KATA is the most fundamental and basic material to train almost all the Japanese BUJUTSU.It is the essence of the know-how of techniques which has been established for several generations or even centuries by many of the masters. From a beginner to an expert, they always train the techniques by repeating KATA which might seem strange for the people without expertise of BUJUTSU because such different level of people can use the same material to practice BUJUTSU. It is the secret of KATA. KATA is, on purpose, settled up with 80% completion. It is necessary to supple the rest 20% to make KATA really practical and useful for the actual situation. Please refer to the fig-1.
For a beginner it is enough just repeat the basic KATA movement without thinking till he/she can repeat the consequence fluently and smoothly. Anyhow it still requires a certain time like a year or two to complete this 1st step.
Then as a next step, the person starts realizing the fact that each KATA itself is not quite sufficient or practical enough for the actual situation. Accordingly he/she starts to think over how he/she can supple it. One though over Option-1 to make the KATA practical like fig-2.
After a while he/she can suddenly notice that it is only one case of the many which he/she found out. Because there are several other cases for which Opt-1 is not applicable. And he/she starts discovering several other options like fig-3 and 4. After all he/she can make KATA as 100% useful with the various options which he/she found out. This is the last stage and only an expert can reach.
In case somebody who found out only one option convinced that he/she could discover the very important key to make KATA 100% complete which the former people who practiced it could not found, in this way he/she believes. Accordingly he/she fixes the KATA with his/her discovery supplement as fig-5. This case often happens for the people who can’t think the essence of wisdom piled up for several generations of former masters and can’t notice the background of KATA practice.
This person starts teaching his/her student by his/her own developed KATA and accordingly a lot of the possibility of the KATA is lost at that moment.Such KATA can’t be used anymore so widely as a beginner to an expert because it can’t carry a deep meaning. I even find that such short thinking person started claiming he/she has created new system and establish own school (Ryuha) by naming themselves as SOUKE, which I saw too many all over the world.
Example-1: RE-9 USHIRO RYOTE KOTE SEME RENKO
Normal sequence as below
One application which my student thought as practical to guard his throat by choking
Block A’s left arm by D’s left hand. But if A seriously pulls his left arm so hard, D can’t move up his right arm because of the power conflict with his left hand/arm.
Best option: Turn head right or left with slightly knee down and the same moment raise up grasped right hand is the best option to avoid being choked. But if this is fixed as KATA, several other important possibilities shall be lost.
Turn head immediately to right and down knees:
There is another tendency which a beginner often makes mistake during KATA training. Because of the same not deep thinking way as described above, one can often convince that he/she could improve KATA by changing its part.
As described above, KATA is an essence of several generations’ wisdom, it is itself perfect. There is no space to improve. If somebody thinks he/she improved by changing it is no doubt worsening. In such case KATA meaning became so small as illustrated in fig-6.
Example 2: NU-8 BUKKOTSU SEME NUKIMI
Here is shown a wrong example. Instead of making Y-Block but use open fingers which one of my student thought much easier and practical, shall not work against a person who has a thick neck. Most probably such kind of person is strong and dangerous to fight against. So, this is not improvement but worsening.
Wrong shape which might not work for a person with thick neck
At the end of this article, I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Andrew Bryant 2nd Dan Gyakutedo, my Jujutsu student in the U.S.A., for his big effort to have corrected my Japanese English to formal English.
Makoto KURABE – SHISEIDO
AIKI JUJUTSU GYAKUTE-DO