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Essays by Patrick Auge Sensei Shihan - Black Belt Essays - Other Essays

    The history and the spirit of the Taï Sabaki No Kata and the Hyori No Kata
    by Patrick Augé Sensei

    The purpose of a kata is to explain a specific principle used in a particular martial art through a prearranged movement or sets of movements to be practiced alone and/or with a partner. Combined with regular study of techniques (kenkyu), randori, and austere practice (shugyo), a serious practitioner should be able to extract the essence of a Budo as created by its founder.

    In 1970-71, Mochizuki Minoru Sensei recorded the four kata of the Yoseikan. They have undergone some changes since that time, but in essence they are the same. Each emphasizes a specific and essential principle to be studied and applied in the practice of Yoseikan Aikido. In the Yoseikan school, their meaning becomes apparent after they have been studied and practiced together for a long time.

    TAI SABAKI NO KATA means prearranged forms of body shifts. This kata explains the purpose of tai sabaki through kuzushi, tsukuri, kake in relation with techniques.

    HYORI NO KATA literally means prearranged forms of front (Hyo) and back (Ri) which could be better translated by prearranged forms of complementarity.

    Mochizuki Minoru Sensei insists that kata is necessary to give a foundation on which to build and evolve. Ueshiba Sensei did not encourage the practice of kata since (being a non-conformist himself) he was quite aware of the dangers of getting stuck into kata without understanding, considering the Japanese mentality of his era. However, without kata, there is no foundation, especially when a student practices only a couple of times a week and/or does not receive instruction from a full-time professional teacher. Nowadays, times have changed; questioning has become socially acceptable, and students expect rational answers from their teachers.

    Patrick Augé Sensei, November 2000

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