There is more to training than just the kata I completely understand that. So let me ask the question. Could you only do kata and would that be enough? In short yes and yes. However there are a few points.
I could easily do kata and have thought it would be enough for me in my training and I feel it would allow me to be a fairly complete martial artist. But of course there’s more to doing kata than going through the moves.
You’ve probably seen the people in training doing that, going through the motions becuase thats whats required. If this is the case, then they just dont get it. If this is you then you just don’t get it.
Ok over time I’ll go though the process for learning, performing, praticing, analysing and using kata in my training.
I have a number of processes for the better undestanding and pratice of kata.
my learning processes are: Learn the…
1. indivdual techniques, if the kata has any “new” or unseen techniques to you.
2. pattern, learning the actual pattern in part and eventually as a complete sequence.
3. what I call cadence, which shows in more detail the elements in the kata that have speed, power, and tension elements among other things
4. meaning, what the sequences actually do. based on the principles of body dynamics, leverage, and the distractive and destructive techniques.
5. visualisations the intergration of the above against a partner as you see it in your mind
6. practice with a partner
7. against an opponent/partner realistic representation of against a partner.
The processes I’ve listed here have evolved over many years of trail and experimentation. Saying this, it is still evolving with time and experience. But this covers much of what I do.
Kata in its basic form a simply a number of body movements joined with attack techniques, fashioned in a way to make it easier to remember the ways and means to overpower an opponent. In my mind there are minimal defensive techniques in kata, its soul purpose is to show how to render your opponent incapacitated, in as few moves as possible.
With this and my thinking that kata should work for 90% of the people 90% of the time there are strategies to employ during the use of the techniques. This strategy is…. If you intend on using a grouping or any technique then use the force required to finish your opponent. Simple…
If the sequence requires you to take the balance then make sure the force you use takes the balance, if the strike, kick, or other technique in part of the sequence then the force you use will finish your opponent.
Kata is a package of information used to remember how to render a non compliant opponent incapacitated fast…. (it’s not sport)
As you will see from the list of processes most of my training is limited to personal training, with the use of visualisations to help provide a better level of intensity when performing kata alone. The visual elements are important as it will help with actually seeing in your mind what the sequence is doing. This with the use of power, speed and tension elements will increase the effective performance of the kata when done individually.
The last 2 processes being practice and partner drill are for you and your partner to see how the movements and techniques are affected when a body is in the way. The drills during these processes are to practice the sequence as the kata intended with someone for feedback. The feedback loop is essential as it will provide a gauge as to the effectiveness of your actions.
I’ve seen a lot of partner or 2 man drills where they go through a derived sequence from the kata and perfom the moves in a flow from one to another. I believe this sequence is taking away from the essence of the kata and its intension. I do feel there is a symbiotic relationship between the person doing the kata and the opponent, but only in the way that the kata shows how to incapacitate the other person, and not how they can play a person on person tag drill.
To me a flow drill is simply performing the sequence as intended on an opponent and learning how to use your body movements, stances and techniques to finish them strong and fast.
There are times that working in a flow drill may be necessary, but make sure you maintain the conceptual notions of the movements if you are taking them directly from the kata. Taking movements from a kata and saying so is fine then altering them for the purpose of a drill and still saying they are movements from the kata will send conflicting messages to you the people you train and the idea of what the drill what originally intended to achieve.
If you do a drill that removes the concepts and core elements from a kata sequence, then don’t says its from a kata… just call it a movement drill..