Team Kata

Narges

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Here I am with yet another problem! Well, not exactly a problem, but something that gets me thinking a lot. My Sensei has decided to put me in a team with two others. One of them is my best friend and I get along okay with the other girl, but I think she's too selfish to work well in a team. I don't want to spend so much time and energy training only to see her ruin everything. What is more, I try very hard in the dojo and my techniques are powerful and neat, but my kata is slow; much slower than both my team mates (Specially the selfish girl I wrote about. Her kata is really fast and explosive, even though she performs the techniques carelessly) and I have a fear of pulling them down with me. Sensei also said that she wants us to compete in the league, which somewhat alarmed me. I'm not sure if six months is enough to prepare us. I love working in a team and I used to envy our senior black belts who practiced team kata, but now I'm full of doubts and fears. :idunno:
 

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Here I am with yet another problem! Well, not exactly a problem, but something that gets me thinking a lot. My Sensei has decided to put me in a team with two others. One of them is my best friend and I get along okay with the other girl, but I think she's too selfish to work well in a team. I don't want to spend so much time and energy training only to see her ruin everything. What is more, I try very hard in the dojo and my techniques are powerful and neat, but my kata is slow; much slower than both my team mates (Specially the selfish girl I wrote about. Her kata is really fast and explosive, even though she performs the techniques carelessly) and I have a fear of pulling them down with me. Sensei also said that she wants us to compete in the league, which somewhat alarmed me. I'm not sure if six months is enough to prepare us. I love working in a team and I used to envy our senior black belts who practiced team kata, but now I'm full of doubts and fears. :idunno:
No problem there. Work with your friend and make sure you watch each other in your peripheral vision. Make sure you're perfectly in time with your friend. The other member will have to follow or look bad. Simple!! :asian:
 

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The judges will be looking for well executed moves and techniques not for how quickly you can get through the kata, often people think that doing it quickly will look as if you are doing it better but that's not the case.
As Chris says, practise with your friend, make every movement crisp and together, make it as perfect as you can, the other girl will have to do the same.
I don't know which katas you do but I've always found each one has it's own rhythm, you'll find it I'm sure but don't let anyone tell you that rushing through them at speed is the correct way.

Use counting to help you keep together, after a kiai hold it for a couple of seconds, for competition kata often turning on the heel with the toes slightly lifted gives a smoother turn. I'm sure your kata must be of a good quality, your sensei wouldn't have put you in a team otherwise, so relax, enjoy and train hard, you'll do well!
 

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Here I am with yet another problem! Well, not exactly a problem, but something that gets me thinking a lot. My Sensei has decided to put me in a team with two others. One of them is my best friend and I get along okay with the other girl, but I think she's too selfish to work well in a team. I don't want to spend so much time and energy training only to see her ruin everything. What is more, I try very hard in the dojo and my techniques are powerful and neat, but my kata is slow; much slower than both my team mates (Specially the selfish girl I wrote about. Her kata is really fast and explosive, even though she performs the techniques carelessly) and I have a fear of pulling them down with me. Sensei also said that she wants us to compete in the league, which somewhat alarmed me. I'm not sure if six months is enough to prepare us. I love working in a team and I used to envy our senior black belts who practiced team kata, but now I'm full of doubts and fears. :idunno:

I don't know you or your sensei, but I would tend to suspect that this has little to do with kata and a lot to do with team work. The world as you will come to experience it will not give you the team you wish to have, nor will it gift each team member with similar capabilities; and yet you will be judged as a team, and you cannot shrug off the failure of a team member as not your fault - team means win or lose it *is* your fault. Teams win or lose together, and the failure of one is the failure of all.

In any team, communication is key, as is having a team leader. This must be discussed and agreed upon. Assigning labels like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' is not going to get you where you need to be; it's immature behavior that is not indicative of a team player or a leader. I say that with the understanding that you are young; this is perfectly normal for someone your age.

However, this is an opportunity to make a better person of yourself. If I may offer a suggestion, it would be to ask your teammates for a time when you can all get together outside of the dojo and talk over how you wish to approach this. Talk about the need to agree on how to do the kata, what speed would be most appropriate to every member, and who should lead the team. Come up with a training plan and stick to it; consider breaking down the kata and doing it step-by-step, a few moves at a time until everyone can do it easily together, then add another few steps, then another, and so on. Be ready to work outside the dojo; don't expect to be given time during training to do it and become proficient at it. Be friendly and open and drop preconceived notions like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' from your own mental processes. Think only in terms of what each member is capable of doing and how the team can best accommodate that. You must sacrifice your own ego to the needs of the team; and this can be difficult; we all have ego, pride, and personal needs. Teamwork means the team comes first and you come second. This, by the way, is also what leadership means.

In the Marine Corps, we often were assigned team goals, including long distance runs. We did not run as individuals, we ran as a team. That meant we ran as fast as the slowest man, and we did what we had to do to make the slowest man faster, such as carrying items from his pack if we had to, offering encouragement and not criticism, and keeping our morale high. The teams that finished first, but with stragglers, lost. The reason for this is that in combat, if you arrive first to the fight, but without the people you need to do the fighting, you lose.

Team means everyone, together. Put aside all thoughts of ego, all thoughts of how others are, and consider the team as if it were a new person, a product of the three of you, and not you personally. What benefits the team? If it doesn't benefit the team, it's not a good idea. Do what makes the team win.

This is the key, in my opinion. Anyone can do good kata given six months. Anyone can do synchronous kata given six months. But only teams think and move together in a way that judges can clearly see. Teams that act as a team and not as a group of similarly-trained individuals stand out.

For examples, watch professional cheerleaders. They each have an ego and of course they think highly of themselves; but not when they are performing a cheer. There is no star in cheerleading; there are only members of the team. Nobody watches so-and-so of the Dallas Cheerleaders. They watch the team as a team.

Being an effective member of a team is a life skill that will serve you well the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to learn what being a team member is all about and grow in maturity. You will be very glad of it later.
 

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I don't know you or your sensei, but I would tend to suspect that this has little to do with kata and a lot to do with team work. The world as you will come to experience it will not give you the team you wish to have, nor will it gift each team member with similar capabilities; and yet you will be judged as a team, and you cannot shrug off the failure of a team member as not your fault - team means win or lose it *is* your fault. Teams win or lose together, and the failure of one is the failure of all.

In any team, communication is key, as is having a team leader. This must be discussed and agreed upon. Assigning labels like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' is not going to get you where you need to be; it's immature behavior that is not indicative of a team player or a leader. I say that with the understanding that you are young; this is perfectly normal for someone your age.

However, this is an opportunity to make a better person of yourself. If I may offer a suggestion, it would be to ask your teammates for a time when you can all get together outside of the dojo and talk over how you wish to approach this. Talk about the need to agree on how to do the kata, what speed would be most appropriate to every member, and who should lead the team. Come up with a training plan and stick to it; consider breaking down the kata and doing it step-by-step, a few moves at a time until everyone can do it easily together, then add another few steps, then another, and so on. Be ready to work outside the dojo; don't expect to be given time during training to do it and become proficient at it. Be friendly and open and drop preconceived notions like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' from your own mental processes. Think only in terms of what each member is capable of doing and how the team can best accommodate that. You must sacrifice your own ego to the needs of the team; and this can be difficult; we all have ego, pride, and personal needs. Teamwork means the team comes first and you come second. This, by the way, is also what leadership means.

In the Marine Corps, we often were assigned team goals, including long distance runs. We did not run as individuals, we ran as a team. That meant we ran as fast as the slowest man, and we did what we had to do to make the slowest man faster, such as carrying items from his pack if we had to, offering encouragement and not criticism, and keeping our morale high. The teams that finished first, but with stragglers, lost. The reason for this is that in combat, if you arrive first to the fight, but without the people you need to do the fighting, you lose.

Team means everyone, together. Put aside all thoughts of ego, all thoughts of how others are, and consider the team as if it were a new person, a product of the three of you, and not you personally. What benefits the team? If it doesn't benefit the team, it's not a good idea. Do what makes the team win.

This is the key, in my opinion. Anyone can do good kata given six months. Anyone can do synchronous kata given six months. But only teams think and move together in a way that judges can clearly see. Teams that act as a team and not as a group of similarly-trained individuals stand out.

For examples, watch professional cheerleaders. They each have an ego and of course they think highly of themselves; but not when they are performing a cheer. There is no star in cheerleading; there are only members of the team. Nobody watches so-and-so of the Dallas Cheerleaders. They watch the team as a team.

Being an effective member of a team is a life skill that will serve you well the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to learn what being a team member is all about and grow in maturity. You will be very glad of it later.


When I was doing team kata, we didn't have a team leader, the instructor did that 'job', the katas were done at the speed they are done normally plus he trained us, we didn't decide things on our own, it had to be done within the techniques of the style we did. Training was done within the normal training sessions. We gained a fair few golds so I guess we weren't that bad, we also had different members step in when needed as it wasn't always possible to have the same people due to work/life commitments.
 

Bill Mattocks

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When I was doing team kata, we didn't have a team leader, the instructor did that 'job', the katas were done at the speed they are done normally plus he trained us, we didn't decide things on our own, it had to be done within the techniques of the style we did. Training was done within the normal training sessions. We gained a fair few golds so I guess we weren't that bad, we also had different members step in when needed as it wasn't always possible to have the same people due to work/life commitments.

Personally, I would call that 'synchronized' kata and not 'team' kata, but that's just me.
 

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As a rule of thumb, as a team, everyone adjusts their timing, so that the person who performs the slowest technique (nothing wrong with slow, powerful and clean, by the way), can remain in synchronicity with the others.

Making the faster people slow down is excellent training, and can make them more patient, as well as teaching them that it's not all about speed and quickness.


Which kata are you guys going to perform as a team? If it's something straightforward, such as Jion, then 6 months is plenty of time. If it's something that's less linear (in terms of timing, etc), such as Unsu, Chatanyara Kusanku, Suparinpei, etc., then that might be a stretch.
 

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Personally, I would call that 'synchronized' kata and not 'team' kata, but that's just me.

Well the OP called it that so it would be rude to disagree besides 'team' is only four letters which makes it cheaper than 'synchronised' when paying for the publicity posters and programmes.:)

Our kata, whether done single or not, was judged as it should be done, no jazzing it up for 'performance' but done seriously and properly.
 

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I loved Team kata. I've never done it in competition because there is not 3 or more yellow belts my gender in the dojo. There's just me and two male yellows. But I found it very easy to keep pace with others when the whole dojo does it together in class and weirdly I find it easier to keep pace with higher belts than lower ones.

I think the others have the right idea. get together with the others and talk :)
 

Tez3

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I loved Team kata. I've never done it in competition because there is not 3 or more yellow belts my gender in the dojo. There's just me and two male yellows. But I found it very easy to keep pace with others when the whole dojo does it together in class and weirdly I find it easier to keep pace with higher belts than lower ones.

I think the others have the right idea. get together with the others and talk :)

Why does it have to be people of the same gender? We had mixed teams, there were no problems.
 

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I don't know you or your sensei, but I would tend to suspect that this has little to do with kata and a lot to do with team work. The world as you will come to experience it will not give you the team you wish to have, nor will it gift each team member with similar capabilities; and yet you will be judged as a team, and you cannot shrug off the failure of a team member as not your fault - team means win or lose it *is* your fault. Teams win or lose together, and the failure of one is the failure of all.

In any team, communication is key, as is having a team leader. This must be discussed and agreed upon. Assigning labels like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' is not going to get you where you need to be; it's immature behavior that is not indicative of a team player or a leader. I say that with the understanding that you are young; this is perfectly normal for someone your age.

However, this is an opportunity to make a better person of yourself. If I may offer a suggestion, it would be to ask your teammates for a time when you can all get together outside of the dojo and talk over how you wish to approach this. Talk about the need to agree on how to do the kata, what speed would be most appropriate to every member, and who should lead the team. Come up with a training plan and stick to it; consider breaking down the kata and doing it step-by-step, a few moves at a time until everyone can do it easily together, then add another few steps, then another, and so on. Be ready to work outside the dojo; don't expect to be given time during training to do it and become proficient at it. Be friendly and open and drop preconceived notions like 'selfish' and 'sloppy' from your own mental processes. Think only in terms of what each member is capable of doing and how the team can best accommodate that. You must sacrifice your own ego to the needs of the team; and this can be difficult; we all have ego, pride, and personal needs. Teamwork means the team comes first and you come second. This, by the way, is also what leadership means.

In the Marine Corps, we often were assigned team goals, including long distance runs. We did not run as individuals, we ran as a team. That meant we ran as fast as the slowest man, and we did what we had to do to make the slowest man faster, such as carrying items from his pack if we had to, offering encouragement and not criticism, and keeping our morale high. The teams that finished first, but with stragglers, lost. The reason for this is that in combat, if you arrive first to the fight, but without the people you need to do the fighting, you lose.

Team means everyone, together. Put aside all thoughts of ego, all thoughts of how others are, and consider the team as if it were a new person, a product of the three of you, and not you personally. What benefits the team? If it doesn't benefit the team, it's not a good idea. Do what makes the team win.

This is the key, in my opinion. Anyone can do good kata given six months. Anyone can do synchronous kata given six months. But only teams think and move together in a way that judges can clearly see. Teams that act as a team and not as a group of similarly-trained individuals stand out.

For examples, watch professional cheerleaders. They each have an ego and of course they think highly of themselves; but not when they are performing a cheer. There is no star in cheerleading; there are only members of the team. Nobody watches so-and-so of the Dallas Cheerleaders. They watch the team as a team.

Being an effective member of a team is a life skill that will serve you well the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to learn what being a team member is all about and grow in maturity. You will be very glad of it later.

This is a great post. The only qualification I have is that if your Sensei is involved then they will be the team leader. If not a leader will emerge or as a team you should appoint one.
A team is only as strong as its weakest link. If you are slower then either you work to become quicker or the team must adjust. In kata not everybody can perform at the same speed. If one of you other team mates is sloppy in her technique then perhaps she would benefit in slowing down.
 

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Team kata is an interesting event. In general, you get more points for synchronicity than accuracy (ie if your hand position is off, that's ok provided that it's off to the same degree for all team members).

Timing is very difficult, and it's correct to say that all team members need to adjust their timing to keep in sync. Start slower than any of you would normally do the kata, and bring it up to "normal" speed once you're confident that you're all doing the same moves.

Have an observer watch. Frequently. He/she will be better able to tell where the discrepancies in technique lie than any of the team members (who are always partially focused on their individual performance). Other tricks that can help you see differences in technique are to do the kata facing one another (inward pointing triangle), and take turns doing pairs kata with the third team member observing.

If anyone isn't willing to adapt, this definitely hurts the team, and will show in competition. As for your teammate being selfish; this will test that, but there's not a whole lot you can do about that, other than encourage her to help make the team better, and of course, make sure that you're doing the same thing.

Good luck!
 
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Narges

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Some really great posts there. Thanks guys.

You're right Bill, it was very immature of me to call my team mate selfish, but I really didn't mean it in a nasty way. What I meant was that she might not have the right attitude for team work and it worried me. But we all have our faults and maybe "team work" is (more than anything else) about helping each other make ourselves better people. As for the technical part, I suppose there's nothing that can't be achieved with enough practice, eh?
 

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Some really great posts there. Thanks guys.

You're right Bill, it was very immature of me to call my team mate selfish, but I really didn't mean it in a nasty way. What I meant was that she might not have the right attitude for team work and it worried me. But we all have our faults and maybe "team work" is (more than anything else) about helping each other make ourselves better people. As for the technical part, I suppose there's nothing that can't be achieved with enough practice, eh?

Of course it could be that she is selfish! :)
 
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She's not very confident either :(

We had our first team practice yesterday. It was a lot of fun. We ran together, warmed up together and practiced Jion together. We were trying to do the moves with the same speed and everything but weren't that successful seeing as it was our first session working as a team. Others would stare at us in an unfriendly way and shake their heads, or laugh at us and say "Is that supposed to be team kata?" I laughed with them but ignored their remarks completely. My friend didn't pay much attention either. But this girl started to mess up. She was seriously disturbed. Is there any way we can help her do you think?
 

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We had our first team practice yesterday. It was a lot of fun. We ran together, warmed up together and practiced Jion together. We were trying to do the moves with the same speed and everything but weren't that successful seeing as it was our first session working as a team. Others would stare at us in an unfriendly way and shake their heads, or laugh at us and say "Is that supposed to be team kata?" I laughed with them but ignored their remarks completely. My friend didn't pay much attention either. But this girl started to mess up. She was seriously disturbed. Is there any way we can help her do you think?


As a teacher, I'm going to offer my solution:

The easiest way to fix this is to get her in a comfortable setting, so that it resembles more of with what she is accustomed. The way I do this is to take the team of three, and standardize their movements, based on my count.

Thus, their performance of kata Jion would be the same as what they normally do in class when I actually count the kata.

Once I find a count that has the right tempo and rhythm for all three of the performers, then I keep using that same count for several more sessions, until they get used to it. After a few sessions, they ususally don't need the count anymore, unless they want to fine tune something.

Have your sensei / shihan count the kata for your team a few times, just so that everyone can agree on a count. After all, I doubt that any one particular member in your group is going to question sensei's / shihan's count. ;)



When it comes time to do it without a count, the person who is in the lead position for the specific direction, is going to be the one who determines when the other two go. This way, each person is responsible for the other two during specific times of the kata. Thus, it's more of a "directional / situational" leader for the given move, instead of one performer dictating the entire sequence.
 

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On another note, excellent choice, using kata Jion. While it's not an overly complex kata, it really shows off good fundamentals, and is consistent and linear, making it a great choice for team kata.

That, plus it's relatively easy to count (from an instructor's point of view).
 

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Very unkind of people watching to make comments on your first run through which frankly isn't going to be competition standard. It doesn't show them in a very good light but I suspect you will make them eat their words in the end!
I don't know Shotokan katas though, does anyone has any idea of the equivilant in TSD or Wado?
 

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Very unkind of people watching to make comments on your first run through which frankly isn't going to be competition standard. It doesn't show them in a very good light but I suspect you will make them eat their words in the end!
I don't know Shotokan katas though, does anyone has any idea of the equivilant in TSD or Wado?

Jion is part of most Wado systems.

Here's an example of Suzuki Sensei performing Wado's Jion:


Here's Kanazawa Kancho performing Shotokan Jion:


Fairly similar, with the expected classical differences (middle block position higher in Wado, etc).



The way I figure, these two fellows have decent kihon ;)
 
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