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A Slip During A Bo Kata

I mentioned that I recently observed a Karate tournament. At one point, a teenage girl (I think she was a teenager, but she might have been a young adult) performed a bo kata. It was a pretty standard kata and things were going as expected. But then she lost the grip of the bo with her right hand. For a split second, the rhythm and flow of the kata was broken.

There she was, hold the bo with her left hand only. Her right hand was empty, and the bo momentarily floated in the air.

Of course, she quickly regained her grip and continued with the kata. But for that split second, the kata became interesting. It was alive and unscripted. I almost expected her to charge forward with a Kendo men (strike to the head)! That would have been good.

I was in Kendo class one day (a long time ago). The Sensei was practicing with a student and at one point the student lost his right hand grip. Without a moment's gap, the Sensei charged and slapped at the shinai (bamboo sword) so that the student could not regain his grip. The student backed up but the Sensei followed and slapped the shinai maybe twice more before hitting the student with a strong men!

When you lose your grip, you create an opening and could easily lose the match (or be injured). People do lose their grip. Fighting is not clean. But in those rare moments when you lose your grip, there is an opportunity to improve. There is a spontaneous moment. The kata comes alive!



Charles C. Goodin