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What Is Kata?
by
Joe Talbot

The word kata comes from the Japanese meaning formal exercise. In Japan kata is not just something that is done in the martial arts.
Kata has a deeper and spiritual meaning that is done in almost every aspect of life.
There is a formal way for a tea ceremony, to enter a room or to greet a friend.

A martial art is a discipline of the mind and body as much as it is a war art. Many different martial arts date back hundreds and even thousands of years.
Each generation transmitted their knowledge and secrets to the next generations through kata.

Kata is a series of movements and techniques that are practiced in a pattern. Kata is similar to shadow boxing except each move is prearranged and choreographed in a geometrical pattern.
Each kata is designed to teach a central principle or a set of common technique. Each kata is done at a certain speed and tempo. Some kata the speed varies from move to move while others are done at one speed and at one tempo. (In most Tai Chi styles the forms are done at a slow speed with the same tempo such as the
long form in the Yang style.)

Through kata we learn proper stance, focus and transition between technique. Chinese martial arts refer to kata as forms. Kenpo is a Chinese martial art that was imported to Japan about 800 years ago. (In the Japanese language Kenpo translates as fist law or law of the fist. The Chinese word for Kenpo is Chuan fa.) Although Jujitsu principles and techniques were added to Kenpo, the Japanese always referred to Kenpo as a Chinese martial art. ( James Mitose who was the last Great Grand Master called his art Kenpo Jujitsu.) In Kenpo we use the term kata.


Below is the list of Kata that is taught at Tracy’s Karate:

Blocking Set
Short One
Long One
Short Two
Long Two Short Three
Long Three
Mass Attacks
Panther Set Finger Set
Tiger and the Crane
Long Four
Long Five
Darkroom Staff Set
Skylight Staff Set
Staff Set
Cane Set


Joe Talbot has been an instructor at Tracy's Karate since 1980. (click on Joe's picture to see his profile)

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