August 7th, 2017
This weeks technique is submitted by Barnes Sensei, Denshi/Shihan, Ueshiro Bushi Dojo, Santa Monica, CA:
PERFORMANCE OF KATA
Onegaishimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Shihan, Sensei, Denshi-
IS THE SOUL OF UESHIRO SHORIN-RYU KARATE.
Practice of the basic movements enables the student to achieve a natural, beautiful, swift, stable, and powerful performance of kata. Shoshin Nagamine . Essence of Okinawan Karate Do. Page 57.
Kata, we train Kata, we bunkai Kata, and we demonstrate
Over the past several years as a Denshi/Shihan, Shichi-Dan Sensei, I have sat on the board of judges for hours watching the Performance of Kata. Many performances are marred by Deshi struggling both mentally and physically with the Kata. We all understand. But it is truly a self-imposed struggle. We are trying to attain a natural, beautiful, swift, stable, and powerful performance of kata, not an exhausted mind twisting recall of moves and directions of movement. We dont want to witness anyone wishing the horror and their time on the spot would end. We want all Deshi to experience the joy and vigor kata brings. Master Nagamine ends Essence of Shorin-Ryu Karate in his afterword by the saying The fusing of mind and body in karate is indescribably beautiful and spiritual. The flow of the mind, when totally absorbed during Kata practice, brings a person into total contact with the essence and core of his being. One is both humbled and uplifted by this knowledge of self.
I have studied Kata performance many years with all of the seasoned instructors we are all so fortunate to have in Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA. The performance instruction is the same in theatre as in Karate, the fusing of the mind and body, attained through breathing and movement and becoming one with the performance. Both Hanshi and legendary acting instructor, Stella Adler will instruct: you have done all the training and repetition for your performance at hand. When called " on the spot" to perform, theres nothing you can remember/think into action, you can only let go and allow the Kata to move from within, the Kata is actually taking you through the movement rather than one thinking and muscling each next move and remembering where to place feet, where do I turn next Im exhausted just typing that process.
Kata is Life.
Hanshi always has said, "youve done the work, now let the Kata be revealed." Any other process can only lead to the mental and physical struggle, loss of breath and bodily water retention, the death march we so often see.
We go back to the words of Master Ueshiro while instructing on the Okinawan deck, Kata is a well organized series of movement techniques whose single components can be considered in principle to be a defensive technique with inhalation followed by an offensive technique with exhalation, that is the foundation of the kata and from there we breath life, fluidity and spiritual grace into the free flowing movement that moves oneself and all who witness the Joy & Vigor of Kata.
Master Nagamine writes: By making Kata central to training, one can pursue Karate-do not only as budo, but as a way of life. The beauty and spirit of Kata offers much to those who practice it.(p 102)
For us it is the fusing of mind and body, allowing the spirit of Kata to reveal and deliver the natural, beautiful, swift, stable, and powerful Performance of Kata.
Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione