The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Saturday, March 31, 2018

The 2018 Lenten Challenge is Over, and using Classical Martial Arts in the Street

First of all, the 2018 Lenten Challenge is Over!

Next, At Shugyo, there was a very nice article on the different levels of understanding a Koryu (classical martial arts) kata. Below is an excerpt. The full post may be read here.


At a recent Muso Shinden Ryu Keikokai, I presented a brief explanation on what I had learned from, primarily, Ishido Sensei but also from other prominent teachers as well in terms of what is actually in a kata.

Most of us I’m sure are familiar with the meaning of kata () meaning shape or form of something. As Jock pointed out at the Keikokai, there is a lot more content within the learning of koryu than just the easily visible and physical shape of the form. Given that we all have a limited amount of time available to learn and practice budo, the habit of “collecting” koryu kata is in direct opposition to the ability of being able to develop “depth of knowledge” of any kata. While we shouldn’t spend the rest of our lives learning how to bow to the shomen, the learning of all aspects of a kata is what makes a study of budo interesting and worthwhile rather than just a rehearsal of choreography.

I have heard Ishido Sensei explain how kata can fit into certain categories, how it can be parsed into components and separated into variances. Furthermore the performance of a kata should change as the exponent develops themselves. In this way, while the koryu might be described on the surface as a set of choreographed movements, it becomes something of a living and growing organism that gets born when it is learned and develops and then dies with the exponent.

Anyway, away from contemplating ones navel, being someone who relies on visuals and patterns to describe and remember abstract stuff, I built my own appreciation for a kata on a set of views and components of each kata. It goes something like this (in fact it goes exactly like this).

1. Kihon waza  基本技
 2. Teigi  定義
 3. Oyo  応用 
4. Gainen  概念
5. Kotsu 
6. Kaewaza  変え技

Ultimately it is possible to make enough changes to the Teigi that the architecture of the form is slightly different and takes the shape of “kaewaza” 変え技 or alternative form. The gainen within and the main kotsu may be the same, it is the outside form which is likely to be different.

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