My early years in the art cause me, every spring and autumn, to reflect on the kata contests the Ryu sponsored in the Southwest. We had a blast! I particularly enjoyed meeting students from the other schools spread across the area. I learned a great deal about the techniques I was focusing on for the contest, and from watching my fellow jujitsukas interpret what they were learning. Meeting at Shakey's Pizza, or Chris n Pitts afterward just put a warm cap on an exhausting, but wonderful day.
The closest I can bring my students to that kind of experience as they learn here in Maine is by making the trek to the Southwest each September. I'm looking forward to that this year as well. I'm having the students pick techniques now for a Kata Contest-like demonstration for some Sunday next month. The experience is definitely worth it, and I think I can give them a taste of what September can be like.
Following is a link to a video taken at the contest in September of 2008. It happens that I am one of the judges at the judges' table for this brown belt division pair. Remember, this team is receiving collective scores for these techniques. There total score is then compared to scores of other teams in the same division. The top three teams are awarded trophies. Notice that the techniques each have an entry, followed by the technique itself, and then an exit. Deductions can occur for any shortcomings at any point in the process.