Paper Tgers

I’m constantly unsubscribing to martial art pages, people and groups that ridicule others. Often someone will post a video of karate ‘bunkai’ application to a kata from up to 40 years ago and then ridicule it. I was practising Karate (that’s me in the photo with Takimazawa Sensei) and working security in the 70’s and knew that the kata had to be studied and what was demonstrated was not practical and only a demonstration for shows. Pairs work was to drill practical skills safely and was not exactly how it would be applied in the street. We practised the ‘art’ … Continue reading Paper Tgers

Making Sense Of The Universe With Kata/Form

“As Above – So Below” In ritual magic you affect the macrocosm by understanding and changing the microcosm. If you want to really understand kata/form and what was in the mind of the originators and you have enough knowledge – try inventing your own. Why would you invent one? It would have to improve the understanding and standard of the practitioner. Do you want to categorise an entire training system into one form? Maybe there are specific ideas and principles that you want to put together and train in one sequence? Very quickly you will begin to understand the problems … Continue reading Making Sense Of The Universe With Kata/Form

Fighting Yourself

  In the Martial Arts we often talk about how ‘the biggest opponent we have to fight is the one inside of ourselves’ and that ‘when performing solo moves we must have an opponent in mind’ although I think the statements are self evident  I would like to put the two together and give it a bit of perspective. We are most likely to die of ill health. A good part of our health is our sanity and happiness, so emotional intelligence is an essential part or our daily training routine. We know how to do this through meditation and … Continue reading Fighting Yourself

How To Do Kata

How To Do Kata What was it that made him so special? A middle aged man going through some Kata, he wasn’t that fast, he wasn’t that sharp, nothing like you would see in the Martial Art movies, absolutely nothing like you would see Kata performed at competitions…… and yet his was so much more……..  Whenever I watched Sensei practising I knew that I was witnessing something very special, something far deeper than just Karate…….  It was almost as if the perfect Kata was doing him……  It always struck me as “other worldly”…………… That was it!  He was putting nothing … Continue reading How To Do Kata

Freestyle (Ji Yu) Kata

“Ji Yu Kata is a natural evolution of formal kata training.”  Sensei was beginning the lesson… “In some ways it is like formal kata but in other ways very, very different.  Tonight I’m going to show you why….”  It looks like it’s going to be an interesting lesson. “If your formal kata training doesn’t lead to ji yu it will definitely  be lacking.” ‘Ji Yu’ means ‘free style’ and most people these days when they hear the words ‘free style’ kata think of music, flashing lights, glittery gi’s, box splits, flips and cartwheels, but we knew that Sensei wouldn’t be … Continue reading Freestyle (Ji Yu) Kata

Kata – Wearing The Skin Of Your Ancestors

Kata – Wearing The Skin Of Your Ancestors “Tonight I want to teach you how to study kata.” “You just do it don’t you Sensei?” “Just do it, is a big term Roger…” “It’s an advert Sensei.” “I know that Ged, thank you.  I’m more concerned with developing the right mindset in which to study.” “That’s bunkai isn’t it?” “Bunkai means to ‘break down and explore’.” “You’ve often explained that Sensei, and then gone on to explain the ‘trinity’ of kata, if I remember it right it’s medical, skill and then application is that right?” “Yes it is, well done.” … Continue reading Kata – Wearing The Skin Of Your Ancestors

Is Kata A Waste Of Time?

Is Kata A Waste Of Time? Is there a point to doing kata? Or is it just a waste of time? Does it have an application? That is magical and sublime? By the time it came from China, To Okinawa and Japan, It had been changed so many times, In each and every land. The true meaning has been lost, And by the time it came to the West, Nobody could remember, As the value became less than less. Then along came competition, Where it just had to look good, Nice shapes, crisp and focused, But empty, loud and awkward. … Continue reading Is Kata A Waste Of Time?

The Structure Of Kata

It’s nice to get away on courses with Sensei……. He had been invited to teach on a course that includes many students and Instructors from different styles of Karate so it was interesting to see what their interpretations of the same movements that we practised were and also how they reacted to Sensei’s teachings.  It was also fascinating to watch Sensei’s diplomatic way of dealing with the differences…… Everyone was keen to share knowledge and were all patient with each other to get to the bottom of each interpretation.  Often with a lack of good instruction many of the attending … Continue reading The Structure Of Kata

Move Like A Porsche

“Straighten the front foot, move from the Seiki Tanden, circle the foot through a line dropped from the hip, put the bodyweight through the power point on the foot, sink the chest to find the feet, tuck in the tailbone and stretch the neck as you would touch the opponent and apply the movement……..” We were working on Sanchin Kata and Sensei was working our “brain muscle” hard. “What’s the hardest muscle in the body to train?” “The brain muscle Sensei!” we all chorused, familiar with question. “Then why aren’t you using it?” “It’s too hard to think of all … Continue reading Move Like A Porsche

Chinto Kata (Gankanku)

“I hate kata!”  Peter was obviously not in a good mood and the days course today was on kata…… “So why bother to attend?”  I asked. “Because if we don’t it will affect our grading….” Peter was not going to be a bundle of laughs today so I made sure that I was as far away as possible so that I wouldn’t have to partner him in any pairs work. Sensei entered the Dojo, conducted the formalities and began the course…. “Chinto Kata, what do you know about it?” “It’s a Crane Kata,” said one. “Good, what else?” “It’s called … Continue reading Chinto Kata (Gankanku)