I think kata can be easily over analysed. People can look for things in Kata just for sake of it, making it more complicated than necessary. I like to take a more basic philosophy. No mystical trickery, just straight forward body mechanics and use of techniques to disrupt the opponent and deliver destructive techniques.
Often Kata have repetitions in technique usually left right left or similar, and as a result the techniques can be utilised on the left and/or the right effectively. The repetitions can all allow for additional meanings of the movements / sequences. The other point for remembering is that in a sequence every technique is optional.. this is especially true for sequences where repeats are present. The point of a Kata sequence is to present the person doing it with a self protection concept for a situation. Don’t get caught in the idea that because there is a movement there it needs to be used. By the same token don’t think that if its not used it does not offer some meaning, every technique/movement is of use, you just need to decide if its necessary for what you doing at that point.
One of the difficulties in Kata analysis is to decide when and where the sequences start, stop, and the use of techniques when there are repeats in a sequence. For me I try and look at a kata in a number of ways to help decide the manner in which I break apart the Kata. Unlinke some I dont think the entire Kata is a process from start to finish, but a number of significant concepts joined together to form a package of information for better teaching and transport (transport over time and distance).
Ok so whats the process…
Ideally you would know the entire kata pattern from start to finish, but in reality this is not 100% necessary.
You then look at it as a whole movement and see if you can spot the techniques that signify a break in timing/speed/movement this would tend to indicate that something has begun or something has finished.
Then look at the techniques being performed and decide which are disruptive and which are destructive. Destructive techniques will have a higher likely hood of the end of a sequence because of their nature, when you decide what techniques are destructive look at the preceeding techniques to see what disruptive techniques build to the finish point and this is a good indication that you have a workable sequence.
So when you have the connection between the disruptive, destructive and changes in time/speed/movement you have a pretty good chance that what you are looking at is a point of something workable from a conceptual / technical point for the meaning of that part of the Kata. (simple)
So what if you get to a part in the Kata that seems like the end of a sequence but quite possibly does not feel like the opponent is going to be finished? I think you can assume that for the purpose of the intended concept in the Kata then you can add your own finisher, the sequence is ended and move onto the next. However if you look at the following few techniques in the Kata and they follow on with some sense it may well be an option to continue.
As I see it a Kata is a package of information used to remember how to render a non compliant opponent incapacitated fast….
So there will be disruptive techniques and finishers …destructive…
What is a disruptive technique:
any technique or group of techniques that conveys a method of taking the opponents balance, power, speed, focus so that your destructive techniques are more effective.
Simply walking up to someone and throwing a punch or kick at them will not be as effective as it is when combined with a good disruptive technique.
I’m drifting away from what I started to do and show you how to analyse kata. I’ve given you a few points to consider with the isolation techniques of a sequence. So lets step back a little and take out parts of the kata that may make this isolation process a little easier.
As mentioned earlier often kata have repeat techniques, sometimes left right left or simply what is done on the left is done on the right. So something I try to bring the kata to its core is to take the movements from the forms from the beginning and removing all repeated movements only doing the first version of any set of techniques. Doing this will take your kata and as a result only show 1/3 to a half of the length of the kata.
So why would I take movements out. Why not? Well its the repeats and as I see it, the originator of the kata probably took a little while to compile the basic version from the ideas and concepts, and I feel the additional movements, the repeats are fillers or highlights or simply ways to realign the body to a better position to move into another sequence.
more to follow…