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Sunday, June 20, 2010

An old friend re-visited.

With gradings behind us and a dojo full of karateka with bright new belts; I wanted to try something a little different that would challenge our students.
There was a kata that I used to practice with Stav a few years ago called Kashu (Hi no te): one of Asai Shihan's elemental kata based on Unsu (Fire).
Kato Shihan had asked Sensei Ash to practice it as part of his preparation for his Yondan grading. Dave and I were mid kyu grades, but we really liked this kata and would practice it at both Selby and Haxby dojo before anyone else arrived.

As well as challenging my students I also like to challenge myself.
How do I teach Kashu, when I have a mixed class from ungraded students to 1st Kyus?
I divided the class in half, green belt and below and purple and belt up.
For each sequence in the kata I taught a simplified version for the lower grades based on techniques that they know, or could easily pick up and the more advanced kata moves for the higher grades.

Lower grades:
Age Uke, Age Uke, Empi, Gedan bari......
Higher grades:
Jodan bari, Gyaku Zuki, Jodan bari, Gyaku Zuki, Shuto, Empi, Kentsui, Gedan bari....
The higher grades having typically 2 moves, sometimes 3 moves to each of the lower grades single moves.

We looked at the application of Jodan bari, and how combinations from the kata could be used in Jiyu Ippon Kumite for brown belts.
The importance of correct use of the hips in combinations like Kentsui, Gedan bari when you are moving from Kokutsu-dachi to Zenkutsu-dachi, making shomen mid technique is essential to develop power.
I love the application of move 20, Jim from Haxby went spinning to the floor as the strike landed, it has the feel of an Aikido move, you just seem to flow round your attacker as he dissolves at your feet.
I was certainly challenging myself trying to teach a high grade kata and devise a simplified kata as we went along and still maintain a fluid lesson.

I will have to ask Kato Shihan to teach it again, now hopefully my understanding has moved on a bit. I hope you enjoyed our visit to an old friend as much as I did? We won't do many sessions like this, but it is good to look into your future and what most of you were learning is how to learn a kata. By each of the higher grades taking a lead in rotation, it forced you to pay attention and at the end of the night you could all perform a 45 move kata that you had never seen before today, not a bad session, Osu!

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