The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi – No. 18

‘Practicing kata is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another’

Kata – love it or hate it, there are advantages to practicing it that cannot be ignored.

Kata teaches movement, gives the karate student techniques to draw upon, and teaches a student to think of movement in a pseudo-fighting situation when taught correctly.  When kata bunkai is explained and practiced in the dojo, it allows students to think of kata in terms of the real-world use especially if students are encouraged to think up their own bunkai to perform and explain to other members of the group.

However, it should always be made clear that kata is a tool designed to show techniques, teach breathing, and generally exercise.  It should not be thought of as a real combat scenario.  A kata is a regimented set of movements while in a fight, the karate practitioner should transcend these movements, flowing techniques freely according to an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

By Karly West

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