Changing kata - Improvement or destruction?

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
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Changing kata - Improvement or destruction?

Post by claas »


I have previously learned two different ways to move as a result of the opponent making his second punch in Kihon kumite 4.

One of them is leaning back and the other one is more moving away from the line with your body straight. In both of these, you twist in such a way that your right shoulder moves back. (Turn your body clockwise, seeing from above.)

In my opinion these two version could be seen as the same fundamental kata, the leaning perhaps happening incidentally depending on the punch and the taisabaki, so I don't see a problem in these two versions co-existing.

A while ago I learned a third version though. A very good technique where you turn your body the other way (counter-clockwise) and just move to the side to a good position. So the block goes to the opposite direction in relation to your body. (Still a left hand uchiuke.) You get a very good quick taisabaki and have possibilities for counter attack so it's a good variation of some of the principles at play.

I still have a small problem with this version, that I'm hearing some high-ranking wadoka teach. Of course I'm hearing this second-hand, so I'm not sure about the context. It could be meant to be just a variation, which would be fine.

The problem is, I have always felt Kihon kumite 4 is defined by that rotation and perhaps even the leaning back. Otsuka sensei and many other sensei as well can be seen demonstrating a variety of techniques where they lean back. Also we have a kokutsudachi, where we lean back. Then, when making a system of kihon kumite, my guess is Otsuka sensei wanted to get this lean back principle and the attack of the uke is just a way to get this stuff happening. It should also function against round attacks to the head, I suppose.

So what do you think, is such an approach where you take the elements...
- the same two attacks from the uke
- left hand uchiuke
- the entering after the block
...but change the taisabaki during the uchiuke fundamentally the same kata anymore? Because I have thought those elements are the ones to change and the main principle is the taisabaki.
Is this an improvement or just changing the whole kata?

In my opinion this is like changing Kihon kumite 1 to such a version where you first do the kihon kumite 2 -gedanbarai and then counter with a gyakuzuki. I guess we all agree that that would fundamentally change the kata?
Or that we would just change our kokutsudachi to a version where we don't lean back anymore...

I still gotta say, I liked the technique, but I certainly don't think it's the same one.

I guess this fundamental changing is also happening in the final kick in Chinto. What used to be a yokogeri seems to now be a maegeri. And perhaps the bigger difference is that when you start the uraken you are already committed to do the kick. Don't have the book here now, so I can't tell if the kick and the uraken are now a combination or a different count...

Any thoughts?
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Re: Changing kata - Improvement or destruction?

Post by wadoka »

Just got time for a quick reply.

I think variants are always nice to play with as long as the core is understood and people have the ability to manage the exploration.

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