Kata

kataTermenul Kata înseamnă în Japoneză model, stil, formă sau tip. Kata, în Karate, este un set de tehnici de bază aranjate într-o ordine prestabilită.

Kata is a Japanese term meaning mold, model, style, shape, form, or data-type. A karate kata is a set number of basic techniques arranged in order. The closest relatives of the karate kata are shadow boxing, dancing, and a gymnastics floor routine. The karate player begins by standing at attention, bowing, and then by stepping with his left foot in some particular direction throwing karate techniques. Some kata are performed solidly, others quickly with acrobatics, some are more graceful in nature, and others are performed very slowly with great muscle tension. Each kata has a name, and the name is usually Okinawan. The kata have been handed down from teacher to student – some for more than 200 years.

Usefulness of Kata

A debate that has been raging for at least 30 years is whether or not the kata serve any real purpose. Most people who compete in karate competitions point out that kata are little more than performance art, and that the techniques enclosed within are, for the most part, not effective in competitive situations. The kata do not seem to be useful in aiding sparring ability. If this is true, how can the kata be useful?

Kata have several purposes. One purpose is allowing the karate player may move about practicing various fighting techniques, tactics, and strategies without having an opponent. Kata training is good exercise. The kata also force the karate practitioner to practice techniques that may be outside of his regularly training regimen. The kata also act as a database or library of techniques. Kata contain techniques that, while unrelated to modern competition sparring, are extremely effective. Kata serve as an alternative path of study from modern competition sparring. Kata are also very beautiful to watch, and allow the performer to feel as though they are able to preserve and present a thing of elegance coupled with danger.

Karate kata make for great shadow boxing, and they are great exercise. When you are alone, and you wish to practice karate, it is pretty simple to choose one of the kata you know and simply repeat it 20 or 30 times to get in a good workout. Kata contain between 20 and 70 techniques, so performing one 15 times or more usually requires quite a bit of time and energy. You can vary the workout in chunks depending up on the length of the kata you choose to practice, and you can personalize the intensity of your workout by performing the kata with varying degrees of power. Kata are preprogrammed exercises specifically geared for individual or group practice. Practicing kata in a group can be a very satisfying experience as well.

The database that the kata make up is very extensive. Not only does each individual kata store techniques for all of us to remember and practice, the various kata help to unravel the meaning of other kata. They are all interlocking and explain each other. If you view kata as being slightly encrypted rather than straightforward, you find that you can frequently inspect the techniques of another kata to explain the one that you are puzzled by in the one you are currently working on. The kata store a collected body of knowledge.

The kata expose us to techniques and movements that may have never occurred to us, and the training of something new shocks us and helps us overcome training plateaus. For example, where a boxer will simply invent his own shadow boxing, a karate player will have to perform someone else’s idea of shadow boxing. Kata forces us to do something that was not our own creation. If we perform only actions that are comfortable for us, we learn nothing. However, if we are forced to train through someone else’s footsteps, then we learn new skills that we probably never would have thought of or attempted. The kata prevent us from reinventing the wheel. How many of us would have thought of the jump in Unsu or the techniques in Jion without having to learn a kata? These routines force you to overcome not only your own personal goals, but someone else’s goals as well.

Applications found within the kata, whether of original intent or reverse engineered, are quite frequently more representative of self-defense than is competition sparring. While no one would argue that competitive sparring does not enable one to defend himself, kata teach techniques such as neck twists, inverting elbows, and many other techniques that you cannot learn and practice while also trying to learn the rules of free sparring. Kata provide an alternative to free sparring for self-defense, and show us how karate can be a useful and practical fighting system.

The beauty of someone performing a kata well is difficult to describe. Is it an acquired taste, or is it something universal that anyone can appreciate? Those that aspire to be performance artists as well as able to defend themselves find all of these things in the kata. A study of kata can be as shallow or as deep as the artist wishes.

Do I have to learn kata?

Yes. It is doubtful that a reputable Shotokan instructor will value your opinions about how best to learn to fight over his own opinions if you are a novice to karate. Question the training regimen is comparable to asking a professor of physics „Do I have to learn calculus?” Of course you do.

Kata is firmly required for rank promotions in all Shotokan Karate organizations. As well it should be, since kata hold the more violent defense combinations and also act as a sort of database of Shotokan Karate knowledge. Also, since you must achieve a certain rank before you are allowed to learn to free spar, not learning kata would mean that you will never be allowed to participate in the more difficult sparring exercises because you will not be promoted to the higher ranks. Just as in any class, you must learn whatever is taught as a whole, then parse out what you wish to retain later on.

Why did kata develop in Asian arts but not in Western arts?

Asian cultures have thousands-of-years-old traditions of arranging information into explanatory folk dances. This is something that was never adopted to a great extent in recent Western societies due to the simplicity of alphabets in the West. However, the Chinese system of writing is so complex, that to become literate was a huge challenge of learning over 10,000 characters. Asian languages involve so much study for simply reading and writing that literacy rates were always very low. Therefore, oral traditions were probably used to store cultural information.

How many kata are there?

There are a lot of kata out there. Perhaps there are 100 Okinawan kata that are practiced collectively by Shito-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Shotokan, Wado-Ryu, and Okinawan styles like Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu. Following is a list of all known Japanese/Okinawan kata practiced today or listed in texts. They are listed in no particular order.

Okinawa Japan Origin Style Origin Place
Anan
Annanko
Aoinagi
Arakaki-Seisan
Channan
Chinsu
Chinte
Chinto Gankaku Okinawa
Chinto (2) Gankaku Sho Okinawa
Gekisai
Hakatsuru/Hakaku
Hakucho
Heiko
Ipairinpe/Suparinpei/Peichurin
Ishimine Passai Shuri Te Okinawa
Jiin Tomari Te Okinawa
Jion Tomari Te Okinawa
Juroku
Jutte Tomari Te Okinawa
Koryu
Koryu Passai Shuri Te Okinawa
Kosokun/Kushanku/kanku-sho Shuri Te Okinawa
Kururunfa
Yara Kushanku Shuri Te Okinawa
Kushanku Kosokun, Kanku Dai Shuri Te Okinawa
Matsukase
Matsumora-Rohai
Matsumura Passai Shuri Te Okinawa
Myojo
Naihanchi Tekki Shuri Te Okinawa
Nipaipo
Niseishi Nijushiho
Niseshi (2)
Ohan
Oyadomari Passai Bassai Dai Shuri Te Okinawa
Pachu
Paiku
Paipuren
Passai Sho Bassai Sho Shuri Te Okinawa
Pinan Heian Shuri Te Okinawa
Rohai
Saifa
Sanchin
Sanseiryu
Seienchin
Seipai
Seishan Hangetsu Shuri Te Okinawa
Seishan (2)
Shimpa
Shisochin
Sochin
Sochin (2)
Taikyoku
Tensho
Tomari Passai Shuri Te Okinawa
Tomari Chinto Okinawa
Unsu Unshu, Unsu
Useishi Gojushiho Sho Tomari Te Okinawa
Wando
Wankan
Wanshu Enpi Tomari Te Okinawa
Shiho Kosokun Shito-Ryu Japan
Gojushiho Dai
Ten-no-Kata Shotokan Japan

Shitei and Tokui Kata

tokui shitei As the karate enthusiast amasses hours and hours of training in karate, learning a new kata is less and less challenging for him. In a strange turn of irony, the typical karate enthusiast can learn the last 13 kata in the same amount of time that it took him to learn the 5 most basic kata – the Heian. However, most choose to specialize in only one or two different kata for a particular period of time.

The specialty kata that a practitioner chooses from any of the available kata are called tokui kata. Tokui is a word that means „specialty” or „forte” in Japanese, and it is comprised of the two characters above on the left. When you pull out your tokui kata and perform it, it is supposed to be a kata that you have particular skill with. If you are a 3rd kyu, you don’t have a tokui kata. You probably don’t have enough skill to have a tokui anything.

The other kata are considered shitei kata by the expert. Shitei kata are those compulsory kata that must be learned, but are not favored by the expert as of particular interest. Shitei means „assignment,” and it is composed of the two characters on the right above.

Shitei and tokui are usually used to indicate the requirements on examinations for rank certification. The Shitei kata will be those you are expected to understand and be able to perform on demand. The tokui section is comprised of your choice of a kata to perform.

Where do the kata come from?

All of the Shotokan Karate kata are from the Shuri-Tomari systems of karate. Shuri is a smallish city outside of Naha, the capital city of Okinawa located on the Western side of the island. Tomari is a small town between these two centers of karate development. When studying karate history from the perspective of Shotokan, these three cities are usually mentioned as the sources of modern Shotokan. However, there are many other cities on Okinawa, and certainly they must have their own karate systems and kata also.

The Naha city style of karate is totally unrepresented in Shotokan’s Canon. This style is characterized by slow, tense movements in narrow stances with an emphasis on body conditioning and strengthening. The kata of this style are like the Shotokan kata Hangetsu.

Hangetsu is taken from a kata called Seishan. There is a version of Seishan,„13”, in the Shuri system of karate that looks exactly like Hangetsu, while none of the kata called by the name Seisan in the Naha system really resemble it. Shotokan is an exclusively Tomari/Shuri system of karate, despite Funakoshi’s claims that it was a balanced mix of the major styles extant at the time. Shotokan, as indicated by the type of kata practiced, is totally Shorin-Ryu based.

Naha-Goju Kata

Goju Ryu is the style of karate that evolved from Naha’s strong, tense style of karate. The kata contained within their database are quite impressive and useful, containing many interesting applications. Some of the Goju-Ryu kata explain movements within the Shotokan Kata. By limiting ourselves to only our 26 chosen kata, we block ourselves forever from truly understanding our own kata.

Other nice kata that are out there for Shotokaners to find and add to their toolbox include Suparinpei, Seipai, Seisan, Seiunchin, Tensin, Tensho, Rohai, Ananku, Shiho Kushanku, Shiho Kushanku Sho, three or four more versions of Bassai, another version of Wankan, and many, many others. Kanazawa Hirokazu, former JKA instructor and now leader of the SKIF, has been hard at work bringing another version of Chinto into the Shotokan system. Gankaku is the current version of the Okinawan kata Chinto that is practiced in Shotokan. Kanazawa’s version, which he calls Gankaku Sho, is the same Chinto seen in the book by Shoshin Nagamine. Nishiyama Hidetaka has created a kata called Kitei which changes every 4 to 6 years for competition purposes. However, the supposed kata is really not a kata at all, but a prearranged display of basic techniques. The word Kitei means „required basics.” Will Nishiyama announce a replacement kitei kata as he said he would?

Why are some kata not in Shotokan?

Originally all of the kata were practiced in Okinawa, traded, and exchanged with neighbors and friends. Because kata were developed before the advent of the automobile in Okinawa, most people were limited to their geographic location, and were unable to learn the kata practiced in another city. So, kata developed along several different lines in different locations in Okinawa.

Many of the kata apparently fell out of favor with Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan, during the 20th Century. Funakoshi’s first book, Ryukyu Karate Kenpo, names many different kata as being acceptable for study by his students. He lists as many as 30 different kata, some of which we no longer do today. Eventually, when Karate-do Kyohan by Funakoshi was published, there were only 15 official kata listed as necessary for advancement. Most of Karate Associations requirements insist that all 26 kata of the Shotokan Canon be mastered for the rank of 4th dan.

Who can create a kata?

Anyone who knows even a single technique could possibly create a kata. However, kata created since the 1920’s have been rejected by most instructors and associations as illegitimate, and therefore not worthy of study. The old tradition of creating new kata has been replaced by the discipline of learning other’s kata. Western experts of Shotokan are particularly disinterested in any kata introduced by younger experts, non-Japanese, or people who study arts other than Shotokan Karate. Apparently, part of a kata’s popularity in the modern era is its mystique as an ancient thing passed down through the generations. In my experience, when a kata is thought to be thousands of years old, some less than practical techniques appear mysterious and hard to comprehend. When the same kata is revealed as being only three days old, the same techniques suddenly are impractical and silly-looking. Ancient kata are good; new kata are bad.

Some feel the person creating the kata should have extensive knowledge not only of punching and kicking as in pure Shotokan, but also should have in depth knowledge of some form of jujutsu or other joint-locking system, since the other kata were probably based on such knowledge. Anyone making up their own kata based upon modern training methods will implement movements that reflect the punching/kicking style of the tournament fighter today. A kata created by a tournament competitor will probably lack the complexity and appeal of the older, jujutsu based movements of the original Okinawan creations.

Why is it more important to learn someone else’s kata?

When we learn something that someone else has created, we acquire some of their skills. When we do something that we create, it is not as useful for us. You probably will fail if you set out to design a kata that you cannot perform or that contains information that you do not have.

How long does it take to learn all of the kata?

Some people never learn all of the kata, while others learn them very rapidly without much difficulty. There are many factors involved. In general, a young, healthy, reasonably athletic person should, with regular and continuous training, be fluent in all 26 kata within 15 years of beginning training. There are several stages of fluency possible in a kata:

1. You can remember the movements from beginning to end;

2. You can perform the movements from beginning to end without getting stuck;

3. You can show some technical skills like rhythm and body dynamics [required for examinations];

4. You can see the punching, blocking, and kicking applications of the movements – the most simple of applications (and the most unlikely);

5. You have a smooth, dynamic kata that is impressive to watch [at this point it is still just a dance];

6. You have mastered to movements in the kata and probably know lots of interesting trivia about it;

7. You have re engineered the kata and can perform complex and credible applications of the movements.

Why do kata start and finish on the same spot?

With the release of the Best Karate series of books by M. Nakayama, the Shotokan world became entranced with the idea that kata must start and finish in the same spot. Whether or not you are able to finish a kata on the same spot as the one you started on has even become one of the factors in determining the value of a performance. With the advent of competitions, being able to place the finish in the exact, correct spot was made an important feature. Nakayama’s books were intended to re-release many of the Shotokan kata so that they would finish where they began.

Some of the kata cannot finish on the same spot. Jiin, for example, ends 3 feet to the left of where you started. Jutte also does not finish in the same place, nor does Enpi or Heian 4. Worrying about finishing where you began is probably the last thing that you should be concerned with. While trying to finish on the same spot can provide some feedback as to how well you follow the performance line of a particular kata, it is not definitive. Don’t waste a lot of time on it.

heian_shodan

  1. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  2. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki
  3. Întoarcere 180 de grade spre dreapta, zenkutsu dachi, migi gedan barrai
  4. ‡1• Migi shizentai, jodan tettsui uchi
  5. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan oi zuki
  6. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  7. Zenkutsu dachi, migi jodan age uke
  8. ‡1 Zenkutsu dachi, hidari jodan age uke
  9. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, migi jodan age uke, kiai
  10. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  11. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki
  12. Întoarcere 180 de grade spre dreapta, zenkutsu dachi, migi gedan barrai
  13. Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan oi zuki
  14. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  15. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki
  16. ‡1 Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan oi zuki
  17. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki, kiai
  18. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  19. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  20. Întoarcere 135 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  21. Întoarcere 45de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke

• – timp pe loc
1 – timpi succesivi, conectaţi, fără pauză
^ – yori ashi
s – timp lent

heian_nidan

  1. • Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari jodan haiwan uke
  2. ‡1• Kokutsu dachi, hidari nagashi uke, migi uchikomi
  3. ‡2• Kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan zuki
  4. • Întoarcere 180 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, hidari jodan haiwan uke
  5. ‡1• Kokutsu dachi, migi nagashi uke, hidari uchikomi
  6. ‡2• Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan zuki
  7. • Koshi gamae
  8. ‡1• Yoko keage uraken
  9. ‡2• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  10. Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  11. ‡1 Kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  12. ‡2 Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan nihon nukite, kiai
  13. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  14. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  15. Întoarcere 135 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  16. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  17. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, hidari zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan uchi uke
  18. ‡1 Migi mae geri
  19. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan gyaku zuki
  20. • Migi zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan uchi uke
  21. ‡1 Hidari mae geri
  22. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan gyaku zuki
  23. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan morote uchi uke
  24. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  25. ‡1• Întoarcere 45 de grade spre dreapta, hidari jodan shuto barrai
  26. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, migi jodan age uke
  27. Întoarcere 135 de grade spre dreapta, zenkutsu dachi, migi gedan barrai
  28. ‡1• Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, migi jodan shuto barrai
  29. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, hidari jodan age uke, kiai

• – timp pe loc
1 – timpi succesivi, conectaţi, fără pauză
^ – yori ashi
s – timp lent

heian_sedan

  1. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan uchi uke
  2. ‡1• Heisoku dachi, kosa uke
  3. ‡2• Heisoku dachi, kosa uke
  4. Întoarcere 180 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan uchi uke
  5. ‡1• Heisoku dachi, kosa uke
  6. ‡2• Heisoku dachi, kosa uke
  7. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan morote uchi uke
  8. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan shihon nukite
  9. ‡1 Kiba dachi, hidari chudan tettsui uchi
  10. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki, kiai
  11. Întoarcere 180 de grade spre stânga, heisoku dachi, ryoken koshi gamae
  12. ‡1 Fumikomi kiba dachi, migi empi uke
  13. ‡2• Migi jodan uraken uchi
  14. ‡1 Fumikomi kiba dachi, hidari empi uke
  15. ‡2• Hidari jodan uraken uchi
  16. ‡1 Fumikomi kiba dachi, migi empi uke
  17. ‡2• Migi jodan uraken uchi
  18. Kiba dachi, migi chudan shuto tate uke
  19. Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan oi zuki
  20. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, kiba dachi, migi zuki
  21. ^ Kiba dachi, hidari zuki, kiai

• – timp pe loc
‡1 – timpi succesivi, conectaţi, fără pauza
^ – yori ashi

heian_yondan

  1. •s Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari jodan haishu uke
  2. s Întoarcere 180 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, hidari jodan haishu uke
  3. Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, gedan juji uke
  4. Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan morote uchi uke
  5. ‡1• Hidari yoko keage, uraken uchi
  6. ‡2• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, migi mae empi
  7. ‡1• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre dreapta, migi yoko keage, uraken uchi
  8. ‡2• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari mae empi
  9. • Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, migi jodan shuto uchi, hidari jodan shuto uke
  10. ‡1 Migi mae geri
  11. ‡2 Kosa dachi, migi uraken uchi, kiai
  12. s Întoarcere 135 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, chudan kakiwake uke
  13. ‡1 Migi mae geri
  14. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki
  15. ‡3• Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan gyaku zuki
  16. •s Întoarcere 90 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, chudan kakiwake uke
  17. ‡1 Hidari mae geri
  18. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan oi zuki
  19. ‡3• Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan gyaku zuki
  20. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan morote uchi uke
  21. Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan morote uchi uke
  22. Kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan morote uchi uke
  23. ‡1• Zenkutsu dachi, morote kubi osae
  24. ‡2• Migi hiza osae, kiai
  25. • Întoarcere 180 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  26. Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke

• – timp pe loc
1 – timpi succesivi, conectaţi, fără pauză
^ – yori ashi
s – timp lent

heian_godan

  1. ‡1• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan uchi uke
  2. ‡2• Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan gyaku zuki
  3. s Întoarcere 90 de grade spre dreapta, heisoku dachi, hidari kagi gamae
  4. ‡1• Întoarcere 90 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan uchi uke
  5. ‡2• Kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan gyaku zuki
  6. s Întoarcere 90 de grade spre stânga, heisoku dachi, migi kagi gamae
  7. Kokutsu dachi, migi chudan morote uchi uke
  8. • Zenkutsu dachi, gedan juji uke
  9. ‡1• Zenkutsu dachi, jodan juji uke
  10. ‡2• Hidari chudan zuki
  11. ‡3 Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan oi zuki
  12. Întoarcere 180 de grade spre stânga, fumikomi, kiba dachi, migi gedan barrai
  13. s• Kiba dachi, hidari chudan haishu uke
  14. Întoarcere 135 de grade spre dreapta, kokutsu dachi, migi chudan shuto uke
  15. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, kokutsu dachi, hidari chudan shuto uke
  16. Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, hidari zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan uchi uke
  17. ‡1 Migi mae geri
  18. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan gyaku zuki
  19. • Migi zenkutsu dachi, hidari chudan uchi uke
  20. ‡1 Hidari mae geri
  21. ‡2• Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan gyaku zuki
  22. Zenkutsu dachi, migi chudan morote uchi uke
  23. Întoarcere 270 de grade spre stânga, zenkutsu dachi, hidari gedan barrai
  24. ‡1• Întoarcere 45 de grade spre dreapta, hidari jodan shuto barrai
  25. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, migi jodan age uke
  26. Întoarcere 135 de grade spre dreapta, zenkutsu dachi, migi gedan barrai
  27. ‡1• Întoarcere 45 de grade spre stânga, migi jodan shuto barrai
  28. ‡2 Zenkutsu dachi, hidari jodan age uke, kiai

• – timp pe loc
1 – timpi succesivi, conectaţi, fără pauză
^ – yori ashi
s – timp lent

Observing how Kata are practised today, viewed as a whole, all movements, from the initial hachiji-dachi until the end must be elastic and continuous, the sequence must be beautiful and rhythmical and the performer must irradiate vitality and strength. Body and spirit must be one entity and the strength must be concentrated. Breathing must be continuous without retentions. In the ancient practice, there used to be pauses between each movement; now movements follow each other rhythmically, without pause, in a fluid and flexible way.

Appearances may deceive, even though movements may look weak, they truly are not so. When the body and the movements were rigid and the strength was in a very dissipated form, techniques looked strong. Nowadays it is only the performer who feels that his blows are effective.

The satisfaction is only his own.

by Master Shigeru Egami

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