"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

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If you have a question not covered in this blog feel free to send it to me at my email address, i.e. "snow" dot here "covered" dot here "bamboo" AT symbol here "gmail" dot here "com"

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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What Are Kata, Really?

This question, as is with many questions regarding Okinawan Karate, is difficult to pin down simply because nothing of kata had been documented before the mid to late 1900's. I can only answer this question from my personal theories and beliefs. This is not a simple answer and has been a bone of contention and great debates since karate was introduced to Americans at the end of WWII.

In some Isshinryu tribes it is said simply, "Kata are pre-determined defense, attack and counter-attack exercises. Kata develops speed, coordination, technique, and breath control." This, in my view, is to limited and may be interpreted as a basic or introduction to kata and its practice.

I can say truthfully that kata are the blueprints of the system that help us learn and build a personalized and unique system for each of us. It provides tools and techniques to discover the systems many techniques, many stances, and other fundamentals that make up the system in its entirety.

I can only pass along what comes to mind as I write this to convey the depth and breadth and possibilities of kata practice that is only limited to each persons desire, intent, ability and imagination. If you take a look at all the fundamentals of any system you will find a way to work them out in application through the kata.

Kata as a tool is only one layer and other layers are perceived in the practice of kata. Basic/Fundamental bunkai are just that, a key to open the mind and door to more techniques. Things like power and application of a specific technique to specific stance to specific applications is possible in its practice. It provides a means to achieve knowledge of targeting and range according to the move, posture, stance/pose, technique, etc.

Speed, coordination and technique are simplistic introductions and limited because there is so much more to it than this and it can be achieved in kata practice, training, and instruction.

You can find paths to knowledge of kata principles, strategies, tactics and applications. It helps us learn about breathing techniques, body energy generation, body structure as applied to power and technique application, bone-tendon-cartilage as it applies to structure, muscle, breath coordination as applied to specific stimuli, technique, etc., body transitioning, technique transitioning, muscle expansion and contraction as applied to techniques, momentum to hip to arm power and power enhancement, body-mind-sight orientation, and economy of movement to name just a few fundamentals derived from karate kata practice.

I can say emphatically and with confidence that kata serve a purpose. Kata is such that books have been written on just that piece and for myself I have provided a complete section of a web site with about 30 chapters and I have not even dived into the parts of kata such as the purpose of embusen.

Kata, this is what I feel they are and the purpose they serve, really!

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