Kata and why we all should practice some form of kata.

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Kata is mostly referenced to Karate witch if I am not mistaken is what defines Traditional Karate from other martial arts. But with that being said here are my reason's that kata should be done in most martial arts or you should add to your daily routine.

1. Kata is all about taking your techniques and movements and making them muscle memory otherwise known as reflex. This is helpful and if not essential to self defense and combative fighting because it helps you become comfortable throwing multiple techniques without even thinking about it hence muscle memory.

2. Kata's are specifically harder to preform. This is on purpose of course. Kata's are developed to train movements, muscle's, flexability, and your breathing patterns. With that being said it takes a lot of time, practice, and focus to get a kata down and even then you still train day after day with it to become fluent at all times and never lack in movements.

3. Kata is meditation. As I stated above kata takes focus and with that comes meditation and a calming sense of mental health.

Those are my three reasons you should add kata to your daily routine. But there is one problem. If your martial art has no kata what are you to do? Well simply put create your own kata or practice and train many self defense moves over and over and over. Thanks for reading.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I believe strongly in the value of kata. However, I also view karate-do as a lifestyle and a path, not just a tool for self-defense or tournaments. It helps to make me a better person, and kata is part of that. Way beyond just muscle memory, bunkai, and etc. So I agree with you, but for many more reasons.
 
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I believe strongly in the value of kata. However, I also view karate-do as a lifestyle and a path, not just a tool for self-defense or tournaments. It helps to make me a better person, and kata is part of that. Way beyond just muscle memory, bunkai, and etc. So I agree with you, but for many more reasons.

You are absolutely correct. We are taught many values and virtues.
 

Danny T

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Kata/Form is movement.
Practicing Kata allows one to practice the movements of the system in an arranged pattern.
Can be done very slowly and smoothly, quickly and smoothly, or on different timing.
Seek to understand what is moving and how can the movements be used. A punch movement, for an example, is more than just a punch. What is moving, why is it moving, and what can it's movement be used for?
Unfortunately most who practice kata only learn and practice the pattern or they look at blocks as only blocks, punches as only punches, etc.
Can a punch be a shoulder butt or an arm break
Can a step be a kick or a kick a step,
Can a cross step be a sweep, trip, or just getting the leg/foot out of the way of an attack,
Can a step back be simply a step back or a throw,
Can an upper block be a block or a forearm attack against the opponent's jaw or push off to create distance,
Can a down block be a takedown or a throw.

Kata is movement. Seek to understand what is available within movement.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you want to train Kata/Form, you should divide it into a set of "logic sequence". You then train those "logic sequence" separately. For example, a Kata/Form is like a book. Let's say it contains 2 sentence.

- This is a book.
- What do you do with a pen?

Since there is no logic connection between the word "book" and the word "What",

1. Train "This is a book. What do you do with a pen?" 20 times.
2. Train "This is a book" 20 times, and then train "What do you do with a pen?" 20 times.

IMO, the 2nd method is better than the 1st method. Not only you can concentrate on a smaller sequence. It also forces you to develop the ability to "put the punctuation marks at the right place". This way, you will understand your Kata/Form better.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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Can a down block be a takedown or a throw.
If you want your left arm down block to be a take down, you may have to add some of your right arm movement and/or some of your leg movement. you now start to change your Kata/Form. The Kata/Form will then start to truly belong to you and that is a good thing.

In order to make anything truly belong to you, you have to take it apart, understand it, put it back together any way that you want to.
 

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If you want your left arm down block to be a take down, you may have to add some of your right arm movement and/or some of your leg movement. you now start to change your Kata/Form. The Kata/Form will then start to truly belong to you and that is a good thing.

In order to make anything truly belong to you, you have to take it apart, understand it, put it back together any way that you want to.
If I am applying the movement/s then I'm not doing Kata/Form I'm doing application of the movement.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If I am applying the movement/s then I'm not doing Kata/Form I'm doing application of the movement.
Do you have any concern to add a "left leg foot sweep" along with your "left arm down block" into your Kata/Form? This way, you can "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" and integrate application into your Kata/Form. Of course you can modify your Kata/Form differently on different day in order to train different applications.
 
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Steve

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Kata is mostly referenced to Karate witch if I am not mistaken is what defines Traditional Karate from other martial arts. But with that being said here are my reason's that kata should be done in most martial arts or you should add to your daily routine.

1. Kata is all about taking your techniques and movements and making them muscle memory otherwise known as reflex. This is helpful and if not essential to self defense and combative fighting because it helps you become comfortable throwing multiple techniques without even thinking about it hence muscle memory.

2. Kata's are specifically harder to preform. This is on purpose of course. Kata's are developed to train movements, muscle's, flexability, and your breathing patterns. With that being said it takes a lot of time, practice, and focus to get a kata down and even then you still train day after day with it to become fluent at all times and never lack in movements.

3. Kata is meditation. As I stated above kata takes focus and with that comes meditation and a calming sense of mental health.

Those are my three reasons you should add kata to your daily routine. But there is one problem. If your martial art has no kata what are you to do? Well simply put create your own kata or practice and train many self defense moves over and over and over. Thanks for reading.
I'm a little confused. Are you suggesting that kata is the only way to do these things? It sort of sounds like that.
 

Chris Parker

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Hi. I understand you're new here, so welcome aboard.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, so please take all this in the intent which is meant, but there's a number of aspects that you might not be aware of including a range of issues with your ideas.

Kata is mostly referenced to Karate witch if I am not mistaken is what defines Traditional Karate from other martial arts.

Actually, no on each count there. While kata (as a term) might be most commonly associated with karate (and similar arts), it's not most referred to (or referenced) there nor is it what defines "traditional karate" from other arts. For one things, forms (in various forms) are present in many different arts, with the solo form most common in Chinese and Chinese derived arts (including karate, TKD, and so on).

When it all comes down to it, "kata" () is simply a Japanese term that means "form", or "shape", and (in martial terms) refers to a training and teaching methodology based on consistent rote repetition. However, there are a number of different forms that kata can take, including the solo methods of karate and TKD, shorter solo approach found in some weaponry arts (such as Iaido and Kyudo), and paired forms for weapons or unarmed combat, which is common to the vast majority of Japanese systems, most of all the classical, or Koryu arts.

But with that being said here are my reason's that kata should be done in most martial arts or you should add to your daily routine.

What should be done in any martial art is what is prescribed in that martial art. Some have solo kata as part of their methodologies, others don't but it's always based on the intentions and principles of the art itself. No art that doesn't feature it should have it, and no art that features it should ignore it.

1. Kata is all about taking your techniques and movements and making them muscle memory otherwise known as reflex. This is helpful and if not essential to self defense and combative fighting because it helps you become comfortable throwing multiple techniques without even thinking about it hence muscle memory.

Not exactly, no kata isn't about the techniques it's about the tactical application of them. And while "muscle memory" can be looked at as one of the aims/benefits, it's not entirely the way you're describing things here. Additionally, kata do not necessarily have anything to do with "self defence" or "combative fighting" some kata's purposes are entirely unrelated so it'll depend on what form of kata you're meaning, and what kata in particular as well as the intent of that kata within the system it's being presented in.

2. Kata's are specifically harder to preform. This is on purpose of course. Kata's are developed to train movements, muscle's, flexability, and your breathing patterns. With that being said it takes a lot of time, practice, and focus to get a kata down and even then you still train day after day with it to become fluent at all times and never lack in movements.

Hmm kata are "specifically harder"? No, again, far from the whole truth and far from accurate in many cases. Next, the list of attributes you give for what kata are developed for I would suggest are more a list of potential benefits that can be derived from kata practice and a list of focus' that can be utilised to ensure you're gaining such benefits but again, it's not really the whole story, and, even when true, is only true for some cases, not all. Lastly, while it can (and often does) take a lot of practice, the idea is again not to "never lack in movements" as the "movements", while essential, are not the important thing

3. Kata is meditation. As I stated above kata takes focus and with that comes meditation and a calming sense of mental health.

There is an old saying that kata (specifically karate-style kata) can be treated as a kind of "moving meditation" (an idea stolen from Kyudo, it seems), but personally, I disagree with that concept. For one thing, as mentioned, kata are about tactical applications (in many cases), so the idea of switching off during an engagement is kinda anathema to the practice. Mindfulness is essential engaging in combat (or a combative representation), and not being engaged, whether there is a real opponent in front of you or not, is kinda missing the point.

Those are my three reasons you should add kata to your daily routine. But there is one problem. If your martial art has no kata what are you to do? Well simply put create your own kata or practice and train many self defense moves over and over and over. Thanks for reading.

I see this advice a bit (create your own kata), and bluntly, it's one of the worst that I can think of. I understand the supposed logic of it, but honestly, all that does is encourage people to come up with variations of a martial art they don't understand, utilising a training method they don't know or grasp. Honestly, if your art doesn't contain kata it doesn't contain it and doesn't consider that it needs requires it.

Kata/Form is movement.

I'd suggest that that might be part of it, but it's far from the heart of the matter.

Practicing Kata allows one to practice the movements of the system in an arranged pattern.

This I agree with.

Can be done very slowly and smoothly, quickly and smoothly, or on different timing.

That will depend on the system, and the parameters allowed for the practice of kata there.

Seek to understand what is moving and how can the movements be used. A punch movement, for an example, is more than just a punch. What is moving, why is it moving, and what can it's movement be used for?
Unfortunately most who practice kata only learn and practice the pattern or they look at blocks as only blocks, punches as only punches, etc.
Can a punch be a shoulder butt or an arm break
Can a step be a kick or a kick a step,
Can a cross step be a sweep, trip, or just getting the leg/foot out of the way of an attack,
Can a step back be simply a step back or a throw,
Can an upper block be a block or a forearm attack against the opponent's jaw or push off to create distance,
Can a down block be a takedown or a throw.

Again, this is all dependent on the system, the kata, and the parameters themselves. So, potentially, yes, but not definitively.

Kata is movement. Seek to understand what is available within movement.

Movement is one aspect of the expression of kata seek to understand what it's expressing through the movements (and between them)

If you want to train Kata/Form, you should divide it into a set of "logic sequence". You then train those "logic sequence" separately. For example, a Kata/Form is like a book. Let's say it contains 2 sentence.

- This is a book.
- What do you do with a pen?

Since there is no logic connection between the word "book" and the word "What",

1. Train "This is a book. What do you do with a pen?" 20 times.
2. Train "This is a book" 20 times, and then train "What do you do with a pen?" 20 times.

IMO, the 2nd method is better than the 1st method. Not only you can concentrate on a smaller sequence. It also forces you to develop the ability to "put the punctuation marks at the right place". This way, you will understand your Kata/Form better.

What?!?! John, all this tells me is that you really don't have any understanding of kata at all. There is always a connection between one movement and the next.

If you want your left arm down block to be a take down, you may have to add some of your right arm movement and/or some of your leg movement. you now start to change your Kata/Form. The Kata/Form will then start to truly belong to you and that is a good thing.

In order to make anything truly belong to you, you have to take it apart, understand it, put it back together any way that you want to.

If you want to create your own art, rather than understand another, maybe

If I am applying the movement/s then I'm not doing Kata/Form I'm doing application of the movement.

Not necessarily different things

Do you have any concern to add a "left leg foot sweep" along with your "left arm down block" into your Kata/Form? This way, you can "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" and integrate application into your Kata/Form. Of course you can modify your Kata/Form differently on different day in order to train different applications.

And be training something different to the original art. Again, if you want to create your own thing, okay, but if you want to learn a particular art, that's a different thing...
 

Buka

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I haven't done a Kata in over forty years. But next week I'll be learning a Tai-chi long form. I'm really looking forward to it.

I wouldn't mind farting those chi balls, though. That would be very cool.
 

Cirdan

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I wouldn't mind farting those chi balls, though. That would be very cool.

Tends to ruin the underwear tho :D
torn-men-underwear.jpg
 

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Hi. I understand you're new here, so welcome aboard.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, so please take all this in the intent which is meant, but there's a number of aspects that you might not be aware of including a range of issues with your ideas.



Actually, no on each count there. While kata (as a term) might be most commonly associated with karate (and similar arts), it's not most referred to (or referenced) there nor is it what defines "traditional karate" from other arts. For one things, forms (in various forms) are present in many different arts, with the solo form most common in Chinese and Chinese derived arts (including karate, TKD, and so on).

When it all comes down to it, "kata" () is simply a Japanese term that means "form", or "shape", and (in martial terms) refers to a training and teaching methodology based on consistent rote repetition. However, there are a number of different forms that kata can take, including the solo methods of karate and TKD, shorter solo approach found in some weaponry arts (such as Iaido and Kyudo), and paired forms for weapons or unarmed combat, which is common to the vast majority of Japanese systems, most of all the classical, or Koryu arts.



What should be done in any martial art is what is prescribed in that martial art. Some have solo kata as part of their methodologies, others don't but it's always based on the intentions and principles of the art itself. No art that doesn't feature it should have it, and no art that features it should ignore it.



Not exactly, no kata isn't about the techniques it's about the tactical application of them. And while "muscle memory" can be looked at as one of the aims/benefits, it's not entirely the way you're describing things here. Additionally, kata do not necessarily have anything to do with "self defence" or "combative fighting" some kata's purposes are entirely unrelated so it'll depend on what form of kata you're meaning, and what kata in particular as well as the intent of that kata within the system it's being presented in.



Hmm kata are "specifically harder"? No, again, far from the whole truth and far from accurate in many cases. Next, the list of attributes you give for what kata are developed for I would suggest are more a list of potential benefits that can be derived from kata practice and a list of focus' that can be utilised to ensure you're gaining such benefits but again, it's not really the whole story, and, even when true, is only true for some cases, not all. Lastly, while it can (and often does) take a lot of practice, the idea is again not to "never lack in movements" as the "movements", while essential, are not the important thing



There is an old saying that kata (specifically karate-style kata) can be treated as a kind of "moving meditation" (an idea stolen from Kyudo, it seems), but personally, I disagree with that concept. For one thing, as mentioned, kata are about tactical applications (in many cases), so the idea of switching off during an engagement is kinda anathema to the practice. Mindfulness is essential engaging in combat (or a combative representation), and not being engaged, whether there is a real opponent in front of you or not, is kinda missing the point.



I see this advice a bit (create your own kata), and bluntly, it's one of the worst that I can think of. I understand the supposed logic of it, but honestly, all that does is encourage people to come up with variations of a martial art they don't understand, utilising a training method they don't know or grasp. Honestly, if your art doesn't contain kata it doesn't contain it and doesn't consider that it needs requires it.



I'd suggest that that might be part of it, but it's far from the heart of the matter.



This I agree with.



That will depend on the system, and the parameters allowed for the practice of kata there.



Again, this is all dependent on the system, the kata, and the parameters themselves. So, potentially, yes, but not definitively.



Movement is one aspect of the expression of kata seek to understand what it's expressing through the movements (and between them)



What?!?! John, all this tells me is that you really don't have any understanding of kata at all. There is always a connection between one movement and the next.



If you want to create your own art, rather than understand another, maybe



Not necessarily different things



And be training something different to the original art. Again, if you want to create your own thing, okay, but if you want to learn a particular art, that's a different thing...
Hello Chris,

I agree with the majority of your post, but I think where you talk about the parameters of kata practice that your thoughts are a bit rigid.

To me, a system of martial arts is different to the training one does to be able to employ that system, and this again is different to the Tradition of the style.

There's no universal law of martial arts that says you must train shotokan with gohon kumite or goju with chi-ishi. They may be traditional practices, but employing the tactics and strategy of Shotokan makes what you do Shotokan. So adding two person kata drills or altering speed and flow of a solo kata performance is just a training choice like doing weights or press ups.

I also think that you are underplaying the physical side of kata. IMO what makes kata such a useful tool is precisely it's blend of physical and mental. While the reflex/muscle memory angle is a bit off, we still need to move to get stronger and faster. And the more we do it the more efficiently we do it.

On a purely physical level kata provides a framework of connecting movements to isolate and drill until we do them with maximum strength speed and efficiency. These transcend sequence to help us move more effectively when using the art.
 

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I see this advice a bit (create your own kata), and bluntly, it's one of the worst that I can think of. I understand the supposed logic of it, but honestly, all that does is encourage people to come up with variations of a martial art they don't understand, utilising a training method they don't know or grasp. Honestly, if your art doesn't contain kata it doesn't contain it and doesn't consider that it needs requires it.

This. In creating the curriculum for Shojin-ryu, I have spent years working to put together some new kata (those originally in the NGA mainline curriculum are single-technique kata), and still haven't gotten them to where I'm ready to pass them along to students. I'm slowed by the fact that I have limited exposure to extended kata. Creating effective kata is complex, and requires a deep understanding of the art and of kata. A student with a year or two of experience is likely to create a kata that ingrains bad habits, rather than increasing understanding and effectiveness. I'm not saying it's impossible to create your own good kata - I'm saying that if you miss, you won't know it for a long time.
 
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