The Karate martial art is incomplete without developing the Kata which is very vital. Kata may have various uses as it enables the person who practices Karate to develop throughout their training both physically and mentally.
It is very essential to have a focus and patience while you practice Karate martial art. For learning this art you need to have some level of physical fitness and stability, without this you may not be able to learn this art perfectly.
The movement during all martial art has to be smooth and should be effortless, thus, the benefit of Kata is that it makes the practitioner to be physically fit. Strong body and good balance enable a person to work out both upper and lower part of the body.
A full Kata session puts all the major muscle groups to work. This includes hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, gluteus muscles, and also the muscles of arm like biceps, triceps and shoulders are subjected to a strenuous work out. Apart from these muscles, the neck and the back also are utilized when Kata is performed and this helps in strengthening the surrounding areas which in turn improve the control of your body movement.
When you practice Kata regularly, you will notice the improvement of your flexibility and this result in easy bending of the body and relaxing at specific points. You can easily stretch and bend your body as per the requirement and this is vital for people who practice martial art.
Mental focus is required for breathing at the right time which helps in maintain discipline. Don’t thinking that this is easy because breathing at the right time needs lot of practice and requires a great amount of concentration.
When you are practicing Kata, your concentration levels naturally increases thus enabling you to enter into a state of mushin no shin or “no mind” state. This mental state is a must as kicks, blocks and punches need to be performed in a certain sequence and perfection.
For more complex type of Kata, a great amount of focus and discipline are required as there can be up to 70 different moves in one sequence. Your memory has to be sharpened which also requires a great deal of discipline.
The moves and sequences are normally helped with loud shouting which is done at certain stages of Kata. The shouts occur only on the final blows throughout the sequences, and the movements become easier if the person knows when to shout.
The induction of rhythm in Kata also helps to increase your memory recollection. When you move with smoothly and with ease, the entire Kata movement looks more natural.
The speed and the power during each move should be effortless. Perfect Kata practitioners move as they are dancing during their routine. The video below show a Karateka with a perfect Kata. Notice the way he moves.
When you practice Kata, it is better to take things stepwise because each step needs to be mastered. With regular practice, each sequence will feel simpler and easier to complete. Once you have mastered the hand movements, it will be easier to use them in the whole sequential move.
To achieve perfection in Kata, you need a strong physique, with added mental fitness. Once you have mastered the art, all your moves will look effortless and yet you are in total control.
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Sensei Dan Loh joined us as a contributor & writer. Dan is a Karateka with 20 years training in Karate and also enjoys training in boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and Filipino stick fighting.
Will Yap has joined us as administrator, contributor & writer. Will is a practitioner of Crazy Monkey Defense (CMD) and holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). His writings on ground fighting will add a new element to this site.