Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” It seems there is no shortage of Karateka and Kobudoka demonstrating kata they clearly never had any formal instruction in. It seems that when they post these videos, the teaching of humility conveniently vanished; or maybe it was never taken to heart in the first place.
Usually I have no interest when people film themselves doing a kata they’ve never learned and post it on the web; its just another bad kata performance added to the millions already out there. But when a person posts a video of a kata that he claims to have come from my teacher or from a teacher I have known personally for decades, then I have an issue with it.
The first video is of Minowa no sansetsu kon (dai), a kata that my teacher, Minowa Katsuhiko sensei created and only taught to Yoshimura Hiroshi sensei. It’s obvious the person copied it from an edited video Yoshimura sensei put up several years ago as there are entire sections missing (just as in the edited video). Or perhaps he magically communed with Minowa sensei…
The second video is of Tou’on-ryu Pechurin which claims to be from Murakami Katsumi sensei. I can categorically state that this person has never met Murakami sensei nor has he ever taught anyone Tou’on-ryu in the entire 93 years he has lived on planet earth! Like Minowa no sansetsu kon (dai) it is filled with mistakes and performed incorrectly.
The irony is that if these people showed up at Minowa sensei’s or Murakami sensei’s dojo and performed the respective kata, neither of them would get angry; heck they might even be mildly amused. Instead, both men, being the gentlemen that they were/are, would take the time to correct the kata, much like a grandfather gently coaching a small child. They would do this because they would want to protect the integrity of their respective arts as well as feeling pity on the person doing the kata.
When I first saw these videos I found myself getting angry, but soon I just felt broken-hearted as it showed such a disregard to the memory of my teacher, Minowa Katsuhiko sensei, and for a man who has been a mentor to me for the past 25 years, Murakami Katsumi sensei. Sadness aside, I will try to do as Minowa sensei and Murakami sensei, who would look at the videos and simply say, “かわいそうだ.”
Update: It seems that the Tou’on-ryu video has been pulled.