The constant talk and references to “childrens kata’, ‘practice kata’ or ‘junior kata’ has to be put to rest, so to allow each and every karateka to pursue what they believe is best for them in their training journey.
Kata to me is the following;
What is a Kata? (From My Student Training Booklet)
A kata is commonly known as a form, a patternised sequence of movements involving karate techniques that simulate various attacks and defences. The interpretation of the attacking and defensive techniques can be seen on various levels from very basic to complex. The practical application of the techniques contained in a kata can be for defences against striking attacks all the way through to grappling defences. The longer a student studies a kata, the more in depth the study of the practical applications becomes.
It is our contention that the study and practical application of kata is to find the combative self defence techniques hidden within the patternised sequence, thus providing the student with a self defence system that has been handed down throughout the ages. Therefore, when a student studies a kata, it is not enough to be able to perform the sequence well, it is incumbent upon the student to delve deeper into the movements and determine the combative effectiveness of the movements and techniques contained in each kata. As such the study of a single kata can take years to fully understand and appreciate, the practical applications can be numerous and can vary greatly depending on the interpretation of the individual studying and deciphering the meaning contained within the kata.
In my martial arts journey I sought out the training systems and kata which compliment my physical attributes and as a result have concentrated on the following kata; Heian Shodan to Godan, Jion & Kanku Dai, which have provided me with the ability to learn and apply practical self defence techniques to a variety of scenarios at different fighting distances. These kata also allow me to grow and explore which I am still doing today after 40 years of martial arts training.
The important part to remember in my view is that every kata has self defence applications and the interpretation of the self defence application is dependant on the individual karateka and his/her life experience. Not all kata will be suitable to every karateka, therefore each and everyone of us should decide what suits us and then do everything possible to explore what is in the kata and how it can suit our individual circumstance.
In my study of kata I have found it useful to break the kata down and see the different applications held within each sequence, to me each kata has something to teach us and it is up to us to interpret what that is. For me it had to be fast and effective applications as I was a Policeman for 16 years and Crowd Controller for a further 6 years, it had to work so as to avoid injury to myself or partner. The above kata have shown me applications that have worked in real life. The Heian series are a vital source of self defence applications to me, they may not be to someone else but that’s okay, if the shoe fits wear it.
In conclusion I would just like to say that in my opinion just because a kata has what is perceived to be very basic individual techniques does not make it an inferior kata compared to a more complicated kata. It is the self defence applications derived from the kata that are important, not the complexity of the performed sequence.