Taika has recently explained to us that all the training we have done thus far is not good without an in depth study. So, just what does that mean?
Over the years we have learned many empty and weapons kata. It’s an impressive list and contains many unique kata and unique ways of executing the kata. We have basic, intermediate and advanced versions of all the kata and sometimes different versions of these.
Memorizing three kata all with the same name doesn’t make sense and often times gets confusing until Taika explains some detail of the kata, then we smack ourselves in the forehead and exclaim, “Oh! Now I understand!” In an attempt to help us understand, he even uses different naming conventions to describe the various ways of performing the kata.
Instead of “advanced” he uses the term “technical application”. Suddenly, it makes sense! He’s not changing the kata, he’s giving a explanation of how the kata should work! Even with this gigantic clue, we still just don’t get it. So, he breaks things down even further with a simple of explanation of how the upper and lower body work together to make the techniques and kata work. Again, we smack our foreheads and exclaim, “Oh! That’s what he means!”
Still Taka is perplexed with us and explains further that to move the upper and lower body we use our feet. He shows us in detail how to turn the toes or the heel to transfer weight, to change an angle or to effect a body change. So, what do we do? Right! Smack our foreheads again and say, “Oh!”
These little details are the in depth study that we should be looking for ourselves. It’s good to have an “ah, ha” moment when Taika gives us a revelation, but it’s much better when we discover this ourselves.