Judo Kata - Confession of a Judo Kata Tournament Player -2009


The Australian Masters Games 2009, Kata Tournament. 
   (An experience of 2 Newport Judo Club students)

The Australian Masters Games are the nation's largest multi-sport festival, with thousands of participants and volunteers taking part in a wide range of sports. Some examples are: Cycling, AFL football, Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey, Karate, Netball, Rugby Union, Sailing, Soccer, Surfing, Swimming, etc, etc. The games have been built upon a spirit of participation and inclusion. They offer athletes the opportunity to compete, meet and socialise with others from all over Australia and the Pacific. The games have been in operation since 1987. For the first time, Geelong hosted the games from February 20 to March 1 2009. On Friday 27 February 2009, Philippe le Scoul and myself, Barbara Robinson (below), took part in the 'Kata' [series of pre-arranged moves, or 'forms'] tournament.

As we drove through Geelong the coastal city was decked out with huge eye catching games flags. We made our way to the Newtown Stadium. The first kata we took part in was 'Ju-no-kata' 'The forms of gentleness'. This kata was devised by the originator of Judo, Professor Jigoro Kano, in 1887. Both 'Uke', the attacker, and 'Tori' the defender, must develop strong initiative, timing, and graceful movements. Tori must learn excellent body evasion at the exact moment of Uke's attack. There are no complete throwing techniques in Ju-no-kata. The stretching movements develop flexibility of the shoulders and spine. The student's skill in breaking balance and body position is also tested. There are fifteen movements in this kata.


The next kata we took part in was 'Nage- no-kata' 'Formal techniques of throwing' (above).
This kata was created in 1887 by Jigaro Kano. Each technique is demonstrated twice, first as a right side throw, then as a left side throw. This totals as thirty techniques altogether. Both Uke and Tori must display excellent deportment, dignity, and bearing. Tori must demonstrate excellence of throwing. Uke must demonstrate excellence of break-falling techniques. A judo player needs a lot of experience studying the 'Gyo-kyo', or list of throws, or this kata will be very difficult to learn.


 The third kata Philippe and I attempted was 'Goshin Jutsu' (above). Of the three katas, this is our present favourite. It is the newest kata, having been created circa 1956. It is composed of a number of self-defence techniques making use of throws, arm locks, strikes and kicks. Uke the attacker at times uses a wooden knife, stick, and wooden imitation gun. Philippe and I both have a background in other Jujutsu and Karate martial arts as well as Judo, so perhaps this is why we particularly liked studying this kata, followed in preference by Nage-no-kata [formal techniques of throwing] and Ju-no-kata [forms of gentleness].

Although we did not win any medals, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - it was the experience of a lifetime, and we would encourage all Judoka [Judo Students] to participate in The Australian Masters Games. Philippe, myself and one other player were, as far as we know, the only brown belts competing on February 27. Everyone else was first dan black belt or above. Not surprisingly the standard was very high. We were given a lot of encouragement and support by everyone we spoke to. The whole experience was a great day to remember. We hardly noticed that the air temperature was 33 Deg C.

The tournament was very well organised, with great input from the Judo Federation of Australia, Judo Victoria and the Geelong YMCA Judo Club. Also there was excellent still photography coverage both days. The next day Philippe watched the 'Shiai'[open contest] tournament, and reported back that the standard was as impressive as the kata tournament. I would also like to thank the Caulfield Judo Club for providing an extra opportunity for any grade of Judo player to study 'kata' judo at a monthly class. All judo players are very welcome to attend. The classes are usually the first Saturday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m.

Barbara Robinson, July 2009, Newport Judo Club, Moonee Valley Judo Club.

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