five elements of kata
- shin - imperturbable focus, visualization
- ki - inward fortitude projected outward
- ryoku / waza - technique
- unsui - rhythm & flow
- bunkai - application
three stages of kata development
- A kata is first developed by learning proper sequence and technique.
- A kata is further developed when demonstration is intuitive, focused inward, and undeterred by outside distraction.
- A kata is finally developed when demonstration is instinctive, focused outward, and attended by eight-directional awareness.
seven principles of kata interpretation*
- Kata is a self-defense atlas meant to be studied and applied, not memorized and performed.
- Kata is completely practical and should be interpreted against real world attacks.
- There are no blocks in kata; and virtually every action can be applied against pressure points.
- Kata conceals information in both normal progression and the rhythms of reversal, often promulgating what you need to know as opposed to movement you need to perform.
- Effective self-defense technique often lies between the postures.
- There is more than one correct way to interpret kata movement; there is more than one way to perform that movement.
- Many of the secret treasures of kata are hidden in plain sight; the problem is we cannot see them or are never told about them. Thus, to train in basics is to train in the very secrets of kata.
*These principles are based upon and derived from George Dillman's teaching in Pressure Point Fighting Secrets of Ryukyu Kempo (Dillman Karate International, Reading, PA: 2012) as well as Miyamoto Musashi’s 17th Century teachings in The Book of Five Rings (Shambhala Publishing, London: 2005) and the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba as reproduced by Neil Saunders in Tomiki Aikido (Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC: 2007).