Guest Columnists - What makes a good Kata?

What makes a good Kata? Answer: ‘Form’.

Our ‘own’ form makes a good Kata.

All too often, nowadays, people strive for so many values within Kata, and yet miss the basic principles of what it is. Kata is the ‘raw’ energy that Karate is all about. Kata is ‘the way’ ... It is the spirit, method, and foundation of what we do.

Kata is the ‘freedom of martial expression’. We should not ‘dwell’ or ‘concern’ ourselves on whether one Wado Kata is different from another Wado Kata (I know three versions of Wanshu - who cares?!). We must be true to ‘ourselves’ not to others. Our Kata is what we are, appreciate it for all its worth and just get on and practise it.

The secret of the Kata is contained within, and it can only be discovered by constant practise. Explore and understand the ‘geometry’, ‘mechanics’, ‘bunkai’, ‘rhythm’, and the ‘shin’ of each of the Kata, for every Kata, although similar, are so very different.

Ikita-Kata - Kata must be alive and done with feeling and purpose.
Inen - Kata must be performed with spirit.
Chikara-no-Kyojaku - Kata should be done with changes in application of power. Technique can be strong or yielding, hard then soft.
Waza-no-Kankyu - Kata should be done with variations in the timing of movement, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
Kisoku-no-Donto - Kata must be done with proper breathing rhythm, when to inhale and exhale.
Kinto - Proper balance must be maintained in the performance of Kata.

Gary E Swift, 8th Dan.
Chief Instructor to the British Wadokai Karate-do. British Wadokai

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