Friday 20 December 2013

Completely dedicated to kata

My training today was completely dedicated to kata. The session consisted of Heian-shodan; Heian-yondan; Tekki-shodan; the `Big Four’—Bassai (Dai), Kanku (Dai), Empi and Jion; and of course, Nijushiho.

In particular, I find the `Big Four’ extremely challenging due to their extreme technical diversity and unique `characteristics’. Like the Heian kata, they force me to face the weaknesses in my foundational techniques; albeit, in a more profound and merciless way. In this manner, one’s tokui kata becomes a real “treat”, a chance to shine a little, when practiced alongside these unforgiving challengers.

 Warm up: The session was tough as my junbi-undo (preparatory exercises/warm up) took much longer than usual: due to the extreme cold... Thank God for the new dojo! That being said, it was great to finally get warm and get stuck into training—the rewards of winter training.

 Training: Without undermining its utmost importance, Heian Shodan was used my `specific warm up’; subsequently, this led on to blasting out Heian Yondan, and Tekki Shodan. It was then onto Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai and Jion, which I only executed a couple of times each. Lastly, I extensively worked on Empi and Nijushiho.

Conclusion: I have to say that it was nice to spend an entire training dedicated to kata. Taken as a whole, I believe that the kata of karatedo are amazing tools for gaining a window of technical introspection; what is more, they are at the heart of self-training— the “key of self-motivation”—amongst long-time practitioners. These two points make kata invaluable and, for that reason, should not be forgotten in the overall context of budo (martial arts) training.
 © André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto, Japan (2013).

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