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    Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

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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 3:49 pm

    DougNZ wrote:Thank you for painting a more complete picture, CK.  

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


    I am trying to change the pedagogy of Kôdôkan jûdô. That is to say, I now know where the flaws and mistakes are. I am not redoing Kanô's work, but something is necessary to resolve that problems that yourself and Fritz mention. Kanô-shihan has been dead for ore than 75 years, and none of us have the luxury of attending his lectures or asking him. It is clearly that that what was left became more and more diluted because his direct students at one point started dying too, and because jûdô under the IJF guidance became nothing more than an ordinary competitive sports although they tend to add some superficial nonsense to be special although no one obviously believes them when they start talking about things other than competition. Today, even the Kôdôkan who were supposed to be the guardians of Kanô's jûdô has lost much of the understanding, as finally many foreigners are starting to see when they are confronted with some of their nonsensical approached to kata.

    It cannot be, and it cannot have been Kanô's intent to have people do a lifelong of jûdô without understanding much of it. Jûdô needs to have achievable goals. That doesn't mean the goals have to change, of course not because they make what Kôdôkan jûdô is. It means that some of the pedagogical approaches need to be revisited. This can be done by clarifying things thanks to science and to making use of modern imagery that did not exist at the time when Kanô was alive such as video and 3D-analysis. That is only a start since obviously the big challenge remains how to translate understanding into actual skill. I know I am doing a better job than average in making my students "understand" and identifying their mistakes, BUT improving the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student to make them quicker able to actual perform and master that remains a huge challenge. This is not all under my control. For example, my club when where I became a black belt at that time had 4 training sessions per week for us adults (I was always with the adults, even as a kid). That same club where I am currently chief-instructor practices only twice per week. At the time, I attended 4 sessions per week except during school exams. Today, only a my most faithful students attend all 2 sessions. They certainly do not attend 4 because there aren't 4. If there were 4 I doubt they would because I don't think they really have the same drive as I did, and would divided their priorities. My priority was jûdô and school, period. This also is affected by things such as success in competition. Most jûdôka get an awareness soon of how successful they could become and when they know they will never become champions rarely commit with the same fervor and frequency practice than someone who felt that drive to start competing and win, which I did have, out of myself, not because any teacher pushed me towards it; on the contrary, all of my teachers rather discouraged competition in general.

    Anyhow one of the very concrete things where I am trying to change the pedagogy of jûdô is regarding the meaning and importance of jû. Like any jûdôka I knew from early on the translation, but I did not fully grasp it until very late, even long after I returned from Japan. It is actually Fukuda Keiko who was the catalyst of it. I was proud of my training and teachers and thus was rather confident my jû-no-kata was pretty decent, until I had to do it in front of her. She would be sitting in her chair and she would make me repeat movements over and over and would say: wrong, wrong, too late, too early, almost, wrong, and kept emphasizing jû. When she finally said 'yes' I also understood why the other times it was wrong. When I reread Born for the mat after I had been taught by her it was a different book that it had been for me before I met here. Also the late Dr. Ashida Sachio was an important factor in it although he was never his student. His harsh criticism of my jû-no-kata (and that of everyone else) was an eye opener. I could of course not really "practice" with the by then very fragile Fukuda-sensei, but I did practice jû-no-kata with Umezu-sensei who in terms of experience comes the closest to Fukuda one could get, having had largely the same teachers except for not having Kanô as a mentor. She did have Mifune, Samura and Noritomi as sensei who all were direct students of Kanô. That actual practice with her together with the what Fukuda and Ashida-sensei had taught me made me understand jû. So really, and perhaps evidently, it was jû-no-kata that taught me jû, jû-no-kata as it was meant to be. To teach this myself requires another route because my students even at kata courses, generally are not proficient of jû-no-kata and often have never done it. One should also realize that historically jû-no-kata had a bad name in the West as a was condescendingly and ignorantly labelled "just a dancing exercise for girls". Jû-no-kata is a very unique kata, and even though I am oftentimes critical of Kanô-shihan, IF the man ever had a genial inspiration, then jû-no-kata probably was one of his most remarkable accomplishments. So, I cannot just use jû-no-kata on my students the way I went through it. Also it is hard to impose it during federal kata seminars because like everywhere the jûdôka come with specific desires: that is the kata they need to show during their next promotional exam ...

    However, I make use of sei-ryoku zen'yô kokumin taiiku which I can integrate in the warm-up, by explaining what it is and even though it is physical education based on atemi, the atemi are obviously not developed in the way they are in karate or taekwondô. Yet the way they are performed it also very jû. I also demonstrate how you can in a self-defense kata like kime-no-kata use the exact same defense on the same attack while making a gô approach vs. a jû-approach. In this way, the students are reminded from early on that it exists, that it is important and they train towards it. Can they do it ? No. The reason being that they do not have the hours on the tatami in total nor per year. I do think that if they would for the rest have the same hours of practice per week as I did that they would master it quicker than I do thanks to the approach. I probably will never be able to prove it. We should not forget that honestly, most of us teachers have only ... "very average students". I don't have any jûdô geniuses among my students. In fact, I have had only one and that is a long time ago, a 7-year old kid and he was not in my group, as I taught the 12-18 year olds. On occasions when the kids teacher was excused and I had to replace her I did have an opportunity to teach him. However, I gave up my duties as the juniors coach in that club and left the club a year later. I can't remember his name, but I am pretty sure he quit afterwards.

    I hope that this addressed some of things you were wondering about.


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    DougNZ

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:12 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:

    I hope that this addressed some of things you were wondering about.

    Very interesting, but not quite what I was wondering. Let me put it another way; is 'ju' an important part of your randori (and in the development of your grasp of kuzushi) and, if so, how do you express it physically during randori?
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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 5:00 pm

    DougNZ wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:

    I hope that this addressed some of things you were wondering about.

    Very interesting, but not quite what I was wondering.  Let me put it another way; is 'ju' an important part of your randori (and in the development of your grasp of kuzushi) and, if so, how do you express it physically during randori?

    Yes, of course it is an important part of randori. But that started very early even before I had any idea what jû was about. My teacher emphasized the importance of tai-sabaki. Tai-sabaki is or at least can be an early manifestation of jû. This is very obvious in Mifune. Later when my understanding of jû matured, my understanding of tai-sabaki evolved with it.

    I don't think that jû was significant towards me finally understanding kuzushi. I understood kuzushi before I understood jû, but thanks to understanding kuzushi, I could apply kuzushi to manifest jû. After all, if one can't then the only thing your jû could lead to (talking mechanics, not at the mental level) is evasion. Evasion CAN lead to spontaneous kuzushi of the opponent certainly, but kuzushi has more facets than merely the spontaneous loss of balance through evasion. It sometimes is provoked as part of the interplay between action and reaction or as part of conscious strategy.

    This is hard to explain very clearly outside of the tatami, since in reality, I mean in a the scientific analysis of a throw there is no kuzushi as a separate entity, meaning that tsukuri, kuzushi and kake are only pedagogical concepts, not real mechanically. Scientifically they cannot be separated in a real situation. In reality everything we do in jûdô ultimately is intended to make the center of mass fall outside of the area of support, so the whole throw is maximizing loss of balance. But in teaching and demonstrating we imply that there are separate phases. Breaking up these concepts is assumed to facilitate the learning of the whole concept of successfully applying a throw in adherence of maximal efficiency.

    As to how does one physically express jû during randori ... there is a level where one no longer breaks the balance of the opponent but where one's tai-sabaki is craftily applied in synchrony with your own body position that the opponent is constantly out of balance, no matter what he does. Randori then pretty much becomes facing an empty jacket. I noticed that at one point also after returning from Japan I automatically stopped throwing people. I didn't actually needed to hear them smack on the tatami anymore to now whether what I did what successful or not, instead I instinctively searched for loss of balance. My partner would constantly say "I was completely gone, you could have easily thrown me, why didn't you ?"
    I can only say that I felt no need to that anymore. I think that is a manifestation of jû. Likely this was only possible because the gap in skill level was great enough. There are limits. I obviously know that if my opponent has great skill than I or has certain properties that are massively out of synch --e.g. facing Teddy Riner, for example-- that one reaches the limits of one's own skill and compensation. Also tai-sabaki and jû require swift reaction and thus use of energy; you need to have that energy. If one has a heart disease, or one's opponent is an Olympic athlete who has exceptional fitness compared to me then the limits of what I can do would evidently be reached much sooner too. After all, jûdô remains subject to the laws of physics, and you can't change Newtonian physics.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:47 pm

    Thank you, CK. Where I am now, your last post went to the heart of matters.  You have no idea how much it helped!

    Just tonight, before I got home to read your post, I was working with one of my nidans.  He is a forceful guy who likes to lead randori.  We were working tai otoshi and his energetic entries meant he overshot the optimal position to throw from and so compensated with lots of arm and upper body strength.  Most of his attempts were easy to evade. I eventually got him to yield more and use good tai sabaki to put uke into a position where, by engaging the waist well, uke pretty much fell over.  Sure, resistance was low, but it was unrehearsed and the unbalancing was real.  It was a good example of ju and kuzushi going hand in hand, and could easily have been used for effective striking, too.  So, a good break through tonight but we both have many, many years work to get the hang of it!

    Again, thank you for providing more depth on this area of study.  I find few people understand it, let alone can apply or teach it.  This may be a forum of written words but the knowledge I have amassed here exceeds any recent one-on-one, advanced teaching I have received in this area.  Now to put it into action ...

    Thank you, too, for allowing me to hijack this thread.


    Last edited by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

    DougNZ

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:32 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:I don't think that jû was significant towards me finally understanding kuzushi. I understood kuzushi before I understood jû, but thanks to understanding kuzushi, I could apply kuzushi to manifest jû. After all, if one can't then the only thing your jû could lead to (talking mechanics, not at the mental level) is evasion. Evasion CAN lead to spontaneous kuzushi of the opponent certainly, but kuzushi has more facets than merely the spontaneous loss of balance through evasion. It sometimes is provoked as part of the interplay between action and reaction or as part of conscious strategy.

    Interesting ...

    I understand ju to be more than simply yielding. Another attempt at translating 'ju' is something like 'pliable' with the idea that something can give way and then spring back (either to the original space or in another direction). Other analogies of ju I have are the willow branch blowing in the wind, bending and returning to place; or the winter branch bending under the weight of snow until the snow is shed and the branch springs back. To me, ju means evasion to reduce or negate uke's force and then a springing back - a counter-attack, if you like - to take advantage of uke's state of instability. In this respect, ju leads to kuzushi. Likewise, as you say, a provocative action may create a reaction. My understanding is that the application of ju to the reaction provides the opportunity for kuzushi.

    I'm very interested in your response.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:41 am

    DougNZ wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:I don't think that jû was significant towards me finally understanding kuzushi. I understood kuzushi before I understood jû, but thanks to understanding kuzushi, I could apply kuzushi to manifest jû. After all, if one can't then the only thing your jû could lead to (talking mechanics, not at the mental level) is evasion. Evasion CAN lead to spontaneous kuzushi of the opponent certainly, but kuzushi has more facets than merely the spontaneous loss of balance through evasion.  It sometimes is provoked as part of the interplay between action and reaction or as part of conscious strategy.

    Interesting ...

    I understand ju to be more than simply yielding.  Another attempt at translating 'ju' is something like 'pliable' with the idea that something can give way and then spring back (either to the original space or in another direction).  Other analogies of ju I have are the willow branch blowing in the wind, bending and returning to place; or the winter branch bending under the weight of snow until the snow is shed and the branch springs back.  To me, ju means evasion to reduce or negate uke's force and then a springing back - a counter-attack, if you like - to take advantage of uke's state of instability.  In this respect, ju leads to kuzushi. Likewise, as you say, a provocative action may create a reaction.  My understanding is that the application of ju to the reaction provides the opportunity for kuzushi.

    I'm very interested in your response.


    In itself jû or yawara does not explicitly include a reaction (springing back), but on the other hand yielding here is contrary to breaking in the sense that in the case of breaking the original continuity of a structure is damaged and cannot regain its original position, whereas in the case of plying or yielding it is not. There are other terms in jûdô, which are less familiar in the West, but which more explicitly mean some of the thing things that you mention, which are not literally jû, but which are contextually not separated from it either. Since jûdô has a martial arts aspect, the jû usually does not stand on itself; in other words, when we are attacked we do not just fold without anything else; the jû is central but it is not the only thing. 'Evasion' is fusegi, and different from ridatsu, which means "breaking away"; so both are ways of 'escape' but are different. Fusegi is a more pure way of applying jû than ridatsu, but one is not always at liberty to choose. In the case your opponent has a tight grip on you by a choke, fusegi is generally not possible and ridatsu must be chosen as the most suitable application of jû.

    Reaction is handô. It is not literally jû, but in the metaphoric representation of the principle of jû in martial arts the goal is of course not becoming a cortotionist but obtaining victory. Thus, the plying is used in a meaningful way, i.e. the undamaged restoration of tori, even if it is not 100% jû, as long as jû is included to the greatest extent.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:44 am

    Although I did not know the Japanese for the movements, I know exactly what you are applying them to.  Much of the traditional ju-jitsu I studied was based on evasion or breaking away and reaction.  Yes, from a choke, we would break away and apply a strike, a lock or a throw.

    Your words show just how much the current style I learn has evolved.  Compared to what I originally learnt, it is significantly more effective as a means of fighting while embracing the wider idea of ju in a much more intimate way.  I attribute this to the influence of my instructor's instructor, Hartley sensei, who was an uchi deshi of Saigo.  While most people - even my students - would not see it, there is definitely an aiki flavour to it (albeit the more direct Iwama style).  These days, my first instinct in reaction to a choke is not to break away but to use tai sabaki to unbalance uke, isolate parts of his body and then follow up. We talk about only hitting uke when he wants to be hit or only throwing him when he wants to be thrown; in both cases we use yielding and evasion to entice uke into positions where he 'offers' striking targets or 'gives' us his balance.

    The trick to 'ju', though, I find, is to not get too theoretical or soft with it.  There are too many martial arts styles that have become 'gentle' to the point of impracticality as a means of fighting.  And that is where randori saves the day ...
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    NBK

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by NBK on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:19 am

    Fritz wrote:....
    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.
    .....
    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
    One of my current sensei is a former high level Japanese competitor. He developed US Olympians and himself was promoted in Japan several times as a result of his competition prowess.

    But that is about the only tool in his judo toolbox. Every move is examined from a standpoint of how to make this work in randori / competition, not the basics of judo. When someone new shows up, ofttimes he'll ask me to teach them the basics, but when he steps in he typically starts with some odd henka waza that got him an edge in a tournament. It really is a completely different judo, one that works at odds with teaching the basics, and hence, as this thread has pointed out, the most advanced aspects of judo at the same time.

    DougNZ wrote:Although I did not know the Japanese for the movements, I know exactly what you are applying them to.  Much of the traditional ju-jitsu I studied was based on evasion or breaking away and reaction.  Yes, from a choke, we would break away and apply a strike, a lock or a throw.

    Your words show just how much the current style I learn has evolved.  Compared to what I originally learnt, it is significantly more effective as a means of fighting while embracing the wider idea of ju in a much more intimate way.  I attribute this to the influence of my instructor's instructor, Hartley sensei, who was an uchi deshi of Saigo.  While most people - even my students - would not see it, there is definitely an aiki flavour to it (albeit the more direct Iwama style).  These days, my first instinct in reaction to a choke is not to break away but to use tai sabaki to unbalance uke, isolate parts of his body and then follow up. We talk about only hitting uke when he wants to be hit or only throwing him when he wants to be thrown; in both cases we use yielding and evasion to entice uke into positions where he 'offers' striking targets or 'gives' us his balance.

    The trick to 'ju', though, I find, is to not get too theoretical or soft with it.  There are too many martial arts styles that have become 'gentle' to the point of impracticality as a means of fighting.  And that is where randori saves the day ...

    Kano shihan wrote of the utility of , strength or hardness, in addition to . If I understand it correctly, the principles he espoused for jūdō essentially assumed that comes pretty naturally to young people building their strength and stamina through regular practice, but that is much more important to teach, more difficult to master, and contains much of the real essence of jūdō.

    Separately I will post a long curriculum developed by Kanō shihan to teach what he thought was the essence of jūdō. The content and organization are very interesting.

    NBK


    DougNZ

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by DougNZ on Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:14 am

    NBK wrote:
    Separately I will post a long curriculum developed by Kanō shihan to teach what he thought was the essence of jūdō.  The content and organization are very interesting.

    NBK  

    Thank you, NBK. I look forward to it.
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    NBK

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    Re: Itsutsu-no-kata by orange belt

    Post by NBK on Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:14 pm

    DougNZ wrote:
    NBK wrote:
    Separately I will post a long curriculum developed by Kanō shihan to teach what he thought was the essence of jūdō.  The content and organization are very interesting.

    NBK   

    Thank you, NBK.  I look forward to it.
    Here it is
    http://judo.forumsmotion.com/t2076-kano-shihan-s-judo-instructor-curriculum-1911-version

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