16 AUG 2017
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Kodokan Kata big in Japan

9 August 2017

Two local Judoka, Paul Brady and Martin Savage spent 10 days in Tokyo, Japan recently to take part in the prestigious internationally renowned Kodokan Kata Summer Course.

The event ran for eight days split into two sections and Judoka  (Judo players), could choose to participate in either section. Brady and Savage decided to make the most of the opportunity and sign up for both sections. It was probably the most challenging and satisfying course of their Judo lives and consisted of eight days of Judo, five hours each day, covering eight Kata. This is a heavy workload but they paced themselves and got through to the final day injury free. The final afternoon consisted of testing for a Kodokan Certificate in one Kata. They selected Kodokan Goshin Jutsu, a kata consisting of self-defence techniques against unarmed attacks, attacks with stick, a knive and a gun. Uke would attack Tori and Tori would have to apply a realistic self-defence technique.  Unlike Kata contests, each of them had to take the roles of both Tori and Uke.   

With Martin usually being Tori, it was a challenge for them to reverse roles but they did this successfully and at the end of the course, after an anxious few minutes waiting, the names of the certificate recipients were called out and they heard their names being spoken. Of the 300 Judoka that took part in the course, only 50 received certificates. In addition, gaining Kodokan recognition from a panel of Kodansha (High Dan Grades) in the home of Judo was a thrilling experience. Visiting and training in the Kodokan is a pilgrimage that anyone who is interested in Judo should make if possible and if you aren’t interested in Kata you could attend the competition, Shiai, training course which follows on from the Kata Course. The atmosphere in the Kodokan has changed over the past few years since Uemura Sensei has become President and it is no longer the intimidating place it once was and everyone they met, including the Kodansha, were extremely friendly and accommodating. This wasn’t their first visit to train at the Kodokan and hopefully it won’t be their last.

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