Guest Columnists - Essence of Kata
Many practise Kata as a means of combat,to gain there next grade etc but I feel Kata as it has been described before as the soul of Karate.
It takes years to obtain the understanding of Kata, like Tai Chi forms it is to feel as one and let the mind and body unify yet aiding control and discipline to the practitioner. Yes there are many aspect of Kata Bunkai, Kihon etc but the essence is that of developing a sense of stability and calm within the mind and to direct your effort through breathing (like Nei Kung - internal development as these art have Chinese ancestry).
The breathing reflects the energy transfer of each technique as the breathing as well as body posture acts as power source, Kima is that spark of energy that releases through the body at the point between a projective technique and retractive (Kima point).
The mind is the first tool of Kata, to feel centred and alert, to feel what is around us at that point in time the mind creates the initial energy source through the attitude the Kata is performed with.
The body is the tool of the mind aiding stability and projection. Thus developing flexibility, timing and balance. As we all have to find our own Bunkai to Kata as one mans Bunkai can be obscured by different aspects such as height, strength, flexibility etc..
The spirit come from the intent of your practice. With age our intention changes the fight becomes a personal form of development that make us realise we can only change our selves through what Karate brings to us as a discipline.
Anyone can fight and hurt people but few learn to centre, calm and feel what is truly there as this is the part of Karate that I call transcendence. To transcend beyond our own thoughts and feeling to connect with others.
And like a musician we all play the same peace of music but it all sounds different through our characters expression, hence the many different forms of martial arts and Karate. We are all honest we all know what's right and what feels wrong.
Simon Williams, 6th Dan.