Whilden and Jackson Teach Large Group of Kata Competitors and Enthusiasts at Shufu’s Nage No Kata Clinic

March 10, 2013

 

Karl Tamai and Diane Tamai Jackson demonstrate Ura Nage

Karen Whilden and Diane Jackson

Instructors and Participants at the 2013 Shufu Nage No Kata Clinic

Congratulations to all of the judoka who were able to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Shufu Judo Yudanshakai Nage No Kata Clinic and Promotional testing on Saturday, March 9th at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville Maryland. This clinic was conducted by our Shufu Kata Development Chairperson Ms Karen Whilden, and Ms. Diane Tamai Jackson, who as a pair have won multiple national championships in kata and have competed at the Kata World Championships representing the USA. The clinic was attended by over 35 judoka from 14 different clubs in the regional area covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.

Ms. Whilden and Ms. Jackson were assisted throughout the day by former national kata champions Peggy Whilden, Fran Vall, and Karl Tamai.  Sensei Edwin Takemori also attended, adding to the teaching and skills firepower.

 

Brad Lewis and Jorge Ramos de Alenda performing the Kime No Kata

In the morning prior to the start of the clinic, Shufu Yudanshakai offered testing of any of the judoka who needed to be examined or evaluated in any of the katas prior to promotions coming up at the end of April. Judoka were tested in Nage No Kata, Katame No Kata and Kime No Kata, and one individual was tested for certification as a Nage No Kata judge.  Kevin Tamai, the event director, said, “We try to get our judoka to test for kata ahead of the promotionals to get all the paperwork done and to make sure that everybody not only learns the techniques but has time to go back and practice them prior to tournaments so that they have a chance to compete and test out the skills that they learned.”  Karen Whilden added, “There were two things that prompted us to plan this particular clinic.  We had some people who were planning to go to nationals and so this was an opportunity for a last input before they travel to nationals. There were also some people at last fall’s promotionals who had some issues, and so I figured if they would come to the clinic they would increase their knowledge and do better in the upcoming promotions as well.”

The morning session was focused on the proper entering and exiting, good shisei, proper shintai and proper taisabaki, the fundamental building blocks that make the foundation of good judo techniques.  Karl Tamai and Diane Jackson demonstrated the entire five sets of the Nage No Kata. Then Karen taught the tori role and Diane taught the uke role of the first two sets of techniques, the Te waza and the Koshi waza.  They showed each technique and discussed the fine points of each one. Judoka were given plenty of time to practice both the uke and tori roles.

John Morrisson, President of Shufu Yudanshakai, was present for the morning session, and was pleased by the turnout and by the caliber of instruction that Shufu was able to provide: “Considering the large group of people who are attending the clinic today shows a heightening of the interest in kata and will raise our level of kata expertise in Shufu even further.  This session is honing the skills of not only our current national caliber competitors who are here, but also those who have had just a general idea of what the kata is, but are now learning the specifics of how to do it well.”

 

Ariana Kwoh and Christine Levine

Christine Levine, from the Philadelphia Judo Club, was happy to be present and to learn from the clinicians conducting the sessions. “I started kata for promotional requirements, but I found that I really liked trying to be as pure with the technique as possible, and kata is a place where you can try to achieve that purity.  Learning, competing, and going all the way to nationals was a big achievement because it is so difficult to do but you feel that the purity of your judo is improved, so that’s why I’m continuing with it.”

 

Ariana Kwoh, Levine’s kata partner and also from the Philadelphia Judo Club, was happy to come to the clinic because “Nationals is just around the corner and it’s time to get going and move up our techniques and train to do even better than last year when we placed second.”

 

Noah Hoopengardner, from Ron Tebbin’s Rankin Dragons Judo Club in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, was the youngest participant at 12 years of age.  Noah, who has practiced judo for four and a half years, was very pleased to have come all the way to Maryland for the clinic: “I came here today to learn the Nage No Kata.  I want to do this so that when I get more advanced at it I can go to kata competitions.  And my favorite throws are ippon seoinage and doing sacrifices.”

 

Shufu Yudanshakai provided pizza and a variety of snacks for lunch.

 

For the afternoon session, Whilden and Jackson covered the next 3 sets of techniques, the Ashi Waza, Ma Sutemi Waza and Yoko Sutemi waza, spending the final 90 minutes of the afternoon having each of the judoka perform both the uke and tori roles of the Nage No Kata. The day ended with more people being tested for their upcoming promotions in the Nage No kata.

 

 

 

 

Ana Schwar

Ana Schwar, from James Rivera’s Dale City Judo, came to the clinic because “I am a sankyu, and need to go for promotion to Nikyu, second degree brown belt, so I need to do some kata.  This is an introduction for me, and I am impressed, I didn’t think it was that hard – it looks so much easier than what it really is.  I’ve gained so much respect for kata people.  It’s amazing – the day has been very successful for me – I enjoy it and I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had my eyes opened about what kata really is!”

 

Grace Limjoco, also from Dale City Judo, and who traveled to Hyattsville with her father, thought “It was great!  I didn’t know what to do at first, but then they took me through step by step.  I liked how they did it step by step first, then slow motion, and then quickly in order to see it all together. I will use what I learned independently to try to work through it and then I’ll ask other brown and black belts to try to help me more with my kata and then I will go and hopefully get promoted!”

 

As the long day’s activities were finally wrapping up, Diane Jackson shared some of her thoughts: “I think the clinic today was a great success.  We had a large number of teams on the mat, and a lot of people came by themselves and were able to find partners.  We had a huge range of skill levels today from brand new beginners to partially vision-impaired, to those who have placed at nationals.  Kata is great – just like other parts of judo – in that if you have someone teach you something, you learn at your own level that you see something so the more experienced people can get benefit as well as beginners. That’s one of the great things about this type of clinic, and even judo in general.”  Jackson also thought that those who attended “had their expectations fulfilled. I also think that kata clinics always overwhelm people and they get very tired, and people don’t expect that from a kata clinic…and when we go to four or five o’clock, everyone is really exhausted, and it’s surprising to most people.  But I thought it was a big success.  We had five or six former national champions here to help.  It’s not just the two clinicians that are teaching, but it’s the whole community that comes together to make everyone’s kata better.”

 

Edwin Takemori

Edwin Takemori also thought the clinic was useful not only for the kata skills learned, but as an important building block for the wide range of judo skills: “The clinic helps the students to learn more about their judo, getting more information out to the players who really want to learn, whether they are kata players or shiai players.  An important question is how we transfer the kata teaching to the shiai players and show how it plays an important part of their preferred activity. It needs to play into the overall picture of how judo is perceived and practiced.  We need to make sure that shiai players understand that this is their base. If we improve upon that base, the clinics will become more open to more and more (shiai) players.”

 

Kevin Tamai

At the end of the session, Kevin Tamai, the event director from Hui-O-Judo in Beltsville MD stated that “Shufu Yudanshakai offers clinics throughout the year on a wide range of subjects from refereeing, teaching, coaching, different katas, shiai competitors’ clinics and much more. Clinics are great ways for judoka of different clubs to come together to enhance their judo by learning techniques from different instructors and working with other judoka. This Nage No Kata clinic was a rewarding and enriching experience for all judoka who were able to attend. I was pleased that we had over 35 participants representing 14 different clubs. Shufu Yudanshakai is very fortunate to have so many top level kata instructors to help mentor our next generation of new kata competitors. I would like to thank not only Karen, Diane and Karl for leading the clinic but to Peggy Whilden, Edwin Takemori, Fran Vall and others who added their technical expertise throughout the day.”

 

Mr Tamai reminded all judoka to go back to their dojos, practice their skills and to share what they learned today with their fellow judoka. He encouraged them to come to all of the Shufu events to compete in the katas, including the 2013 Ken Tamai Memorial Judo Championships next weekend at DeMatha.

 

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