top of page

History of Kata

Kihon, Kumite and Kata are the three pillars of karate. Kihons are the basic fundamental movement of martial arts techniques. Kumite is the practice of sparring with an opponent to apply your techniques to a target as well learning to defend against techniques being thrown at you. Katas however seem to have been lost their original purpose and have become more of an exercise than a way to improve your self-defense.

Kata, in Japanese means "form."

The practice of kata or the use of correct techniques and posture are a crucial part for the practice of kata. Katas roots can be traced back to China. In ancient times, masters or practitioners of Chinese Kung Fu found it difficult to illustrate techniques, both offensive and defensive, through words or paintings. So instead, they developed the 'forms' or kata. Witch were highly detailed movements consisting of dozens of micro-sequences, including punches, kicks, blocks, footwork and breathing techniques, amide to carefully archive their martial arts techniques and to pass it on to future generations.

In the late 14th century, when the Ming dynasty sent several Chinese families from the Fujian province to settle in Japan's Ryukyu, present day Okinawa, they brought kata with them to Japan. Kata was an important component in the exchange of cultures amongst the locals and the immigrant's Chinese families.

Why is kata still important in training today?

Traditional karate practitioners believe that mastery of kata is essential for your marital arts journey. It helps fine tune your body mechanics, including muscle memory needed to execute marital arts techniques properly. It is also essential to understand how to generate power from your hips and core as opposed to the legs and arms. Kats also help you practice proper breathing during an altercation.

All this can be done with practicing katas only as a sequence of techniques, however i believe that you need to practice the 'bunkai' of katas to get the full understanding of kata. Bunkai is a Japanese term meaning analysis or disassembly it is used by karate practitioners as practical application. In short bunkai is adding an opponent to your katas, this opponent being physically their or is imaginary only being there in your mind as you go through your kata.

Go practice your kata and work on the bunkai

6 views0 comments


bottom of page