sequential, pre-determined defense, attack, and counterattack
forms used against multiple opponents. In addition to giving students
practice in techniques, kata develops speed, breath control, balance,
calm mind, rhythm, mushin, and coordination. Until this century,
kata was considered the only and ideal method of karate training.
To grasp the meaning of kata, the true essence of Karate, one
must be involved in one of the martial arts. The layman cannot
hope to grasp the state of mind of an individual performing a
kata. To him, the kata is only a series of movements that look
like a form of dance. However, these beautiful and graceful movements
are in reality far more than just a series of blocks, punches,
kicks, and stances. One of the major aims of the karate student
is to be able to perform all of the kata accurately.
The student repeats the kata many times in each class, placing
emphasis on posture, balance, speed and coordination. Great emphasis
is laid on increasing the student's vigor, heart, mind, and soul.
The teaching is usually conducted in a group, but individual performance
of the kata is continually revised by the instructor. Gradually,
the student's character, attitude and intentions are unmistakably
revealed to their instructor. Only then can the instructor help
the student to acquire the mental power to overcome his own weakness
and recognize the vanity and false ego which lies within him.
This can be accomplished only by constant practice of the seemingly
simple moves of kata.
Karate begins and ends with kata. People who say they cannot
use kata techniques in self-defense or kumite either do not know
their kata, or their kata form is not correct.