Yes, Slow Again

Yet, I'm the instructor that tells people there are two kinds of fighters, the quick and the dead.  The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration was six months ago. I really enjoyed it, with old and new friends.  I've been in this group for forty-two years, yet was still pleasantly surprised by the quality, skill and range of knowledge in the GKK.  And I look forward to many more years in karate that God gives me.

I would have liked to have seen the advanced senseis do more kata with each other watching.  We learn more from the differences and discussions about them, than doing everything the same.

In sport kata, the aim is there is only one way.  How can judges from different styles fairly judge a kata which isn't in their style?  Yet, I don't think an instructor can really understand a style until they have practiced at least thirty years ( or I'm just slow again).

Yet, I'm the instructor that tells people there are two kinds of fighters, the quick and the dead.  The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration was six months ago. I really enjoyed it, with old and new friends.  I've been in this group for forty-two years, yet was still pleasantly surprised by the quality, skill and range of knowledge in the GKK.  And I look forward to many more years in karate that God gives me.

     I would have liked to have seen the advanced senseis do more kata with each other watching.  We learn more from the differences and discussions about them, than doing everything the same.

     In sport kata, the aim is there is only one way.  How can judges from different styles fairly judge a kata which isn't in their style?  Yet, I don't think an instructor can really understand a style until they have practiced at least thirty years ( or I'm just slow again).

     So, in sport karate, the things common to all styles come through: basic form, posture, rhythm, strength, breathing, etc.

In a single style and the single practitioner, kata should go deeper.  How so?  Once you are at sandan level or above, the kata is done for the person, not the judges.  Form can be judged, but not the person of the kata if you become the kata.  It should be done as the kata fits your understanding of the style, your understanding of the kata, and your understanding of yourself;  your strengths and weaknesses.

     At the Fiftieth Celebration, I did Suparunpai as my kata.  I could do it to be judged, or I could do it to be me.  I see this as two different kata.

     When doing Suparunpai, first I see it after twenty years of practice.  Much thought, many thoughts of others I respect like Shihan Yamakura and Mr. Stamper.  And, of course, people who disagree with me - they make me think more.

     I crank the kata fast and strong.  To me, it is energy flow and control.  Inside, it should feel like waves going through me, with crests and lows that I create.  I feel like I am on a ride when I get it right.  Of course, I'm after form and anything else I can get hold of in the kata.  I'm trying to hold Goju in myself for a moment and move it outside myself at the same time.

     My big compliment came from rokudan Carol Gittens from Washington who said; "thanks for answering my question about how to generate energy in the four winds."  From just watching the kata, Carol could see what I was doing because she understands the art of Goju.

     My little mind working.....the next day I asked Carol my question:  "I've always called it the four directions.  Is that different from the four winds?"  Carol said, "No, it's the same."  But now my wheels are turning as I think about it.  It is in four directions, but as I control, generate or hold the energy in Suparunpai, I Use four different ways to breathe.  It is not Sanchin breathing.  So four winds starts to make more sense in the concept of the kata.

     So, Carol's answer helps me understand more, just as watching a kata helped her. We always learn from each other, so don't be shy about doing kata in front of each other.  Right or wrong, you learn more!  This is an example of art and artist.

     Sport karate has a lot to give.  But sport karate is sport karate and different from each style it represents.  They do not replace one or the other.  I liked sport years ago, but I followed more into Goju.  Go the direction you want. Some of our people went into jujitsu and have done very well.  Follow your natural instincts in the arts.  That's why there became so many styles: because we are different.

     But, maintain unity in the GKK.  There is a border around the patch - any patch.  If you move outside the borders of the GKK and the way it teaches Goju, you move to a different art.  Though White Crane is a big part of Goju, Goju is not White Crane nor White Crane Goju.

     Many things we all do are not questions of right or wrong, only different.  Many things overlap in concept and some are opposites.  But in it all, go your direction.  Keep training, that is what gets you there.

     Wishing all of you good health.  Yours in the art, Ken Maunz.  Thank You.