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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Learning Kata

Like many Shotokan karateka I never find learning kata easy, but I have developed a few ideas that have helped me with my karate.

I always seem to be one of the last to pick up a kata on a course, I am not sure if I am trying to concentrate too much or if it is a skill that will eventually come? I am definitely not day dreaming, although Sensei may think so.

Firstly get advice from others far more experienced than me:
  1. Read the article on the 24FC site , excellent.
  2. Try and find a video of the kata, e.g the standard JKA "Blue" series.

I get quite a few search engine's directing people to my blog for video?? I can recommend the video section on the JKS site www.thejks.com/pages/kata.asp

There is video footage of Sensei Alan, Scott and Tor performing all of the Heian and Junro Kata, Teki Shodan, Bassai Dai and Hangetsu.

There is a section of advanced kata Nijushiho, Chinte, Gogushiho Sho, Sochin, Tekki Nidan and Sandan.

Also the following Non Syllabus Kata Rantai, Kakuten Shodan, Joko Issei, Hachimon, Mekiyo Nidan and Senka.

What is really helpful is that you will see the kata from front and back and both slow and fast speeds, great if you are trying to remember it.

3. Try and write down the kata as soon after the session as possible, get someone who can remember it to perform it, film it or get it on your phone.

Sensei taught us "Kashu" on the last course at York. We practiced it on the Sunday night at the club and I got a video of Sensei Ash performing it. I have written the moves down in a table format. It is not enough information to learn the kata from, but enough to refresh your memory when you get stuck the following week.

I don't know of anyone else who trys to write the kata down, but I find it easy then to learn the kata properly on my own , then practice over and over again.

I have managed to retain Di Ichi, Ni and San that Sensei taught a few years ago, because they are on a sheet of paper and every 6 months or so I can refresh my memory.

I of course need to learn many syllabus kata, but I also like to learn some non syllabus kata just for my own sake. Sensei Alan taught Joko Issei on a course that I attended 6 to 9 months ago, I need to improve my movement for sparring so I think I may pull my Joko Issei sheet out in the new year and remind myself what it was all about. I am sure it will help with evasions etc.

4. My last tip for trying to retain kata is to perform kata for warm up, if I get to York dojo early I might try and go through all the kata I know just relaxed, it might take 30 minutes and I might need to do some of them a few times to ensure they are still firmly planted in the memory, but it is time well spent. If I have forgotten a move and come to a halt I can check with Sensei when he arrives and get it correct before I forget anymore.

Hope the above is of help.

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