2009, Volume 5, Issue 1

Kōdōkan Jūdō’s Elusive Tenth Kata: The Gō-no-kata ―“Forms of Proper Use of Force” – Part 3

Carl De Crée1, Llyr C Jones1

1International Association of Judo Researchers, United Kingdom

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Background and Study Aim: Kata (“Prearranged forms”) represent the grammar of Japanese jūdō. The Kōdōkan jūdō syllabus typically contains eight or nine kata. In recent years, Gō-no-kata (“Prearranged forms of correct use of force”), a generally considered obsolete and reclusive ‘tenth’ kata, has become the subject of some renewed interest within jūdō circles. Finding accu-rate information on the gō-no-kata or locating a skilled instructor of this exercise is very difficult. The purpose of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive study of this gō-no-kata which once formed a part of the standard jūdō curriculum. We aim to remove the confu-sion and mystery which surrounds the gō-no-kata.
Material and Methods: To achieve this, we offer a critical evaluation of the available literature and source material on this kata.
Results: Gō-no-kata is the oldest kata of Kōdōkan, probably predating the two 1885 randori-no-kata. Gō-no-kata consists of ten forms, which depict a relatively primitive jūdō, still practiced in defensive jigotai position. Its aim was to serve both as an intense fitness exercise as well as illu-strating the basic principle of conquering force with giving way. Despite being popularly thought of as defunct, the gō-no-kata survives today ―having initially been preserved in Tōkyō by a small group of senior jūdōka, and now also by a handful of experts abroad.
Conclusions: The preservation of gō-no-kata, a 10-technique prearranged form that teaches principles of optimal use of force, is primarily due to the late Yoshiyuki Kuhara-sensei and his nephew Toshiyasu Ochiai-sensei.

Key words: go-no-kata, jigoro kano, jigotai, judo, kata, kodokan