Simple and easy ways to improve your kata (5 tips)

Simple and easy ways to improve your kata (5 tips)

Today I want to share with you a few tools you can implement straight away to improve your kata performance. Whether you’re a white belt, black belt or anything in between. This list of tools will help you do what you already do, better.

  1. Posture
    I harp on about posture a lot – get used to it. Posture aligns your body to the correct position to be effective. If you’re ever finding that you’re crouched over, arched or twisted in any move in your kata there is a good chance that an angle you’re meant to be changing in your hip is being changed at the waist or shoulders instead.  Posture also plays a huge role psychologically. This applies in everything outside of karate too. The confidence portrayed with good posture has an affect on how you feel and how other people read you, whether you’re walking into a ring, a job interview, a first date or heck just down the street. You’re posture passes on very strong messages to the world around you.
    In short – core on, shoulder blades down towards the middle of your spine, chin up, pelvis neutral(feels forward to most)
  2. Breathing 
    Timing your breathing with your movements is so important in making sure your energy is being used to its full potential. Much like a kiai move feels so much stronger because of the use of core and breath involved. Allow yourself full deep breaths through slow moves and use your abdominal muscles to force air out quickly with power moves. If you don’t already have a set breathing routine for your kata, add it in. It has as much importance as knowing the movements, it is part of the technique.
    By the time you know your kata well enough to grade or compete with it, your breathing and timing for that kata should be the same every time you do it.
  3. Understand the application
    I see so often students who have strong basic techniques but that same technique in a kata is totally lacking. This is because the association in their mind is not there to understand that it is the same movement. Changing stance should not make a stomach level punch look any different. Training basics and kata you have to visualise what you’re doing. If you haven’t been taught an official application for the movement you’re doing, ask your sensei or make one up in your own mind until a better application comes along. But it has to be real in your mind before it can look real on the outside.
  4. Hit things
    The last point leads straight into this one. Hit things. For that punch or kick to look like its going to hurt, it needs to be a technique that actually would hurt. I see karateka as blackbelts still punching with a limp wrist or incorrectly angled fist and cringe because I know that person has trained for 10+ years and would break their hand straight away if they ever hit someone with full force. The best feedback you can get on whether your technique is correct is to hit something – kick shields, mitts, punching bag etc. If it hurts your wrist, elbow or shoulder – you need to go back to basics and find what your technique is lacking. Your techniques need to be effective to look effective.
  5. Train your strength and balance
    Ever had a wobble between two moves that cost you that one point that lost you the round?  Now I’m not saying that training balance will mean that you will never have it happen again but it will sure give you a better chance. Having strength in your legs is needed to hold low stances and move through them with ease and to be able to finish your kata in as low a stance as you started. Add some balance training drills into your routine and always be working on your leg strength. Legs hurt when you train them hard – like a lot! But that also makes it so satisfying to get the feedback that they are making progress.

    I think I’d like to make a video of some ideas for this last point in particular (I’ve just decided :P) Let me know if you’d be keen! Please leave some comments to let me know if you found this helpful or if you’d like me expand on any of these points with videos or more explanation.



One Reply to “Simple and easy ways to improve your kata (5 tips)”