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Being Sure About Kata

I want to state a point that should be obvious. In order to truly learn and benefit from kata, you have to know the kata so well that you do not have to think about it at all. You have to be able to simply begin the kata and then just move.

If you are thinking about each move, about what comes next, about whether you are making any mistakes... your performance of the kata will be hesitant and choppy. You will, at best, be doing each movement, perhaps as a sequence, perhaps as just a bunch of movements strung together.

When you really know the kata well, you don't have to think about it. It is like riding a bike. At first, you are just trying to keep your balance and steer straight. But when you know how to ride, you can enjoy the scenery. You don't have to think about steering or pedaling -- they become natural movements.

There are times, when I perform a kata, that I don't know what I am doing. It is as if I start the kata and then find myself at the end. The kata just happens by itself. There is no real sense of time or direction. I would like to say that each movement just flows to the next -- but there really is no sense of separate movements. It is not as if I am doing a kata with 25 or 50 movements. It is as if I begin the kata with the idea about which kata I am going to perform, and then it starts so flow, almost like a liquid, and then it is over.

Sometimes I wonder what I did. But usually, when I perform a kata this way, it is the best (for me). The movements are not broken or hesitant.

But until you know the kata pretty well, it is impossible to do such things. Until then, you are doing movement 1, movement 2, movement 3, etc. Until then, you are just trying to steer straight and not fall of the bike.

When you know the kata really well it is still possible to do wrong movements, or to begin one kata and end with another. Then that is great! Then, even if it is wrong it is right!


Charles C. Goodin