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Kata — All The Way Home

Sometimes it’s a good thing I have a long drive home after class. Especially on nights like tonight, when Renshi was teaching me a new kata. Goju Shiho Ich is a long one (I probably didn’t spell it correctly!), and so far I’m only about halfway into it. I’m OK with waiting to learn the second half, though, because I’m still trying to get the first half down!

Over the years, I’ve found that if I learn something in class and don’t run through it in my mind until much later, I’ll probably forget quite a bit of it. The hour drive home after class gives me plenty of time to go through the movements in my head. It helps me work things out and get the pieces in place. Sometimes it helps me remember nuances or tweaks that were made during class. And it always solidifies the new movements in my head.

Tonight I practiced the new kata all the way home, going over it again and again and again in my mind. I haven’t physically done it too many times, so I may have mixed some things up, and I could only get so far because I need some more prompting. But with that extra “practice” I’m farther along than I would be if I had left class and driven home thinking about something else!

Miss Morning Person goes to Saturday Morning Karate

An encore post from Colahan’s Martial Arts, January 22, 2011

5:45 am – The alarms are going off already? Crap. What meetings do I have today? Do I have to be in at 8 or is 8:30 acceptable?

5:46 am – Wait – it’s Saturday; no meetings today. Good! But I am going to the hombu, and classes start at 8.

7:14 am – If this car in front of me doesn’t move it, I’m going to be late. Goody – now that I can pass, they decided to drive over the speed limit.

7:50 am – “Good Morning, Michele!!”  Yippie. Sensei’s wide awake. This does not bode well for the workout.

8:03 am – A young Gumby is leading warm-ups. Hope we stretch!

8:12 am – Drills up and down the floor, and Miss Morning Person is not even awake yet.

8:36 am – What am I – crazy???

8:50 am – Kata, self-defense, kata, self-defense…

9:09 am – How many more minutes in this class? I can hardly hold my arms up.

9:25 am – I’m done. Brown/Black Belt class is almost over.

9:58 am – Watching jujitsu and wishing I was doing the class too. Paying attention and learning a couple things from my seat in the Peanut Gallery.

10:30 am – Family open class. This time Miss Morning Person’s leading warm-ups; we stretch.

10:35 am – 50 more crunches, 40 more push-ups.

10:50 am – More kata. Kata is deceptive – looks not-so-bad, but is quite the cardio event.

11:15 am – Self defense with Lauren and laughing because she has the funniest hiccups I’ve ever heard!

11:30 am—Gearing up for sparring. I have lots of padding because I have lots of me, so it takes awhile.

12:00 – Ruben beats me up. What is he – 7? 9? He’s a little gizmo – full of pep.

12:16 pm – Sparring class over. I survived intact.

1:15 pm – Lunch with friends. Conversation about karate and life.

4:00 pm – At the gym, sitting in the hot tub and thinking to myself, “Yeah, this has been a good day! When can I do it again?”

Working Kata, One Movement at a Time

Last night in Brown & Black Belt Class we worked on kata step-by-step, one movement at a time.

Hanshi called out the slow cadence, with a pause after each step or block or strike. When we sped up, we paused after a short series of movements.

When kata is broken down in this way, the content of the form can be studied. One punch. One block. One kick. That’s all that matters. Not the movement that came before, and not the movement that will follow.

Moving one step at a time ensures each technique is completed before moving on. I could focus on the most important movement, the one being executed at the moment. And by putting everything into that one movement — all my power and all my speed — I was reminded that each movement should be a stopping movement, the one that would end the fight.

Working kata for content is a great way to perfect each kata movement, in sequence, at 100% power, and is an exercise suitable for any kata and any level of student.