Kata - The Bridge Between Physical Practice and The Spiritual State
Kata are a series of movements and techniques that are practiced in a pattern. Similar to shadow boxing, Kata uses the concept of an ‘imaginary opponent’. The moves are prearranged and choreographed in a geometrical pattern, designed to teach a central principle or a set of techniques. Each Kata is done at a certain speed and tempo. For some Kata the speed varies from move to move, whilst others are done at one speed and at one tempo.
Karate is and always has been a method of self defence, never a technique of aggression. The term “Karate ni sente nashi” (“there is no first attack in Karate”) is fundamental to the karate-ka’s philosophy, and as such is the basis of Kata. To the sincere student, it is not only a form of physical discipline, but an art in which one can develop the ability for self reflection, abstract thought and mental clarity.
Physically, Kata enforces proper use of body structure. It rehearses movement and creates muscle memory. Typically basics in motion, Kata is similar in fashion to isometric exercises. Practiced vigorously, Kata improves cardiovascular efficiency.
Mentally, kata teaches focus, and attention to all angles. Due to the necessity for the practitioner to take inventory of his/her movements, one must cut through disclarity of mind to understand Kata. No move, no matter how minute is without meaning or intent. With this knowledge, a growing process takes place.
Do’s and Don’ts for Kata Training:
- Never rush through the movements, always be conscious of the correct timing of each movement.
- Keep calm.
- Practice everyday, if only for a few minutes.
- Remember the effects of the practice are cumulative. Concentrate on the Kata that are difficult for you.
- Be conscious of the relationship between the Kata practice and Kumite (sparring).Kata are traditionally Karate-do’s primary tool for personal development and the principle subjects for advancement through Kyu and Dan. At Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre, the following Kata are mandatory to proceed through the Kyu system; in order to be considered for promotion to Shodan-Ho (Probationary Black Belt).
- Taikyoku Shodan
- Heian Shodan
- Heian Nidan
- Heian Sundan
- Heian Yondan
- Heian Godan
- Matsu Katsu
- Itsu Shodan
- Itsu Nidan
Hanshi Ian Pollet is the Current ISKA World Kata and Grand World Kata Champion. Additionally he has won numerous State and National titles in Kata.Below is a video of Hanshi Pollet at the 2009 U.S Open World Martial Arts Championship.