Tips to Help You Improve Your Kata

Kata are also used to grade students, a black belt sometimes has to perform every single kata they have learned to illustrate their mastery before being graded. One single misplaced foot or a loss of balance can make the difference between a good kata and a great kata!

Kata isn’t only to help you perfect the physical motions, in fact, many martial artists perform katas not to improve themselves so much physically as to increase their inner awareness of their own person and how to improve their skill with a purity of mind and body.

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Kata Combat – Bunkai Training Drills Part 1

I state in ‘Practical Applications for the Kata Jion’ that Kata was originally intended to capture the ‘highlights’ of an effective combative system. The distillate of this system survived over generations as it had an inherent aid memoir that enabled the practitioner to communicate it to his incumbent generation. As a result of the balance needed between reliance on memory and the need to maintain the principles of Kata, an optimal and not a limitless number of movements exist.

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The 27 Shotokan Kata

Many Shotokan Dojo practice more kata, but here, we are just going to mention the 27 standard Shotokan kata that are practiced by thousands of karate-ka all over the world.

Several Shotokan groups have introduced other shotokan kata and kata from other styles, into their training, but when the JKA (Japan Karate Association) was formed by Nakayama Sensei, he put forward these 26 kata (not including taikyoku shodan or kihon kata), as the training kata for the JKA karateka. Even today, many thousands of Shotokan Dojo practice these 26 Kata only (leaving out Taikyoku Shodan or Kihon Kata).

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A Brief History of Kata

If you are interested in the effective and realistic use of the combative methods recorded within kata, it is important that you have some understanding of their history. Without an understanding of this history, you will be unable to appreciate kata in the correct context. You will, therefore, have little chance of unlocking the methods they contain. Kata has always been an integral part of karate practice. To understand the history and development of kata, it is vital to look at the history and development of karate as a whole.

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