Physical Training Oct 2009
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The Goshingata Experiment

copyright 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 us).

There are no photos, videos or illustrations provided, only text.

There 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 directions.

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.

Beginners 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.

I will 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.

By the 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 later.

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 asf format

Video from the side asf format

Video of Haya Nuki (continuous practice) asf format

Good luck
Kim Taylor

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