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Home Karate Articles Making Kata “Live”.

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Kata, is a series of set moves against imaginary opponents. As you go up the grades the kata's introduce new skills and more complex techniques/concepts that you should attempt to master before you move on. The first kata shows one stance, a block and a punch. That's all. This then progresses through the kata's to every conceivable block and strike, throw, wrist locks, distraction, pressure point, defence against swords, sticks, concepts of distancing, dummies and lures. Its all in there if you know how to look. Like the repetition of basic technique, these kata work by repeating the form many times until muscle memory takes hold. Once the movement is learned to that level, the technique becomes second nature to deliver and hey presto you've got some more karate knowledge!

But that's only a small part of the story. Remember, Kata is a series of moves against imaginary opponents. So, when you do the very first move in Kihon - the downward block to the left, you should not be thinking about flapping your arm to the left because someone told you to. Or even to twist your hips and bring your arm up to your ear before stepping to show good technique. No, what you should be thinking, what you should be imagining and seeing is someone standing to your left trying to kick you!

Every technique in Kata has a purpose or meaning - often more than one. It is up to you to find out what you are doing. If you do the first move in Kihon without thinking about some bloke trying to kick you, you are doing little more than a clumsy meaningless dance.

Half the kata is done in the head. If you can really learn to imagine the attacker in kata, when someone attacks for real, they should seem slow and easy to deal with compared to your imaginary foe. If you are ever unlucky enough to be in a real fight, the 'visualisation' that you have undergone in kata should help to keep your mind calm and responsive and give you a real edge in the conflict.

This is why I get frustrated when I see people looking down (fighting midgets). This is an absolute sure-fire sign that they are not thinking of their opponent. This is why a slow turn when blocking is a no-no. Would you try to turn and block slowly if someone was attacking you? Of course not! This is why, it is so important to get the kata to 'live' and the only way to do that is to really see the enemy standing in front of you whenever you do a kata.
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 November 2009 20:11