Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Expressive moving meditation

Expression is an everyday human life activity like eating and sleeping. We all express ourselves differently, choosing mediums that match our personalities. Nothing is more revealing than how we express ourselves through songs, poetry or art. I can't sing or play a musical instrument, but I've discovered the joy of written expression with my daily blogflections here at Pierini Fitness.

A physical medium of expression for me is performing kata in my martial arts training. Kata (literally: "form"), is a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. Kata are used in many traditional Japanese arts such as theater forms like schools of tea ceremony, but are most commonly known in the martial arts such as karate.

Last Saturday morning at the dojo was devoted to kata training and, with my karate brothers and sister, we performed 14 different kata over a span of about 30 minutes. My martial arts training has been erratic lately, so my expressive movements were not as crisp and flowing as the past.

One of the advanced kata we performed was Kanku Dai, a representative kata of Japanese Shotokan karate consisting of 65 movements executed in about 90 seconds, expressing attack and defense movements against eight adversaries. Here is a 2-year old short video of me performing this kata:

I love kata training with all the mental and physical challenges it presents. For me, it is my choice of expressive moving meditation.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Franklin said...

A very, very impressive demonstration! Fluid and lightning quick are first words that come to mind. It doesn't surprise me at all that you would excel in several different areas of physical culture.

When I was a kid, I bought a copy of the paperback, Bruce Tegner's Complete Book of Karate, believing that by just mimicking the photos I could transform myself into martial arts warrior.

Well, it was darn near impossible to follow those photos. Thus ended my short career as a would be kara-kata master.

Eventually I went on to wrestle in high school and college. Interesting that the recently immensely popular UFC MMA combines features of both Karate and wrestling.

pierini said...

Hi Franklin and thanks for the compliment.

I remember those Bruce Tegner books that I would read at my neighborhood library. It's near impossible for a beginner to learn martial arts from a book or even a DVD nowadays.

Bruce Lee as Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet had a huge influence on my martial arts fascination.

RIP Bruce Tegner and Bruce Lee.

jasahn said...

I really wish I had the same appreciation of kata as you Pierini! Hopefully I'll be able to get over to the 'home' dojo soon!