2015, Volume 11, Issue 1

Kōdōkan Jūdō’s Three Orphaned Forms of Counter Techniques – Part 3: The Katame-waza ura-no-kata ― “Forms of Reversing Controlling Techniques”

Carl De Crée1

1Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Department of Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Belgium

Author for correspondence: Carl De Crée; Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Department of Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Belgium; email: prof.cdecree[at]earthlink.net

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Background and Study Aim: The purpose of the present paper is to provide a comprehen-sive review of katame-waza ura-no-kata [“Forms of Reversing Throwing Techniques”], a non-officially accepted kata of Kōdōkan jūdō made famous by the late Mifune Kyūzō, of which the date of creation has not been previously established, nor under what circumstances it was created or what its sources of inspiration were. 
Material and methods: To achieve this, we offer a careful critical analysis of the available literature and rare source material on this kata.
Results: Katame-waza ura-no-kata was finalized by Itō Kazuo (1898-1974) in June 1970 mainly based on techniques Itō had learned from his teacher Mifune Kyūzō. Mifune, in turn, drew his inspiration of the nige-waza [escaping techniques] and kaeshi-waza [countering] in-cluded in the kata likely from intellectual ideas of Takahashi Kazuyoshi and newaza [ground fighting] techniques perfected primarily by Oda Jōin, Mifune himself and to a lesser extent possibly by Toku Sanbō, Kawakami Chū, and others. Katame-waza ura-no-kata adheres to the same structure as katame-no-kata hence is divided in three series of five techniques each followed up by a counter-control technique. Katame-waza ura-no-kata is a randori-no-kata form. The objective of the kata is not to copy a supposed gold standard performance that then needs to be evaluated and scored by a jury, but to develop the ability of performing jūdō at the supra-mechanical level of myōwaza [unexplainable sophisticated technique], irrespective of differences in minute technical details. Conclusions: Katame-waza ura-no-kata is an exercise devised by the late jūdō master Itō Kazuo, which similarly to how katame-no-kata complements nage-no-kata, serves as a com-plement to nage-waza ura-no-kata. It is a valuable training exercise of which the practice is intended to contribute to developing the highest levels of jūdō technical ability. Sadly, the kata remains largely unfamiliar to most jūdōka due to a lack of qualified instructors and its current status as a non-officially accepted Kōdōkan kata.