After months of planning and negotiating several difficulties presented from certain quarters, the Kodokan Goshin Jutsu Kata Workshop and Competition was held at the City Dojo under the aegis of the New Zealand Kata Commission and Wellington Judo Academy on 15-16 April 2023.
The brainchild of Kata Commission members, Steve Tarring (5 dan) and Doug Lloyd (4 dan), the event attracted 21 judoka from as far South as Christchurch and as far North as Kerikeri.
Proceedings were held under the supervision of Bill Vincent (8 dan), Steve Tarring (5 dan), and Doug Lloyd (4 dan) and Bram Kukler (4 dan).
Day 1 involved a deep dive into the finer points of the kata, both technical and presentation. Those keen to train as kata judges were led through the early stages of judging kata during the last part of the day.
Day 2 was the kata competition, with several pairs presenting the kata for assessment. Competitors were split into two groups, which allowed half to compete while the others practiced judging. The groups swapped places halfway through.
The placings in the competition were:
First: Ralph Rogge (Tawa) and William Healy (Koizumi)
Second: Aaron Thorpe (Doubtless Bay) and Andy Hata (Doubtless Bay)
Third equal: Shaun Walton (Wanganui) and Dana Love (City College Wanganui)
Third equal: Caleb Hackett (Doubtless Bay) and Arya Zale (Doubtless Bay)
There are plans afoot for further events of this kind to be held around the country, covering the five Kodokan Kata performed in competition and the grades 1st to 5th Dan.
It is recommended that judoka attend these workshops, regardless of age or grade, given the benefits kata can bring for understanding of the underlying principles of judo.
Aside from the technical and competitive aspects of the weekend, the event was most enjoyable for the social aspect, drawing together judoka from up and down the country, with dinner on the Saturday night providing a relaxing interlude.
The Academy is proud to have loaned support, however minimal to this event. Thanks go to Doug and Steve for their hard work and perseverance making this happen.
Hukutsu no seishin.
Never, ever give up.