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Jordan Emery
Jordan Emery's picture
Have you encountered Amidasu?

Hi all,

Iain posting his new kata — which I'm sure will be a series given the name ;) — reminded me to get round to asking this on the forum. Have you encountered "Amidasu" before?

Amidasu (to think through / to puzzle out) is a 'kata' that is created and developed by a Dan-grade student for their next Dan. In our dojo (practising Shūkōkai) it is for a 2nd Dan taking 3rd.

They are required to start and develop the kata over several years, experimenting with bunkai & what they personally want to include. As a part of their grading they are asked to perform their Amidasu & demonstrate the intricacies of its bunkai, their reasoning behind each move and discuss elements of the kata when criticised. If they pass, they are then they are allowed to name it.

I'm certain everyone here has toyed with creating their own kata, but I don't know if other schools have formalised this as much as Amidasu? I'm interested in hearing people's experiences with this 'kata', whether it is also called Amidasu, or if it is refered to with another name.



Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Jordan Emery wrote:
Iain posting his new kata — which I'm sure will be a series given the name ;)

Nope :-) It was a one off put together to show that a “fighting kata” would look like so we could contrast it against the traditional self-protection kata. Because it was basic, there was obviously lots uncovered, so I added “Ichi” to the name to indicate to that fact i.e. if it was the be a real kata, then you’d need more than the five sequences of the kata, and hence it would be one of a series. I’ve no intention to complete the series though.

In the dojo, we are busy enough with the traditional ones and I feel to add another series of fighting kata would be a distraction from our core self-protection focus. We have lots of fighting drills and we practise these solo, with partners and on pads. So, if I were to stick some of them end to end, I’d have a kata series; but ultimately it would be a variation on the solo drills were already do. No reason we can’t do that, but I’d not want to formalise that repetition of solo training.

It would be like us deciding to practise the traditional kata as a number of individual solo sequences as well as practising them in the kata. It can be done, but it is essentially just replication of an existing practise and that cuts into the time available for the other elements needed to make it all work.

So, no plans to build on it at this time, but it was a fun teaching “project” to bring into focus the nature of the traditional kata, and to help mark the distinction between fighting and self-protection.

The process you describe sounds good to me. Creating kata is a great way to understand the ones we have. I have a “fast-tracked” version which I jokingly call “200 years of karate history in 40 minutes”. I do it at seminars from time to time and it essentially has people create, revise, teach, standardise and decode “mini kata” in accordance with the shifting goals of karate though the ages. It’s fun drill and people find it educational.

I can see a deeper value in the “Amidasu” process you describe. Taking years over the creation of a kaya is sure to teach people loads about their own martial arts and the traditional kata that inform it. Sounds like a really good idea to me! Thanks for sharing.

All the best,


Wastelander's picture

I haven't heard it called that, before, but I have certainly heard of schools requiring students to develop their own kata as part of testing requirements. It isn't something we do, but I rather like the intent. It's also something I'm working on, at the moment, as part of a little experiment

Wastelander's picture

For a bit of fun, I had my Family Class (it's just an all age, all rank, general karate class) collaborate to build a short kata. I gave them an attack and defense to start with, then I had each student tell me what to do next, based on what my partner did as the attacker. Everybody had a really good time, and I got a lot of great comments about how well they remember the kata after just 15 minutes (yes, we made it in 15 minutes).


I would be really curious to see what kind of alternative applications other people can come up with for this, actually