Sunday 14 June 2020

序の型 (Jo no kata)... Not NEEDED, but valuable lessons

序の型  (Jo no kata) is a simple kata for initial kihon training, developed by Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei.

明鏡 (Meikyo Kata) a formal exercise 'reflective' of the loftiness of kihon.
In the case of IKS (International Karate Shotokan), Jo no kata is one of our non-syllabus kata: like Gyaku-zuki no kata, Shinken, Kihoken, Kyakusen, Ransetsu (Rantai) and so forth. That is, they are 'training kata' which are not permitted for selection during examinations. We use these kata periodically to enhance our kihon practice.

With this context in mind, Jo no kata provides an alternative 'kihon template', which if used well can be very beneficial: not only for beginners, but also periodically for veteran karate instructors.

Today's training for me was mostly kata.... Foundational formal exercises, namely: Jo no kata, Heian Shodan and Junro Shodan. From all three of these kata, the main focus was KIHON. While it is not necessary to do Jo no kata, if it is fully understood as Asai Sensei taught it:  it can have immense benefits. Especially in regards to technique, stance and movement 'interrelationships'. I repeated these kata many times and lost count as to how many, To wrap up, I went through Meikyo and Yokotawaru-tatsu to relax.

My kihon practice today was just the five main forms of back roundhouse kick: (1) Ura mawashi-geri with the rear leg; (2) Ura mawashi-geri with the lead leg; (3) Ushiromawashi-geri with the rear leg advancing - mid range; (4) Ushiromawashi-geri with the front leg (outward spinning then advancing) - close range; and (5) Ushiromawashi-geri stepping up with the rear leg - long range. Please note the three basic usages of the jiku-ashi/sasae-ashi from my videos. Ushiro-geri precisely follows this pattern. I spent very little time on this part of my training, I feel between five and 10 minutes at the most.

Returning to the majority of training in this session: Kihon-gata. My belief is that I am a permanent beginner and this is the heart of 'Jo no kata' for veteran karate instructors and elite competitors alike. I am not happy with my karate in 2019. 2020 is level up, and next year I will not be happy with 2020. Every year our technical skill must increase, not only in our mind, but by tangible/measurable outcomes, which are objectively observed then objectively re-evaluated.
Many people ask why I always get better and better: year after year. The answer is hard work coupled by a truly scientific approach to practice/training and, of course, having the best mentor. These elements get real results; however, most prefer to 'merely be members of groups' and hide their karate behind brand labels. My advice for everyone is to return to kihon and return to seeking self-maximization. True understanding of Jo no kata actually teaches this, but this lesson, by most, will largely be ignored.
© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2020).

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