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The importance of Kata


The importance of KataThe importance of Kata

We had seen some time ago in training videos why some stagnate in karate and especially why they have difficulty retaining a Kata.

So we had a lecture, with my friends Fabien Monjo from Martial Passion, the Blog of Martial Arts Enthusiasts, entitled " how to learn a kata and never forget it Or I gave you a method to learn a good Kata and Fabien taught you how to keep it in the long run.

These different techniques make it possible to know the sequences of a kata, but it would be interesting also to recall the importance of the Kata in Karate. Indeed, katas are too often perceived as a banal choreography staging various more or less complicated movements. Too often put in the background, we forget their martial function and we neglect their work. Yet, the sequence of movements is undoubtedly a essential element in many martial arts... Kata in karate, Tao in Kung Fu, Poomsae in Taekwondo etc. These different names designate the same learning technique.

We will see together the wealth that represents the Kata.

The kata is in the heart of Karate:

It is important to understand that the Kata does not have a purely practical role in Karate: he is at the heart of Karate, he is at the base of the martial artit is what embodies the essence of the style practiced.

Indeed, the grouping of different katas of a school can be conceived as the encyclopedia of this schoolinasmuch as most of the techniques practiced are concentrated within the movements. So you will notice that many kihon are derivatives of movements found in a Kata : you can forget a Combinations Kihonbut if you retain the katasyou will have the basis of most kihon. katas are a concentrate of movements, various and varied blows, postures, breathing techniques, blockages ... It is not a simple component -accessory- of the martial art, but the illustration of this art.

Let's not forget that katas that you learn are an ancient heritage that the masters have bequeathed to their followers. This link between the present and the past is a real treasure that continues. Is not this something extraordinary?
Let's not forget that many katas have disappeared with their master and are lost forever. It is therefore essential to preserve this teaching and perfect it so that we can transmit it in our turn.

The kata is a real fight:

Le Kata allows to acquire a set of combat techniques whose effectiveness is not negligible. Many practitioners believe that this is an abstract method, far removed from reality. Yet, by dint of repeating the movements, displacements, blockages and blows, you will integrate automatisms and reflexes. You will not necessarily do the same choreography in a fight, but you will have acquired basic techniques, engine patterns that it will be possible to implement instantly. Performing the katas in different ways (slow, fast, strong ...) and in different places or orientations, you also have the possibility to perform effective movements, whatever your position.

Kata is a real fight against imaginary opponents. Once you have passed the learning phase of the kata, you must "live" your kata as you live a fight, with the same fears, the same doubts, the same mistakes that you have to work on to progress. Each repetition must be a new fight in which you will try to improve, be more alert (the zanchin), more stable, work your breathing, your explosiveness, etc. All these qualities are necessary in combat and the kata must become your working support to really progress in real combat.

The kata is a library of self defense techniques:

In addition, Le Kata is a real panel of application of self defense techniques : repeating it gives you the opportunity to integrate them. We had already spoken about it in the study of BunkaiKata makes it possible to put yourself in a real-life situation and make an attack: the shots that you give are intended for an opponent and the intention must be directed towards this opponent, at a specific place in his body (head, throat , belly ...). Likewise for your blockages: they must not be deployed at random. So it's a great mental job for the fighter. Moreover, it is obvious that visualizing the opponent and being attentive to his movements improves your concentration. Your opponent, or aggressor must really be present in your mind during Kata, you must learn to visualize and feel it. This mental visualization work is essential in the study of a kata.

Kata is a great gym for body and mind:

I would also like to emphasize the physical virtues of Kata. Whether short or long (up to sixty techniques), the Kata allows to acquire some physical form. It makes work endurance, strength, precision, distance management, power, Ki (internal vital energy), flexibility, balance, speed and sheathing (especially regarding the center, called Hara). It's also a great way to work synchronization and coordination which are often lacking for beginners.

The sequence of movements calls for a certain neuromuscular capacity that develops through repeated work. It is therefore a very good physical training for the body and I invite you to work your katas in different ways to experience the bodily sensations you may feel Kata without taking a break, for example, continuously, or on the contrary all in strength with long breaks).

Kata is also excellent for the mind by improving concentration,



memorization, general acuteness ... You will develop your zanchin or "spirit of availability. In fact over the rehearsals of a kata, your state of concentration and openness, and all your senses, take you little by little into almost meditative states. Your mind does not wander more than one thought to another, but follow the kata ...

Without kata, there is no real Karate:

So we saw how much Kata represents a complete method of training. Not only, it allows to transmit the fundamental principles of martial artbut it also gives the practitioner a real technical encyclopedia of self defense. Across the katasyou will be able to work the psychological aspect which is undeniable in Karate and you can maintain your body.

Do not neglect the work of your katasbecause it is at the forefront of your martial practice.

Some think that the kata does not represent the reality when in fact, it is the opposite, without Kata, there is no real karate!

Good job and see you soon!

Now, tell me in a comment below how personally you see the practice of kata!

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  1. Yahia Brahim MRAIN at

    Hello Bruno B
    Sincerely the above article on Katas is very uninteresting, well done. As far as I'm concerned I enjoy the kata practice that I do with love and I try somehow to do it in the best way, so they improve our stature (shape and strength) and in addition I find them fun even for us adults.
    Good luck

  2. Hello dear friend Bruno,
    the Kata is the set of movements of each Karate rank: I explain myself: That is to say that in each Karate belt or rank: There are definite movements or techniques, which must be learned one by one. one and then gathered them in a Kata to learn how to defend against imaginary opponents. As you say: by dint of repeating slowly and quickly: One develops the speed, the precision and the power of striking, as well as the memory, not to forget the movements or Katas. In case of surprise aggression: Blocking, Dodging and Counterattack: Automatically and accurately cast to defeat the opponent.

  3. Hello,
    karate without kata is DIY without tools ....

    the fact of repeating them, knowing them by heart makes it possible to obtain spontaneous reflexes which will be much faster than a gesture that will ask for reflection etc.
    in some fight we look for these gestures these techniques we do not find them, we see just two guys "jump" on

  4. Kata is the memory of karate. It is on it serves to soften, to muscle, to work his memory, to breathe properly, it also serves his work power, balance, etc ... in short to discover his body.
    Why I say that it is the memory of karate, it is because with all the different techniques that there are in the kata, we develop the bunkai. And we see that there are percussions, keys, projections, work at short distances. And the best way to remember all these different techniques in time is to learn kata ... Different affinity martial arts have developed, such as kravmaga, karate jutsu, but without the memory of the kata, in time the techniques will forget themselves. Do not forget that all teachers of these different martial arts were karateka ...

  5. Hi bruno
    For me, kata is the perfection of movement.
    I love katas.c is a moment of concentration
    Also during my work when I have a small hollow
    I'm doing a kata.
    I find that very beautiful.

  6. Hello Bruno,

    Some authors think that the set of kata forms a puzzle which, once reconstituted and assimilated, allows (among others) a self-defense foolproof.

    In fact, the founder of modern karate, Funakoshi, in his book "karate do kyohan"; page 9, says in substance: "If we consider all existing kata, their number is very important. However, as the study of kata is not an end in itself but rather aims to build character and discipline, it is not necessary to learn a large number without discrimination. It is largely sufficient to become familiar with the nineteen following kata and to limit oneself to their intensive practice. From Shorin school, the beginner will first study Taikyoku Shodan, Taikyoku Nidan, Taikyoku Sandan and continue with Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yodan, Heian Godan, Bassai, Kanku, Empi and Gankaku. From Shorei School, one must study Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, Tekki Sandan, Jutte, Hangetsu and Jion. If we include with these kata the Ten-no-kata as combat kata, I believe we obtain, the best uses and expressions of the various good points of the kata. therefore, many more kata will not be described here.

    Two remarks:

    - Maybe in his day there was no short and long form (dai and sho) for kata bassai and kanku. We can therefore conclude that we must also learn their short version.

    - The set of these kata that he suggests leads at least to the 2ème Dan, or even a little beyond (Tekki Sandan being in 4ème Dan) in the hierarchy of the modern passages of grade of the kata module.

    Best regards.

  7. BOUCHIBI Sofiane at

    good day,
    I think you are very good.
    Can you, sir, determine the necessary time and number of passage from grade to season.

  8. This is a very nice article, nowadays there are young people who know nothing, but believe all know and they say the kata are not used for street fighting but it is false.

  9. Hello Bruno, thank you for these clear reminders about what a kata (poomsae in my case taekwondoist).
    I would add that it is a great way of relaxation and meditation.
    Taking a simple, well-known schema, running quietly, focusing only on its gentle movement, a bit like taishi, really makes it possible to refocus the mind and feel better in 5minutes.
    Be it in the evening after a hard day's work, during a break in a moment of pressure, etc.
    What a bonus ^^

  10. Hello Bruno

    What to say, what to add after your reflection on the kata! All is said !
    And for those who doubt the practice of kata, we all know that the great karate fighters, far from neglecting the kata component, have all been experts in kata. It is even useless to quote them: the list would be much too long.

    Thank you Bruno for this confirmation.

  11. This article was particularly interesting because having 76 years I train practically every day in bodybuilding, cardio, yoga and I maintain my karate by doing various kata such as five ocean, tekki shodan, bassai dai, kanku dai and the jion. I will soon add more. I also do taikyoku.
    All this slowly, fighting speed and contraction at least for the simplest. I would add that I also practice the punching bag.
    And I can say that I still feel the possibility of progression, both in the gesture as in efficiency.

    Thanks again for all the advice you give in your arti
    keys and videos

  12. first I want to thank you for this beautiful article.
    I am at the beginning of karate and I really find it difficult to advance as you mentioned at the beginning of your article. Before reading this article I did not have a clear idea about the importance of kata malges that I feel that it develops me.
    I really liked in the article the observation that the kata must be practiced at different speeds and also that we must always put in mind an imaginary opponent to work the mind during the work of the kata and also that the sequence of accurate gestures is a practice that causes the mind not to wander but to follow the thread of the kata
    "Your mind does not wander from one thought to another, but follow the kata ..."

  13. Affirmative. Katass or forms are the essence of martial arts. A physical and mental discipline as much on the tatamis as in the control of oneself in the current life, of 7 to 77 years and more if affinities .. martial Art and technique of long life, except imponderables ..
    Acquire the perception of ki as much as possible, master the body and mind.
    As for invincibility? This is another story, but not the purpose .. Everyone has to follow the path, do or Tao. The five Heian is already a beginning that has no end, no more than a swimming-no-kata where the 108 Yang movements of Tai Chi chuan. Put back on the job each time his work!

    • I'm going to have 76 years and I do my katas every day with a weight training and punch bag and I do not count "except accident" to stop at 77 years.
      If you continue your whole life training, you will see that you can be young at any age. I would rather say: to be a young person of his age.

      • Daniel cherubin at

        I have 78 years, I practiced jujitsu and discovered karate since 8 month, it's true that on the tatami I feel as young as the "real" young people, I still had some difficulties at the beginning coordination, but I progress and I confirm that if you have the chance not to be sick karate can be practiced a lifetime ......

  14. The katas are excellent not only the form, but the bunkai in taisabaki do not have Japanese instructors courses you will learn are essential to karatedo of course ... ..


    Jacques Thomet Graduate Instructor / Examiner SKI-JKA

  15. I work my katas (heian nidan, sandan) for two months now after the videos and the advice of bruno, and with a work almost daily, 5 min here and there, I see myself progressing from days to days

  16. Good evening Bruno,

    I just joined you very recently, and I just wanted to thank you, for your commitment to the transmission of your knowledge.
    Of course, concerning this article on kata, you preach a convinced! I like this notion of imaginary adversary but of real combat. The intention is very real and the fight is also real, but above all against oneself.
    A fight that should push us towards the "right" realization of this essential heritage.
    It is very revealing of Japanese culture, or in many fields (ranging from very simple things to very complicated subjects), a Japanese will search for "just" achievement, where a Westerner would use the term "perfect".
    It's up to us to play, to work to get the best out of it.

    Regale us again

  17. Excellent article Bruno, as always!
    In addition, we all have our favorite that we take even more pleasure to practice.
    And then the inheritance, as you point out, is almost moving: millions of practitioners have performed these kata before us, millions will perform them after us.
    It would almost make you dizzy!

  18. Bonsoir.
    Thank you for this interesting article.
    I do not understand why so many people do not seem to like katas, except for the fact that you have to learn "by heart", this article shows the usefulness!
    We have already made the black belt katas in my club that I found by cons very complicated (already the 1 er kata, it is 1 year that I now karate about, I'm just beginning to know).
    But for me the kata is just everything you learn in karate. As in a book, we can learn for example about a subject that we like here, but by the book (an encyclopedia, for example, a documentary book), all the information is gathered in this book. In addition, without the kata, there would surely be much less training techniques.

    In short, I find that kata is more than useful in karate anyway.
    Good night.

  19. Bonsoir
    Thank you Bruno for this document on Katas. I practice since 1 month and a half and I discover kata karate. Taikyoku shodan and nidan, then Heian shodan and nidan. I have barely touched Heian Nidan, but I like it a lot because of the variety of techniques he has. I imagine there will be many others who will fascinate me even more, but already Heian shodan served me in kihons on Oi tsuki or shuto. I had more ease, I was more focused. All you have written about the importance of Kata seems very fair to me, there is not much to add, if not speak of his own discovery, which is so new to me.
    I have practiced Judo and Jujitsu for 17 years (I am 3e Dan) and so I also know some judo kata. But it is very different in the sense that it is a job at 2, and so we rely a lot on the work of the other, on the coordination between practicing 2.
    Karate is more focused, it requires more precision, there are many details to discover and improve. We find very quickly an application, a utility in the work of kihon and even in randoris.
    Thank you again for everything you bring to your site, your videos, especially Katas precisely allow to re-work the kata.
    See you soon.

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