Monday, September 22, 2014

What's Wrong With Karate 3

For this week's installment, lets analyze kata (forms or patterns).

Karate practitioners developed kata in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The first kata were developed to help the masters teach. A single instructor might have students in several towns. Clearly, only one set of students could be taught at a given time. At the time, the practice of martial arts in Okinawa was banned, so the instructors disguised their lessons as a "dance." The students would practice a specific dance for years, and rarely learned more than a handful of dances.

Some people think there are literal and figurative meanings behind the moves in kata. To be sure, that is partly true. But kata is not a code written in a secret language, which needs to be deciphered.

Kata is a training drill, designed to let the person practice known moves in a solo manner, all the while keeping a low profile in an area that bans martial arts practice.

So, keep doing the kata, but don't put a lot of stock in "super-secret" and overly involved "interpretations."


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