Is kata, or form, important to martial arts training?

What is kata?

Simply speaking, kata is a choreographed series of movements against an imaginary opponent. In Americanized styles of martial arts you will hear kata referred to as “form”.  In our style we speak English and our kicks, stances, punches and techniques have Americanized names.  This does not change the execution, simply the command given and the name of the form.

Forms are memorized and practiced over and over. The beginner form, or White Belt Form, puts together 3 techniques into a basic combination. As students are more proficient in their training, the forms for each belt become more difficult and demand more intensity.

How does practicing forms help a martial artist in their training?

This is where the topic becomes a little argumentative. Critics  claim that forms are an antiquated waste of time.  Citing they are not practical for self-defense, and certainly play no part in sparring. As mentioned above, forms are a choreographed series of movements against an imaginary opponent. Real and effective defense cannot be learned from an imaginary opponent!

On the contrary, the argument for teaching and learning forms involves a physical and mental aspect. In addition to a solid curriculum of effective self-defense skills involving karate and BJJ, sparring and grappling, we teach forms at every level in a student’s training; from beginner to expert levels.

Reasons forms are an integral part of our training

  • Forms are executed alone, or with a group. The timing, or cadence, should remain the same every time. However, if one student falls behind, all students wait for him or her to catch up. It teaches how to be supportive.
  • Forms are taught in segments, and broken down to the simplest level for the newest student. This means that the rest of the group learns at the pace of the lowest ranking student. Teaching patience is great character building.
  • Students are required to hold positions that are physically demanding. Seeing muscles begin to shake from pushing our bodies to their limits builds our minds and our bodies.
  • Combinations of kicks, blocks and strikes found throughout forms further serve to strengthen our muscle memory for use in sparring and self-defense.
  • Forms  executed properly generate an intensity and focus that does not allow for interference. You enter a zone of full mind and body control. After you’ve done a 3-minute form, you’re drenched in sweat and want to do it again even sharper.  It is an awesome workout for every inch of your body. Improved muscle mass and cardiovascular health increase your sparring, grappling and self-defense ability. And the circle of training continues….

Forms can be learned online

Benefits for our students

While you won’t earn a black belt online with us, we do offer online training tutorials. If you are our student, they are invaluable for practicing correctly. We expect all students to practice at home – but only if he or she wants to be better! Having a Bushido Karate instructor demonstrate the proper way to execute techniques is the best way to “get it right!”. Our tutorials  are broken down into easy-to-follow mini-lessons, and can be viewed as many times are your heart desires.

Benefits for non-students, too!

Our forms tutorials are a fantastic way to get in awesome shape. Performing each move and technique with tension in the beginning and with explosive energy when you get better and better – it’s a muscle-toning, calorie-burning, cardiovascular blast!

Martial Arts Fitness

Check out our FREE Martial Arts Fitness series for kicks, punches and brain-training that will give you a martial arts based workout with a kickboxing feel! Quick videos get you moving and offer combinations that are easy-to-learn and fun to do!



One thought on “Is kata, or form, important to martial arts training?

  1. I learned martial art by myself. Now I want to test my skill and want to identify my mistakes. Which center will be best for me? I am living in La Mesa, California.

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