Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kihon Kata pt. 2

I've been meaning to do this post for a little while, since my first post on the subject only covered the first five Kihon Kata (there are 9 of them).  This one will go over what I have learned about Kihon Kata six through eight.  Please remember that these are my own thoughts on the subject and shouldn't be taken as "Kata Law."  Also, if you'd like to see my previous post on Kihon Kata, it can be found here.Here we go!

6 - Suriage Waza.  Kote-Suriage Men.  Motodachi steps in for Kote, and Kakarite responds with Suriage Men.  Suriage is an upward, arc-shaped movement of the blade that is used to deflect an opponent's incoming strike.  During this kata, Kakarite takes a slight step back for the suriage movement and then forward for the Men strike.  It should all be done as one movement, with no pauses in between.  Motodachi and Kakarite both take one step back to their starting positions while coming to kamae simultaneously.
7 - Debana Waza.  Debana Kote.  Motodachi takes a half-step forward while beginning to raise hands for a strike.  Kakarite responds by stepping forward with a small Kote strike.  I find this one odd because Motodachi doesn't make any strike of their own, they simply motion to making a strike by taking a half-step forward and slightly raising their kensen.  Kakarite takes one step back to kamae, and one more step back for distance.  Motodachi takes a half-step back and comes to kamae with Kakarite's last step.
8 - Kaeshi Waza.  Men-Kaeshi Do.  This kata is very similar to kata five (Nuki Waza) except that instead of immediately stepping to the side Kakarite delays their step to perform the block and counter-attack.  The Japanese-English Kendo Dictionary defines Kaeshi waza as "The action of blocking a strike and rotating one's shinai to the other side of an opponent's shinai," and this can be seen in the kata.  As Motodachi steps in to strike Men, Kakarite raises their bokken up with the tsuka pointing down and to the left and the kensen pointing up and to the right.  The left hands comes out of center slightly to the left for the block, and Motodachi's bokken should strike down on the lower portion of Kakarite's bokken, near the tsuba.  At this time Kakarite rotates the bokken around to the left, bringing the left hand back into the centerline  to deliver the Do strike.  The step forward and slightly to the right is started with the kaeshi block and the left foot snaps into place as the Do strike lands.  The rest is exactly like kata five, with both partners taking an angled step back and to the right, coming to kamae, and then taking a step to the left to reach their starting positions.  The most important thing that I've noticed as I practice this kata is the timing.  The timing of the block/counter-attack has to be almost at the last second.  You have to make Motodachi feel as if they are going to get a valid strike and cut you down, then at the last second you deliver the block and counter.  This kata is definitely easier understood when it is seen, and there are plenty of videos out there on the internet that show the steps that are done.

Again, these are my own interpretations of the kata, and many other people can expand on the principles and movements that are done, so it's always a good idea to ask your sensei about them if you are curious.  Our dojo has been actively implementing these kata for a while now, and the results are definitely visible in the up-and-coming beginners, intermediate, and advanced people that have had the privilege of learning and studying them.

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