Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Go Team Canada!!!

From L to R: Richard, Me, and Peter put our game face on.

Lawrence the intern here and the big news this week is, indeed, that Richard, Peter, and I have formed a kata team for the upcoming Wadokai World Championships this August. We're not aware of any other men's kata teams as of yet, but since 3 teams are allowed per country, hopefully we won't be the only team to represent Canada. Regardless, with Peter here in Japan, we're getting together quite often to get on track with our training.

Unsurprisingly, the thing we're focusing on the most while Peter is still in Japan is our performance. As to be expected, there are a lot of details to be worked out as a team that take longer than it would for an individual person, sometimes only because three minds need to agree on one point. Then there are other factors that individual kata athletes don't need to plan for, such as the synchronizing of movements between the members of the team.

It may sound like a lot of work but I'd be lying if I said it isn't fun practicing together. We've had two short practices since we put the team together (last week) and they've all been as productive as they have been hilarious.

Everything from the theory of kata evolution (Was Naihanchi developed in an extremely long yet narrow jail cell?) to what to do if we make a mistake, it's great fun taking the training seriously but having a blast with our time together.

I think the absolute best bit is our contingency plan if one of us messes up during a match. What we intend to do if one person makes a mistake is to immediately switch to an impromptu bunkai wherein Richard will do an Ogami leap (where he runs up and over his opponent, landing behind him; popularized by the Lone Wolf and Cub comic) and then.......... well, it wouldn't be impromptu if we over-planned, would it?

Fortunately, we have also worked out lots of details about how to train while one of us is halfway around the world and we all have similar ideas of what we think a good arrangement looks like, so jokes aside, I think we can get a fair bit accomplished while Peter is here. And certainly enough practice that we won't need our secret Ogami-leap plan.

So make sure to mark Aug 21-23 on your calendars to see us NOT have to perform our impromptu bunkai.

Perhaps the bunkai still needs some work....

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