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WHAT IS KATA?

Kata is a formal exercise whereby the Karate-Ka engages in defense and attack with imaginary opponents. Kata contains all of the techniques and principles of Karate and, after practicing each many times, the movements will eventually become automatic and instinctive. This will enable the Karate-Ka to defend against and attack many opponents at once.

Kata is meant to train the mind and body, and is not intended only for self-defense. Perhaps most importantly, Kata provides a path leading to spritual growth and understanding. Kata in the traditional sense, is a spiritual ritual. The essence of the art of Karate-Do is attaining a spiritual goal through the practice of the Kata, so that the Karate-Ka battles against himself and succeeds in learning about and understanding himself.

As you become older, Kata training will increase because sparring and other contact exercise may become too extreme for the physical limitations that naturally accompany time. The uniqueness of Kata means that you can practice almost anywhere, anytime. You do not need large space, partners or special equipment. The important point is to practice often.

Many Kata have been handed down by Masters from previous generations and is therefore important that we practice and recreate these Kata in their original form.

The basis of Kata lies in the concept "Karate ni sente nashi", which is translated as "there is no first attack in Karate." All Kata begin with a defensive movement. The Kata teaches that the true Karate-Ka never strikes first, and never strikes in anger.

In addition to demonstrating the correct techniques of a particular Kata, the instructor should also explain some of the other points of the Kata being practiced.

"Bunkai" - is the breakdown and analysis of the Kata movements & that the system of 'Yo Riu Bi' be applied.

"Oyo" - is the various applications of the techniques.

"Embusen" - is the map or line of movement of the Kata.

"Zanshin" - is to remain in awareness but calm.

"Kiai" - the spirit shout at set points within the Kata.

"Kokyu" - breathing. Breath control related to the posture and movement of the Kata.

One should take note of the following points when practicing Kata

1. Kata should start and end with Rei (bow)
2. Correct Basic techniques
3. Breathing
4. Dachi (stances)
5. Posture
6. Happo Tenshin (8 directions)
7. Chakugan (Focusing)
8. Bunkai (Meaning and Application)
9. Zanshin (Awareness)
10. Repetition - to perfect the Kata

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