Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I want to excel at Kata

I have started reading Kris Wilder's "Way of Kata". There was one part in particular (thus far) that really struck me. I wanted to share it.

" Not only are many secret techniques intentionally obscured in kata, but also some are not even shown at all. There are frequently hidden applications (e.g. ear slap, eye rake) between the movements in kata. Watching a skilled practitioner go through a kata can be magical. The more you know about the kata, the more magical the performance becomes. The key to what the kata artists do is often what they are doing when they appear to be doing nothing.

Confusing? Think of it this way-- in music, a pause or rest between the notes provides emphasis for the notes that follow, giving these subsequent notes their moment to shine. Without the rhythm and the rests, all the notes would be smashed together creating an unpleasant stream of noise. The same concept applies to kata. Mozart said that it is far easier for a musician to play well quickly than to play well slowly. Many people rush through kata in a hurry to show power and speed. What Mozart said about music also applies to kata. A pause in the kata gives the technique that follows a moment to shine.

Look at your own kata and ask yourself if it is a blur that is unintelligible or if it is a beautifully composed story of speed, power, technique, and understanding. As you practice, it is important that you take your time. Start with the most basic form you know and slow it down. You will probably find many areas that need improvement and it will take a while to actually complete each form. Remember to look for the forgotten nuances that one cannot always see at full speed.

Do not change the movements, however. Hidden applications between movements should be shown with your mind, not your body. It is all a matter of intent. This is extremely subtle and somewhat difficult to explain. Suffice it to say that watching a very experienced practitioner doing even the most basic kata looks nothing like watching those who have only been practicing a few years."

Yep. Its like magic. I want to be able to do that magic.

Practice, practice, practice.

Just wanted to share. Thanks Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane for writing such great books!


  1. Wonderful book, enlightening isn't it. Have you read Steven J. Pearlman's book, Book of Martial Power?

    This goes with the kata book by Wilder Sensei and friends...

  2. Yep. I'm not very far into yet, but everything I have read so far is amazing.

    Book of Martial Power, No, I haven't. I'll put it on my wish list. ^.^ Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. SG: Another I just finished, "Facing Violence," by Rory Miller ... need to know if you wish to learn, practice, and apply self-defense ...

  4. Facing Violence is on my short list of books to read as well.

    I assume Miller's work is awesome as usual.