Kata (型 or 形 literally: “form” ) is a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practised either solo or in pairs. Kata are used in many traditional Japanese arts such as theater forms like kabuki and schools of tea ceremony (chadō), but are most commonly known for the presence in the martial arts. Kata are used by most traditional Japanese and Okinawan martial arts, such as aikidō, iaidō, jōdō, jūdō, jūjutsu, kenjutsu, kendō and karate.
Mas Oyama said that one should “think of karate as a language – the Kihon 基本 (basics) can be thought of as the letters of the alphabet, the Kata 型 (forms) will be the equivalent of words and sentences, and the Kumite 組手 (fighting) will be analogous to conversations.” He believed that it was better to master just one kata than to only half-learn many.
Mas Oyama also emphasized the three fundamental principles of kata:
技の緩急 Waza no Kankyū The Relative Tempo of Techniques:
The tempo of the kata varies – some techniques are performed quickly, while others are done more slowly.
力の強弱 Chikara no Kyōjaku The Relative Force of Power:
The power of a technique derives from the proper balance between strength and relaxation.
息の調整 Iki no Chōsei The Control of Breathing:
The correct timing (inhaling and exhaling) and force of the breaths (Kiai 気合,Ibuki 息吹 or Nogare 逃れ) are essential for proper techniques.
The practice of traditional kata is also a way for the karateka to pay respect to the origins and history of Kyokushin Karate and the martial arts in general.
some kyokushin katas