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Understanding Kata and the WCA (podcast)

This month’s podcast is a mix of topics! The first part examines the nature of kata, and many of the misunderstandings surrounding kata, using the following quotation from Gichin Funakoshi as a jumping off point:

"Like textbooks to a student or tactical exercises to a solider, kata are the most important element of karate.”

This line contains two great analogies that really get to the heart of things! It is the ramifications of these analogies that we explore in the first third of the podcast. Kata is NOT a solo re-enactment of a fight! Instead, kata is a repository of knowledge that, when correctly approached, can be freely and flexibly applied in the ever-changing world of conflict. This was the viewpoint that was clearly expressed by the masters of the past.

Having discussed the nature of kata, we then move on to discuss the link between kata and live practise. This includes a discussion on the nature of the secret practise of the past; as described by both Funakoshi and Motobu. I also put forth a case for the traditional view that it is the live application of a kata that shows an understanding of that kata, as opposed to the aesthetics of solo-performance. 

The third and final part of the podcast looks at the history, goals and ethos of the World Combat Association (WCA) from both the perspectives of Peter Consterdine 9th dan (Chief Instructor) and myself (Chief International Coach). The WCA is the international home for pragmatic traditionalists and it’s about time I explained a little more about it in the podcast.

Lots of topics covered in this one and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for the support of the podcasts!

All the best,


Understanding Kata and the WCA
Iain Abernethy