Monday, April 21, 2014

Will the Real Aragaki No Sochin please Stand Up

Today I would like to address the problem viewing YouTube kata video.


Especially with the rumored idea at times Okinawan Senior instructors would alter public their public performances of their kata so that they could not be exactly copied. I am sure this is true in some instances. However you cannot be sure it is intentional alteration, a ‘senior’ memory moment but still superb technique or a sign of aging capabilities. All are possible. Of course does it matter. Watching a video will not show the layers of training required for full performance. Nor necessarily give an indication of where you go next in your training.


An interesting example is of the Aragaki No Sochin kata of the Kyudokan, A most deserving system. The older video shows Aragaki Sensei performing one version of this Sochin kata. Later versions show a differing variation. I have seen Okinawan students performing each versions. The credible examples of later students around the world seeme to suggest his later performance should be the standard.

In one sense unless you are a member of the Kyudokan it does not matter. Each version has it’s uses. Each, IMVHO, has a logic to its structure.           


Of course one should not try and learn from a video. And then pass it off as your own study. However I have done so, first to attempt to learn their movements to work counters with my Isshinryu. A good intellectual study. However I do not teach them.


On the other hand, they are an interesting exercise in focus. When I was diagnosed with Diabetes II, one way I worked to get myself under better control was to attempt to learn the tomari no rohai kata, to push myself in new ways. It taught me a great deal about the kyoshi movement of this style, during this process I listened to Dr. Harper, increasing training, managing diet and walking additionally studying Tomari No Rohai, and even competed with the form for focus,  I began to get my blood sugar under control and lost 40 pounds in the process.


Then I was diagnosed with Colan cancer, Frankly it was less of a shock than the Diabetes II was. It required surgery, chemo, radiation. Without all of my Doctors were superb and I wisely followed all of their instructions. The next year was challenging with the treatments and post surgery changes to my life. As best I could I continued to walk, train and eat wisely. I also began the study of the older documented version of Aragaki No Sochin for another challenge.

 From the surgeries and walking, I was now down 100 pounds. The study of Sochin helped me with stronger understanding about kyoshi. Then there was the 2nd surgery required for my cancer healing. It time and more chemo the Doctor’s told me I had no more cancer, and my average blood sugar was holding under 100.

Of course into each life some rain must fall. At that same time I began to loose control of myself and my Paraneoplastic Neuromyopathy & Neuropathy began. I retained the ability to run my kata studies, though much weaker. I was tested and tested by the Doctors, but it seems this is permanate. The most unfortunate effect was the unstability made my work on Yang Tai Chi, for over 30 years, most impossible. The turning movements and stepping in Tai Chi were too difficult. So more work and it took about a year to learn how to modify what I knew to become that which I could do a bit.

 Now lets go back to topic. When there is change, be it intentional or inadvertent we might be pressed to do what we can. Within a style there may be a right way or versions of right ways, or perhaps mistakes. We can judge the style fairly only by their standards. But to make study for knowledge or personal challenge, our only standard is what we set for ourselves.


And as to the correct version, watching the video versions, I don’t have the slightest idea. Nor do I pretend to do.




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