Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Progress, or Regress?
While studying Taika Oyata's system of Life Protection, what was being taught was in a continual state of modification/improvement. This was being done (by Taika) in order to move student's closer to how Taika performed his technique's.
When the board announced that the (20+ year old “tapes”) would be used as examples of “kata standards” (for testing purposes), I was shocked. Frankly, we haven't performed the kata as demonstrated on those tapes,for 15+ years (?). I'm forced to presume that they are meaning only for the kyu-ranks and possibly for Shodan (testing?) purposes. We don't know, because the association guideline/manual hasn't been released (yet). Again, (presumably), that manual will be released at this year's Summer Conference.
While some people will say basic, intermediate and/or advanced, Taika would only say technique or kata. Much of what had been taught to student's in the earlier years (20+ years ago), were (only) stepping stones to what he intended to eventually (evolve into) becoming his techniques. This was particularly true with the instruction of kata.
What Taika had his Yudansha student's teach (to their students) to prepare for their Shodan Examination, were the commonly practiced manners of performing the Kata.
Once having completed that examination, those students would rarely repeat those kata in that particular manor again (at least for their own training purposes, and certainly not for the purpose of further rank examination).
At the Yudansha level (for his student's, i.e. all the Yudansha, LOL) Taika's manner of performing the kata (within his system) was different than what is commonly seen amongst other Okinawan methodologies. Taika included additional motions (that had been demonstrated to the membership) that were expected to be performed when practicing the kata (as well as during any further rank examinations).
When the student had completed their Shodan examination, they were expected to practice all of the (taught) kata, with each of the addendum motions that Taika had been demonstrating/teaching.
When viewed in this perspective, it made (more) sense that someone would spend 10 years working on a (any) single kata.
The most common response made (when I make this statement) is that Taika was just “making-up” his changes/addendum's to the kata. Perhaps, but they each made sense, each one served a purpose and after having made those changes, it feels awkward (if not stupid) to do them any other way.
IMO, Taika was both extremely talented and extremely fortunate. He was fortunate to of been provided with the guidance and instruction that he received from two of the last instructor's from an era that this information was (actually) used, and he was talented enough to be able to expand upon that information, as well as be able to incorporate it into everything that he learned and taught.
As Taika often said, anyone can learn kicky-punchy karate, only the dedicated student can learn The Life Protection Arts.