the shidachi 'injures' instead of killing. But they still feel that there must be a better way.
                      In the third kata, the shidachi defeats the spirit of the uchidan. They are able to win without leaving a mark on the uchidan's body.

                      Understanding the meaning behind these three kata has helped my kata to improve, and I am interested to know the rest of the kata story. I searched on the Internet but couldn't find it. Is there anybody who could share it here, or point me in a direction to find out more?


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by verissimus View Post
                        Does anyone know how to get in touch with the author (Stephen Quinlan)? I'd like to post a link to this document on our dojo website, but I am not sure if it's meant for public circulation, since I couldn't find an explicit link to this document on
                        Very late to the party, but mr Quinlan is both a member of these fora ("Steve") and is also on Facebook. No doubt he can also be reached through the Kingston Kendo club.


                        • #57
                          I'm flattered that people wish to use the little kata booklet I put together, really.

                          /begin official disclaimer

                          As a disclaimer, please use it as a more. While I attempt to keep the descriptions in line with what the AJKF recommends, it may or may not conflict in some details compared to that of your own sensei, so obviously please follow your senseis teaching. Any errors are my own.

                          /end disclaimer

                          The booklet was put together to aid the students at my current club, Kingston Kendo Club, and in particular my previous club the Halifax Kendo Club. It is by no means an official guide of any sorts.

                          It is updated periodically with error corrections and refinements to the descriptions, etc... so if interested please check to make sure your copy is the most up to date.

                          The booklet is free to use with a few small caveats:

                          (1) You may not sell or make profit directly or indirectly through the use or distribution of the booklet.
                          (2) You may not alter the booklet. Any errors, comments, or suggestions you can send to me directly and I'll work on adding them to the next version.
                          (3) If you wish to reference/post/use a clip or specific part or image of the booklet, please add a link to the whole booklet as well as a section, subsection, and page number from where it occurred in the original. Preferably the booklet is linked as a whole.
                          (4) You may link the booklet to your dojo website however I ask that you:
                          (a) Link from the Kingston website directly, either our kendo info section ( or to the document directly (
                          (b) Please send me a link to your website. This is more of a personal thing as I simply enjoy seeing how many places around the world people end up finding this thing.

                          That's it. Please enjoy, and again I'm flattered!

                          Originally posted by verissimus View Post
                          Does anyone know how to get in touch with the author (Stephen Quinlan)? I'd like to post a link to this document on our dojo website, but I am not sure if it's meant for public circulation, since I couldn't find an explicit link to this document on


                          • #58
                            Hi Steve. I've linked the book over here -> (at the bottom)

                            I've also refered to your "Fundamental theorem of kendo" article through my own site ->