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Thinking During Kata

I have seen it written that a student should visualize attackers during each technique of a kata. In this way, he practices defending himself.

I must say that I personally do not do this. I prefer to break out the various techniques and practice them with a partner. I like to make drills for the various techniques or combinations in a kata.

When I practice kata, I do not think of anything. It is almost as if my body goes on autopilot and does the kata. My mind is relaxed, but aware. It is not even like my mind watches the kata. It is more that my mind simply goes along for the ride. It is alert and ready to respond, but not fixed on anything.

Practicing kata is one of the few times when I do not actively think. Two others, for me, are during yard work and while fishing.

Of course, when I am leading the class or a group of students, I usually watch them while I perform a kata. I want to make sure that they are doing it correctly, and I will have to make a mental note to correct one student or another after we finish the kata. I might also be keeping an eye on other groups in the dojo, and on the doors in case someone comes it.

But ideally, there are no distractions, and my mind can sit back and let my body do the talking -- through kata.


Charles C. Goodin