June 10th , 2018
This weeks TOTW is submitted by Sensei Kevin Reymond, Shihan of the Ueshiro Downtown Karate Dojo.
One Kata Ten Times
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi and Fellow Deshi,
Hanshi Robert Scaglione writes on pages 24 and 112 of his book, Building Warrior Spirit with Gan, Soku, Tanden, Riki, "The student's character, attitude and intentions are revealed in Kata practice.... Kata is more than what appears to be a series of beautifully executed movements. Kata develops one's character, the spirit, the mind and the body.... The spiritual aspect of kata is unsurpassed in karate training. There is a metaphysical link to the shinden, the spirit of the ancient masters including all the students who came before us, the ghosts so to speak, those people who have repeated the performance of the kata in the same way as we do today... The composers of the kata, many of whom were samurai class, put a part of themselves into the kata, especially their spirit of bushi-do which carries on by the unbroken cultural chain through the practice of kata.... Kata is the way of the warrior."
Kata is a gift and the core of our practice of Ueshiro Shorin Ryu Karate. There are many different ways to practice kata. However, Hanshi in Building Warrior Spirit shares with us Master Ueshiro's guidance for kata practice: "Just do one kata ten times or more each day. That is all one needs." This is more effective than doing a few repetitions of several kata. The improvements in technique in performing the ten kata will transfer to the others. Sometimes the kata may not improve but you will become aware of a technique that needs more work, which is also on the path moving forward. The approach I find most helpful is to perform five or six kata at half speed followed by two or three with snap and finish with two at full speed and power. Join me on the deck tomorrow performing a selected kata, ten times.
Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi for your teachings, inspiration and guidance.
Kevin Reymond, Hachi-Dan