About The Study of Kata and
Both these words, kata and form, mean the same thing. Kata is simply the Japanese word for form. On the surface they look like simple prearranges sequences of techniques. They are that but they are also the living heart of the traditional martial arts.
The famous Tai Chi Form of 108 Movements contains the entire comprehensive teachings of the art of Tai Chi. In traditional Karate this accomplished by teaching a series of shorter forms called Kata.
When one learns a Kata sufficiently and no longer needs to think about each succeeding movement they can begin to apply the next stage of training, knowing when to use kime/fajing, or focus. This is when the entire musculature of the body is used to guide the limbs towards an intended target and at a certain point, the muscles are contracted, stopping their motion in an instant and allowing the kinetic energy to be transferred into the target. The tightening and relaxing of the correct muscles takes a tremendous amount of concentration and it is only in the kata practice that we can learn to control our body to respond to our wishes and also exercise the same control over our breathing. When the movements of a kata/form become so familiar that they can be practiced without hesitation or thinking, a mental relationship to both the body and the kinetic energy inherent in the movement will be released and a deep meditative awareness will develop. — A mind-body awareness will be absorbed. This energy pattern will result in a strong sense of controlled concentration.
Past studies have shown that practitioners of Zen and Yoga display an alpha wave activity (these waves are steady fluctuations reflecting electrical activity of the brain with a frequency of 8-13 cycles per second) during periods of meditation. A kata or form expert develops the alpha wave state in an active, or potentially active, state. He or she is highly attuned to the totality of their surroundings and experiences of a radical awakening in directional awareness.
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