From: Gary.Shockley To: Jim Sagawa
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 5:18 PM
Subject: Sent on Behalf of Greg Scott
Hi Jim- I am forwarding this note from Greg at his request”.
In a previous email, you wrote: Hi Greg, For Norcal practices, I asked Mark Kohagura to have a session emphasizing real budo jiyu kumite and another session emphasizing competition Jiyu kumite. The latter includes coping as a competitor with judging styles etc, plus being a good referee, etc. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Following is Greg’s response:
Hello Jim, I’m very sorry for the late response. I hope it’s not too late to share my thoughts. I’m sure Mark will cover all aspects, He’s the best. Our annual Jiyu Kumite Seminar (at SOD) will be held on July 23rd and there is one area we discuss that may apply to your email request (that is, the differences and similarities between budo and competition jiyu kumite). Many junior black belts downplay competition and avoid it because their seniors did. As a result, they don’t take advantage of the positive aspects it has to offer. While the actual reasons may vary, many use this example in an attempt to justify not participating in events such as Nisei week &nd we have an ongoing struggle in filling the competitor slots.
As we all know, ippon and sanbon kumite are more “user friendly” today than when seniors like you came through the ranks. Jiyu kumite however, (regardless of the format) still creates that unique anxiety when one is “called out to match” in front of SKA members or the public. Most individuals sense an increased need for preparation, an increased potential for injury, and outcome anxiety. These all can be excellent for developing the confidence building skills and anxiety control needed for real confrontations. Few can be awaiting a match at Nisei Week or an International Competition and possess the budo mentality we all talk about to predominate above the butterflies. I think more members should be encouraged to face the challenges of jiyu kumite seminars, Nisei Week, and similar interactions solely for the experience value they offer (and be less concerned about whether they have what it takes to win). The physical and mental preparation can be of tremendous value. I know Don agrees with this. Tom Muzila has often mentioned that if approached properly, the differences between budo and competition jiyu kumite are few accept for the slight adjustments we make to accommodate scoring and judging.
I’m sure Mark has (or will) cover most of this, so I guess I’m attempting to lend my support. In many tournaments, the format and strategies are dramatically changed to accommodate winning. I think these are responsible for negative perceptions. Most seniors should be able to keep these in perspective for their juniors allowing the experience to be positive. Ohshima Sensei once told me (1984 – Morocco Special Training), “members must strive to accumulate all types of experiences to enhance their life training”.
Thank you for allowing me to respond and for your continued support and leadership in SKA.
Warm Regards, Greg Scott
From: Mark Kohagura
To: Greg Scott Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:27 AM
Subject: RE: Sent on Behalf of Greg Scott
We’re always happy to get feedback and brainstorming regarding all the aspects of our training methods. Never too late as this is an ongoing and as you know, repetitive process. We are trying to encourage the attitude in referencne to the reluctance you wrote of with a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” approach. I couldn’t agree more in that this often stems from a protected vanity that is rooted in a perfomance anxiety. “If I don’t enter, I cannot fail”. The very decision to place one’s self at risk even in the controlled environment of competition is a positive step.
Greg, I’m sure you remember that in addition to working dilligently on our “tools” or favorite techniques we fought (sparred) for hours outside of regularly scheduled practice. I recognize that for many members this is more difficult now since there are fewer “karate schools” in our organization where one can train nearly every day of the week. We had the budo or dojo jiyu kumite practice at Stanford last Saturday and my main thought is that like Tom, I believe that approached with the correct mentality you can express yourself strongly within the confines of the competition by being true to your roots and not only morphing your performance to the “game”. By practicing for tournaments as well as real combat and approaching the activities objectively in line with students/instructors clearly defined goals, I think we can achieve both competence and balance without sacrifcing our core values.
As Sensei told you Greg in 84′, striving to accumulate a myriad of experiences to enhance our lifes training is imperative so I’m with you in pushing our juniors to participate in our championships and demonstrations despite their trepidation to break through their mental blocks and express themselves in any situation without reservation.
Thanks for your thoughts, they are very much appreciated.