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    Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:11 am





    Senior Japanese teachers used to say that when you held 6th dan and already started with learning itsutsu-no-kat that there was very little sense in doing so and that one was probably 20 years too much junior.

    Teachers carry important pedagogical responsibilities. In their own journey towards understanding what itsutsu-no-kata is about they need to reflect about the justification of involving novices with exercises which most people with 40-50 years of experience will gladly admit they do not understand.


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    Fritz

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:10 am

    What do you want to say us?
    I've seen more senior people doing this movements and it did look weirder than this ;-)


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    Jonesy

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Jonesy on Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:35 pm

    Reading the narrative on the YouTube page here it seems that Tori is a 4 dan.   Perhaps it is supposed to be a red belt he is wearing to denote himself as Tori. The same narrative says that this rendition was performed after a kata clinic and was part of a certification test. Apparently a certificate was issued and the narrative said the candidate did "well".

    I think this shows some real problems. The performers are wearing blue judogi and one is wearing a T-shirt, the physical techniques themselves are not great and there are unnecessary "flourishes" in many. As for the essence and spirit etc, well that goes back to what CK said.

    The purpose of kata practice is to improve one's judo rather than gaining a certificate. Few teachers can explain how Itsutsu-no-kata could be integrated into an all round judo programme, and fewer still are capable of evaluating students who attempt the kata.

    I would be a little more relaxed than restricting it to 6 or 7 dan plus holders. After all it is covered in the Kodokan Summer Kata Course and you can attend that as a 4 dan.


    Last edited by Jonesy on Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by finarashi on Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:02 pm

    But did you see one "throw" there. Did you even once wonder "What was that?" or "He is good!" Was uke really unbalanced? I agree that one rarely does see this.

    Call me postdead. But if this was from formal demonstration and not from practice. Then why blue gi? Why something else than black belt?

    Why do we wear white gi? One reason is not to show off! So plain white gi and humbleness when doing kata, please.


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    heikojr

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by heikojr on Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:01 pm

    Jonesy wrote:Reading the narrative on the YouTube page here it seems that Tori is a 4 dan.   Perhaps it is supposed to be a red belt he is wearing to denote himself as Tori. The same narrative says that this rendition was performed after a kata clinic and was part of a certification test. Apparently a certificate was issued and the narrative said the candidate did "well".

    This from the YouTube page:
    4th Degree Black Belt Kata performed by a student at Revival Judo. This was following a clinic and was tested upon. The student received a certification and performed well.

    It does not state that tori is a 4th dan. It states that the kata is a 4th degree black belt kata. It also says that it is performed by a student. So, I believe that the tori is actually an orange belt.

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:04 pm

    There is a remarkably similar phenomenon one observes in classical music contests. You should have a look at international piano competitions and see which works the finalists play. Nearly all will choose to play either Rachmaninov's 3rd concerto or one of the two Brahms concerti, all three massive, 45-minute long concerti, hugely virtuoso with complicated handsettings and rhythms. Now, ask anyone musicologist who the most famous composers are of musical concerti, and the two names that will always pop up are Mozart and Beethoven, two names that are remarkably absent in the choices of these pianists, especially Mozart despite having written not less than 27 pianoconcerti. You know why that is ?  Because of all composers, Mozart's concerti really are the simplest and in their simplicity they reach their greatness. To translate that into more understandable language: no one dares to pick Mozart because the music is so simple that you can't hide your mistakes behind a virtuoso facade. Everything shows in Mozart !

    It's the same in jûdô. Indeed the real goal of of practicing kata is to improve your jûdô. But today, every blooming idiot takes it up on himself to shove their koshiki-no-kata and itsutsu-no-kata through our throats of which they do not understand one iota and which does not improve their jûdô because they do not have the basis for it. In doing so and i practicing and demonstrating these two kata it gives a false impression to others that your jûdô is advanced, and to some extent this is reasonably successful since virtually no one in jûdô has an understanding of these two kata that they would know precisely why it is a total fiasco. Of course, one can look at throws, but to some extent the mecanical aspects of the throws are not what these kata are about. Instead, most of the people who demonstrate these things would more advance their jûdô by practicing nage-no-kata. This would have some use. It is the same as in the music example though: nage-no-kata in comparison is so simple that you can't really fake it, at least not without experienced people noticing. And no matter what your rank is in jûdô, whether it be 3rd kyû, or 6th, 7th or 8th dan, we all know that any of these demonstrating nage-no-kata will give us a pretty decent picture of their jûdô skills. You can't really hide your true jûdô skills when having to perform nage-no-kata with a normal living uke who does his/her part of the kata. Your preparation, your kuzushi, your debana, your timing, your realism and your spirit will all be there or not, nothing to fake about. No need to hide behind esotericism of Koshiki- and Itsutsu-no-kata. I still need to see the first person do a decent koshiki- or itsutsu-no-kata while at that same time his nage-no-kata looks like rubbish. Won't happen. Just like we can seem someone's jûdô skill from a simple de-ashi-barai; no need to impress us with and ura-nage so forceful that your opponent hits the ceiling. People who can perform technically ura-nage almost always can perform far more basic techniques high a great degree of perfection too. Sure, it's not for our eyes as demonstration is not the purpose, but for improving your own skills, what it is that you practice has to be commensurate. We don't hand Joyce's Ulysses to a baby, but we start with simple one- or two-syllable practical words. Crawling and walking come before running and jumping, no matter how hard we would like the world to believe that we all skipped these parts and started running and jumping right away. Not in this world.

    As always it's the same old adage: true skill will show on the tatami ... fortunately, but alas sometimes also ... unfortunately, or I guess, you could turn this around and say "unfortunately, but alas sometimes also ... fortunately").

    One is not a decent jûdôka because one ties a red and white belt around one's waist or because one makes a video demo of koshiki- or itsutsu-no-kata. In an ideal world being a good jûdôka should come before all these external paraphernalia. I do not mean this as a criticism to any enthusiastic member of the jûdô community who might not have thought twice when launching such a recording into the public media, but rather this is my plea to all jûdô sensei who take the remarkable task upon themselves to teach and guide their students in their dôjô. It is them who need to create an awareness. We need to take this seriously or we will be co-responsible for failing to cultivate good jûdôka with a solid technical basis.

    That's it for today. I think I am now going to listen to some Mozart.


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    Jonesy

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Jonesy on Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:57 pm

    heikojr wrote:
    Jonesy wrote:Reading the narrative on the YouTube page here it seems that Tori is a 4 dan.   Perhaps it is supposed to be a red belt he is wearing to denote himself as Tori. The same narrative says that this rendition was performed after a kata clinic and was part of a certification test. Apparently a certificate was issued and the narrative said the candidate did "well".

    This from the YouTube page:
    4th Degree Black Belt Kata performed by a student at Revival Judo. This was following a clinic and was tested upon. The student received a certification and performed well.

    It does not state that tori is a 4th dan. It states that the kata is a 4th degree black belt kata. It also says that it is performed by a student. So, I believe that the tori is actually an orange belt.

    heikojr
    Thanks heikojr. I should have read it more closely. Clearly there are some problems as the debate orange belt/4 dan should not really be necessary in a normal judo activity. The fact that we cannot really tell says it all.

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Hanon on Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:56 am

    There are some incredibly odd remarks made by some judoka in this thread.

    Judo at this level cannot be really taught. Judo at this level either comes though decades of judo practice on a tatami with good partners and with sensei who know what they are doing or there cannot be itsutsu no kata.

    I get it. I truly get it. So many on the forums over the years identify this kata as being 'only five simple moves' so any one in a judo gi can learn that? In reality this kata is the pinnacle of all one has or has NOT learned in the decades one has practiced judo AND taught judo.

    READ and understand what CK sensei has written. If you don't understand it you are decades away from the practice of itsutsu no kata.

    This situation is not my doing. Judo is not mine nor CK sensei's. Like CK I hope that teachers will cease this sort of nonsense and teach pupils appropriate judo at the appropriate time.

    Remember such a kata speaks much more about who taught it than they who practice it and those who make very odd remarks about it.

    There are 4th dan who are able to show some sort of actions but I can assure you I have never mete one who knew what he was doing and why he was doing what he didn't know what he was doing. There are senior ranks in judo who cant yet grasp this kata and may never will.  

    Such a kata is the culmination of a life's time dedicated judo on a tatami. It looks so simple yet I still can't even get the first action right and never have yet, even though I understand what I am aiming for to a given degree. The second action is difficult but less difficult than any of the others. The third action is again virtually impossible to perform correctly as are the last two.

    Without a single doubt one needs a solid grounding in basic, intermediate and highly advanced judo. One then needs decades of practice and study. IF one is lucky one may begin to understand the greatness of this kata but, and oh but, its simply beyond human ability to perform this kata without there being a massive amount of shall we say 'co operation' (read theatre).

    A simple test. Try working on the first action BUT request uke not to fall over Request uke only to go down due to his genuine ability not to maintain his balance. I have NEVER YET ONCE ACHIEVED THIS. It is almost impossible and I may never achieve a genuine throw. The timing and feel of uke takes a life times work to asses and learn.

    To end. If you identify this as five 'simple actions' you have already lost the plot. This kata is not about rank its about decades of incredibly hard study and practice of the kata that precede this one plus much shiai and randori and an excellent ability to practice the gokyo with renraku and kaeshi waza. It is literally the culmination of ones judo life. Now explain to me how a novice can perform this kata when he or she has yet to even understand ukemi and kuzushi? I am still trying to master some sort of debana! Not to mention how to walk and carry my posture.
    I would also suggest that without having run ones own dojo and produced ones own high rank pupils ones understanding of this kata would be very limited. This is one kata that the theorists cannot bluff their way through, mat time and teaching others for many many years are a prerequisite to even beginning to understand this kata. I hate and detest teaching it. It taxes my own ability to the limit and well beyond.

    Again I am rather embarrassed to read some of the very odd comments written here in this thread. Such comments truly speak volumes about the authors of such words.

    Mike

    Oh, I respect the uke and tori. I just find it a tragedy that their coach thinks this is appropriate training for them. Probably going to do them more harm than good?

    Addition 05 08 14. There is absolutely nothing wrong or strange about not being able to perform an action in judo be it chugeri to yoko gake or uki waza. I don't think we are even supposed to master judo and absolute mastery its not really part of its manifesto. The Term mastery I would write is more to do with the judoka's character rather than the physical aspects on their own.

    Itsutsu no kata, if performed correctly, would be a demonstration not only of pure biomechanics but also a complete understanding of them also mastery to a very high degree. That is the physical part. What supersedes this physical aspect is the psychological aspects. For a tori to be able to 'read' and correctly interpret the bodily movements of an uke with perfect timing though debana is again only part of the process of this kata.
    Tori needs to have reached a point where his level of inner peace, concentration and focus are natural to him as breathing. This is the kata where tori has almost passed from the physical aspects of his training and into the deeper nature of who we are and how we react with our own minds. I am sincerely struggling here as I am very much a beginner with this kata myself.
    The last action in this kata is often identified as simple. Same with the first. When we realise that this last action is where a tori 'throws' his uke using his own mind that takes some getting ones head around it doesn't it. Yes the last action tori actually throws his uke without even touching him. How? To answer that take a novice who can ukemi and not inform him what you are going to do. Ask him to run at you full force and you run at him then see what happens. There you will find some small answer as to why this kata is the culmination of ones judo and not for the novice.
    This is an accepted way of life. Who in there right mind would give advanced maths to a first year pupil who is five years old. Maths is a mental process Judo is both mental and physical so both aspects need to be mastered in complete harmony.

    So when should we start to practice this kata? If we don't practice how can we ever learn? This again is a question that only sensei can answer as it is they who will see in a given pupil the time to begin such a new path of practice and learning.

    Lastly there is absolutely nothing ethereal or mystical in the itsutsu no kata. Mastery of ones own bodily actions, mastery of bio mechanics, mastery of the self, an understanding of motion, hara, zanshin not to mention ones own emotions such as doubt, fear, concentration and focus is all that is required. As I have non of that mastery in any of the needed groups I can only continue to practice general basic judo returning on occasions to this kata to test myself and keep aiming for such mastery.
    Sorry for the lengthy addition.


    Last edited by Hanon on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:31 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Steve Leadbeater

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:13 pm

    This Kata...?? wearing Blue Gi...??

    I still have trouble with Nage no Kata and Katame no Kata,
    but at least I wear White !!
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    Fritz

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:27 pm

    @CK: Ok, what are the reason for having these kata (Itsutsu-No-Kata and Koshiki-No-Kata) in Judo, virtually no one
    is able to grasp the purpose / contents or so? And the few which seem to have an understanding of the stuff
    are not really able to describe what they understood so that its of use for the other...?

    What is the purpose of such "learning tools" if there seems to be no guarantee to achieve the goal?

    In contradiction to Nage-No-Kata: If both Uke and Tori do all the idiot proof steps etc. the result is with a high percentage the throw,
    if some one succeed with a throw once, then he can do further iteration to perfect this thing...

    Its quite confusing...


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Hanon on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:41 pm

    Fritz wrote:@CK: Ok, what are the reason for having these kata (Itsutsu-No-Kata and Koshiki-No-Kata) in Judo,  virtually no one
    is able to grasp the purpose / contents or so? And the few which seem to have an understanding of the stuff
    are not really able to describe what they understood so that its of use for the other...?

    What is the purpose of such "learning tools" if there seems to be no guarantee to achieve the goal?

    In contradiction to Nage-No-Kata: If both Uke and Tori do all the idiot proof steps etc. the result is with a high percentage the throw,
    if some one succeed with a throw once, then he can do further iteration to perfect this thing...

    Its quite confusing...

    If I may. Perhaps its not about the end, the arrival but the journey. Remember we are debating judo hare in its highest form to that end I have not yet mete any judoka who would say they where masters. Judo at this level IS life and life IS judo. The world is a dojo and we are all judoka on a path to self discovery.

    BTW the itsutsu no kata is not a learning tool but a test. You cant learn itsutsu no kata what one does in itsutsu no kata is demonstrate ones level of mastery of general, intermediate and advanced judo.

    Mike


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:34 am

    Fritz wrote:@CK: Ok, what are the reason for having these kata (Itsutsu-No-Kata and Koshiki-No-Kata) in Judo,  virtually no one
    is able to grasp the purpose / contents or so? And the few which seem to have an understanding of the stuff
    are not really able to describe what they understood so that its of use for the other...?

    What is the purpose of such "learning tools" if there seems to be no guarantee to achieve the goal?

    In contradiction to Nage-No-Kata: If both Uke and Tori do all the idiot proof steps etc. the result is with a high percentage the throw,
    if some one succeed with a throw once, then he can do further iteration to perfect this thing...

    Its quite confusing...

    There are many questions to which the answer requires the guidance of a competent sensei, immense devotion, time and experience.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:26 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:22 am

    Thanks for your reply, but unfortunately it leads to some open questions... ;-)

    First your analogy with E=mc² is nice, but trying to understand the theory gives a clear path:
    Learn mathematics, learning physics and so on... (Personally i have difficulties to accept the axiom about
    the constant light speed in vacuum, but ok, if we say this is so... ) Beside of this clear path, they are our own
    limitations how far we can proceed at this path of understanding... ;-)

    You stated about Koshiki-No-Kata and Itsutsu-No-Kata:
    They bridge the principle of maximal efficiency with jûdô's second and highest principle, that of ji-ta kyô-ei.
    At my knowledge this concept was introduced very lately by Kano... This concept is what makes jûdô to the pedagogical / education system which it should be...
    But at other place you explained, that Koshiki-No-Kata and Itsutsu-No-Kata stem from koryû...
    What were their purpose there? I strongly doubt it could be studying "ji-ta kyô-ei"...
    (Beside of this, i've my difficulties to understand how someone could express concepts like "ji-ta kyô-ei" through the study / doing of kata... , apart from
    the trivial case, that Uke knows he "lost" or so)
    You wrote:
    In Koshiki-no-kata, the technical principles of jûdô are revisited in its pre-jûdô form yet coupled to mental principles that are ignored during the whole of one's competitive career. In Koshiki-no-kata the technical-mechanical priniciples are not a goal, contrary to nage-no-kata where they are. Instead, it is a matter of how and why they serve as a foundation for mental development such as the abandonment of ego
    May be this is already the answer to my questions above, but if i think this abandonment of ego is still pretty quite different to "ji-ta kyô-ei"...
    (Strange to say why, but now the word "zen" is in my mind, better said: my limited imagination about the word "zen" .... ;-) )
    You said in Nage-no-Kata the technical-mechanical principles are the goal...
    Hmm, my personal experience especially doing Uke for N-no-K is that there the biggest challenge is to get into a mental state,
    at which i'can do the attacks very focused (and so i need not to be afraid to be hurt by doing the falls ;-) ) and Tori is forced to do his part very well...
    (Indeed i really hate this "mental state", because its very exhausting ... could not explain better)

    So there are still a technical-mechanical components in Koshiki-no-Kata and Itsutsu-no-Kata, which must  be learned first to go deeper...
    (In my opinion most of the "performances" of these kata lacks already at this components, sorry - but doing a couple of silly steps and then Uke does
    an unmotivated ukemi ... is nonsense in my eyes)
    Why someone could/should not learn the technical-mechanical components/sequence of these kata very early and later if the time and the
    understanding comes, he can use this knowledge as starting point / base for the further journey?  
    Maybe at the description of the mentioned video it should not be claimed that someone is doing Itsutsu-no-Kata but  
    is doing "only the movements of Itsutsu-no-Kata"... ;-)
    (Strange to say why, but now i remember that in the old forum "SirHarryFlashman" wrote some threads about his experiences to study/try
    several kata with an interesting fresh open minded approach, i did like it ... )

    If you need to know more, you may wish to wait for my book.
    Of course... still waiting ;-)
    This poses the risk that choosing (and successfully) completing one, means missing out on the other ...   This is not a comfortable feeling.
    Its the whole problem of jûdô in the current time collected in one sentence ...
    It's so much that nobody will be able to learn/understand all facets in deep...  No


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:38 am

    Fritz wrote:Thanks for your reply, but unfortunately it leads to some open questions... ;-)

    First your analogy with E=mc² is nice, but trying to understand the theory gives a clear path:
    Learn mathematics, learning physics and so on... (Personally i have difficulties to accept the axiom about
    the constant light speed in vacuum, but ok, if we say this is so... ) Beside of this clear path, they are our own
    limitations how far we can proceed at this path of understanding... ;-)

    You stated about Koshiki-No-Kata and Itsutsu-No-Kata:
    They bridge the principle of maximal efficiency with jûdô's second and highest principle, that of ji-ta kyô-ei.
    At my knowledge this concept was introduced very lately by Kano... This concept is what makes jûdô to the pedagogical / education system which it should be...
    But at other place you explained, that Koshiki-No-Kata and Itsutsu-No-Kata stem from koryû...
    What were their purpose there? I strongly doubt it could be studying "ji-ta kyô-ei"...
    (Beside of this, i've my difficulties to understand how someone could express concepts like "ji-ta kyô-ei" through the study / doing of kata... , apart from
    the trivial case, that Uke knows he "lost" or so)
    You wrote:
    In Koshiki-no-kata, the technical principles of jûdô are revisited in its pre-jûdô form yet coupled to mental principles that are ignored during the whole of one's competitive career. In Koshiki-no-kata the technical-mechanical priniciples are not a goal, contrary to nage-no-kata where they are. Instead, it is a matter of how and why they serve as a foundation for mental development such as the abandonment of ego
    May be this is already the answer to my questions above, but if i think this abandonment of ego is still pretty quite different to "ji-ta kyô-ei"...
    (Strange to say why, but now the word "zen" is in my mind, better said: my limited imagination about the word "zen" .... ;-) )
    You said in Nage-no-Kata the technical-mechanical principles are the goal...
    Hmm, my personal experience especially doing Uke for N-no-K is that there the biggest challenge is to get into a mental state,
    at which i'can do the attacks very focused (and so i need not to be afraid to be hurt by doing the falls ;-) ) and Tori is forced to do his part very well...
    (Indeed i really hate this "mental state", because its very exhausting ... could not explain better)

    So there are still a technical-mechanical components in Koshiki-no-Kata and Itsutsu-no-Kata, which must  be learned first to go deeper...
    (In my opinion most of the "performances" of these kata lacks already at this components, sorry - but doing a couple of silly steps and then Uke does
    an unmotivated ukemi ... is nonsense in my eyes)
    Why someone could/should not learn the technical-mechanical components/sequence of these kata very early and later if the time and the
    understanding comes, he can use this knowledge as starting point / base for the further journey?  
    Maybe at the description of the mentioned video it should not be claimed that someone is doing Itsutsu-no-Kata but  
    is doing "only the movements of Itsutsu-no-Kata"... ;-)
    (Strange to say why, but now i remember that in the old forum "SirHarryFlashman" wrote some threads about his experiences to study/try
    several kata with an interesting fresh open minded approach, i did like it ... )

    If you need to know more, you may wish to wait for my book.
    Of course... still waiting ;-)
    This poses the risk that choosing (and successfully) completing one, means missing out on the other ...   This is not a comfortable feeling.
    Its the whole problem of jûdô in the current time collected in one sentence ...
    It's so much that nobody will be able to learn/understand all facets in deep...  No

    You are now essentially touching upon what Hanon-sensei has said very often in relationship to these two kata, namely the essence of having a knowledgeable sensei to provide guidance. I can answer a simple question here, at least some simple questions, but I cannot provide that guidance here from one side of a computer to another one.

    Although I did write an enthusiastic response to your further questions, I unfortunately had to delete it. This has to do with restriction to what I can write since these topics also form the core of work I write about and research elsewhere. Because there is a requirement for originality I cannot publish many things about this on a forum first before the other work is published. Sorry. I have already written too much.


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:27 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:Although I did write an enthusiastic response to your further questions, I unfortunately had to delete it. This has to do with restriction to what I can write since these topics also form the core of work I write about and research elsewhere. Because there is a requirement for originality I cannot publish many things about this on a forum first before the other work is published. Sorry. I have already written too much.
    No problem, i can wait until there are
    some new paper from you at the net... Or until your book is ready... ;-)

    Cichorei Kano (in lost part of posting) wrote:It took me 17 years to master kuzushi, but after I did, it changed my whole understanding of jûdô. I hope you will take my word for it, but if in itsutsu-no-kata you try to stab me, you WILL fly and end on the tatami after flying through the air, no faking involved, no jumping of uke required.
    About the XXX-Otoshi ... its quite interesting...
    At a  judo seminar an older training comrade had the luck to be thrown  by Frank Thiele (some time before his unlucky car accident)
    with Sumi-Otoshi during a demonstration and he was very enthusiastic about this sensation, because the feeling was very different to all the fake
    stuff he experienced before...
    (A former judo pupil of mine was a natural talent, at white/yellow belt she throws around her opponents at competition with all kinds of
    such te-waza, she had have simply the right feeling, later with more experienced opponents she does the same with ashi-waza. Then she choosed
    to go the "competition way" and went away from us, with the result that her new coaches removed her feeling for correct kuzushi and replaced it
    with the "normal stuff": grip fighting, strength training etc. Now i've heard she quit judo in the meantime)


    So i believe you ;-)

    You further explanations strengthen my conviction, that the pure
    mechanic (with real throws) should be learned early to prevent the "geriatric" shortcuts - which all world thinks that they are the
    standard now  Evil or Very Mad


    Last edited by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:07 am

    Fritz wrote:
    It took me 17 years to master kuzushi, but after I did, it changed my whole understanding of jûdô. I hope you will take my word for it, but if in itsutsu-no-kata you try to stab me, you WILL fly and end on the tatami after flying through the air, no faking involved, no jumping of uke required.

    Okay, I am likely hijacking this thread or, at least, taking it off course. My defence is that this might be a personal question best not aired on a more-frequented thread.

    I am very interested in this: having mastered kuzushi, how would you set about teaching it so a student would master it most efficiently? Are there non-judo (aikido, tai chi, organic) approaches you might employ? And is it most important for the student to learn to yield or be more proactive/forceful in order to place uke in kuzushi?

    I realise these are incredibly open questions and the subject is immense, subtle and sophisticated but I am very interested if the 'normal' route to learning kuzushi is the most effective. Any guidance would be appreciated.
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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:52 am

    @DougNZ: The quote in your posting is from Cichorei Kano not from me...


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:16 am

    Fritz wrote:@DougNZ: The quote in your posting is from Cichorei Kano not from me...

    I realise that. CK's quote is nested inside yours (his original post was deleted, I think).

    I am hoping he or Hanon will be able to provide some guidance.
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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:44 am

    I realise that. CK's quote is nested inside yours (his original post was deleted, I think).
    Ups  affraid  I see it now, CK's posting above mine is very short now...  Suspect


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:46 am

    DougNZ wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:t took me 17 years to master kuzushi, but after I did, it changed my whole understanding of jûdô. I hope you will take my word for it, but if in itsutsu-no-kata you try to stab me, you WILL fly and end on the tatami after flying through the air, no faking involved, no jumping of uke required.

    Okay, I am likely hijacking this thread or, at least, taking it off course. My defence is that this might be a personal question best not aired on a more-frequented thread.

    I am very interested in this: having mastered kuzushi, how would you set about teaching it so a student would master it most efficiently?  Are there non-judo (aikido, tai chi, organic) approaches you might employ?  And is it most important for the student to learn to yield or be more proactive/forceful in order to place uke in kuzushi?

    I realise these are incredibly open questions and the subject is immense, subtle and sophisticated but I am very interested if the 'normal' route to learning kuzushi is the most effective.  Any guidance would be appreciated.


    There are things in jûdô which we can effectively teach even if we don't perfectly master it ourselves, and there are things we cannot teach unless we truly master it ourselves. Even then it isn't as black and white. Nevertheless, the skills and abilities of a teacher are crucial. One thing I have done in my life is to always find the most capable teachers, and spared not cost or effort to become their student. This has not always been fun since the downside is that it probably has been a factor in me becoming so critical, which as you can imagine has not always been appreciated as it is has produced occassions.

    My story is simple. My 2nd and 3rd jûdô teachers emphasized excellent good technique, in the sense of what someone would understand under having very good technique. Their judo was 'human'. They did things, where you saw and knew that if you practised much and did what you say you would get there. It made all sense.

    Then one, my prospective partner for a dan-rank exam recommended we visited the national technical and kata course which was taught by someone who wore a red- and white belt which was extremely rare in those days. At one point, we were doing uchi-mata and the teacher came over to correct my opponent. Now you have to understand that I was quite used at that point of working out with the best national competive fighters, but what I then experienced was a total shock for me. Suddenly I was flying through the air even though he had barely moved. None of my previous teachers would have been able to do that. It made no sense, I did not understand it, it did not appear human. How did he do it ? I had no clue. Two days later, back at my club I told of my experience to my teacher, who naturally knew the gent. Now, my teacher was the pioneer of jûdô in the country and therefore knew about everyone, and he did not easily have a good opinion of the technical abilities of others, because already then many overcompensated with power. However, when I dropped that name he immediatelly nodded in approval of the person's exceptonal ability, the first time I had ever seen him do that.

    The next month I went back to the national kata and technical training seminar, and the epiphany of the first time repeated itself now in ô-uchi-gari, when the teacher came over and made me fly in ô-uchi-gari despite me being unable to see his legs move. It was all in incomprehensible, but it did happen. I would stay for the next 13 years. In time I understood that the secret was incredible mastership of kuzushi, which none of the people present could ever repeat or even approach. I am pretty convinced that most of them did not even realize it was kuzushi. Only later I realized how privileged I was all this time. Know that many did not realize that and stopped coming. I also can't say that the teacher was very popular, not because he did anything wrong, but because he put the bar so high that the gap between all of us and him was huge. Later he became one of only three Westerners who have ever been awarded a Kôdôkan 8th dan degree, which should mean something. He also was the first and at that time only foreigner to ever have been given the privilege of teaching a class to the male division at the Kôdôkan. To ths day no video recordings have emerged on which he teaches or performed kata, but I assure you that there currently is not a single Japanese 8th dan holder at the Kôdôkan whose ability compares to his when it came to kata, in terms of matching technical perfection, form AND spirit.

    As with the kata we discussed, I dont think there are any shortcuts there either. When I stopped following his classes I still could not anywhere perform kuzushi in the way he did. I emigrated to Japan, and while there I requested one of the head teachers at the police academy if he would be willing to teach me koshiki-no-kata. So, everyday I was doing 3-hour randori sessions and koshiki-no-kata. When I left Japan and returned and stepped on a European tatami my opponents constantly were out of balance and I realized my jûdô had totally changed. What had done it was my kuzushi ability. Yet, during all that time, I can't say anyone had specifically taught kuzushi.

    To come back to your question, I am eager to provide a shortcut to my students and "teach" them kuzushi, but can I ? Well, I guess I can teach anything, but the question really is, can I successfully transfer that skill ? At least I sensitize them from the start for the importance of kuzushi. With my scientific knowledge I can and do explain certain concepts which none of my teachers ever explained that way. In that way I think that my students are able to much earlier understand, at least intellectually understand what I mean. so, in that sense, I think I am successful. However, when it comes to whether they can actually perform kuzushi in that way ? No, they can't. Why, because there aren't any shortcuts, and they don't the experience necessary. They haven't done jûdô long enough; I don't mean in years, but in practice hours per year. It's the same as with the kata I can teach about itsutsu-no-kata and koshiki-no-kata, but there is no way one is going to be able to bring that in practice unless one has the practical basis and experience.

    The same words apply which Hanon-sensei expressed earlier in this thread: "his is one kata that the theorists cannot bluff their way through, mat time and teaching others for many many years are a prerequisite to even beginning to understand this kata." (...)

    Theory can help understanding things about kuzushi, but one cannot actually do it unless one has practiced and taught this for many years. Nevertheless, I think it is important to visually "prime" students for kuzushi. I mean that students should have exposure to it and have an ability to at least watch teacher or clinician who masters these things. I think this is a lot more important than taking them to a clinic taught by some famous Olympian who oftetimes do not have good jûdô technique but immense athletic prowess. Some clinicians, like currently Katanishi, have the ability to present a combination of decent technique with decent pedagogical skill; there are others.

    In conclusion, as a teacher, teaching, yes ... showing, yes ... explaining, yes ... but directly transferring that skill: no, not possible.


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:57 am

    Fritz wrote:
    I realise that. CK's quote is nested inside yours (his original post was deleted, I think).
    Ups  affraid  I see it now, CK's posting above mine is very short now...  Suspect

    sorry, I now provide "streaming advice" only ...

    As I have explained, despite my enthusiasm for sharing things, I must maintain an awareness of what I can write on Itsutsu- and Koshiki-no-kata in order to prevent copyright or originality conflicts with other works in press or in preparation which I am authoring. You should be aware that there are readers who regularly takes posts authored by me or by Hanon-sensei and republish them in other forums under their own name without reference to the original author. This can create nuisances if my writings afterwards appear in print, which could erroneously make it look as it was 'their' original idea. This is a problem, because in certain cases it may now be difficult for me to prove I am the original author. A good example of this is the some 18,000 posts which I authored on the old JudoForum. That forum no longer exists, but other forums on which others may have republished my or Hanon's posts under their own name may still do, making it now look as they were the original author. For that reason it is important that some of the things I wrote first appear in legit, traceable media. This may sound exaggerated, but I assure you that for an academic in today's climate it is not.


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Fritz on Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:02 am

    Ok, then i'm glad, that i could read the longer version before it was shortened :-)


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:18 pm

    Thank you for your very enlightening post, CK.

    You say that koshiki-no-kata and randori took you from one level to the next. I presume your randori was, of course, built on years of technical uchikomi etc. Was there any difference to the WAY you approached randori during that time in Japan? Did you do anything differently?

    I find myself in a phase of not forcing anything in randori and, instead, try to yield to and use uke's force. The force I apply is at the point when, having yielded and drawn uke in, I find him unsettled. Any force I apply is generated from the waist. However, I'm not sure if I am being overly 'soft' in my approach. It feels very natural and a correct use of 'ju' but I also feel I am a very long way off the level you describe. I have had to undo a lot of what I have been practicing and approach my randori quite differently. So is this a stage you have experienced or am I way off course, flouncing around in fairy-land? Further, how much of a part should uchikomi and nagekomi continue to play in developing the feel for kuzushi?
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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:14 pm

    DougNZ wrote:Thank you for your very enlightening post, CK.  

    You say that koshiki-no-kata and randori took you from one level to the next.  I presume your randori was, of course, built on years of technical uchikomi etc.  Was there any difference to the WAY you approached randori during that time in Japan?  Did you do anything differently?

    I find myself in a phase of not forcing anything in randori and, instead, try to yield to and use uke's force.  The force I apply is at the point when, having yielded and drawn uke in, I find him unsettled.  Any force I apply is generated from the waist.  However, I'm not sure if I am being overly 'soft' in my approach.  It feels very natural and a correct use of 'ju' but I also feel I am a very long way off the level you describe.  I have had to undo a lot of what I have been practicing and approach my randori quite differently.  So is this a stage you have experienced or am I way off course, flouncing around in fairy-land?  Further, how much of a part should uchikomi and nagekomi continue to play in developing the feel for kuzushi?


    Yes, my randori was built on years of technical uchi-komi, yaku-soku-geiko, kakari-geiko, tai-sabaki exercises and randori, national squad randori and competition. No, there was no different way that I approached randori in Japan with one exception that I will write about in the next paragraph. One thing to keep in mind is that contrary to most foreigners my initial jûdô experiences in Japan were not obtained at the Kôdôkan. I never learnt jûdô at teh Kôdôkan until very late in my career. Instead I practiced at a large police academy far away from Tôkyô, where I never ever saw any other foreigner while I was there. There was no teaching, just warm-up, uchi-komi, newaza randori and tachi-waza randori, this in work-out sessions which lasted 2.5-3 hours. All learning was done through osmosis. No teacher ever corrected any technique I was doing, except for in Koshiki-no-kata where I received private teaching.

    When I look at many foreigners in Japan, mostly at the Kôdôkan, there were some differences in attitude, that I perceive, and some experiences that are distinctively different from what I heard. Before I went to Japan, I had heard horror stories of more senior countrymen who had gone to Japan and who had once visited the Metropolitan Police Dôjô in Tôkyô and how the jûdôka there wiped the floor with them and how horrendous it was. This never happened to me. I cannot say for sure why, but I certainly never walked into a Japanese dôjô full of hatred with the intent to defeat a Japanese. Sometimes when I see foreigners do randori at the Kôdôkan they give me the impression those are the feelings that dominate them. Secondly, there was never any audience or wife or kids who watched me there. So, there was no need for me to be macho and try to impress other foreigners. I guess the only thing that was different in my approach to randori in Japan was that I very much grabbed back to Hirano Tokio's approach. I can't say for sure, but I guess that I was trying to identify with the other Japanese by demonstrating the most Japanese component in my approach. Of course, this was a bit bizarre as I realized very quickly since Hirano's jûdô is hardly "typically Japanese", but instead very personal and was not really known by any of the jûdôka there, as far as I am aware. Well, I can't say for sure, since I did not actually discuss this with my teachers. What I remember most is the head sensei laughing at me when he saw that unusual and typical hIrano movement of the arms. I guess that his initial idea was that he thought I had no idea what I was doing, and that he was not familiar with Hirano's style. This is speculation since the senior teacher had been a sparring partner of the legendary Kimura, and Kimura of course came from the same stable as Hirano, but Kimura's jûdô style was quite different from Hirano's too, so not much we can derive from that as to my teachers faimiliarity with Hirano's style. In any case, what I also remember is that the smiling and initial mocking quickly stopped when the sensei saw that the Japanese started flying. I am not claiming that I was wiping the floor with the Japanese, but I certainly stood my ground, and threw far more than I was thrown, and when I threw it was with technique, not force. I never sacrificed technique for force, and randori always remained randori instead of competition. What I write here is at least the recollection as I have it. I don't have any video or film footage to review.

    The above is what applies for randori tachi-waza. My newaza skills were nowhere at the same level as my tachi-waza, and the lengthy newaza randori sessions were very challenging. I only became really proficient in newaza thanks to my Japanese experienced, but just like with the tachi-waza, no one actually ever taught me anything there. It all came through osmosis. I did learn specific technical skills from Okano-sensei  --I mean as a result of actual teaching, not just osmosis, but this was not at the police academy.

    One thing that you also must realize, and this sounds perhaps very bizarre, but that is that ... I continued to learn from teachers of mine long after I had left them or even after they were dead. I mean ... that there are things they always emphasized and which I kept close to my heart but which I was unable to achieve at that stage, and sometimes 10-15 years later suddenly something clicks thanks to the increased experience and I then finally achieve what they meant. It's something best described as a delayed learning. I do not know to what extent other students of the same teachers have that, but it is not something that other students have ever brought up to me. It may be that I am more prone to this kind of delayed learning because I am mentally very busy with jûdô or because I am reasonably perfectionist, I don't know.

    I think today the situation is somewhat different in that people can watch a video of a long deceased teacher and still learn from that, but that is not what I meant since really in this way it isn't delayed teaching but "teaching by proxy" because even though the teacher is dead he is actually still teaching through a preserved medium. This is not what I mean. What I mean is things that do not involve any imagery but purely installed teaching that perhaps at the time I was not ready for or that was in terms of motor skills too advanced but that is installed at a mental module that can become activated when the necessary preceding learning conditions are fulfilled.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:08 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : correction of typo)


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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:04 pm

    Thank you for painting a more complete picture, CK.

    Any response to the second part of my question (above), that of 'ju'?

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