More Articles by Iain Abernethy
In this article I'd like to briefly discuss some of the ways in which we can view kata, and how, if we adopt a restrictive view, this can severely limit our progress in the martial arts.
Karate is most commonly practised as a mid- to long-range kicking and punching system. And whilst karate practitioners tend to be very skilled at impacting at this range, they are often found wanting should the fight go to close-range. This is because most modern dojos do not include close-range striking and fundamental grappling skills in their training. A chain is only ever as strong as its weakest link and it is this lack of close-range skills that could be the karateka's undoing in a live situation.
Kushanku kata (also known as 'Kanku' and 'Kosokun') is one of the most popular forms in modern karate. It is a physically demanding and visually impressive form (when performed correctly) and it is one of the most popular katas in modern competition. Indeed, it is now one of the compulsory Shotokan katas for kata tournaments. As well as being a popular form with kata competitors, it also has a great deal to offer the practically minded karateka.
Practically all karateka practise kata; however, most only practise the initial stage and therefore they do not develop a rounded and more complete understanding of what kata has to offer. In this article we shall discuss all four stages of kata practise.
Geoff Thompson: What made you want to write a book, and specifically about kata?
In this article, I thought we’d have a brief look at exactly what it is that the katas record. Katas are not simply a record of techniques; rather each and every kata is designed to record the key principles and strategies of a complete style of fighting!