some matters of timing should not be adjusted for tournament purposes. There were times I think in all three performances where the step was made and completed before the strike. They are trying to look very precise by doing that. It succeeds in that much, but my brain wouldn't accept it.
I've looked at the winners of the men's and women's divisions. They all appear to be cut pretty much from the same cloth. The students are to be congratulated for doing the kata as taught, and staying very close to a tightly-managed template. That template on the other hand is the mission and responsibility of their instructors. So when you see certain thing you consider contrary to your belief, I believe you're having an issue with the template and not the performer.
Yes, Mike, I noticed.
As organizations, we have a responsibility to preserve the base material. In doing so, there's a certain degree of fidelity that must be maintained. It's my observation that many Okinawan teachers have chosen a somewhat reductionist approach in that regard. What very well may have been kata which moved with tremendous fluidity (as observed via performances of a young Tomoyose Ryuko) has evolved in large classrooms to the ichi-ni-san, metronome-like kata we see today.
Back in the day, kata were not done in large groups to a cadence. Students came in to work on their material, and the instructor approached students one at a time to look at their performances and make suggestions. Individualism was not just tolerated, but encouraged. And when I say individualism, I don't mean a loss of fidelity. Rather I'm suggesting that a good student evolves in key aspects like intra-movement timing and how energy is generated. (S)he also evolves in the understanding of movement, which necessarily changes how one executes the diverse toolbox of techniques.