Kata was created to function in a perfect fight situation. Everything is predetermined. When we are attacked in a certain way, then we use a certain series of defensive techniques and attacks in return. If we are attacked differently, we will have to react with a different series of techniques. Everything works well as long as it is within the boundaries of the Kata. Actually, you can review a Kata with a sparring partner from start to finish, using all the techniques, as if the Kata were one long fight. Unfortunately, the situation is that we do not live in a perfect world, and the boundaries of Kata will be broken in a real fight.
In a real fight, everything goes very fast, exchanging a few punches and maybe kicks in a flash. After just a few seconds, the physical battle may be over. Therefore, it is not realistic for a Kata to show us a long series of combinations, and even in a predetermined pattern, but rather short sequences. These short sequences are useful in self-defence. You can compare the Kata to the alphabet. You can not use the letters in the order of the alphabet (a,b,c,d, etc.). Therefore, when you are writing a word, you will take only the letters you need. The same example also applies to the number series 1,2,3, etc. If you have to write the number 618, you will select the numbers needed from the number sequence. The same applies to Kata.
The introduction of Karate into schools on Okinawa, as well as mainland Japan, has led to a change in the interpretation of Kata. The application of the techniques has become more superficial (what you see is what you get) and it is more prestigious to know many Kata and to perform them in a good and nice-looking way.
I imagine Kata like a book. It looks wonderful on the bookshelf alongside other books. But if you haven’t read it, how can you know what’s inside?
Thanks for reading 😉