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The goshin-ho is a set of 50 self defence techniques that are part of the curriculum for 四段 (4th dan), 五段 (5th dan), and 六段 (6th dan). The start can be seen here and the middle here

I am looking for what is the core theme of this kata -- why is it ordered in the way it is, why are techniques grouped the way they are within it, and where does it stand within Tomiki's system?

Bonus points go to any answer including a historical perspective.

  • Do you know when the aikido kata was conceived? I guess it has strong links to judo goshin-jutsu-no-kata, where Tomiki was a main drive in the committee? – Philip Klöcking Aug 1 '17 at 13:56
  • @PhilipKlöcking No, I do not know… – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Aug 1 '17 at 14:10
  • Given the publication dates of his two books, i.e. Kodokan Goshinjutsu 1958 for Judo and Introduction to Goshinjutsu 1974, as seen here, I would expect the Aikido self-defence kata to have developed later. But I cannot read Japanese, otherwise I could simply try to find information in the (original, Japanese) books downloadable on the page linked above. – Philip Klöcking Aug 1 '17 at 14:23
  • @PhilipKlöcking I had a look at my copy of Dr. Lee Ah Loi (Tomiki Aikido Randori and Koryu no kata) and there is no mention of the goshin-ho. The book was first published in 1978 (part 1) and 1979 (part 2). What does this say, I am unsure: did she just not add it or was it still under development at the time? – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Aug 1 '17 at 20:34
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    btw found at least one possible principle here, i.e. atemi-waza as an extension of nage-waza. Some nice references in the bibliography as well! – Philip Klöcking Aug 1 '17 at 20:39
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⚠ Disclaimer: I am still learning about the goshin-ho and thus the below is best seen as a work in progress… Anyone with a more complete answer is welcome to post it. Any errors, confusion, and misrepresentations are mine alone.


What is it?

The term goshin-ho means "methods of self defence" and as such is not a kata.

There is a set of (57) techniques showing basic Aikido skills of economy of movement, good posture, and application of power via movement that form the 4th to 7th Shodokan syllabus.

Each syllabus demonstrates different themes and skills:

  • 4th dan explores kuzushi and applications techniques from go no sen timing points. Many of the techniques are variation of the nage no kata with atemi and kansetsu waza finishes.

  • 5th dan explores the theme of leading an opponent into a weaker posture before executing technique.

  • 6th dan explores a variate of techniques in which the jacket is grabbed in different ways.

  • 7th dan revisits the 6th dan syllabus and explores the use of kegatana, datsu roku, and kaiten.

Note that 7th dan is the last examinable rank of the Shodokan system.

Where does it fit?

Tomiki added it to allow higher grades to go back to basics and practice them some more so they could understand them better.

This makes sense in the grand scheme of dan grades: At shodan (1st), you know the basics. At nidan (2nd), you can do the basics. At sandan (3rd), you understand the basics. This is the "obey" stage of shu-ha-ri (守破離). At yondan (4th), godan (5th), and rokudan (6th) you put the basics into practice and start to deviate/digress from your teacher: This is what the goshin-ho helps you achieve.

Much later on, nanadan (7th) and above, you should leave your teacher and make your own way. This is the reason why 8th dan is seen as the traditional Meyko-kaiden: your teacher has nothing left to teach you.

Sources

Most of the above was gleamed from Scott Allbright either from his Aikido and Randori, reconciliation of two opposing forces book or from personal conversations.

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Goshin ho no kata was developed by Tetsuro Nariyama. I first learned of in the mid 1990s. I saw Nariyama demonstrate it in 1996 in Baltimore, MD. Much of the kata involves using waza from ju nana hon kata in response to attacks other than shomanate. I’ve seen websites saying that the kata has 50 and 58 waza. There may have been additions to and/or modifications to the kata since Nariyama first introduced it.

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