The 2018 Kata European Judo Championships will be held this weekend in Koper, Slovenia. The preparations are well underway and all contenders have arrived. It was time for a short talk with EJU and IJF Kata Commissioner, Michel Kozlowski.
First of all, how did you get into judo and then became a Kata Commissioner?
“I started in 2003 when the European Judo Union asked some nations to participate at a seminar as they were keen to introduce official Kata Competitions. So, we went as observers first and then we had our first test. In 2005, we started in London with the first Kata European Judo Championships.”
What attracted you to dedicate your time to Kata?
“I started first as a competitor, a Shiai competitor. I was very light so a lot of people asked me to be Uke. I started for 1st Dan then 2nd Dan and so on. Time after time, I needed to learn Kata in order to be a good Uke, which allowed me to improve my Kata as well and I liked it.”
When you say ‘I liked it’, could you describe more in details?
“In Shiai, you have to show your effectiveness in the technique and you have to throw your opponent. In Kata, you don’t have an opponent, you have a partner. Of course, other contenders are your opponents when it comes to the points, but in Kata, you are working with your partner and your goal is to reach the perfection of the technique. Each Kata has a different meaning and it is very interesting because you have a global overview of Judo.”
Koshiki No Kata returned to the program. Could you tell us more about it and what resulted in brining it back?
“First of all, Koshiki No Kata is the reflect of tradition. The meaning is that you are with the armer and you make attack and show defence with it. It is more in the samurai spirit, so, it is all part of the judo history. The problem with Koshiki No Kata is that we don’t have enough judges because Koshiki No Kata and Itsutsu No Kata considered as very high level Kata so it is more for experts. What I mean by that is that you need real decades of experience to be able to perform it. It is very complex. We brought it back becuase we would like to give the chance to those who want to perform in this particular Kata and we hope that we will attract a wider interest for it.”
Do you have a secretly favoured Kata presentation?
“I don’t have a particular favourite but if I would have to compete again, I would choose Ju-no-kata or Goshin-Jutsu because I am also getting old and some of the throws in Nage No Kata are very strong. After hundreds of falls, you cannot sleep very well.”
What are your objectives for this upcoming weekend in Koper?
“Our objective is the make a nicest event possible. First the best pair must be the champion. It is very important for the confidence of the judoka and participants. We have a very high level of contenders, some of them are the best in the World. It will be a very interesting weekend, for both, for the contestants and for us as well. We are looking forward to the weekend.”