Kata’s, the evolution to how they are taught.

Back when Miyagi was teaching karate to his students the way they learnt the katas were a lot different than they are today, the geksai katas were introduced to teach karate to middle school children in Okinawa to give them a strong basics. Miyagi’s direct students spent the first three or four years learning the Sanchin kata with other training like hojo undo for example. Then he would choose a kata that he thought would suit that student’s characteristics and style and that would be there main kata that defined them for the rest of their karate lives. From the sounds of it was their fellow student’s that taught them the other katas, plus with the death of Miyagi’s senior student in WW2 made sure that the need to teach all his main students the whole of his karate system made it necessary to survive.

It makes you wonder how many styles of karate and kung fu died as a result of this one student knows all the techniques and essence of that style. It also shows to me how the different linages were born from Miyagi’s need to make Goju Ryu survived, with each of the senior students versions of Goju Ryu being slightly different from their emphasis on that one main kata. Each kata to me has its own characteristics its own animal to it, and being heavily influenced by that one kata will to me undoubtedly influence their interpretation of Goju Ryu. That’s not to say that they are less Goju than the original, but it has evolved them into distinctive versions of Goju Ryu. I suppose the only way to see how Goju Ryu has evolved would be to compare it to it sister style Toon Ryu.

I often wonder which kata my sensei or even Miyagi himself would choose for me and my fellow karate ka’s. Not that I think it was a better way of learning the katas, I think the style has evolved since then and continues to evolve, each kata is like a stepping stone to the next kata and I believe it helps us to become a more complete karate ka. I think in this way it shows that our systems is not only a traditional martial art, but is still evolving. I am just very interested  with its history and tradition. I often wished I did my university degree in this subject, the myths and lore’s of martial arts.

This post was meant to be about me wondering what kata I would have been chosen, and yet it seemed to evolve into the way Goju Ryu students use to learn kata, and how that has helped to influence and evolve Goju Ryu and its lineages into what they have become today. I think it is part of what makes Goju Ryu more exciting, although not my intention in this post is that our style is still growing and moving and let us hope it stays fresh for many more years to come. If I were to fantasize about which kata Miyagi would of chosen for me, it would probably be Shisochin, because of its short range destructive power and its sudden dynamic turns as it would suit my build as I seem to geared for explosive movements. I would like to know which kata sensei would choose for his students and why.

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