Martial Arts

The 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge

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There are certain events in the martial arts year that somehow speak to me. In April, we have the 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge. The basic idea of that is that you do 100 repetitions of a weapon kata. Ordinarily, this would be done as an event, as a group, or as a dojo. That’s not really how things work right now.

My kobudo journey is still young. I “know” a few kata, but none of them really well yet. Still, I thought this might be something I would like to try. I mean, 100 repetitions of the same kata in one day? It may not sound exiting to you, but it’s more than I’ve ever done of a weapons kata before. (There’s a similar karate challenge in the fall that I have done in the past.)

Officially, the home of the event is Sakiyama Park, Shuri, Okinawa and it takes place 10am-1pm on April the 5th this year. Adjusting for time zones, that was beginning at 9pm tonight Eastern time. Staring a 3-hour physical event at 9pm seemed a little bit much, pushing too deep into the night, so I started at about 545, finishing about 830pm. A little ahead of official, but it worked for me.

I picked Shushi no Kun, a bo (staff) kata. In fact, the first bo kata in our system. It’s not a short kata but not super long and 100 repetitions in 3 hours seemed reasonable on the surface of things.

But I knew it was going to be a good workout.

And it really was. Also a very interesting experience. And harder than you might expect. I’m not wired to do one thing continuously for very long so focus was hard to keep for the whole 100 kata and I wonder if I would have been better off to split the effort between several kata.

After every set of 10, I gave myself time for a water break (or an apple if I needed calories) and a moment to scribble down a thought or two.

The thoughts along the way:

10 – my footwear may be inappropriate for the whole exercise, but I am on cement. (The cement pad next to the deck in our back yard – I didn’t want to monopolize a large fraction of the main floor for the evening as that isn’t fair to everyone else and there are five of us living in the house.)

20 – I think I’m correcting my stances too much.

30 – I haven’t kiai-ed once yet. I mean, the neighbours already think I’m crazy…

40 – Mmm. Apple.

50 – That set was harder to focus for some reason, but I’m half-way!

60 – Time to come inside. It’s getting a little chilly. (The sun has gone down and the breeze is picking up.)

70 – Wait, am I stepping correctly there? And this move doesn’t feel right. Time for some video… I am stepping right and I’m missing a kamae in one spot.

80 – This is harder than and my brain is getting a bit mushy.

90 – I should have stretched more.

100 – Whoo hoo!

There’s no video. Since I haven’t started outdoor clean up yet (too wet and I like to wait until the weather is a bit warmer so that the various early-spring inhabitants of the leaf detritus no longer need it to avoid freezing at night, though I did allow myself a victory selfie.

This was an interesting experience, but not something I’m going to repeat too frequently. Aside from the overall intensity wearing me out a bit, I think I need a little more variety in my regular practice.

Anyone else discovering new depths or hidden facets of their hobbies or past times?

Be well, everyone.

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