The advancing study of Kata in Bushi No Te Isshinryu offers advancing training tools for our use. One of them offers some enjoyable training, promotes use of our senses, prepares students for demonstrations, teaches consistent breathing regulation for the newer student, pushes the advancing student, and provides a framework for advanced challenges.
This in a method for using partner kata practice.
For the newer student Kata Sho is done with a partner in opposite directions. They being their rei facing each other with their right shoulders facing each other. Then as they practice the kata they move in opposite directions past each other. At first slowly to avoid collisions. They have to use their sight and hearing to know where each other is located. This drill becomes an enjoyable confidence builder and helps them not to always do the kata in one direction. The same can be done with kata Annaku.
Kata Seisan offers another choice, have the students begin with their backs facing inside a large circle. Then they try and do Seisan kata all in different directions. Again they are engaging their senses more fully. Kata Seiuchin offers this too.
For kata Seiuchin I often place the students in a diamond shaped or triangle pattern, As the form moves in new ways the points offer a new challenge to lead that section. Then make frequent changes to each students location. This is a very solid way to teach each one the tempo of the form. Yes, it will eventually be replaced in advancing training but first they learn how to use their senses to keep together.
Nihanchi kata offers another option, performing the kata in a stack formation. The one in front leads then moves to the back and the 2nd person in now in front.
For Wansu kata, we return to facing each other, this time each directly before the other. Caution must be used for the throwing movement not to link hands. The partners arms must not be locked with yours or disaster occurs. You will find this is more tricky to make this work.
Chinto offers a more advanced challenge for the brown belt. To both keep together and to move in opposite directions on a 45 degree angle. Their senses become more fully engaged. An example of this is with Michael Cassidy and Young Lee perform the kata.
These are a few examples of this training. The possibilities are not exhausted. But with the first 10 – 15 years of training this is a useful practice. Later it becomes more engaging for the advancing black belt practice can be to try and change the pace or the speed in black belt practice and see if the rest can follow. It can also be used to duel the test and see if you can confound the others.
Yes, this is not the ‘goal’ of training but a way to engage other senses in our training. We must train the eye to see all sides and the ear to hear in all directions.