Monday, June 10, 2013
I've mentioned (in previous posts) that we teach the instructed kata in progressive stages. These "stages" will vary between each student, and throughout the individual student's instructional tenure. What is commonly seen as being the "basic" version of we instruct a kata (eg. "Naihanchi Shodan") is just as often how numerous other systems will consider that kata to be performed (and be the/a "complete" form of the kata).
It was this perception, that led Taika to not be in favor of "videos" of the kata performance (as with the 13 video tapes). A video can only represent a single "stage" of a kata's instruction (or a students progression with that kata).
Utilizing the presentation of those kata (as is done on the tapes) in the "basic-intermediate-advanced" format, you are (in effect) returning every student to a Shinkyu ("New" student) level (with the instruction of each kata). Though possibly good for the instructor's pocketbook, it benefits the student in no manor (by returning to basic execution, over, and over).
We have changed the manor which our students are instructed in performance of the instructed kata. It used to be, that every kata was taught in (the same) progressive stages (basic, to advanced). When we (finally, LOL) took a step-back, and saw how ridiculous this was, we reformulated our methodology to our present approach to kata instruction.
I had mentioned before, that we treat every one of our student's as separate entity's. Not every student is shown the exact same (additional/correctional) motions at the same time of their instruction. This is done for numerous reasons (but is essentially the instructor's decision, based on that instructor's evaluation of their student's capacity to assimilate the provided information).
When a student is first shown a kata, their main focus is on remembering the "pattern" as well as the associated motions to complete that "pattern". Once the pattern has been established, the various idiosyncrasies of each motion are then fine-tuned to meet the prerequisites of the kata's performance. It is this latter task, that is an unending endeavor (Each modification/detail is to be included in not only the kata being studied, but all of the previous and future kata as well).
(Repeating) When student's are shown a correction/clarification, that information is to be included to/in every kata known or taught to that student (from that time forward).
It is this factor, that confuses students the most. Whenever a particular (minor) motion/correction is illustrated, it is the student's task to (from then on) include that correction to every kata that the student has, or will be shown. There are (of course) exceptions, and when they are presented, those exceptions should be notated by the instructor to the student.
When kata are taught in this manor, there is no longer (really) any "basic" kata (except for the very first kata shown to the student).
All kata after that (when compared to how other systems instructional methods do so) will "begin" with all of the "fine-points" already included in their initial instruction (therefor bypassing the traditionally understood "basic" format for that kata).
It should also be "Re"-stated, that we don't teach children (at our school), Our training methods are targeted towards adults and therefor our expectations (for our students) are much higher than they would have to be if we taught children.
Taika always stated that each of us would (eventually) find a particular kata that we (individually) would "like" (the best). It would most often be the kata that contained the techniques that we (personally) preferred. That would often become "our" kata.
This concept seems (almost) counter productive today (considering how most systems are taught). Unless one is going to become a "instructor", possessing a vast "catalog" of kata, is pretty much a waste of one's time.
If you are familiar with, and can perform all of the technique contained within any one of the (traditional) kata, you have little (if any) need to know any additional kata. Taika included the 12 essential kata, so that his student's would have options (available) to collect from. A thorough knowledge of each and every one, was never expected, nor required (for one to learn the Life Protection Arts).
If a student has no intention of ever teaching anyone else (and yes, we've had a number of those types of students), then that student has no reason to retain "how" to perform a "basic" kata (and in regards to any kata learned further along from the beginning of their training, what "they" would consider basic, would be "intermediate/advanced" to anyone else).
When kata instruction is viewed in this manor, one begins to question the value of teaching (much less having to learn) "Basic-intermediate-advanced" methods for every kata.
We believe that teaching in this manor (as described), is more productive and motivates the student to higher levels of performance/execution (than having them "start-over" as with the previous/common methodology with every kata).