Friday, June 13, 2008

You Can't Like Them All

I suffer guilt regarding the kata Sanchin. The trouble is that I do not like this kata at all. I appreciate what this kata is teaching and understand the importance of proper breathing. I know that a Sanchin stance provides stability in both directions. I really want to like this kata. I feel I should like this kata. My guilt stems from the obvious cringe that crosses my face when this kata is mentioned.

The unfortunate situation is that most people know my feelings towards Sanchin. About a month ago, I went to a training session at the Honbu. My instructor taught a fabulous session on Sanchin. It is because of this session that Sanchin has been on my mind. (I had a "light bulb" moment with this kata due to the manner in which the information was presented.) After class, a fellow black belt stopped me and said "I thought of you when we were working on Sanchin". He then proceeded to tell me the story of his Nidan testing. He ran into me in the hallway after the kata portion of his test was over. He asked me a question about a comment that was made on his Sanchin. Unfortunately, I did not have an answer for him because I did not hear the comment. I did manage to tell him "I don't like Sanchin".

The Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo system that I train in has 51 kata. There are 21 open hand and 30 weapons kata. Maybe I am expecting too much of myself to like them all. I have my favorites: Chinto, Kusanku, Passai, Wansu, Tokumini Nokun Ni, Shima Igiri Bo Ichi, Odo No Tunfa Ni, Odo No Sai Ni and Odo No Tekkos Ichi. There are also a few I do not like: Sanchin, Nakamura No Sai, Odo No Kama Ichi and Kobo. Looking at the list I can tell you that the kata I do not like were the ones most difficult for me to learn. I am sure there is a correlation.

In my attempt to rid myself of my Sanchin guilt, I have promised myself that I will review the kata in every one of my classes. I have included Sanchin breathing exercises and drills as part of the warm up. I am going to stop saying "I don't like Sanchin".

Is it necessary to like all the kata in a system? I am going to try for a feeling of neutrality when it comes to Sanchin.

Maybe, you just cannot like them all.

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