Shūdokan 18 - Judgement

We're between two holidays and class membership is minimal.  Two kids, a teen, Marcus and me.  Sensei is still focused on prepping for "celebration" which is the nickname for testing.  In this vein the class was structured around one portion of the testing called "bunkai".  I always took that word to mean practical application of the moves from kata.  However, this appears to be components that everyone acts out at the same time at various levels depending on skills.  So the white belts would do a side kick whereas brown and black has to a spin, downward block, side kick and into fudo dachi (low stance) followed by a schto (I have no idea how to spell this word, but it's a strike with the bottom ridge of the hand straight from the chest).  We were only able to get through a few of these before we got bogged down in technique correction.  Even with the five of us organizing the different levels was technically challenging for Sensei.

At the end of class Sensei likes to talk about something briefly.  He told a story about the founder and his pupil (in the US, not Japan).  It seems that one loved kata and other loved fighting.  The one who loved the fighting (main student) was eventually passed over for promotion because other folks were simply better and this was because he originally eschewed kata.  Once he realized this he got better, etc.

In my mind I said, "cool story bro.  We get it. Be well rounded, etc."  But there was the cool bit that never dawned upon me.  Sensei said that someone might be a natural fighter or just be plan speedy, but no one is a natural at Kata.  That's why the weight in belt testing falls on kata.  The judges can tell maturity and base level skills by how well the kata is performed.

I always like kata, but I was depressed when I didn't do well in kumite (fighting/sparring).  So there might be a bright future for me in kata; as long as they don't keep deconstructing my work.  It's like learning all over again.


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