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How "stem cell movements" in kata morph depending on your experience

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Introduction

Readers will recall that in my previous article I discussed how kata comprise what I call "stem cell movements" - ie. movements of a "elemental" or "fundamental" nature, capable of morphing into any number of different applications.

In fact, this is the very essence of kata: to give you a foundation of essential motor learning and kinaesthesia. I also argued that how these movements "morph" depends largely upon the experience and skill of the student.

In this article I would like to give some concrete examples of exactly what I meant.


My video on "stem cell movements

Once again, I will be referring to the kata heian shodan (pinan nidan) to illustrate my points precisely because it is a "basic" kata - ie. one that is "easier for beginners to learn" and/or "depends less on previously acquired knowledge". While it might appear to the casual observer to be overly "formal" and "unreali…

Kata techniques as "stem cell movements"

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Introduction

I have often spoken of kata as teaching "principles" rather than "techniques". It occurs to me that one of the best ways to illustrate what I mean is by reference to the most "basic" kata in karate. Why these kata? Because even if they are less "realistic" than more advanced kata, the methodology remains the same: they achieve their effect through "principles" not through "actual technique".

In this regard it is important to note that kata are not intended to comprise "shadow boxing" routines with movements you would (or should) actually use in a civilian defence situation.

Rather kata put your body through specific movements designed to promote motor learning and essential kinaesthetic awareness.

This kinaesthesia and motor learning is central to so many different aspects of martial technique that I often compare these "fundamental" movements to to stem cells: ie. they are "elemental…