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Which kata are we practising today ?

I already know this kata !

I do not need this kata for my next rank !

We already did this kata the last time !

Are we going to do a new kata today ?

When will we learn the high katas ?

This kata is boring !


Sometimes, instructors feel like conducters facing an orchestra not mastering the musical instruments. Hardly able to play simple melodies or just scales, the musicians wish for rehearsing different compositions all the time. A little bit of Beethoven, ten minutes Bruckner, twenty minutes Mahler, loosened up with Sibelius, and for warming up a touch of Bernstein.


At tournaments one can watch student participants, even children, performing kata intended for high Dan grades. This resembles someone not being able to play the piano but nonetheless pleasing the audience performing Rachmaninov by memorizing the sequence in which to push the many same-looking keys on the instrument.


Progress means getting better. It is not the ability to express some kind of superficiality in as much ways as possible. For training, this entails to focus on frequent repetitions of a limited number of exercises. Thus, one can obtain a deeper principal understanding


This establishes the basis for learning new things and for improving the established ones. Somebody knowing ten katas superficially will perform the eleventh one in a similiar mediocre fashion because he is only able to transfer his inability. On the other hand, somebody able to master only few or even only one kata can apply his knowledge to many other things.


The consumption of ever more and more exotic techniques, forms, and exercises corresponds to a holiday camp attitude. Apart from its entertainment value, it only produces illusions of progress and high standards.


 1999 TDI