Clinic Uses Special Methods to Emphasize Dynamics of Katame No Kata

March 3, 2014


2014 Katame No Kata Clinic Participants

2014 Katame No Kata Clinic Participants


by Kevin Tamai and Chuck Medani


The 2014 Katame No Kata clinic was held on Saturday, March 1st, at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville Maryland.  Attended by over 40 judoka from 14 different clubs in the region covering Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina and

Top: Senseis Karl Tamai, Takemori, Vall, Whilden Top: Senseis Jackson, Kevin Tamai

Top: Karl Tamai, Edwin Takemori, Fran Vall, Karen Whilden
Front: Diane Jackson, Kevin Tamai

Washington DC, the sessions were led by Senseis Diane Tamai Jackson, Karen Whilden, Karl Tamai, Edwin Takemori, and Fran Vall.


Of particular note, the clinicians utilized teaching methods that emphasized the active role of both partners in developing a physically genuine and technically detailed matwork-based judo kata, not generally seen or taught in the United States.


Organized and led by Shufu Yudanshakai Kata Development Chairperson Diane Jackson, the clinic was partially funded by Shufu Judo Yudanshakai. In addition to the formal clinic, several judoka were able to demonstrate their katas for their promotional kata requirement.


Jackson and Karl Tamai began by demonstrating the entire kata, followed by detailed analysis and practice of each of the techniques within the

Senseis Jackson and Tamai demonstrating the Katame No Kata

Diane Jackson and Karl Tamai demonstrating the Katame No Kata

three sets, with all of the senseis contributing from their extensive teaching and competitive experience.


The distinctive approach of the leaders was to not only explain the basic mechanics of tori’s actions, but to emphasize the logic behind each of uke’s attempts at escape, tori’s reaction to each, and the natural progression to the second and third escape attempts. This understanding and the senseis’ encouragement to “let uke win” when practicing is the basis of an effective and physically real judo kata.


Sensei Whilden makes a point while Sensei Takemori looks on

Karen Whilden makes a point to the group

All attendees were able to practice both roles in each of the techniques, making for a day of continuous learning and active practice.


Sensei Jackson was equally enthused about the day’s events. “Shufu Yudanshakai is fortunate to have a wide variety of excellent clinicians.  Each one brings many years of shiai experience into kata and shows the balance between learning and understanding judo through shiai as well as through kata, and that each is necessary for good judo.  We had a lot of people get excited about learning a kata, so in learning this one I think it will also get them excited about doing all of the katas.


Sensei Jackson

Diane Jackson

“We used a unique approach in this clinic, teaching uke’s intent and the actual techniques applied in their attacks and in their counters, showing a lot more of the change in power between uke trying to escape, and tori taking back control.  This was so much more shiai-like than some of the other clinics where uke just lays there, thinking that they have a very passive role.  Uke has a very active role in all the katas so it just has to be brought out and let people become aware of the intent of their technique and their attacks.”


Robert Young from Kuma Judo in Collegeville, PA (NW of Philadelphia), was one of the kata enthusiasts in attendance.

Charlie Hurd and Robert Young

Charlie Hurd and Robert Young

“I came down with my kata partner Charlie Hurd, and we’re trying to put together our katame no kata and hopefully get it to a place where we can take it on the road and compete.  It’s a great clinic.”  Hurd, also from Kuma Judo, added, “This has been very good. We’ve been watching a lot of videos but haven’t had instruction about what uke is trying to do, what tori is trying to do, so understanding the dynamic of each of the techniques in each of the sets has been really, really helpful. Now we have about a

Hurd and Young demonstrating "Ashi Garami" under the watchful eye of Sensei Jackson

Hurd and Young demonstrating “Ashi Garami” under the watchful eye of Diane Jackson

thousand more questions and a lot of video to look through!”


From Robert Guthro of the Samurai Judo Association, (formerly of Hui-O Judo in Beltsville, MD):  “Shufu is a source

Robert Guthro and Lisa Capriotti

Robert Guthro and Lisa Capriotti

of knowledge and expertise for kata and we drove eight hours from South Carolina to attend this seminar.”  Lisa Capriotti, also of Samurai Judo:  We just went to a katame clinic over the summer, which was really good, and this one is better because it’s describing the attacks that uke does on tori, which is something we hadn’t seen before.”


Kevin Tamai

Kevin Tamai

Kevin Tamai, the event director from Hui-O-Judo in Beltsville MD, was quite pleased with the turnout and the approach of the clinicians.  “It was a wonderful clinic that was very well presented, a rewarding and enriching experience for judoka on every level who were able to attend. It was good to see the young judoka, new judoka and our visually impaired learning the kata. Shufu Yudanshakai is very fortunate to have so many high level kata competitors and instructors to help mentor our next generation of judoka, and are very fortunate to have so much experience and knowledge so easily accessible to our judoka.


“Shufu Yudanshakai offers opportunities to compete in the kata at all of its events. All of the other regional events also have kata competition. So there are about nine events locally which give the opportunity to compete in kata.  Shufu also provides a kata-only event, the Faye Allen Kata tournament and clinic, scheduled for September in Washington DC.


“We are thankful to Shufu Yudanshakai for helping to fund this event, and I am very grateful to everyone for taking the time to come learn the kata, enhance their judo, and make themselves better judoka. Thanks also to DeMatha High School for this amazing venue.


“We hope to see everyone in two weeks at the Ken Tamai Memorial Judo Championships on March 15 here at DeMatha Catholic High School.”


Special Note:  Sensei John Anderson, one of the top nationally recognized Katame No Kata experts, was originally scheduled to lead the sessions, but was unable to attend due to recent eye surgery.  His many friends in Shufu wish him a speedy recovery.


Click Here for An Additional Message from Sensei Kevin Tamai




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