Do the other kata matter?

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
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shtook
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:41 pm

Do the other kata matter?

Post by shtook »

The founder mostly taught the pinan kata, kushanku, naihanchi, seishan and chinto. Do you think the other kata make a significant contribution to the curriculum?
Casper Baar
Wado heretic
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Re: Do the other kata matter?

Post by Wado heretic »

I must admit; this is one of the reasons I moved over to Shorin-Ryu. I found a very natural progression from the the Pinangata to Kushanku, and from Naihanchi to Seishan, and finally a bridging of those two paths of progression in Chinto. There felt as though there was a very logical progression in terms of difficulty, but also from the point of view of Tai Sabaki and Waza; they all presented variations on prior lessons, but had a continued connection. However, after Chinto; this, in my experience, devolved into a sense of the same old thing in new packaging. After Chinto; I found the stamp Ohtsuka Meijin had thoroughly placed in the kata prior began to disappear, and I could not find much difference between the Kata as performed in Wado-Ryu, and the variations performed in Shotokan and Shito-Ryu.

From the point of view of application work; I see value in practicing all the kata, as they provide new techniques and variations that brings a breadth of study to application work. However, one must beware overly applying the methodology of Okinawan Karate, to the Japanese phenomena that is Wado-Ryu. If I recall correctly; Ohtsuka Meijin was exposed to the conventional idea of Bunkai as he did remark that Funakoshi presented applications to Pinan Yondan on a regular basis. Also, Ohtsuka did study for a time with Mabuni Kenwa and Motobu Choki; both famed exponents of practical application of the kata, but also critics of simply taking movements from the kata and devising kumite from there. As such; I would argue the "Oyo" or hidden aspect of Wado-Ryu is very much in the paired kata, as I doubt Ohtsuka was ignorant of the idea of Bunkai or it's practice.

As such; I think a student of Wado-Ryu can get a thorough education from the nine kata that Ohtsuka Meijin came to emphasise, and the paired kata. I find it very telling that over time he reduced the number of kata he taught, and I think any modern student of Wado-Ryu should consider this thoroughly. With this said, however, the later kata do have unique sequences of movements, and distinct techniques not present in the initial 9 kata. As such, they are at least worth exploring.

Personally; I moved over to Shorin-Ryu, as each of the series of kata are very distinct. They have different ways of being performed, in terms of power generation, movement, and even seemingly analogous techniques have slight differences to better fit the kata. One can view each as their own system in many ways. It is something I did not find in Wado-Ryu; so I think that probably says the most about my opinion regarding the latter kata of Wado-Ryu.
R. Keith Williams
claas
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Re: Do the other kata matter?

Post by claas »

I agree to Wado heretics point about something changing after the nine. No wonder Otsuka sensei eventually thought and taught, the nine are the only katas in Wado.

Personally I have enjoyed the rest too and even had time-periods of focusing on a few of them. Then I choose ones, that have the most movements familiar from the core kata. The variations in some turnings and continuation-techniques from some stances sometimes give some ideas to the core katas, that are consistent with what I've been taught. New territory for familiar content.

If the Wadoka only trains a little, then perhaps it is best to even focus on some out of the nine more than others. Then it's difficult to fit in time for these, since you can't even train the nine properly. A Wadoka training a lot could train 5-15 % on these too. Just as an idea. In reality we do what we want to and hopefully sometimes what's best for us.

In regular class (even advanced), I would say less than 5% for these. Perhaps individual sequences could still be borrowed as a good drill for something. It really doesn't matter if the advanced class wouldn't even train each of these once a year. The ones who could consider training these, will find seminars or extra time for these too outside the regular club-training. And if not, then I guess it's not that important for them either.



Oh, one final idea...
I want to know these sufficiently so that if I'm on a seminar, I might learn more than just the steps. For some reason Rohai is the only one that's challenging on this level. Maybe I should walk it through a few times...
Lasse Candé
Helsinki, Finland
shtook
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Re: Do the other kata matter?

Post by shtook »

Thank you for your answers.

I think the first nine are enough but more is not too much. I think the kata teaches motor skills, structure, power-generation of different kinds. The first nine then have everything. Also the connection between these nie and our partnerwork is stronger. That said repetition, further exploration on the same path but a different embu can trigger the mind and give a new perspective.

Some kata are just nice, wanshu and bassai have a great rythm and are great for demonstrations, rohai and niseishi both have something deep, others like jitte and jion are less inspiring to me. I agree with Claas that it's nice to know these kata well enough to focus on the lessons during a seminar and not have to focus on learning the kata.
Casper Baar
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Re: Do the other kata matter?

Post by wadoka »

There is enough to do already but we shouldn't be bound by some esoteric boundary of the first nine kata, even tough that may have been Otsuka Sensei's words or sentiment, but none of us are to that level.
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