The Goshingata Experiment
© 2009 Kim Taylor, all rights reserved
This is an experiment. It was set up at the request of Ken Morgan, one of my students
who, during yet another discussion of whether or not one could learn
iaido from a book, suggested that we simply try it.
I was asked
to come up with a novel kata and I have done so here. Actually I have
come up with 5 new kata (Go Shin Gata... I have no idea if that sounds
right in Japanese or not but it ought to do to identify the set for
There are no photos, videos or illustrations provided, only text.
are two files, one very simple for those who are experienced in ZNKR
iaido, and one for those who are beginners. Not knowing just how
beginner our theoretical beginner is, I have assumed they have at least
a week of practice where they have learned how to hold the sword and
how to wear the outfit.
I have tried to write some kata that are
not familiar to anyone, although an experienced iaido person will
recognize, is intended to recognize, certain basic movements so that
they can fill in the gaps. Our absolute beginner will also have to fill
in some gaps, but not as many since they will be using more complete
Here is the experiment, advanced students (let's say
yudansha students) should open the simplified instructions and take a
week to try and work through the kata. These are very basic
instructions, bare bones, and should be difficult to get right. At the
end of the week please film yourself doing the kata. Then download the
more complete instructions and go through the kata once more for a
week, then film yourself. Send both sets of videos along to me, or
upload them to youtube or whatever, so we can all look at them.
who wish to try this can check out both text files at once and go at it
for a week, then film yourself and send in the video.
film myself doing the kata as I envisioned them while writing them
down. In the end we should be able to see just how close one can get to
learning an iaido kata from text alone.
Once I have filmed the
kata as I created them we can repeat the experiment with new subjects
using both text and video and see how close they come to learning the
set as it was created. Of course those who have already tried them with
the text can check out the videos and re-refine their kata to see if
their new video is different from the earlier one or two.
way, I believe it would be possible to derive partner practices from
all these kata if anyone wants to test the hypothesis that it may be
possible to learn solo kata from a book, but not partner kata. Of
course I would need to do the text before anyone had the chance to look
at the solo videos, but I suppose I can always make up different kata
Simple Instructions: Goshingata Iai: Simple Instructions for Experienced Iaidoka
Detailed Instructions: Goshingata Iai: Detailed Instructions
Downloading the videos below on PC type computers requires that you right click and "save link as"
Video from the front
Video from the side
Video of Haya Nuki (continuous practice)