In Judo, there are several requirements for promotion to black belt (and some of the brown belt ranks). There’s the usual time-in-grade and competition performance, but there’s also the little tiny requirement of kata. Specifically, a kata called “nage no kata”:
For the most part, I am someone who focuses solely on competition, and so the process of learning and practicing kata has been known to break my spirit and drain my life energy. I purposefully use spiritual terms to describe its effects, because otherwise I would have to use swears and possible have to consume large amounts of alcohol before continuing the post.
I’m joking mostly. There are a lot of important aspects that the practice of kata can teach even (and perhaps especially) someone like me. Not the least of which is patience and respect for tradition.
There’s an interesting poll on the judoinfo.com site that asks people opinion of the value of kata in judo training. I’m actually surprised how many people say “good” and “excellent”. I’m surprised because my approach to judo at this point in my life is 100% in the “None” category. However, perhaps there will come a time when I will begin to appreciate the beauty of judo and understand the art to where I would see the practice of kata as fundamental to my judo progress.
Perhaps… but today, I’m thinking only of competition, and am dreading the fact that I have to go through nage no kata both as uke and tori, left side and ride side before the color of my belt changes.