Its All In the Details

I’ve been working on what will be my black belt kata – the kata that I must master to get my black belt. Its a lot of work. A whole lot of work.

I’ve watched students over the years get all excited to learn a new kata, memorize the moves and think they’ve got it.  Wow, how wrong they are. Once you memorize the moves then you’re just beginning to know and understand the kata. Each hand position, each foot position, every breath, they all must be perfected before you really know it.

I can work with my instructor for an hour on just five to ten moves. Each move is slowly and painstakingly executed. Finite adjustments are made and repeated until muscle memory takes over. Fingers moved over an eighth of an inch, toes adjusted ever so slightly.

I ‘know’ my kata now. I can do all of the moves in the right order with the right timing. But until my movements are exact and my breathing matches the movements, maximizing the power and every single body dynamic is perfect…I won’t really own the kata.  You have to make it yours – to feel it in your inner core. When you execute the form absolutely correctly it takes over, moving on its own, full of power and grace and beauty. Perfection.

Sometimes I wonder if you could study a kata for the rest of your life and still not know it. Kind of like an onion, the more you peel it the more you find inside.

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