Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kata the Scales of Destruction

In music one practices scales for several reasons. Muscle memory, dexterity, technique, theory, ear and tune, but most importantly because they are the building blocks of music. Kata is much the same way.

A single kata is a scale. It contains the notes and the order of the notes to be most effective and it can be used to practice many of the same skills as in music, muscle memory, timing, dexterity and so forth. One practices the kata to get better, but kata is not conflict just as scales are not music no matter how sweet they sound. It is an exercise. Like scales the notes or movements of the kata once understood are used in creative and sometimes spontaneous ways to defeat an opponent. This doesn't apply only to the order of perceived "techniques" but the motions of the techniques as well. It's the principles that are important.

Also like scales, each individual kata stands on it's own. While there is overlap in technique between each kata, because each kata is a complete and integrated fighting system each has it's own strategies, which may or may not work together just as one cannot take a C scale and A scale and shove sections together and expect it to be melodic, while one can readily mix up the sections of a single scale and begin to play with making music.

This is where one starts making the departure from exercise into art. Technique is not art, the creative use of technique is art.