The kata are crucial to the development of anyone who participates in the martial art of karate. The kata have many uses that allow the practitioner to progress during their karate training. It is important that anyone entering the art have the ability to focus and be willing to be patient and recognize that a certain level of fitness and stability is required.
Movements in all martial arts should be smooth and seem effortless. One of the most beneficial elements of kata is the fitness itself. Both the upper and lower body are worked during the movements, thus increasing the fitness of a person who participates in the art.
A full kata session will work most of the major muscle groups in the body. Muscles used when performing kata include the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and glutes. The arm muscles worked are the biceps, triceps and shoulders. The back and neck are also worked throughout the kata as tensing these areas and providing the necessary control allows them to strengthen.
Another area of fitness that will improve over time is body flexibility. The body needs to flex and relax at certain points in the workout, and this requires a lot of stretching, which increases the flexibility of the body.
It is important that people performing kata learn to breathe properly as this will aid in performance for anyone who engages in this art. The mental focus required to breathe properly can also help with the discipline element as the body must be trained to breathe at the correct time and this requires a high level of concentration.
Concentration naturally increases when performing kata as the kicks, blocks and punches must be performed in a specific order. With the more complex kata this requires a lot of concentration and discipline as there can be up to 70 different moves in a complete sequence. The memory has to be built up and that also requires great discipline.
The movements and their sequence can be aided by the shouting that occurs at certain stages of the kata. The scream only occurs on the final beats in the sequences, and the movements can be picked up a bit more easily if the learner knows when to scream. The rhythm created by the kata helps with the memory aspect and as the body begins to move more easily the movements become more natural.
The speed and power generated with each movement should be effortless, and the more experienced kata practitioners will appear almost dance-like in their movements. It’s all about fitness and discipline. When practicing kata it is advisable to take things step by step as the sequence as a whole is easier to complete once each step is mastered. Once the hand motions are perfected, it will be easier to incorporate them into the overall movement.
Bunkai is the application of the techniques taught in the kata. This can help with both fitness and discipline as it is done in pairs and requires great concentration. While in kata the opponent is imaginary, in bunkai the opponent is real and this means that new elements may need to be introduced into the movements. Distance between opponents is important, and Bunkai can help with that.
This also contributes to the stability of the competitor as they need to ensure their start and finish positions are respected. This helps with the discipline and memory aspect of the kata. By following the movements of partners, learning the movements themselves can be easier. Bunkai is required by some martial arts schools to achieve graduation and it is important that perfection in the kata be achieved before Bunkai can be attempted.
The kata can be helpful when it comes to the mind. It teaches the body to respond to mental visualizations. The reaction that takes place is a physical one, and by repeating processes over and over again, as people must do when practicing kata, this increases the conditioning process of the mind. This can also help with the rhythmic movements that are essential for the correct execution of kata.
Practice makes perfect, and the more practice there is, the more natural the movements will be for people. Regularly following the rhythm of the kata while practicing helps the mind remember the next move before it needs to be performed; this contributes to the smoothness of the sequence as a whole.
Kata greatly supports the overall art of karate as the movements that are performed help to increase knowledge of the art in various ways. The competitor will learn the importance of the distance needed to effectively block attacks while at the same time being able to predict the distance needed to make an effective attack.
Accuracy should be worked on before speed because if the movements are accurate, the accuracy will still be there as the speed is increased. A karateka who executes the movements accurately will be more relaxed and the relaxation will then allow him to increase the speed without thinking about it.
The techniques used for blocks, punches and kicks also become more effective with the use of kata and this will benefit a karateka throughout his or her training. The use of power and speed is vital in kata and improves fitness and discipline. It is important for a student to understand the reason for each movement as this makes it easier to learn and perform.
Kata can be mastered by focusing on a number of elements. These elements are accuracy, breathing, focus, technique, speed, and power. Knowing the kata with all these elements intact ensures that the kata can be performed naturally, smoothly and effectively.
Thanks to Kevin L Wilson | #Karate #Kata #Health #Benefits