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Jordan Emery
Jordan Emery's picture
Kata Exercise/Challenge


I have something different and challenging to offer that I hope you'll all find interesting/amusing. Warning: if you find it difficult to remember kata already, please do not attempt this as it will ruin your coordination.

The challenge is to perform the kata inverted. That is, practise the kata how it would appear if you were to watch it in a mirror.

Taking Pinan/Heian Yondan as an example: instead of turning left as the first move, you would turn right. Instead of stepping forward with the right, you would do it with the left.

Try it with Nihanchi first to get the concept, then move onto others once you get confident. You'll end up with your body screaming at your mind, your mind yelling at your body. There may be moments where you know you're doing something right because it's wrong, or wrong because it's right. :D

Nothing practical here, just a bit of fun and mentally taxing. (Although it can be a great prank to invert the kata when practising with someone to seriously confuse them).

I'd like to know how you find this/which kata you struggle to invert. Personally I find Chinto a nightmare to do this with.

Enjoy :)

Cataphract's picture

Hey that was fun.

I'm half used to this because I like facing people when showing them a kata so they can mirror my movements. But I've never done it for a whole kata before.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Always fun to do that kind of thing to get the “repetition by stealth” :-)

I have a few other suggestions on how we can mix things up in solo kata practise in this podcast:


All the best,


Wastelander's picture

I do this fairly regularly, due to teaching classes, albeit not usually the full kata at a time. The Naihanchi and Pinan kata are no problem, but the higher level kata can be tricky. Doing them in reverse from end to beginning is also an interesting one

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Wastelander wrote:
Doing them in reverse from end to beginning is also an interesting one

Very hard to do. I once saw a gent do that as part of a demonstration. It’s looked like film of the kata being played backward … very impressive.

All the best,


Chikara Andrew
Chikara Andrew's picture

I'm a big fan of practicing kata in it's mirrored form especially Pinan's, Shodan, Nidan and Sandan are fairly straighforward but Yondan and Godan take a little more thought. I think it is a useful exercise so that you think about some of the more complex movements from both sides whereas often in the kata they are only practiced from one side.

I'm currently working on Bassai as I noted that in a number of references people suggest that it was created by a left handed person. I don't know how true that is but the only way to consider that is to turn the kata around. I think it will take some considerable time to un-wire my brain on that one to see the "wrong" version and natural.

Marc's picture

When teaching Tekki/Naihanchi I usually face the group so we can see each other. I then perform the kata in mirrored form so the group and myself move in the same direction (East / West). It's easy with Tekki because it is mirrored by nature. But it sometimes feels weird now to start to the right.

Another thing I do and ask my students to do is to rush through the kata as fast as possible. Don't bother about exact technique, just make sure you include every move, step and turn. This is a good tool to check whether your body has internalised the kata sequences or whether there are positions where you still "hang". Heian Shodan/Pinan Nidan would take about 5-10 seconds this way.

Try the same while mirroring the kata. ;-)

More ideas on how to vary your kata performance for training purposes:


Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

Hi all, I don't do mirrored kata but might try for fun. Marc I use similar thing with quick kata. We do kata in three ways. Technically correct, slow and tensed and quick relaxed. More about my way of teaching kata here:


Kind regards