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#185340 - 09/12/05 10:48 AM Compulsary Kata for Dan grading
znra251 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39
I was dissapointed to find out that my association KUGB have recently decided make Bassai Dai the mandatory kata for 1st Dan, removing the choice of Kanku-Dai, Bassai-Dai, Empi, Jion and Hangetsu.

I will not be affected by this as i'm taking my dan grading the month before it comes into affect. However, i think it will be to the detriment of Dan grades not to specialise in one of these various kata for the first Dan grading

How do other associations feel about this?
Do most styles have a choice of kata for the first Dan?

gary
www.karateonline.org

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#185341 - 09/12/05 03:29 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
weird thing about KUGB...I thought the highest rank in Shotokan was Go-dan? so whats with the 9th,8th and 7th dan ranks in KUGB?

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#185342 - 09/12/05 06:18 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: Kintama]
McSensei Offline
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Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 1068
Loc: Kent, England
I believe the limitations on Dan ranking up to Godan, within Shotokan, were based on the fact that at his death Master Funakoshi, the founder, was a Godan. I am also to understand that upon his death these restrictions did not then apply. The restriction then being to one grade below the next Chief Instructor.
Seems like Super Ego to me to think that you could know more about a system than the person who effectively created it and grade above them.

The first thing I think when I see anyone with a rank above 5th Dan is, "ah, so you are more knowledgable about karate than master Funakoshi, mmm!"
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#185343 - 09/13/05 08:00 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
shukokaichap Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 269
Loc: Back in th UK!
This may be linked to the WKF rule that if in a kata competition there is more than x (sorry, can't remember the exact amount) amount of competitors then you must in the first round perform one of your styles 'shitei' (compulsory kata).

In shito / shukokai that means Bassai Dai / Seienchin.

Which are also the two that are generally done for 1st Dan.

So removing your choice could be seen as a bit of quality control by the KUGB!

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#185344 - 09/13/05 08:46 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: McSensei]
MAGr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 1147
Loc: London, home: Athens
I have no idea about karate but I am going to get in this conversation anyway

Quote:

Seems like Super Ego to me to think that you could know more about a system than the person who effectively created it and grade above them.




I dont agree with the above statement.
I will conceed that it would be rare and very hard to actually be better than the creator of a system. But I dont think it is by default that its not possible to know more than they do.
If you agree that it is possible to know as much as that person, then with a little ingenouity it would not be beyond the realm of imagination to see someone actually improve upon a system. I am not talking about MMA, but every system, however traditional, develops.

The architect who first made the Corinthian Columns 2500 years ago is not the one who makes the best moulds of them.

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#185345 - 09/13/05 09:10 AM Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Good Morning Gary:

<<How do other associations feel about this? Do most styles have a choice of kata for the first Dan?

Eeneay, meany, miney, moe...

Our choice is simple, we demonstrate them all . A total of 8 unarmed kata... After Shodan we explore-specialize on some very specific ones, but prior to shodan ranking, the focus is not on one per se... save the one you are doing at that particular moment at any rate

Look forward to hearing what others do, hope this helps keep the thread prominant for that purpose...

Jeff

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#185346 - 09/13/05 09:55 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: McSensei]
znra251 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39
Quote:

I believe the limitations on Dan ranking up to Godan, within Shotokan, were based on the fact that at his death Master Funakoshi, the founder, was a Godan.


.

this is true, master funakoshi was a 5th Dan when he died. However, the JKA adopted the 10 Dan grade system employed in most karate styles to ease their acceptance into world bodies, (WUKO??? JKF???? one of the two)

With regard to the Shitei kata question - bassai dai is a shitei kata for shito-ryu and not shotokan, so i cant see the logic of the KUGB imposing bassai dai, whioh is almost never done in shotokan style in competition now as it is not acceptable in the opening two rounds and isn't difficult enough for later rounds. It would have been more logical if this change occured for 'quality control' reasons to make the compulsory kata either Jion or Kanku Dai, the two WKF shitei katas for shotokan. Also, the KUGB and WKF do not interact much, The kugb and JKA itself hold competitions and dont use the WKF rules.

gary

www.karateonline.org

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#185347 - 09/13/05 08:45 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
shotokanwarrior19 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Cortland, OH, USA
At my dojo the required katas to be performed for the 1st dan test are all 5 of the Hein katas, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Dai. Kanku dai, Jion and so on can be learned before 1st dan but are not required for testing. So its not to surprising to me that bassai dai is the chosen kata in ur organization and as far as and degree above 5th in shotokan, i also believe that 5th should be the highest because no one in shotokan can surpass master funakoshi in knowledge of the art.
_________________________
Their smiles can win even the hearts of little children; their anger can make a tiger crouch in fear.
-A True Martial Artist

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#185348 - 09/14/05 03:23 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: shotokanwarrior19]
Mark Hill Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1068
Loc: Australia
Quote:

At my dojo the required katas to be performed for the 1st dan test are all 5 of the Hein katas, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Dai. Kanku dai, Jion and so on can be learned before 1st dan but are not required for testing. So its not to surprising to me that bassai dai is the chosen kata in ur organization and as far as and degree above 5th in shotokan, i also believe that 5th should be the highest because no one in shotokan can surpass master funakoshi in knowledge of the art.




Who says we can't?

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#185349 - 09/14/05 03:45 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: Mark Hill]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Hi, I'm not a karateka but the thread looked interesting. Interested to read Master Funakoshi was 'only' 5th dan. My question is, who grades the master/founder of a style? To go higher would he have had to grade under a panel of masters or would it just be a time served grade. OR... have dan grades changed in value over the years?
_________________________
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

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#185350 - 09/14/05 04:40 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: trevek]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
To first stick to the topic, it is not unreasonable for an organization to decide on one standard for rank promotions. The obvious reason is so that individuals accross the group know a baseline where other individuals have been.

On the other hand, just becuase that organization adopts bassai-dai as the sho dan requirement, it doesn't mean an individual school may not teach additional kata, just not have them dan requirements.

Why make such a change? I would think that they feel there is greater merit of having a sho-dan candidate concentrate on one form, not pick between a group of forms. As I teach the same takes place, though my course curricula is very different from Shotokan's, a sho-dan candidate isn't making choices, rather they're working on what they've been given.

If there is a value to organizations this seems a valid choice for them to make to me.

Point two, can later generations exceed the 'mastery' of the founder? I would certainly hope so, that should be the real focus of creating a system, to create something alive that will move through time, and that training should be trying to develop those who excell, to greater levels.

Funakoshi built his teachings on the shoulders of Itosu's instruction. My personal interpretation of Funakoshi as prim mover in developing Shotokan, was that he didn't do everything, he developed students, his son and others, who did a great deal too, and after his death they continued to make their decisions (personal or group) and Shotokan moved forward.

Third, forget the issue of rank. Its introduction to karate was a sop for Japanese culture and had no bearing on karate itself. The Okinawan's never awarded Funakoshi rank because there was no rank on Okinawa, there was just karate training and you were an instructor or you were a student.

Rank became a Japanese power trip that the true Japanese martial arts controlled through a central organization, and the Okinawan's toed the line to try and link up to be part of the big boys culture.

I don't recall all the details right now, but one of Funakoshi's students made the board, and Funakoshi was awarded less rank than his student had, and off hand that was the only rank promotion Funakoshi had. I'm quite sure Miyagi Chogun, Goju's founder, was ranked higher.

Rank really meant the pecking order in that association, nothing else.

Funakoshi obviously found value in borrowing rank from Kano's developing Judo. He originally promoted people to black belt with one years training, and eventually felt 5 dans were enough, for him. He obviously wasn't looking over his shoulder at what other groups were doing.

On his death, the Shotokan Seniors, who were looking at other groups, felt they would have been lessor in those others eyes if they didn't move to 10 dans.

Balderdash, those groups never really gave Shotokan any look anyways. The truth is everyone always looked down on everyone else. [Broad generalization but rather true then and today.]

The rank a group has is irrelevant, outside of that group. All that really matters is the quality of the technicians one produces, and whether the group is trying harder to move in stronger directions.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#185351 - 09/14/05 06:17 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: Victor Smith]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
To return to topic (as Victor says), perhaps I can give you an example of TKD dan gradings. From white to coloured belts a student has to learn a specific pattern for each new grade. Of course they can be asked to perform other patterns from previous gradings too. First dan gradings also involve one specific pattern (and any earlier ones an examiner chooses to ask for). 2nd Dan gradings are, I believe, based on three particular patterns. of course it is entirely upto the examiner which patterns the student performs but they must know them all. This was the case with my chang hon TKD gradings.
_________________________
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

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#185352 - 09/14/05 06:51 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: Mark Hill]
shotokanwarrior19 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Cortland, OH, USA
Quote:

Quote:

At my dojo the required katas to be performed for the 1st dan test are all 5 of the Hein katas, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Dai. Kanku dai, Jion and so on can be learned before 1st dan but are not required for testing. So its not to surprising to me that bassai dai is the chosen kata in ur organization and as far as and degree above 5th in shotokan, i also believe that 5th should be the highest because no one in shotokan can surpass master funakoshi in knowledge of the art.




Who says we can't?




I guess knowledge wise u could possibly surpass Funakoshi with the advacements that the martial arts have made. I guess i should have said that out of respect for the styles founder 5th degree should be the highest, i dont see why above 5th degree is necessary anyway, i really think that it is just an ego thing.
_________________________
Their smiles can win even the hearts of little children; their anger can make a tiger crouch in fear.
-A True Martial Artist

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#185353 - 09/14/05 07:40 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: shotokanwarrior19]
MAGr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 1147
Loc: London, home: Athens
The fact that someone's style has developed and been passed on and made so popular world wide shows respect enough.
In any case he is dead, I m sure he doesnt care that much.
The point of a ranking system is to reflect knowledge and rank, not politics or levels of respect. If you are not going to use the system for reflecting rank and therefore knowledge, then dont call it rank, call it something else.

I am all for tradition, but not for the sake of tradition but because of the number of years that it has survived and the history that it bares.

A rank, IMO and correct me if I m wrong, is generally used as a system to determine who has authority over who. It is obvious to me (maybe because I am misinformed) that japanese culture has a great deal of formality and authority involved. I m pretty sure that the ranking system had less to do with fighting ability and martial knowledge and more to do with who is the son aof who and the general of the grandmaster's spawn and the elder of the bla bla bla.
In the modern age and at least in the western world, it is only a reflection of knowledge since there is no need or want to abide and obey someone because they are from X village and are 190 years old.
Rank is purely based on knowledge, so therfore if someone knows more and is more able and is more in touch than a fifth dan or the standard of a fifth dan then they should be given a higher rank.
Who cares what rank the master was.
Apparently kung fu was 'created' by an Indian buddhist who made excersises so that his disciples could endure the long hours of meditation. I m pretty sure Yip Man was probably better informed than him about the combat principes and kung fu generally.

Like Victor said, If what the first one does is also the best that can be done then the total cannmot be very good.
If you cannot progress from step one then its not a very good ladder.

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#185354 - 09/14/05 08:27 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
I have viewed the study of hyungs as manditory for understanding the cultural underpinnings of the art that I study. Put another way, if I was back in college, hungs would be the "required reading list" for a class. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#185355 - 09/14/05 11:47 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: glad2bhere]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
To try and help rerail this thread, in AKK, there is a form (kata) for each belt up to green, one form for third class brown, one for first black, one for second black, and one for third black. All the forms are named either short form or long form, and have a number. The general order that most schools teach by is short 1, long 1, short 2, L2, S3, L3, L4, L5, and L6. When testing for first black, you do have to do all forms from S1 to L4 for the test. Of course, AKK doesn't have as many kata as some of the OMA do, in the sense of length of kata.

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#185356 - 09/14/05 01:03 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: znra251]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I think the standard 1st Dan Syalbas is Taikyokus, Heain 1-5, Tekki 1-3 and Bassia sho other advance katas are learned before Shodan in preparation for Nidan, and seasoned Shodan.

I would not feel bad if some of the pressure was taken off you to decide which kata to do. Imagine if you studied Shito-ryu you would have 15-20 katas out of their 50 kata syllabass. Anyway concentrate on your ippon-kumites, self defense techniuques and free sparring these are yours to improvises. Until you get Yodan you are to learn the system not suggest changes, they won't even ask until then.

As for Soke Funkakoshi being Godan, he is a Soke higher then any rank in the system. Rank is just a structure of protocol not a power structure, especially in this case.

Funakoshi is the Man in Shotokan = school of Shoto = G. Funakoshi's pen name. Just to beat a dead horse.
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#185357 - 09/19/05 07:07 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: Neko456]
znra251 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 39
returning to the question, although thanks to everyone for the feedback, i was wondering if anyone can suggest why bassai dai may be more worthy of shodan grading than say Jion, which the WKF selected as an example of shotokan kata for their shitei kata. of Kanku-dai, another WKF shitei, or empi.

does anyone see anything in bassai dai which is lacking in these katas, and does anyone else think that in terms of natural progression kanku dai would have to come next, as it was the kata from which the heian katas were drawn?

gary

www.karateonline.org- kata videos, competition footage and more!

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#185358 - 10/21/05 11:15 AM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: trevek]
dogfacedboyuk1 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/05
Posts: 116
I was in the KUGB for 13 years and every person I ever saw do a different kata to Bassai Dai for their 1st dan grading
either failed or didn't perform it very well. Our instructor at the time advised us to choose Bassai Dai as we had been performing that longest. The look on sensei Enoedas face said it all when I watched him observing a different kata to Bassai Dai for many of these people. I don't agree with your comment znra251, about the lack of choice being detrimental to 1st dan grade hopefuls at all. What kata you have to perform for a first dan grading is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of anyones karate training. There is nothing to stop any brown belt becoming skilled in any of the other first dan kata at all.

Regarding the comment made about dan grades having changed value, I think dan grades now are so inconsistant that they have been devalued considerably. I gained my first dan when I was 21 years old. It gave me a great sense of achievement, after training 6 years beforehand it was a nice feeling to wear the coveted black belt. I was howver never in a hurry to get there. I took 6 months between 3rd kyu-2kyu, 1 year between 2 kyu-1 kyu, and 1 year between 1 kyu to 1st dan - mainly because I always hated gradings. But many people are in a hurry to get there and see it as the BIG GOAL which, as us sensible people know, it isn't. Does anyone remember those ads that used to appear in various magazines advertising miraculous "be a black belt in x amount of months"? Talk about making a mockery of us. There are also many 1/2/3rd dans who's standards are either above their current grade or below it due to different associations grading standards. And even then within the same association you get instructors with different expections of standards. Andy Sherry for example is a very strict grading examiner, if you get your dan grade from him you know you are worth it. And of course for an unfortunate few politics can get in the way of taking your gradings. The worst example of the devaluation of dan grades is when people break away from their organisations and claim high grades to which they are not entitled, but that's a whole other subject. Take the story of my first shotokan instructor . When he was 18 (he was about 33 when I started training with him so I think this incident took place in the early/mid seventies), he ran a special kids karate class and they all saved very hard and did various things to raise some money to get sensei Enoeda down to their club for a course. Sensei arrived for their lesson late and he finished it early. When my instructor approached him to complain about this sensei Enoeda told him "Do not speak to me like that - you no take 2nd dan." Now I find this incredibly bad attitude from a man who should be setting a shining example. My instructor had attended many courses by Enoeda (and Asano sensei as well), following him around the country for the best part of a year in preparation for his 2nd dan grading and ended up stuck at 1st dan for 17 years!! Then on a one day course he attended sensei Enoeda walked up to him and asked him to take his 2nd Dan grading!

I personally do not believe in grades beyond first dan and I always prefer to ask how long somebody has been training as opposed to "what grade are you?". I never graded again myself for 9 years (and then unfortunately had to retire from practice due to injury)and it never bothered me at all.

A few people have commented about grades over 5th dan and "how can anyone be better than the creator of the system?". I think it's perfectly possible to be better than a creator of a system. It's all down to how hard you train and good you get, who you trained under and how long you have been training. It's only ever going to be a very small percentage of us will ever get that far and become true masters and achieve great things but possible none the less. Nobody will obviously ever have the magnificent pedigree of master Funakoshi, but I think the standard of Karate will improve as time goes on and we shouldn't mourn the loss of the " golden age" of the old karate masters. I intend no disrespect to the memory of master Funakoshi, but I'm sure I read that he was regarded as not the best person to take karate to the Mainland by his contempories. His language skills and status gave him the edge and made him the candidate to do the honours of demonstrating karate to the Japanese. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong on all of this, but I'm sure I read this in a book on the history of Shotokan.Choki Motubu another famous Okinawan karate master was highly critical of master Funakoshi's skill and is supposed to have been quoted as saying "If Funakoshi has been graded 5th dan, what am I - a 10th or 11th dan?"

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#185359 - 10/27/05 12:43 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: trevek]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
I think dan grading is all relative, really. And it can only be compared to others within the same style. Funakoshi being Go-Dan in whatever ryu he ranked in before going to Japan isn't really relevant to shotokan. To shotokan, he is the master, O-sensei, and might as well be tenth degree. Once shotokan became its own different style, apart from the okinawan karate, Funakoshi's old rank wouldn't matter, right? Tenth degree is simply the highest rank in each style. If you compare the different styles, their tenth degree masters have different kata and knowledge.

The Japanese tried to put karate into an orderly box, as had been done already with judo and kendo, but found that to be impossible. There are simply too many styles and variations to make a single standard of testing for all karateka.

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#185360 - 10/27/05 06:44 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: dogfacedboyuk1]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Dog

Excellent point.

Funikoshi's fighting ability or the lack thereof is pretty much irrelevent.

The folks in okinawa could have sent anyone--they sent a schoolteacher--and considering how things turned out, its VERY arguable that they made an excellent choice.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#185361 - 10/27/05 06:47 PM Re: Compulsary Kata for Dan grading [Re: dogfacedboyuk1]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Yes, I do remember reading of Motobu's rivalry with Funakoshi. It might be in that article on this very site, about the "real Choki Motobu". Apparently Motobu was very critical of Funakoshi's style, saying it was ineffective and unrealistic. Motobu was known for getting into street fights in his younger days, and knocked out a Russian boxer when he (Motobu) was in his fifties. Funakoshi was seen as someone refined and scholarly. Obviously their approaches to training were different.

I agree, it is possible for descendants to surpass their ancestors in terms of skill and knowledge. How better to honor an ancestor than to take his knowledge and skill to a new level? Maybe in a culture that puts so much reverence in ancestors, it is a taboo to say that one is better than their masters were. Even if everyone knows it and believes it, out of courtesy one must never have the appearance of overstepping one's "place".

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