Most martial arts focus on 3 main areas:
As martial artist’s we all want to fight, right?
If we are honest, we go through the motions of the first two, basics and Kata, to get to the good bit..
Sure some instructors may dish out the old cliches and tell there students “I train so I don’t have to fight”.
That’s not a bad thing.
It has its place, especially for those that teach kids.
But when push comes to shove, we teach fighting.
At some point, no matter the style or art you train in, there will come a time when you doubt your techniques and feel the need to test what you have learned.
Whether you try semi-contact or full, you will pit yourself against the techniques and strategies of your peers.
It’s easy, at this point, to forget your roots and change the focus of your training.
Often I have heard of students being attracted to the bright lights of competition and looking to another art or instructor to provide what they think is missing from their training.
Leaving the solid base they had, to chase their elusive dreams.
Many end up just hitting pads or worse, being used as cannon fodder for senior students who already compete..
But remember a successful fighters shelf life is pretty short, you may have already missed the bus.
Not everyone will be a champion and injuries happen.
No matter how great you think you are, the reality is that for most people, you’ll never make the UFC and will still have to be at work on Monday morning.
Unlike competition careers, martial arts is a life long journey. With over 30 years of training in several arts.
I still consider myself a beginner who has only started to scratch the surface.
So let’s look again at the main areas of training:
Basics is where you learn your art.
It’s your introduction to training, where the foundation to your art is taught.
You learn the concepts and principles of striking, kicking, blocking, locking and throws.
It is taught carefully, with your instructor making corrections to your body position.
Practice is long and repetitive, committing techniques to muscle memory.
If learned properly, techniques will come on their own in reaction to the situation or attack.
This is put into action and tested when we spar or fight.
We apply our techniques in a dynamic way against a resistant partner.
But there is a massive leap from basics to sparring.
Care needs to be taken or injuries can occur, even if we do try and break it down into 3 step , 5 step or 1 step first.
This is where Kata comes in.
Kata is the means by which fighting theory becomes fighting practice.
It takes the individual technique taught during basics and combines the concepts of timing and distance.
Kata also allows you the chance to work on your own, outside of class.
It is the foundation for all sparing and opens your mind to the idea of multiple attackers and practical self-defence technique.
Now before I get called out on social media, I didn’t say Kata was for Self-Defence.
I said it can open your mind to multiple attackers and practical self-defence.
In my opinion, Kata practice will change the practitioner’s perception of their basics.
Beginners might not understand the nuances of Kata or see the benefits, so let’s change our discussion to something most people understand.
In weight-loss and fitness circles, there are daily arguments about the use of fad diets and specific fitness regimes.
Fashions change, things come and go but no one would argue against the long term benefits of healthy eating and exercise.
The scientific results are well documented and have stood the test of time.
But what has that to do with Kata?
In society, things that work are kept and things that don’t are thrown away.
There’s a reason traditional arts use Kata.
Because it works.
Kata holds the secrets to your art, kept in plain sight and passed down through the generations to you.
Hopefully you’ll remember this post if your training becomes boring, allowing you to see things from a different perspective.
A wise student never forgets the importance of their Kata.
And if you are learning a style or art that doesn’t have Kata, maybe you should be asking the question why not?
Fighting is a young students game, Kata will be with you for life.
Speak to you again soon..