There are lots of new and exciting developments taking place in British Kata across the country!
Kata is a great pathway to achievement for judo players of all ages. For the competition player, it offers insight into techniques which can give the fighter an edge; for the less competitive players, it provides a way to hone judo technique and achieve a great standard. For older players, some of the Katas (not all of them!) offer a gentler way of training in judo. For those interested in pure judo technique and also the history of judo development, Kata offers an opportunity for study.
Young Kata Awards
We have established a series of new Kata awards in Nage-no-kata for children which they can collect. Three of these can be examined by Level 2 club coaches and downloadable certificates are available for young players to collect. The two more advanced awards require slightly more advanced assessors (Level 3 coaches, Kata Examiners or Senior Examiners) but the intention is to make the certificates accessible and worth collecting.
Gonosen is a non-Kodokan, less formal and less traditional Kata and as such is an excellent bridge between the more traditional Katas and contest judo (shiai): this is a Kata to appeal to players who have had no previous interest in Kata.
We have produced a revised version, so that all of the techniques are both contest-legal and relevant to modern contest players. The new version has a clear and simple structure, allowing players to perform the techniques in different ways, using different foot patterns and directions, to suit their physiques. At the same time, we have reintroduced a slow motion element, because we find players enjoy the challenge of performing the moves in slow motion.
We have produced a video of one example of how the techniques could be performed, but as other pairs develop different examples we will add further video examples to the library. Here is a link to an example of the new version:
This Kata is also in the Technical Dan Grading Syllabus, albeit without the slow motion element, and the Promotions Commission are revising the TDGS to come into line with the new version of the Kata. During the rest of 2019, Technical Dan Grade candidates can present either the new or old versions; from the start of 2020, only the new version will be examined. A Kata Certificate is now available in this Kata.
2019 British Kata Championships
This event will be held at Samurai Judo Club, Kidderminster, on October 13th 2019. The format has been extensively revised to make it more developmental and player-friendly. The emphasis is on learning and there will be opportunities for all players to gain feedback, plus the event itself will be judged against set standards as opposed to the players just competing against each other. It is a radical and innovative idea which we hope will substantially increase the number of participants, which had previously been shrinking for some years. Click here for more information
All of the forms have been updated and made available. We are working towards being as transparent as possible. We are also extending the Kata Certificates to include Go-no-sen-no-kata, as required by players who opt for or need this Kata for Technical Dan Grade promotions, and also Itsutsu-no-Kata for those who would like to study this “higher” Kata that provides a different insight into judo
Kata Courses and Attendance Certificates
We are promoting and encouraging more Kata courses, as well as those led by BJA staff. Where players need attendance certificates for grading purposes, we have established new certificates.
National Kata Course
We are now running an annual National Kata Course which for 2019 was held at St Albans Judo Club in June, with world renowned Kata Expert Yoshihiko Iura, who is not only a great Kata exponent and expert but a very engaging teacher with great enthusiasm.
This year’s course was on Nage-no-kata and Katame-no-kata and gave great insights into the connection between correct Kata and good contest technique. This was the first in a series of national courses on different Kata. Next January Yoshihiko is coming back to teach Ju-no-kata and Koshiki-no-Kata, this time at SKK Judo Club in Manchester on January 11 and 12.
National Kata Examiners Conference
We are running a National Kata Examiners Conference at Samurai Judo Club, Kidderminster, on September 8th 2019. This will be combined with the National Senior Examiner Course so that the Kata Examiners and Senior Examiners can compare notes and ideas and work together to promote Kata and also examine it in the best way. All BJA Kata Examiners and Senior Examiners are invited. This will be a bi-annual conference.
Home Country and England Area Kata Activity
Northern Home Counties have led the way by being the first HC or English Area to establish an Area-supported Kata programme, including a developmental Kata competition in December this year. We hope to encourage other HCs and Areas to follow suit.
New Kata Sub-Group
We have a new Kata group to lead and organise British Kata. The sub-group is made up of Llyr Jones, Paul Jordan, Duncan Kinnear and Dave Horton-Jones. It works via the Promotions Commission, so Andrew Haffner, Steve Lesik and Nick Fletcher are also involved.
This is all just the start. Kata can be fun, it can help to improve your judo understanding and skill and there are great challenges in becoming a Kata expert. The role of the Kata Sub-Group is to encourage more people to participate in Kata and help improve standards, understanding and enjoyment of Kata. We hope to enlist the help of all those involved in judo in achieving this aim.