Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Dai San thoughts

I have been working through some of the problems of the Tomiki Koryu Dai San kata lately. I will try to make Wilkinson Sensei (my internet kata enthusiast friend) happy and practice them more regularly. The Koryu Dai San is a large 2 person collection of techniques.

To be honest I am not always the biggest fan nor advocate of the rigid and overly structured kata system. There are hundreds of redundant techniques piled haphazardly together in this gargantuan system.

But not to keep my students from being exposed to the katas, we have been digesting various pieces from time to time. I am beginning to find a new relationship with the higher kata of the Tomiki system. They remind me of chess puzzles. In chess they have puzzles that are the last few moves of a game. They take the skills you have, and allow you to exercise them in a particular context. Thus, the theory might be that it exercises the mind to play effectively in more circumstances and with differing patterns. Ok I buy it. They may not be the meat and potatoes of the system, but they may be a useful game to play.

To add one stipulation though, I do find that I change the techniques around my ideal of what aikido should be. , but I will fix all the bad ideas as I go. Isn't that the way it should be? (I can already hear the strict kata buffs groaning and gnashing their teeth.)


  1. Nope, that sounds like how I think/feel about those kata

  2. Good to see you blogging again.

    I think the kata are great as exercises - as long as that is how you see them. As soon as you start making them into something more then you are on slippery ground.

    Kata are just a string of pre-agreed techniques. If you are comfortable agreeing with a partner on one technique to practice - which is probably the largest part of any aikido club's teaching method - then you should be happy to practice a sequence of them.

    Otherwise you have to throw all pre-agreed attack-technique combinations out and only practice freeplay. This is not impossible to do but it makes for a very different style of teaching.