Tips For Kata Progress
Training more than once per week: Training once per week means you have seven days between training sessions, which is too much time between sessions to develop muscle memory for advanced kata such as kanku-sho and Shisochin. The more regularly you train the more likely you are to develop coordinated and accurate muscle memory.
Training at home: This is an extension of the first point. Getting to two or more classes per week is but one part of the equation. Doing some extra training at home, especially on your kata will speed up your progress even faster. This does not mean you have to do an intense one hour session. Even 20 minutes a couple of times each week will make a lasting difference. Remember that every little bit helps. Simple tips such as practicing the opening sequence of kururunfa in your kitchen for 5 minutes while waiting for your your toast to cook will help make a difference.
Practice in front of a mirror: Using a mirror, or even practicing in front of a sliding glass door at night (where you can see your reflection) is an excellent way to spot poor technical habits and correct them. Practicing in front of a mirror regularly allows you to fix technical errors before they set in as bad habits.
Video yourself doing kata: Filming yourself doing kata will allow you to watch it back and pick up technical errors. It is one thing for an instructor to tell you about an error, it’s an entirely different thing to actually see it yourself. Doing this regularly will allow you to monitor your progress.
Ask questions often: A big part of kata is not so much learning what to do, but rather breaking bad habits. Therefore, the quicker you can make yourself aware of the finer technical points in the kata the less bad habits you will have to break later. This can be done by asking questions as often as possible. People to ask are:
- Your direct instructor (before, during and after class).
- A Senior Instructor when they visit or when attending her seminars.
- Higher grades or similar grades with more experience (at class, seminars, tournaments etc).
Watch Videos: People always move towards what they see in their mind’s eye. Therefore the clearer your mental picture the more quickly your body will develop the correct technical habits. Regularly watching videos (like those found on this site) of people performing the kata well will help you to establish a clear and precise mental picture.