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What’s so good about Kata again?

February 20, 2009

A teacher I know trains Wado-kai Karate with her daughter near where I live. Having nothing else to do on the nights I usually would be training Jiu-jitsu I decided to check it out.

Over a two-hour class there was a warm up, Kata, more Kata, a Kata demonstration, point sparring and a cool down. Did I mention there was a lot of Kata?

Now before we all point out the ineffectiveness of a martial art based heavily on form there is one important aspect to take to our own training halls.


What? Intensity with Kata? Unheard of! It’s true though.

Two black belts. One had a shiny new jet black belt on. The other had a ratty old worn out black belt.

During a call out drill where everyone would perform the Kata sequence as directed by the sensei, the new black belt would casually go through the motions. He’d do just enough to get by and put in as little effort as possible. Newbie black belt would continually be the last in the group to perform the next move. I was not impressed by his performance.

The older black belt, who was a woman, in my opinion, put in the most effort out of everyone. At the end of the drill she worked up quite a sweat, not too bad considering it’s the middle of winter and we were in a very cold gym (not to mention the Karate gi is pretty thin).

As soon as the sensei would call out the next step the older black belt would snap into action. She’d launch into each movement with an intensity that was above and beyond what was necessary. Her speed was unmatched, her timing crisp. Her shouts (kiai) were loud and overpowering. Thing is no one told her to do that, she just did it. She made the Kata look badass.

It’s amazing what we can put into our training, what we can bring to the table. What I got out of this is that we can just put in enough effort to get by. Or we can pour ourselves into our training and see what we can accomplish.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2009 10:25 am

    Some of my more intense TKD classes were forms classes. You’re right, you do get out what you put in.

  2. February 21, 2009 12:28 pm

    If it wasn’t for her and the majority of the ladies training there I would have left long ago. The guys were just… lazy. Most of them showed up late too.

  3. February 22, 2009 9:45 am

    Thanks for stopping by The RDA PMA Experiment. I followed your comment back to your blog. Great stuff. I also wanted to share a link to a kata post on my other site…

    Also one of the things about my site. When you make a comment you may just end up getting added into the storyline of the cartoons.

    have a great day.


  4. Jon Law permalink
    February 24, 2009 12:43 am

    i prefer the pouring approach, but there’s different ways of training kata. And surely the performance aspect shouldn’t be valued higher than the function aspect.

  5. February 24, 2009 11:13 am

    I’ll admit ignorance when it comes to the different ways of training kata. I am curious though.

    A friend of mind who does Kendo and Iaido told me once that all kata are the records of successful battles and to think of it as more complex boxing combinations. Jab-cross-jab and beyond.


  1. Martial Arts News 2.22.09 « Striking Thoughts

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