Kata (form), is a set sequence of karate moves, ranging from a few really basic karate moves, up to hundreds of the really advanced techniques. These techniques are strung together in a predetermined order, that in some instances, has not changed for hundreds of years.
These forms start from the white belt kata, which have very basic block and punch combinations, progressing through the karate belt system, up to the karate kata that have jumps, spins, kicks, strikes, throws, sweeps, etc.
Apart from the obvious fitness and health benefits associated with kata practice, there are many deeper benefits.
When you perform a karate kata fast, you should imagine you are fighting for real, every fast strike should be performed like your life depends on it and it should be the same with every fast block.
They should be practiced with correct timing, breathing, distance and kime (focus). Initially, every kata has it’s own timing and rhythm, but more importantly, every karateka has his or hers own rhythm! So for instance, in our karate dojo, the karate kata Bassai Dai is practiced by our brown belt and above karateka, the kata is the same for everyone, but no two kata are the same!
From the first rei (bow), to the last rei, you are in a fight and the fight is only as strong as your imagination and spirit!
In the younger karateka, the fight in the form is everything, in the latter years, fighting gives way to health and the karate kata take on a whole new meaning. But that’s another article.
When people attend karate classes for the first time, basic moves are first practiced, pretty soon after this, the first form is taught.
When a new karateka starts to learn karate kata for the first time, it is very confusing, the sensei will say, ‘imagine you are fighting someone’. When no one is there, this can seem a little confusing. Imagination is needed when practicing kata, imagine you are being attacked and imagine you are striking an aggressor, this type of training will ensure strong karate kata.