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    How do you practice kata?

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    cokiee

    Posts : 64
    Join date : 2013-12-01

    How do you practice kata?

    Post by cokiee on Mon May 12, 2014 2:49 am

    Hello all,

    So my partner and I practice kata regularly. Primarily we practice the Nage No Kata with a view towards competing in regional competitions, but we're also keen on actually understanding the logic/rationale behind the action/reaction parings, rather than blindly reproducing what we see.

    So far, we've mostly been repeating the sets over and over again in mat practice, and off the mats we try and read up, watch videos, and annually visit the Kodokan to receive instruction, etc.

    How do you practice/train in Kata where you are - especially on the mats? I'd like to hear your views with the aim to secure best practices, please.

    Thank you!
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    Jonesy

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    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by Jonesy on Mon May 12, 2014 3:43 am

    Do you attend the Kodokan kata course? As well as on the mat practice you need to understand the lessons that the kata teach - that can come from training under a knowledgable teacher or by reading around the topic. There is some good stuff out there, but you need to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    The thing to avoid is trying to blindly replicate DVDs and films on You Tube as well as paying too much attention to IJF marking guidelines on salami-sliced big, medium and small mistakes. Either the kata shows good judo principles or it doesn't.

    Which country are you in by the way?


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    Lurker

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    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by Lurker on Tue May 13, 2014 3:18 pm

    One of the great but underrated things about Kata is that it can train your mental focus, concentration and the ability to shut out distractions. Many times this is overlooked, and so Judoka only practice performing a Kata under ideal conditions. Then when its time to do the Kata (at a grading, a demonstration, a competition) the conditions are different, and a lot of Judoka are thrown by this (pardon the pun). We try to shake ourselves up by doing things like:

    -    switch joseki around. If you always practice the Kata oriented a certain way in the Dojo, you'll start to rely on certain visual cues that are only present in your Dojo (the clock is there, the door is over there, the chairs are stacked on this side). Instead of relying on these, you must rely on your partner. So – flip around the direction you practice, or go sideways if your dojo has enough room;

    -    put on music in the background. Loud. It can be either music you don’t like, or music you do like. Either way, part way through your practice you’ll catch yourself listening to the music rather than focusing on the task at hand. This forces you to deal with a distraction, and get back on track.

    -    if you have control over the temperature in your dojo, turn it up. Make it uncomfortably warm (don’t of course make it unsafe!). Again, something else to distract you away from the Kata, and so something to force your self to re-orient and think about what you are doing.

    You can probably think of other things to do that make sense in your Dojo. Practice dealing with distractions, practice getting back on focus – practice the mental aspect of your Kata as well as the physical. There are, of course, other mental aspects to Kata – but this is a start.

    cokiee

    Posts : 64
    Join date : 2013-12-01

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by cokiee on Tue May 13, 2014 4:11 pm

    Jonesy wrote:Do you attend the Kodokan kata course?  As well as on the mat practice you need to understand the lessons that the kata teach - that can come from training under a knowledgable teacher or by reading around the topic. There is some good stuff out there, but you need to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    The thing to avoid is trying to blindly replicate DVDs and films on You Tube as well as paying too much attention to IJF marking guidelines on salami-sliced big, medium and small mistakes. Either the kata shows good judo principles or it doesn't.

    Which country are you in by the way?

    My partner and I have not attended the Kodokan kata course, but have had the opportunity to attend some of the 'masterclasses' organised by the teaching staff after last years' Kyoto world championships, where we had the good fortune of learning from Mukai Sensei and Kariya Sensei, but which was far too short. I also saw -whom I later confirmed to be - Wdax sensei, but didn't approach him at that time because he was giving tips to another team. That said we do hope to attend the kata course sometime soon - perhaps even this year.

    Whilst we primarily train with a view towards competing, it has always also been important for us as a pair to understand the reason behind each action. The story of the untrained but learning uke always intrigued us, and we always tried to work along those lines, focusing on executing the judo principles behind the kata, or at least what we understand it to be. Unfortunately with a lack of guidance this could go completely haywire. That's when we go back to books and videos and research - and this dojo has played a part, thank you everyone - to try and reconcile our learning.

    We come from Singapore, where there is a small community of active judoka, and an even smaller community interested in Judo kata beyond what is required for dan grading. We had a fairly supportive management in our national federation, but it seems that has changed with a recent change. Within SouthEast Asia as a whole there seemed to be a concerted push for Kata, with Thailand Vietnam and Laos leading the charge, but even that seems to have come down a little bit. So in general there is a dearth of Kata knowledge in this part of the world, sadly.

    Lurker wrote:One of the great but underrated things about Kata is that it can train your mental focus, concentration and the ability to shut out distractions. Many times this is overlooked, and so Judoka only practice performing a Kata under ideal conditions. Then when its time to do the Kata (at a grading, a demonstration, a competition) the conditions are different, and a lot of Judoka are thrown by this (pardon the pun). We try to shake ourselves up by doing things like:

    -    switch joseki around. If you always practice the Kata oriented a certain way in the Dojo, you'll start to rely on certain visual cues that are only present in your Dojo (the clock is there, the door is over there, the chairs are stacked on this side). Instead of relying on these, you must rely on your partner. So – flip around the direction you practice, or go sideways if your dojo has enough room;

    -    put on music in the background. Loud. It can be either music you don’t like, or music you do like. Either way, part way through your practice you’ll catch yourself listening to the music rather than focusing on the task at hand. This forces you to deal with a distraction, and get back on track.

    -    if you have control over the temperature in your dojo, turn it up. Make it uncomfortably warm (don’t of course make it unsafe!). Again, something else to distract you away from the Kata, and so something to force your self to re-orient and think about what you are doing.

    You can probably think of other things to do that make sense in your Dojo. Practice dealing with distractions, practice getting back on focus – practice the mental aspect of your Kata as well as the physical. There are, of course, other mental aspects to Kata – but this is a start.

    Thank you for your tips! One thing for sure, being from Singapore the weather here is something we have to contend with all the time. We sometimes train at a corner of the dojo while the shiai team is training, and that has proved challenging insofar as concentration goes. With music it gets even trickier; sometimes our pace goes off and follows the beat instead  bounce That said we do try and work through these challenges. We've not tried switching the direction at which we do the set very much, so that's something I'll bring back to our table to explore.

    However, what's a typical 'kata training session' like? For my partner and I usually we do warm ups, a bit of breakfalls, then go through a 'warm up set', win which we go through the kata sans throws. We then do one throwing set, talk through it after that, do one more set, talk through it, then work on any techniques we want to correct, before some PT on our own.

    wdax

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2013-01-22

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by wdax on Tue May 13, 2014 5:24 pm

    cokiee wrote:My partner and I have not attended the Kodokan kata course, but have had the opportunity to attend some of the 'masterclasses' organised by the teaching staff after last years' Kyoto world championships, where we had the good fortune of learning from Mukai Sensei and Kariya Sensei, but which was far too short. I also saw -whom I later confirmed to be - Wdax sensei, but didn't approach him at that time because he was giving tips to another team. That said we do hope to attend the kata course sometime soon - perhaps even this year.
    Ups - yes it was too short, but anyway we had a great time with our friend "Kuden". I will be at the summer course this year and would be happy to meet you there.


    cokiee wrote:Within SouthEast Asia as a whole there seemed to be a concerted push for Kata, with Thailand Vietnam and Laos leading the charge, but even that seems to have come down a little bit. So in general there is a dearth of Kata knowledge in this part of the world, sadly.
    This is interesting. I heard a rumor, that there will be no Kodokan kata-course in Europe, because Kodokan is planning to do something in South East Asia. Countrys like Laos, Vietnamn, Thailand and also Singapor or Indonesia are not really known in Europe for their Shiai-Teams, so I thought, that kata is chance for those countries to participate more in international events. I think Thailand has (had?) some plans to host international kata events. I also was asked, if I could imagine to teach a seminar there, but I never heard anything more.

    cokiee

    Posts : 64
    Join date : 2013-12-01

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by cokiee on Wed May 14, 2014 4:13 am

    wdax wrote:
    Ups - yes it was too short, but anyway we had a great time with our friend "Kuden". I will be at the summer course this year and would be happy to meet you there.

    If my work schedule will allow it, it'll be my pleasure to be able to make your acquaintance there!


    wdax wrote:
    This is interesting. I heard a rumor, that there will be no Kodokan kata-course in Europe, because Kodokan is planning to do something in South East Asia. Countrys like Laos, Vietnamn, Thailand and also Singapor or Indonesia are not really known in Europe for their Shiai-Teams, so I thought, that kata is chance for those countries to participate more in international events. I think Thailand has (had?) some plans to host international kata events. I also was asked, if I could imagine to teach a seminar there, but I never heard anything more.

    Essentially the SEA countries are not known for their Judo  Embarassed Thailand has so far led the charge with the Kata thing, having hosted the Asian Judo Kata Championships on a number of occasions. They've got a longstanding president and committee who sees the value of hosting and organising such events, i think. Singapore under the previous management did host it last year, but this year it's back to Thailand. Sensei if you do conduct a seminar within the region I'll definitely be there! We really have a dearth of technical knowledge here - at least in Singapore.

    wdax

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2013-01-22

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by wdax on Thu May 15, 2014 7:58 am

    cokiee wrote:We really have a dearth of technical knowledge here - at least in Singapore.
    Then you should organize something to improve the level of judo in Singapore. Find the right persons and make a good contract. It´s not so difficult.
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    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by BillC on Thu May 15, 2014 11:14 am

    cokiee wrote: I'll definitely be there! We really have a dearth of technical knowledge here - at least in Singapore.

    C - Humble opinion. Practice is the key, of course. Having guests stop by and share on a regular basis is a good strategy. Not difficult to get Germans to go to SE Asia on their own funds ... or Japanese for that matter ...  Rolling Eyes 

    A popular opinion on this forum is that if you can't be perfect from the start, then one should not even begin. I won't point out the backwards logic in that way of thinking.

    Some people knock books and video, but if there is truly no one in the area that can teach all 7 kata, then at least one can learn the steps if one is selective about who ones tries to copy. Then as you have credentialed teachers pass through, you can let them sadistically critique your performance. Then you can take them out for Tiger beer and pepper crab to get even!

    Bringing experts in ... I am not a fan of one-day events ... unless it's one day every six months or so with lots of self-practice in between. And you can blow your whole kata budget for the year with one airfare.

    Final thoughts ... you don't need to be perfect to share. So if you have done NNK often enough to remember the steps and some details ... show what you know to your judo buddies. Those guys that do other kata ... you mentioned kime no kata ... have them show you. And as far as competition is concerned ... do judo because you enjoy it and to learn good judo principles ... not because you want to support someone's judo version of ice dancing.



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    cokiee

    Posts : 64
    Join date : 2013-12-01

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by cokiee on Fri May 16, 2014 4:07 am

    wdax wrote:
    cokiee wrote:We really have a dearth of technical knowledge here - at least in Singapore.
    Then you should organize something to improve the level of judo in Singapore. Find the right persons and make a good contract. It´s not so difficult.

    BillC wrote:
    cokiee wrote: I'll definitely be there! We really have a dearth of technical knowledge here - at least in Singapore.

    C - Humble opinion.  Practice is the key, of course.  Having guests stop by and share on a regular basis is a good strategy.  Not difficult to get Germans to go to SE Asia on their own funds ... or Japanese for that matter ...  Rolling Eyes 

    A popular opinion on this forum is that if you can't be perfect from the start, then one should not even begin.  I won't point out the backwards logic in that way of thinking.

    Some people knock books and video, but if there is truly no one in the area that can teach all 7 kata, then at least one can learn the steps if one is selective about who ones tries to copy.  Then as you have credentialed teachers pass through, you can let them sadistically critique your performance.  Then you can take them out for Tiger beer and pepper crab to get even!

    Bringing experts in ... I am not a fan of one-day events ... unless it's one day every six months or so with lots of self-practice in between.  And you can blow your whole kata budget for the year with one airfare.

    Final thoughts ... you don't need to be perfect to share.  So if you have done NNK often enough to remember the steps and some details ... show what you know to your judo buddies.  Those guys that do other kata ... you mentioned kime no kata ... have them show you.  And as far as competition is concerned ... do judo because you enjoy it and to learn good judo principles ... not because you want to support someone's judo version of ice dancing.



    I appreciate what you're saying, Wdax Sensei, but it can become quite a challenge when the level of support within the national federation is minimal, if at all. So what we do, the small community of us, is this - ask around, on forums for best practices, when we travel we ask for criticism, leverage on the internet/technology etc. In our own way we try to keep it going by going around the clubs and schools to spread the word that there's a kata practice group going on and all are welcome, but so far it hasn't yielded much.

    In a way, also, our trying to medal at competitions also is part of trying to keep the flame going, so that hopefully people will will be attracted to know more about this part of Judo. So, quickly come by to Singapore!

    BillC - i think in a way that has what's 'naturally' happened in our situation, that is, keep practicing and whenever we have news of someone knowledgeable passing through we grab hold of him or her and force them to watch our 7.5 mins dance and tell us how lousy it went. And then once so often we become so bold as to move out force even more people to watch us  affraid

    I also share your opinion that having one day classes provide for very minimal benefit.


    wdax

    Posts : 181
    Join date : 2013-01-22

    Re: How do you practice kata?

    Post by wdax on Fri May 16, 2014 8:30 am

    I think, what Judo in many countries need, is support in many fields: kata, shiai, coach´s education, pedagogy, judo for Kids etc.

    But I want to add some points about our kata training. For us, there are several point really essential:
    - look, what you are doing - work with video, analyze it and ask others for feedback
    - make a list of points, you want to improve. Do it everytime you work on your kata
    - do a lot of variations in training (technical variation, speed, etc)

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