Kata is kinda like watching subtitled anime…

So, let’s get it out of the way for the nth time – I’m a bit nerdy, right? Anyway, part of my nerdy habits is that I like watching anime, but I’m picky in that I only like watching it in Japanese with subtitles (mind, I extend that to all foreign film/music – I’d rather watch/listen to it in its original language with subtitles than something dubbed into my native tongue). So, Jyastin-kun and I were heading to karate last week and we were chatting about stuff, and I came up with this awesome analogy, that kata is like watching subtitled anime – if you take it all at first glance and verbatim, you only get one aspect of the whole story, but as soon as you begin to understand it and read more into it, you get a greater understanding of it.

The part of the conversation this came from was how we were talking about how knowing a smattering of written and spoken Japanese reveals all the inadequacies of a simple, literal (or localised) translation from one language to another gives. In the English language compared to Japanese, the system of honorifics does not exist to such an extent, and the gravity of different accents, levels of formalities and other specific eccentricities unique to the Japanese language makes it difficult to bring all this across in a series of subtitles. However, as soon as you start to learn some of the language and cultural norms, your viewing of the material changes – you understand the various levels of honorifics and how they establish hierarchy within the context of the story. Awkwardly-translated phrases (not awkward through any fault of the translator, but awkward through the act of transliteration) somehow make much more sense when you understand the language behind it, and in-jokes and cultural norms suddenly open your eyes to a much deeper experience of the story at hand. Then, with all this in hand, when you watch something you can take the subtitles as your guide, but you’re free to interpret the deeper or more subtle meanings behind the language or content your own way, and in turn, gain a deeper understanding into what’s happening on-screen.

Similarly, when you start learning a kata, you start by following the movements verbatim. As your knowledge of the kata and what the movements signify increase, you gain a deeper understanding of the routine actions represent. Once you have developed your base understanding and precepts behind the actions, you begin to make the kata your own, and instead of it simply be a series of pre-assigned movements, it becomes an involved exploration and an expression wholly personal to you, the individual.

I’m hoping the above is reasonably coherent… and in looking over this post, it’s not just subtitled anime that this can be applied to – movies based on books are another example (i.e. you’ve read the book, then seen the movie), exploring other literary works with an understanding of the context of its creation or expression by the author (whether it be music, film or literature), and so on. I just chose subtitled anime because it came up in discussion and proved both obscure and apt in the grand scheme of things πŸ˜€

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Archive: Robot leg, anime, food

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 14 May, 2007

Three parts, all equally awesome – that is today’s blog stuffu.

Okay, robot leg time. I remember one time in my job previous to my current one that one day a wee tacker asked me why I walked funny. Kids are awesome, aren’t they? So I said to him that I had a metal leg. He thought the prospect of having a metal leg was supremely uber, as did his younger brother. So, with a nod to their Mum, I showed them what the artificial leg (well, the knee and below) looked like – first they saw the knee (“Wow!”), then I did my favourite trick and pulled off the foam shroud that helps keep the leg’s shape when I wear trousers/jeans/whatever, displaying the awesome might of the silvery-shiny metallic pole that connects the knee unit to the foot. This somehow surpassed the uber-factor of the knee, and they stared agape at this crazy creation. From that day onward, I became the ‘Metal Librarian’, or for the younger one who had trouble spitting out ‘Librarian’, simply ‘Metal Man’. This was/is/will continue to be a cool diatribe in the daily life of Sean.

Anywho, fast forward to last week (or should it be rewind? I confuse myself sometimes :P), and there were a couple of new kids at karate, and a new boy I hadn’t seen before. Anywho, the kids who come to karate are very talkative once they work out the loud man with the orange goatee isn’t scary, and one of them said my foot looked funny. And then another piped up with a question about my leg. So, being me, I thought it was leg time, and showed them the knee unit, the titanium pole and how it worked. I am pleased to announce that my leg has evolved now to the ‘Robot Leg’. One of them thought it was such an awesome thing that he thought having a robot leg was cool. And then he said it was like Astro boy’s leg. I agreed that Astro Boy is awesome, and my leg would be even more awesome if it had a rocket on the end of it so I could fly around like Astro Boy. He agreed, but pointed out that I’d burn my other foot off if that happened, but this wouldn’t be so bad because I could then have two robot, Astro Boy style feet. I repeat, this kid is a champion. Thumbs up all around – having one leg is cool in the eyes of kids. Pity it wasn’t like that when I was at school πŸ˜›

Part two – anime. I’ve started watching the sleeper series ‘Somedays Dreamers’ – I picked it up when Madman had their server-crashing ultra 10-year anniversary sale last year; I felt like something a bit chilled out after indulging in the first 30-something episodes of ultra-80s-classic cartoon Thundercats, so I picked Somedays Dreamers. Now, I”m only three episodes in (and I had a break over the last couple of days to watch the final episode of the retro gaming awesome that is Retrocore), but one of the characters in the series has one leg! How cool is that? I’ve seen a lot of anime over the years, from the retail and fansub VHS to DVD (and when I get a player + telly to match, Blu-Ray), but I can’t recall any contemporary anime series’ (even alternative-universe ones like Somedays Dreamers) where someone has one leg. Very cool. The only bugger is that I think the character’s just a one-off and won’t come back; that’s the feeling I’m getting anyway. I’ll wait and see what happens, but yeah, it was really cool. Might have to post a screen cap of it πŸ™‚

Oh yeah, I ate heaps over the weekend – massive lunch on Saturday with Wifey’s family, then yesterday we prepared a big lunch for my Mum, Tank and Meru, and then had the in-laws over for dinner for a massive roast lamb and sticky-date pudding for dessert. Yum. Was a good way to end too much eating – I’ve put on a couple of kilos over the last two months, and I’m keen to shave them off and slim back down to get my ‘karate body’, as I call it, back. Yes, I’m vain, but at least I’m not in denial πŸ˜›

Anywho, I’m not sure if I’ll get around to another post until the post-training round-up on Thursday or Friday. Looking forward to karate on Wednesday, and I’ll be getting back into weight training on Thursday. I’ll continue working on my stretches during the week, too.

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Archive: Training mashou!

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 11 May, 2007

Yay, I went to training on Wednesday night! I picked Hamez up on the way through, but slack Tank was recovering from a mega weights session and was stuffed, so he didn’t come along. Anywho, training was great – small class, but it was all good. We did the usual array of strikes, blocks and some kata as well; my form was a bit sloppy, but wasn’t too bad after two months off. We also spent some time working on jumping kicks, and that was ace, as we’d never done that before. It was uber πŸ™‚

I was expecting to be really sore yesterday and today, but the only thying I’ve noticed is that my shoulder blades’ muscles are a little tender, everything else is goood, even my ankle (though I iced it up after training as a precaution). The other thing I noticed is that my gi wasn’t as slimming as usual, not that I think gi’s tend to be slimming really πŸ˜› Turns out I’ve put on 2 or 3 kilos over the past two months, which is very rude of my body. I’ll have to work them off by pushing myself a bit harder at karate each week and get back to weight training as well, and do crunches between classes. Hopefully I’ll be back to my previous weight shortly. I’m so vain πŸ˜›

So yeah, all went well. There’s another story from class I’ll write about next time, and something cool that happened in an anime series I’m currently watching (Someday’s Dreamers); again, material for a future post. Will fire more updates next week. Can’t wait for more training!!

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