Kata 型 : 形 : かた
KATA (Kanji (type) or  (form)literally: "form" : Hiragana かた: "How to") is considered by many to be the living and breathing essence of the Martial Arts. A direct link to the historical past and foundation of the Martial Arts, but to the average person it's a series movements choreographed much like a dance, or gymnastics sequence. Looking at a 'KATA'  we can discern basic punches, kicks and blocks, but what we can't see right away, what we can't immediately understand even as Martial Artists are all the underlying meanings, intentions and history of each movement, or sequence. What did the teacher intend when he, or she passed this technique down through the kata? 

The basic goal of a KATA is to preserve and transmit proven fighting techniques without engaging in actual combat. By practicing these techniques in a repetitive manner the student learns and develops the ability to subconsciously execute the technique, without hesitation or thought. A systematic process takes the student through a transition of learning the mechanics to understanding the individual techniques in the kata. Often referred to "Coming out of the kata" a practitioner can attain a ZEN like state, where the kata appears to flow like water, fluid in every motion. Beginners often appear less fluid and almost trip over themselves to learn the movements, eventually the techniques of a KATA, much like vocabulary of a language can be strung together into different sentences and applied to different situations without thought of the KATA or it's intended application.

Every style of Martial Arts contains some type of KATA, and many share the same KATA with variations of techniques within the KATA to distinguish either the style of Martial Art or the teacher that passed it on.
"KATA flows through the Martial Arts history, bringing knowledge, wisdom and a state of ZEN to all that delve into the depths of it's movements…"
Anonymous

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