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    "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

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    Jonesy

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    "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Jonesy on Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:45 am

    Let's discuss.

    http://betterjudo.com/more-ijf-and-modern-kata/

    wdax

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by wdax on Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:49 pm

    Every exercise is useless, if you do not know it well enough...
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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:25 am

    wdax wrote:Every exercise is useless, if you do not know it well enough...

    Modern kata seems to be approaching more of a type of "performance art" than a training method, IMO.

    The formal kata, which is basically what Gerald is so dead-set against (as a training method), have become another part of the IJF marketing scheme, to draw more people to Judo. That isn't necessarily a bad idea (more people in Judo, offering something other than knock-down drag-out randori and shiai/shiai training), however, the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired.

    The over-ritualization of the formal kata particularly disturbs me, as well as the simplification over the years, which I assume is to make it "easier" to learn and practice, or at least be more uniform so "judging standards" are easier to apply in competitions????



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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:42 am

    Jonesy wrote:Let's discuss.

    http://betterjudo.com/more-ijf-and-modern-kata/

    Maybe better to say "Formal Kata are useless", but "Kata is Useless" gets more attention as a headline.


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    BillC

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by BillC on Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:50 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    wdax wrote:Every exercise is useless, if you do not know it well enough...

    Modern kata seems to be approaching more of a type of "performance art" than a training method, IMO.

    The formal kata, which is basically what Gerald is so dead-set against (as a training method), have become another part of the IJF marketing scheme, to draw more people to Judo. That isn't necessarily a bad idea (more people in Judo, offering something other than knock-down drag-out randori and shiai/shiai training), however, the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired.

    The over-ritualization of the formal kata particularly disturbs me, as well as the simplification over the years, which I assume is to make it "easier" to learn and practice, or at least be more uniform so "judging standards" are easier to apply in competitions????

    Gold, silver and bronze just aren't a very good fit for the study of judo technique, are they? Yes, you and I have tossed back and forth the "ice dancing" comparison before. And the contrary tendencies of my neighbor Mr. Lafon are also worn out on this forum. Yes, we miss huge markets through competition systems that discourage people ... all the while the self-defense-samurai-geisha perception just sits there waiting for the judo establishment to become competent enough in its own subject matter to satisfy it. Old broken record ...

    Meantime ... up in Idaho-ho-ho this June the USJF annual kata conference will be held. Hope to see you there.

    15th Annual USJF National Kata Conference

    Friday, June 19th - Sunday June 21th, 2015
    Sponsored by Intermountain Yudanshakai
    USJF Sanction #15-06-01

    This year’s USJF National Kata Conference will be held in Boise, Idaho. The conference will be held at Cole Valley Christian High School Gymnasium, 200 East Carlton Ave. Meridian, Idaho 83642.

    If you have any questions, please contact:

    Sensei Eiko Shepherd at eikojudo1@gmail.com or cell phone at (618) 781-5157

    Or

    Benjamin Ott at ottjudo@yahoo.com or cell phone at (208) 371-9704



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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:43 am

    BillC wrote:
    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    wdax wrote:Every exercise is useless, if you do not know it well enough...

    Modern kata seems to be approaching more of a type of "performance art" than a training method, IMO.

    The formal kata, which is basically what Gerald is so dead-set against (as a training method), have become another part of the IJF marketing scheme, to draw more people to Judo. That isn't necessarily a bad idea (more people in Judo, offering something other than knock-down drag-out randori and shiai/shiai training), however, the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired.

    The over-ritualization of the formal kata particularly disturbs me, as well as the simplification over the years, which I assume is to make it "easier" to learn and practice, or at least be more uniform so "judging standards" are easier to apply in competitions????

    Gold, silver and bronze just aren't a very good fit for the study of judo technique, are they?  Yes, you and I have tossed back and forth the "ice dancing" comparison before.  And the contrary tendencies of my neighbor Mr. Lafon are also worn out on this forum.  Yes, we miss huge markets through competition systems that discourage people ... all the while the self-defense-samurai-geisha perception just sits there waiting for the judo establishment to become competent enough in its own subject matter to satisfy it.  Old broken record ...

    Meantime ... up in Idaho-ho-ho this June the USJF annual kata conference will be held.  Hope to see you there.

    15th Annual USJF National Kata Conference

    Friday, June 19th - Sunday June 21th, 2015
    Sponsored by Intermountain Yudanshakai
    USJF Sanction #15-06-01

    This year’s USJF National Kata Conference will be held in Boise, Idaho. The conference will be held at Cole Valley Christian High School Gymnasium, 200 East Carlton Ave. Meridian, Idaho 83642.

    If you have any questions, please contact:

    Sensei Eiko Shepherd at eikojudo1@gmail.com or cell phone at (618) 781-5157

    Or

    Benjamin Ott at ottjudo@yahoo.com or cell phone at (208) 371-9704


    Broken record indeed, Bill...

    I think a major issue is that kata in judo are for the judoka, not audiences. Of course, that kinda goes for everything about Judo, unless you are a directly involved parent/significant other. In the US of A and Canada, at least.

    Very cool, I should be able to make that one. I'll try to bring a couple of students as well, Canuckians, but they do compete in kata competitions. Unusual in that they are very active in shiai as well, but, hey, sometimes being different isn't so bad a thing...





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    Richard Riehle

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Richard Riehle on Fri May 22, 2015 6:47 pm

    Se
    Jonesy wrote:Let's discuss.

    http://betterjudo.com/more-ijf-and-modern-kata/

    I am never sure, when reading Sensei Lafon, whether he is serious or simply being provocative.   A statement such as "Kata is totally useless" seems to reflect "provocative" rather than serious.  

    A key idea from Kano's philosophy is that of principles rather than simply technique.  In that regard, kata is focused on principles not simply on the notion of winning and losing.   Moreover, the emphasis on victory and defeat is a rather silly one at that.   Tournament, in its essence, is not about victory and defeat.  It is about self-improvement.   It is about  becoming better after a tournament, win or lose, that you were before you entered that tournament.   This is why the entire medal system and point system that has grown up around Judo is an exercise in the absurd.

    Shiai is nothing more than an up-tempo randori.  We have, however, turned it into something Kano never wished for: a kind of brawl that resembles Judo.    

    Judo is not about trying to get an Olympic medal.   It is not about earning medals at all.  The medal business is an artifact of small-minded thinking that actually runs contrary to what many of us regard as the real motivation and rationale for Judo.  

    Kata, for those who do not practice it, seems unrealistic, artificial, and "totally useless."   We too often hear, "Doggonit.  I have to pass this stupid kata test for my next promotion!"  So, we go through the motions for nage-no-kata, learn the forms, get it good enough, and bingo, we earned our Shodan.  

    "I want my Nidan.   Now I have to waste time learning katame-no-kata.  I shouldn't have to learn that.  I have enough competition points for Nidan already."

    "OK.  Sandan.  I have enough time in grade.  Why do I need Ju-no-kata.  That is a total waste of time.  No one can ever use that in actual self-defense."

    "They tell me I need kime-no-kata or goshin-jutsu-no-kata for Yondan.  More wasted time."

    And so it goes.  So many of us learn the required kata, just in time for the next promotion, but not in sufficient depth to actually understand how it contributes to our understanding of Judo, especially the kind of Judo we need for competition.   We become so obsessed with the goals of competition that we lose sight of the deeper concepts of Judo, and many of those concepts are embodied in the various kata.

    When I am in Japan at the Kodokan, I usually attend Daigo-sensei's class in Koshiki-no-kata.  I am not an official member of that class, but he allows me to participate as an observer.   So far, I have not actually practiced that kata myself.  However, the more time I spend observing it being taught, and the more I study it, the more I realize there is a value in it -- not from the perspective of a competitor (I am in my Eighth decade, and have not competed since 2009),  but as a life-long devotee of Judo.   And, as I watch the lessons, I realize there is so much to learn from those lessons.  

    For those who simply get their kata certificate and forget what they have learned, too busy doing uchi-komi in preparation for the next tournament, there is a loss they will never fully understand.   For those instructors who are so busy getting their students ready for the next shiai, that there is no time for perfecting their nage-no-kata, they will not realize what they are missing in their deeper understanding of Judo.

    So, we rise through the ranks, accumulating congratulations for the success of our students, even as we often stop learning ourselves.  We so often fail to realize the importance of kata as a part of our own learning.   I enjoy Kodokan kata-Saturday when I am in Japan.  Some of the best kata instructors take the time to come that day.   It is a pleasure to learn from them, and the best part of all is that they have deeper insights into the rationale for how things are done than most of the people I meet in the USA.  

    Yes.  Kata is totally useless, unless you are one of those people who takes the time to learn what makes it valuable.    
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    Jonesy

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Jonesy on Fri May 22, 2015 10:44 pm

    A wonderful post from Professor Riehle.


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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: "Kata is utterly useless......" - Gerald Lafon

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat May 23, 2015 4:05 am

    Gerald is seriously provocative, LOL. He's been doing it for years. Somebody needed to do it, and he stepped up. He certainly got me to thinking about Judo in a different way, which helped me as a competitor and as a teacher/coach.


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