Lights, Camera, Kata!

When you compete in tournaments, remember that you are being judged on your performance of the kata not only the technical execution. Kata are subjectively judged by Black Belts from other systems and styles. You can’t meet all their technical requirements if you tried. Some are diametrically opposed to each other.Great side kick.

The best thing to do is demonstrate crisp movements and smooth flow. These qualities develop from repetition and practice. Show solid stances without wavering. When you are on one leg, maintain your balance. Don’t wobble while kicking or in difficult stances. Don’t adjust your feet in a noticeable manner once you plant them on the floor.

Kiai shout on powerful strikes. Make it loud and crisp. Draw the power of the kiai from your belly. Always look before you move your feet. Watch and monitor the pacing of your form or kata. It should have a comfortable, exciting rhythm. There should also be variety in the speed of movements. Not everything is fast or the identical speed as everything else. Rhythm and speed should be natural, which means you need fast, medium and slow sections.

Display confidence in all your movements – including the time sitting waiting for your turn, the walk up and the walk back to your seat. Once the competition begins, you are performing. It doesn’t begin when you start your kata. It doesn’t end when you finish either. Maintain your demeanor and professional posture at all times.

It is best to imagine doing the kata for a movie or TV show. See the lights. See the camera. Put on your super-powered ninja costume and let loose with the confidence of an actor. It’s all about showmanship.