:: How useful is it to practise Kata? :: 10/08/2002

This is a frequently asked question from students. To deliver an outstanding performance of a Kata, it is essential to train for an extended long period of time; in this training, we pay great attention to every detail of the Kata in order to get rid of all the incorrect elements, even the tiniest, in our performance, and always further refine and tune up the performance. In addition, it is necessary to grasp a good understanding of the meaning of each movement in the Kata. Thus, to instill life and energy in a Kata requires hardship and perseverance on the part of the Kata performer. More often than not, when facing hardship in training a Kata, students would query how useful it is to practise a Kata; as if the training is not useful, and they can convince themselves that they need not take the training.

As a matter of fact, the benefits one can get from training a Kata are never inferior to those of Kumite, if not more valuable. The reasons are :

1. In Kata training, it is important that we always visualize an imaginative opponent against whom we are fighting. In time, sharp eye contact and piercing spirit will be developed.
2. In order to follow the detailed requirements on postures and movements in a Kata, the practitioner has to practise precise and meticulous control over his/her body postures and movements. Thus, in Kata training, one will learn how to control the tiniest movement of the muscles and limbs, hence elevates the coordination and mastering of one’s body.
3. Foundation of stances will be reinforced in Kata training. This in turn will enhance in great extent the steadiness and movement-transition techniques in our lower body.
4. To master a Kata, we have to repeat the training hundreds and thousands of times. In the process, our stamina and lungs energy will be greatly increased.
5. By analyzing a Kata, we will have a deeper understanding of greater varieties of blocking and attacking techniques. Moreover, the comprehension of concepts about distancing and timing of blocking and attacking will also be enhanced.

Actually, the above 5 points are exactly what we should practise in any Kumite training. Thus, the practices of Kata and Kumite are mutually reinforcing each other. Moreover, if we can successfully bring out the true essence and power of a Kata, the sense of delight and satisfaction within will be so overwhelming that it is beyond description. As a matter of fact, we should be grateful that there are comprehensive syllabi and competition rules in Kata that enable us to have more diversified development in Karatedo. We should never underestimate the values in Kata training.