17 again

As our dojo continues to find it's own path after parting ways with our long-time parent organization, we've gravitated toward practicing "the 17" (junana hon kata) as our kata of fundamental techniques the way we used to in the "old days". Not that there was anything wrong necessarily with the additional techniques of "the 23" per se, but I think most considered those additional techniques to be more expressions of randori applications rather than basic, fundamental building blocks.

Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd toss out my thoughts on those variations from a student's perspective.

I actually like the two different entrances to waki gatame that we did, and wouldn't mind practicing both occasionally. I don't know of any other technique off the top of my head (unless it's in a higher kata that I've forgotten) that covers the condition of tori stepping to the inside and using his right hand on uke's right attacking hand except for shomen ate (which doesn't keep that relationship for long). It was kind of nice having another option.

The tenkai kote gaeshi technique, to me, seemed like just another possible way to execute what was essentially still shiho nage. Again, not a bad thing, just a little redundant for the 17.

I like kote taoshi, though. I wonder if something similar appears anywhere in the higher kata, though; I'll have to dig through them and see.

And the three options that stem from a failed sumi otoshi—sumi taoshi, sumi guruma, and sumi tai guruma—are great randori applications, ones which I certainly want to keep in my back pocket, but probably belong in a renzoku waza (combination techniques) exercise.

It's also been nice to practice the releases by themselves again. Not that we didn't get a decent amount of practice with them while doing the release "chains" in renzoku waza, but it's nice to isolate the individual mechanism and be able to teach it in a more detailed, focused way.

It's funny, actually, because I suppose on the outside it may look to some newer people that things are changing, but in reality, I don't think they are. The principles are still there, and they work rather well.