There is a set way to do every kata. Of course there can be variations, but the kata has to work with the application that you have in mind. At the same time, there are certain principles that remain more or less the same. For example, the tension, inside and outside, in the stances works the same way in every case. There is a certain coordination that will allow maximum speed through stepping techniques, coordinated with their upper body movements. If one always strives to move in that way, then in a real world fighting situation, things may not be so perfect, but your technique will be stronger and faster and will have less extraneous and unnecessary motion than it would otherwise. Shotokan karate as taught by Nishiyama was optimized for speed and for maximum impact for each technique, combined with the greatest possible stability. It is an amazing system and a genuinely new invention in the way the body can coordinate through technique.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Shotokan also has the aspect of kata (forms) which is a similarity to the forms of something like Tai Chi. So karate is not all about fighting, but is also about relaxation and going through movements that may also have a meditative aspect.