The ElusiveTandoku Kata Dai Ichi

The first kata I learned, a beginners form I was told was created by Toguchi, went by this name. In another Goju Dojo they referred to it as the Fukyu Kata, which I thought was more fitting to what I felt in trying to learn it. Only until recently I was not able to find any mention of it it in the online Goju Kata listings. But You Tube finally posted a more or less reasonable facsimile. It is a very basic form, a skeleton of the Gekisai series to follow.I guess it was the simplest breakdown of the basic movements, a bare-bones approach, a kata for dummies...and yet, how long it took me to learn it! I can only imagine how ungainly and clumsy I must have been when I look at someone beginning to learn it. No Kung Fu master moves here. It is all close-fisted blocks and punches. Misleadingly simple. A basic atom from which all the remaining katas would evolve. Thus, it was not taken lightly in the Dojo and taught over and over again, each move rigorously repeated a thousand times til you thought you learned it and then they would start on the details, one by one until it seemed like another kata altogether. All this with the never ceasing mantra of the japanese numbers and the opening and closing salutations. They were laying the groundwork: repetition and breathing with the moves to create the particular Goju touch of soft and hard, swift and paused, still and explosive. So they kept it simple so you could learn the basics. The Tandoku I learned back in '73 is not the one I do now, it looks the same, somewhat, but it does not feel the same. It, as they say, has become me and yet still retains its elusiveness.

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