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Jen >> Kano and Judo Kata


6/11/09 1:54 AM
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nowaydo
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Michael,

I was reading a book about Kano and I came across some very interesting facts about his vision of Judo. I thought about this when I was reading what you wrote about Russian Judo and their dislike for Kata. (It was my very reason for disliking Judo kata).

Kano said his main purpose for creating his Judo kata was to create a balanced body. He wrote a lot about the importance of and the creation of a "balanced" body.

He said if one only does randori, they will most likely only use a select number of throws, working only a select number of muscle groups, on a select side and in only a select manner. (I'm paraphasing)The Judoka creates an imbalanced body by doing only randori.

Judo kata is has a variety of throws and it must be done on the left and right side.

Most know that Professor Kano chose Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (Feldenkrais Method) to be trained in his art and subsequently Feldenkrais opened the first judo club in France. In one of Kano's writing he spoke of how poor Moshe's judo was when he first meet him, even though he had written a book about Judo.

Kano was an incredible man. He created Judo as a form of physical education that students could continue with throughout their adult-hood...that had multiple purposes. Physical education is the key term. Not so much sport or even self-defense, but "Physical Education".

When I read this, it made me think...was Kano the first "Posture Therapist"?

It has made be reconsider my distaste for judo Kata, especially as I grow older. He(Kano)said that you can do Judo Kata forever, but not Judo randori. Not learning Judo katas has hindered my promotion in Judo. My instructor, who is very old school, requires it.
6/11/09 2:26 AM
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Bolo
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Igor has also passed up promotions for black belt degrees because he dislikes judo kata so much. He is now in Canada and the governing body for judo up there requires kata for promotion.

When Igor and I taught at a judo camp many years ago, we were both surprised at how serious some people were about kata competition. They studied video of kata competition like fighters would study fights.
6/11/09 2:46 AM
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nowaydo
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Did you know about Kano's correlation to judo kata and a balanced body?

And yes, they are serious. My two head Judo instructors are obsessed with judo kata!
6/11/09 3:23 AM
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Bolo
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No, I did not know about Kano talking a balanced body.

I couldn't get into doing kata no matter what. It's funny how when I was in junior high and took TKD and in high school when I took Hakko Ryu Jiu-jitsu, I was all into doing the kata and now I can't stand it.
6/11/09 10:14 AM
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nowaydo
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same here
6/12/09 11:07 AM
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m.g
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Nowaydo,

I have the book you're talking about. You're right about Kano's belief about Physical Education and Judo.
6/12/09 1:17 PM
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Bolo
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By the way, at the judo camp that Igor and I taught at, I noticed that the really hard core kata people tended to be older. I also noticed that the young people who would go to kata clinics tended to do so because they wanted promotion. I'm not saying that is the reason why all young people do it, but I didn't notice a fair number of people who were more concerned about getting a higher rank than their skill on the mat.
6/12/09 9:29 PM
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nowaydo
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Great book, m.g.!

My intent of starting the thread had to with Kano's focus on creating and keeping a "balanced" body. I cannot find anyone who predates Kano who spoke of this.

Bolo, I think what you observed is quite accurate. Older Judokas tend to dominate the Kata circuit. I'm not sure of the motivation behind the younger Judoka's interest in kata.

But I do think very few older and younger Judokas really fail to understand the pure "physical" benefits of kata.

I was ask to change the Judo warm-ups and conditioning program for a couple Judo schools here. I try hard to stress concepts quite similar to MBF you teach. But getting them to take responsibility and change their personal training is another thing.
6/13/09 3:58 PM
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m.g
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Bolo,

Kata, according to Kano, covered more than Judo techniques like throws and ground work. Like Nowaydo said Kano used Kata to not only teach but actively practice specific principles and movements that are not only essential to Judo but also produce a balanced, healthy and efficient body!

Kano was a big believer in moving ones body in a effective and efficient way.

Some of the Kata Kano created had little to no self-defense value. The purpose of some of the Kata Kano created was purely physical education.
6/13/09 6:02 PM
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nowaydo
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^^^Well said^^^
6/13/09 6:11 PM
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Bolo
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Yeah, I saw some of the "advanced" katas and that looked more like dancing than judo.
6/13/09 11:38 PM
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laqueus
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Well, you could do Judo Kata, that don't evolve, to get balance, or you can practice Yoga with people who do it all their life, and other forms of physical training that have been developed.

My current BJJ instructor, Don Whitefield, doesn't have us do any calisthenics for warm up, it's just all technique. He teaches us BJJ and that's it. He's of the opinion that we can get our cardio in the gym or working out however we like.

So for my posture and balance, I do yoga with Tracy Groshak, who's also MBF certified. The way she can explain stuff, and teach us how to pay attention to our own bodies and figure things out ourselves is great. I'm progressing so much in that department, far quicker than I have before. I don't believe I'd get that out of Judo kata, and I'd be really floored if any Judo instructor were able to teach the Kata that well so I could get the same level of benefit.

This whole thing reminds me of Burton Richardson's article of "Discard what is useful" and how MMA develops. Even though BJJ practices throws, they're just not as developed as Judo. If you just do BJJ ground work, with minimal standup, and just do Judo standup, with minimal ground work, you'll end up better at ground and standup than if you did just Judo for both (which is lacking in ground), or BJJ for both (which is lacking in standup). Similarly, I think that despite the postural balancing of Judo kata, you're going to be much better doing Iyengar yoga and a variety of other physical training than trying to get the whole thing just from Judo.
6/14/09 1:35 AM
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nowaydo
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 "...you're going to be much better doing Iyengar yoga and a variety of other physical training than trying to get the whole thing just from Judo.."

True! But I don't think there were many Yoga or MBF instructors in Japan, during the time Kano created Judo Kata.

Again, I was just pointing out the origins of Judo Kata and it's connection to "posture therapy". That's it. No more no less.
6/15/09 5:12 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 06/17/09 5:25 PM
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Like Nowaydo said, Nowaydo is speaking of Judo kata in the context of purpose and intent.

When Kano created and developed certain Judo katas he had a specific goal and purpose in mind which was the developed of a healthly and efficient body that can move effectively.

Obviously much of what Kano intended for his katas die with him. nevertheless that doesn't take away from his purpose and intent in creating them.
6/16/09 8:44 PM
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laqueus
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Gotcha. Yes, it's very important to see them for what they are, rather than trying to scurry around finding secret combat applications hidden in them.

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