What is Kata?:
Kata is a prearranged set of movements that embody a set of fundamental offensive and defensive techniques. Each kata focuses on a particular fighting style or strategy. This strategy is intertwined in the stances, direction changes, blocks, and strikes included in the kata.
Kata are taught and studied in “layers” beginning with the basic movements and stances and progressing toward intermediate and advanced movements. While kata may appear to be limited and simple demonstrations of rigid techniques to the untrained eye, studied properly they develop physical and mental attributes for a wide range of self-defense applications.
An example of the progression of kata study:
Proficiency in Karate-do is developed by merging one’s natural instincts and physical attributes with physiologically efficient and effective technique. Kata is the means for developing efficient and effective technique by focusing on proper stance, balance, atemi (focus), and self-awareness in the context of self-defense applications. Through focused study and repetition, the karateka uses kata to master a particular fighting style or strategy. Once the karateka develops “muscle memory” for effective techniques, kumite (sparring) can be used as a tool to develop spacing, timing, and the fluid application of techniques. This is why kata is at the core of traditional Karate-do training and kumite is used only as supplemental training for advanced students.
More information and complete videos for all of the Matsubayashi Ryu kata can be found on another member of our karate family website