General Patton, Horse Gyrations & Kata

18 Jan
I am often asked by those who either attend my seminars or read my newest book on Sanchin, how I evolved my ideology and methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do from within the confines of the Karate Dojo. Karate-Ka (those who study Karate) and particularly those that enjoy Kata are the most curious. While I offer a series of seminars that methodically and ideologically guide attendees through the evolutionary process, I will post a few concepts herein for your consideration and experimentation. These submissions will all be filed under the category – Dojo Experiments.

My approach as a Sensei is to lead a student through a process of self-discovery. Sensei Thomas DeFelice was often fond of saying “A technique taught will often be forgotten whereas a technique discovered will not”. With that in mind, the articles filed under “Dojo Experiments” will offer guidance for you in your practice. The articles will not offer answers. You are to discover your own answers after experimentation, consideration, reflection and sweat (the oil of the machinery of Karate according to Maestro Peter Urban).. For additional information on the contextual paradigm shift in Kata, please see the category below entitled “Kata as enlightened meditation”.

One of the first experiments you can conduct is based upon an observation made by United States General George S. Patton,. Jr. during World War II.

Many are familiar with the exploits of General George S. Patton, Jr. during World War II. Many are even familiar with the motion picture entitled “Patton” in which George C. Scott gave a remarkable and memorable portrayal of the General. What many of you may not know is that during World War II Patton kept a diary. After many years, the United States Army declassified the diary and it was subsequently published. Many, many years ago, I was very fortunate to have purchased a copy. There is a passage in the diary which inspired many of my experiments with Karate-Do in general and with Kata (and Bunkai) in particular. For the non-martial artist reader, Bunkai is the practical experiment conducted with a partner (who serves as an attacker) that tests the self-defense hypothesis set forth in the Kata. My experiments with Kata and Bunkai lead to my discovery of the heretofore metaphysical aspects of certain unique Kata codified in my system of Jiriki Kata-Do.

In May, 1945 when General George S. Patton, Jr. made the following observations which he contemporaneously recorded in his personal diary. General George S. Patton., Jr., War As I Knew It: The Battle Memoirs of “Blood ‘N Guts”, (Bantam Books, 1980), pp. 310-311).

On arrival at General Walker’s Headquarters, we found that XX Corps had captured intact, at an adjacent chateaux, the whole of the Imperial Spanish Riding Academy which had left Vienna on the approach of the Russians. This Academy had been running in Vienna since the time of Charles V of Spain.

Originally, the gyrations taught the horses were of military importance. That is, the “courbette”, or half-rear, was for the purpose of letting the horse come down at the same time the sword was swung, so as to give the latter more force; the “volte” or “demi-volte”, was for the purpose of avoiding attack; while the leap into the air, striking out fore and aft with the feet, was for the purpose of extricating the rider from too close contact with the enemy, and so on.

With the passing of years and changes in the art of war, the purposes of this form of equitation was forgotten, and the movements were taught as of value in and of themselves. In other words, people began, as in many other arts, to glorify the means rather than the end which the means were supposed to produce.

The first Dojo experiment that will guide you along an understanding of Karate-Do, Kata and the manner in which I evolved Jiriki Kata-Do is to consider Patton’s observations of the gyrating horses as you practice in your own Dojo. Consider whether the observation applies to Karate-Do, in general and to Kata (and Bunkai) in particular. If you feel that it does apply, then consider the manner in which it applies and whether the true essence of Kata is found within or without of the confines of the observation. This is the first step in understanding the evolution of my Jiriki Kata-Do. As Miyamoto Musashi said in Go Rin No Sho (The Book Of Five Rings), “You must consider this well.”

For additional information on my new book entitled: The Dynamic Meditation Rite Of Sanchin: Gateway To The Three Battles To The Plateau Of Human Serenity, please see the Sanchin Book page herein or feel free to visit my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com

3 Responses to “General Patton, Horse Gyrations & Kata”

  1. senseijohn May 24, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Thank-you for visiting my Blog & your comment. I wish you continued satisfaction in your Karate-Do journey.

  2. charlie May 24, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    I’ve never heard that quote from Patton before, but I think it is a good point well made and I can see exactly how it applies to our kata.
    When I first started training in Shotokan Karate, many bunkai were very stylised and required pre-arrangement to make them work. Having said that, my Sensei was open to experiment and looked below the surface.
    Today I think there is an explosion of new ideas around the world on how to use these movements in much more practial ways and I think its great.

  3. senseijohn February 3, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    I am presently in the State of New Jersey and had the distinct pleasure of having had a visit from Shihan Vincenet Marchetti, Soke, Michi Budo-Ryu. Shihan Marchetti read my two articles entitled “General Patton, Horse Gyraton’s and Kata”. During our visit, Shihan had shared photographs he had taken at the Patton Museum located at Fort Knox, Kentucky with me. Shihan gives many seminars on his Michi Budo-Ryu, several at Fort Knox. I am very grateful to Shihan for sharing his photographs. You may visit Shihan’s Michi Budo-Ryu Dojo at http://WWW.KearnyMartialArts.Com.

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