Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kata - the root of shotokan

How many kata should we practice? Some say one, some say 15 some say 26, shito-ryu do about 60, Asai sensei felt the need to create even more than that, so which is it? In my opinion the answer lies within you. (Heck, some people do no kata whatsoever and still seem happy)

For me personally, i think kata is a great way of practicing movement and get control over our body. Then if a kata like Sochin or Jutte comes naturally to you, then by all means have fun with it and make it your favorite. That said; also practice the ones that seem to elude you cause *that* is probably the week point of you karate.

How many? Hmm... seeing as i like kata and i find them to have lots of interesting points that will help your mechanics, understanding of principles and general fitness, i would say quite a few. Here is a broad outline to keep karate-training varied and fun:

For all levels: the katas preceding your current grade must be kept sharp (otherwise, what was the point of learning them, they are training tools after all)

At 1st kyu one should have a strong command of the 5 Heian + Tekki Shodan. Furthermore one should be able to get through the sequence of "the big four" and pick a fav from them to perform for the shodan-test. (Big four: Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Jion and Empi)

Shodan: Add Bassai Sho, Kanku Sho, Jutte, Nijushiho and Tekki Nidan.
Nidan: Make it a longterm-goal to know the sequence of the rest of the classical Shotokan kata. Gojushiho Dai, Gojushiho Sho, Unsu, Sochin, Hangetsu, Jiin, Tekki Sandan, Chinte, Wankan, Meikyo.

And if you really love kata, nothing stops your from learning kata from other karate styles or even make up your own katas. Other kata that i practice for keeping my karate fun: Sanchin, Suishu, Seiryu, Junro Shodan, Junro Nidan, Seipai, Seienchin. And if anyone have a strong command of Anan or Kururunfa; then you are totally welcome to teach a class at my dojo.... :-)