Creative Ways To Train Kata
I came across an interesting article on different ways to approach kata training at Jesse's karate blog. Here are several that caught my eye; I'll follow the bold text with my somewhat related thoughts:
- Do the kata mirrored. This was actually a requirement for most of the forms I knew after black belt. I read somewhere that doing the "opposite side" version of the kata opens one's meridians (invisible energy channels in the body that transport qi.). I never felt my meridians open (whatever that means) but learning the kata mirror style was a major pain.
- Do the kata in your head. A no-brainer (pun intended), especially when you're first learning the form. Also, very handy if someone accuses you of daydreaming in the dojo, just say you're visualizing Hamahiga no tonfa.
- Do the bunkai. We've all done segments of the form with its self-defense applications. When was the last time you've performed the entire kata synchronized with two or more attackers? Eventually you have uke apply increasing levels of realistic force.
- Do the kata 100 times in a row. Uh, no.
- Film your kata. I used to do this in preparation for tournaments or testing. You'll be surprised at what you see. Highly recommended.
- Do the whole kata with one arm tied behind your back. Several years back we had a young man (mid 20s) at our school who had one arm. He lost it in a terrible accident as a youngster, but that didn't deter him from training. He sparred, did one-arm pushups and versions of kata we helped modify for him.
- Do the kata in extreme weather conditions. Rain or snow storms? Check. Tornadoes? Bad idea.
- Lastly, just do the whole #@! kata as if your life depended on it. Enough said.