Action Karate Blog: The Kata
by Jamiella Brooks
Each karate cycle features a new weapon, and with that comes a new kata, often learned with the weapon. In a series of posts, I will outline 3 of my favorite katas:
an open hand kata called Long One.
I began my Action Karate journey around the Autumn Equinox in the fall or winter of 2020. Everything was online (something important happened in 2020–can’t remember anymore /sarcasm), and I really appreciated how the instructors described, in detail, foot, hand, body placement, etc. in order to help their students understand the self defenses and katas they were teaching. Since I had enrolled both my kids in March of 2020, I wanted to be able to access the lessons so I could help them when they had questions.
It was at this time I learned my first kata, Long One. Katas are a series of movements from the japanese word “form.” It is likened to choreography because the specific movements are memorized and often stylized, like dancing. As someone who used to do Zumba and took courses in Modern Dance in college, katas were a vivid reminder of my love of rhythmic movement. Katas are a way to visualize an enemy’s movement, and respond accordingly.
I lived on the 22nd floor of a building and remember, vividly, practicing my kata on my yoga mat with an analog clock printed on it against a cloudy, cold sky. Knowing how to directionally differentiate, with my body, 12 from 9 to 3 to 6 back to 12 was transformational. When I truly understood the kata and embodied the movement, I felt both powerful and graceful.
Not all katas make me feel this way, but I love the mental challenge of those that have been most difficult for me. In the following posts I will outline the short history of my most challenging katas and what I gain from them. In future posts I will create shadow outlines of movements (like the water scrolls in Avatar the Last Airbender, my favorite tv series to date that also displays the beauty of martial arts.)