We held our first booster class of 2017 yesterday evening at our Moor Row dojo. The topic was 'Creative Kata' and everyone had fun, whilst learning why the classical forms we practice in our style are so important.
The junior members worked in small groups and their task was to create a mini-kata based on techniques they individually chose. They had to decide on how best to combine the movements together, what stances to move to and from, which direction to turn and how to finish their kata off with a memorable ending. They also had to design their own salutation posture and of course, give their new creation a memorable name :-)
The juniors then had a little time to prepare their kata, ready to showcase it as a team in front of the whole dojo at the end of class. We had some excellent performances from all three groups and a real creative use of karate techniques - well done to all!
Whilst the juniors were working in their own groups, the senior members began to explore the creation of kata in a different way, more akin to traditional ways. They began by choosing three or four common acts of violence (e.g. a push, hook punch and grab/headbutt) and then looked at how best to counter such attacks. They then undertook a process to 'formalise' these applications into a solo representation and joined them together in order to create their new kata. They also focused on how the embusen of their form may accurately represent the combative angles used in their two-person scenarios.
Like the juniors, our seniors had some time to work on the performance of their kata before unveiling it to the rest of the dojo. Of course, this created a different dynamic to the children's performances, which helped to show the difference between both approaches.
All in all it was a fun session, but the aim was also to promote more serious learning too. The classical kata that we practice has been passed onto us through generations and as such, carries with it the seed of it's original creator(s). Since much of karate history has been lost to the passage of time, we now have the responsibility of undertaking a process of reverse engineering, in order to explore their practical applications. This, we need to carry out with the context of traditional karate (civilian self-defence) firmly in mind, a hearty dose of common sense and with deep respect for those pioneering masters who set the wheels in motion for our opportunity to practice today.
Dojo Members...Don't miss out on our next booster class at another one of our clubs in February - Topic to be confirmed very soon!