Finally, Koryu – Sept 13, 2013 – Kim Taylor, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph, Nanadan

This evening I’m going to leave the Seitei Iai behind for as long as I can, and go back to the Koryu. While I don’t mind Seitei, it’s been a long run since spring when we had the seminar and grading, and then a tournament and another grading at the beginning of this month. I know I should be a mean fellow and let the students do their own preparation, but I just feel like I have to help.

Well I’m ignoring the December gradings, fair warning to anyone who wants to grade. I’m tired of repeating what’s in the book, read it yourselves. My problem is that I have to keep pulling myself back when I teach seitei, I can’t get too woo-woo on the students and go off down the rabbit hole into variations and flavours.

It’s not that the students wouldn’t benefit on a few seitei riffs, it’s just that seitei isn’t meant to be riffed on. It’s seitei, it’s a standardized way to do a kata so if I show them a modification I’m going to do them more harm than good. Assuming of course that failing a grading is harmful to anything except the CKF bank account.

No, about the most I can push it using seitei would be to suggest some riai to my seniors, something along the lines of grabbing a couple of bokuto and telling a pair to go do So Giri as if it’s Kiri Kaeshi. Now the official word is that So Giri should be done as you would do Kiri Kaeshi, same footwork, same timing and so on. So try it, you do So Giri and your opponent is Motodachi, the fellow who receives like one would do in Kendo. Just go try it and you’ll see an interesting bit of interpretation pop into being.

That I can do without changing the kata enough that a student would fail, but I have to be careful. Not so in the Koryu, there I get to play, I get to take what I’ve been taught and stretch it to fit all my students, I get to adapt it to their limits, I get to use it to stretch their abilities, I get to move deeper and deeper into the core of each kata so that I find fresh veins of gold. I am so looking forward to this evening when I can finally start putting the research I’ve been doing all summer into practice.

The students are going to hate it.

Ten years ago I was at the point where one of my senior students told me to “just tell us which variation you want us to do”! This month we are going so far into the woods that they’re not going to know there’s a kata in there at all.

We’re going to see so many trees the idea of a forest won’t even occur. Bwahahahaha.

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