Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (August 9th, 2009)

Sensei Neff, San-Dan

The High School for Leadership and Public Service Ueshiro Karate Club

Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Doing Kata as One

When doing Kata with another person or as part a group, the group should move together as one. This is relatively easy when someone is giving the count for the group. This becomes more of a challenge when doing Kata denzook (with no count.) While it may not be easy to do at first with practice one can become proficient at being synchronized with the group.

There are several tips one can use to help them develop this skill. Here are some of the ones I have been taught:

* Loose your ego! You must become one with the group in order to make the group stronger.
* Follow the leader. When the highest rank on the deck moves that is when the rest of the group should move. If Hanshi is on the deck we all move when Hanshi moves. If the highest rank is one of our Kyoshi then move when Kyoshi moves. The same would go for the highest ranking Sensei, Black Belt, or Kyu rank. Move when the highest rank of the group you are working with moves.
* Try to be the last to initiate the move (block, punch, or kick), but the first to get there.
* Use all of your senses. Try to see, hear, feel, the group moving. Use peripheral vision and mirrors. Listen to the rustling of gi. You should be able to anticipate when the next move should occur once you have worked with the same group for a while.
* When in a very large group follow the highest rank in front of you. For example you may have Hanshi at the front left of the group, Kyoshi Seeger at the front right, Kyoshi Baker at the rear left, and Kyoshi Mackay at the rear right. While we are all technically following Hanshi’s lead it would be safe to follow the other leaders when going in their direction during Kata.
* Don’t rush. Breathe and relax between moves.

In order to help the lower ranks we should try our best to show a two second pause when doing Kata, especially when demonstrating in front of a group. This will give the group a more reliable cadence to follow.

Additionally, if there are several different groups doing different Kata working out on the same deck they may not be in complete synch with each other. They will all begin together when the “Hajime” is given, but they will not all end at the same time. When this occurs the groups that finish first should hold kio-tsuke (formal attention) until the final group is done and then the whole group should bow as one.

We all should understand that we are not following the leader in order to make their ego bigger, rather it is to loose ourselves to the group. By working together as one our group becomes that much stronger. As our movements become one so does our breathing, and then our kiai. There is nothing more exhilarating then doing Kata in a large group when everyone is moving in time together. It is as if we become one person with the power of 50 rather than fifty individuals with the power of one.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu-

Sensei Neff, San-Dan

The High School for Leadership and Public Service Ueshiro Karate Club