Kata

A Katori Shinto Ryu Suwari Iai Kata

A Katori Shinto Ryu Suwari Iai Kata

Kata – a set of pre-arranged movements, a form to instill principle (Wikipedia)

by JOSEPH KENNEDY

Kata forms the basis of most traditional Budo. The more modern the Art generally the less importance is placed on Kata and Kihon.

With the rapid increase of competition in martial arts such as Karate and Judo, Kata are being performed less. There must be a reason why so many traditional martial arts {China as well as Japan} placed such emphasis on Kata.

In my study of Katori Shinto Ryu, Daito Ryu and Takemusu Aikido I have found that the importance of Kata and Kihon should not be underrated. Katori Shinto Ryu is an art that places such a high emphasis on Kata to the extent that the syllabus is composed entirely by it. As far as I understand it, Kata where practice as a safe and effective means to ingrain concept and an instinctive understanding of combat. Through repetitive movements the warrior develops the ability to move without hesitation. Kata being repetitive allows the practitioner to focus in a unique way. One that is both relaxed and alert. This is also the reason why it is usually better to wait and focus on just one or two as a beginner. If too much is studied the student will be spending the class trying to remember the form, which is not practicing it.

I spent about 3 years practicing the first Kata of Katori Kenjutsu. Sometimes this was frustrating, but now, 4 years later, I feel the benefit. Quality must come before quantity. The rest of the Kata I learnt in about 6 months.

In Takemusu Aikido Kata is very important. The weapons syllabus mirrors in many ways the Taijutsu. For a beginner studying the Bukiwaza {weapons} allows an easier way to learn to relax, easier holding a Bokken or Jo than if someone bigger and stronger is grabbing your arm with all their might.

Kata provides a truly wonderful quality to training. One that should not be lost, in any Art.

Copyright Joseph Kennedy 2014 joseph_kennedy
All rights Reserved
Originally published as http://aikijoseph.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/kata/ 

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