Rick Potrekus wrote:
Correct me if I am wrong, for I have not been with the forums long, but this the first I've seen of a discussion about the Kata as a tutorial of how to move in and around an opponent.
The topic is brought up on rare occasion. Some of our more frequent posters will bring up the concept of tai sabaki
. Alas it mostly gets lip service. In the end we have lots of fans of good-old-fashioned bash fighting, and not so much on good footwork. And yet we're supposed to be tiger, crane and... dragon. Go figure.
I was fortunate enough to have studied for an extended period of time (goju and aikido) from a retired special forces instructor who sought me out to learn Uechi. He started martial arts early in Judo, and then made his way through Kyokushinkai, Goju (Yamaguchi Gosei and Kimo Wall), aikido, and whatever else he could pick up as he made his way around the world when in the military. He moved well, and taught me well. The rest then just revealed itself to me over time in the kata. I began infusing some of what I learned in prearranged kumite. I've promised myself I'd do my own yakusoku kumite one day to deposit some of the cool ideas I've collected.
On the movement idea... I was inspired very, very early on by a fellow Uechika at UVa who used to compete in intramural boxing. He was voted most valuable boxer (across all weight classes) two years in a row, and it wasn't an accident. Mack used to tell me that the thing which distinguished him and one or two other fighters from the hackers was his ability to hit while moving. Here it was a fairly straightforward idea - hit WHILE charging straight in rather than hit AFTER moving in. But add the turns and suddenly you've begun to bring the concept farther. Pick up a thought from Tomoyose here, some aikido and Goju classes from Dr. King there, and suddenly it's just obvious. It's like that line in a rock song you sang when a kid and never got, and then heard it two decades later and had a jaw-dropping moment.
Trying to teach it isn't always easy, but it's something I think we owe the people who practice our style. It's all there in what we do, and yet it's such an unexplored facet of our art.