If you have taken martial arts lessons you probably have practice a form or two. Forms also known as, Katas, start out simple and increase in difficulty as you move up in the belt ranks and as you get better with your techniques. Forms teach you how to move from one technique to another smoothly in a series of choreographed fighting movements performed against an imaginary opponent or opponents with a fixed starting and ending point.

 Forms are the beauty, the art, of the martial arts, without forms there can be no martial arts there is only fighting and self defense techniques. Kata training is a good way to stay fit and practice your techniques. This article will look at nine different ways to practice your forms.

 Each of the 9 method will add a new level of understanding to the form and each method offers different benefits to the student. Katas consists of movements,each movement is made made up of three parts, direction, stance and techniques. You move in the direction the form requires, moving  into your stance and you perform your kick or punch, This is one movement, than after a brief pause you move into the next movement and so on.

 To perform a kata smoothly you need to practice the three parts of each movement until you perform it smoothly. Learn the pattern of the form, practice each movement and when you put all the movementsl together you have a kata. When you get up to demonstrate a form in front of the class, or at a tournament, the kata is performed correctly when it is performed with power and intense concentration and passion.

 It take years to achieve kata perfection, but once someone perfects a forms, watching them perform it can be inspiring. Continue reading and discover 9 ways to practice your forms to help move you towards form perfection.

 Regular Style:  This is the most common way forms are usually practice each movement is performed, sharply, fully, and powerfully, pausing briefly between movements to distingish one technique from the next. Speed is desirable from the beginning to the end of a single movement, but is not desirable when connecting one movement to the next. The regular-style forms training developes balance, coordination and power, both physically and mentally. It is the style you use when competing in tournaments or taking a promotion test.

 Concentration Style:   In concentration-style form practice each movement is executed with intense power, concentration and proper breathing is emphasiazed. No kiais (yells) are used during concentration style practice.There are actually 3 types of concentration methods you can use to practice your forms.

The first method is when you relaxe your body and concentrate on breathing and executing the techniques in a slow smooth manner. You should breath using a ten count on each movement. Inhale throught the mouth with a count of one through 3 as you start the movement, hold your breath on count 4 through 6 and exhale throught the mouth on 7 through 10 as you finish the movement.

The second method is when you tense your whole body, tighting the muscles, keeping them tight as you perform each techniques at regular speed. Perform your breathing the same an in the first concentration method.

The third method require you to tense your body and you want to breath the same as the frist method. While your body is tense move slowly, smoothly and powerfully through 2 thirds of your breath and movement. You want to executes the final one-thrid of the movement in a explosive, powerful manner exhaling sharply.

 Concentration-style builds strenght and endurance through dynamic tension and isokinetic exercises. This method improves focus and proper breathing and improves your inner health.

 Ballet Style:   In this style you want to perform each action with absolutely no tension in your body. Each movement should flow into the next with out pause between movements. Perform the complete kata without any conscious thought. The smooth flowing movement illustrates the grace and beauty of the martial arts and develope physical and mental flexibility.

 Combination of styles:   This is a blend of regular, concentration and ballet styles and will develope creativity, as well as reaping the individual benefits of each method of training. This is a useful practice method to use for getting ready for tournament competition.

 Directional Style:   You begin your form facing a different direction from the normal position you use. Most forms start with you facing the front of the dojo. By changing the direction you face when you start will free you from depending on landmarks for proper performance and distance.

 Another way to do this method is to perform the form against a wall. Face a wall starting just far enought away so that your your first movement will bring you just up to the wall so you almost touch it. Perform your next movement and instead of moving forward, you can’t, merely change your feet as though you had step forward. This is an excellent practice method and it will help you when you find yourself in a confined space, such as an office or   bar and you have limited space to be able to defend yourself. 

 Blind Style:   You perform this style with your eyes closed or with a blind fold. The object is to end up at the end of the form where you would end up with your eyes open. This will develope your sense of direction and create a kind of sixth sense which allows you to better feel and anticapate things.This is a powerful way to improve your martial art skills.

 Practical Application Style:   Here you want to perform each movement of a form with a partner. Your partner assumes the role of the assailant, attacking from the left, right, front and back in the order the form requires. You can use more then one student to help you with this, placing them in position where you can engage them as you go through the kata. This style of training will help you to understand the form and helps you to develope your imagination and to think ahead to your next move.

 Breaking Style: To perform breaking-style form training you must first set up the materials that you want to break at the point in the kata where you want to break them. Choose a few places in the form  that you would like to emphasize  a technique.  Work through the kata and break the board or brick at the point in the kata where you want to demonstrate a your technique. Practicing this style will help improve your organizational skills and this style is somrtimes used for exhibitions.

 Musical Style: Musical forms training take’s a kata and choreographes music to the movements of the form. The ideal is to start on a specific note and end on a specific note.This type of training will help you to  perform the techniques at the same speed the same way each time you do that kata. This type of form practice is sometimes used for exhibitions and sometimes used in tournament competition.

 Each of these 9 practice styles offer a slightly different perspective and a slightly different understanding of the kata for each method used. Is practicing forms 9 different ways contrary to tradition you may ask?

 The answer is not necessarily if the principal involed in each training method are consistant with martial arts philosophy. The drill is simply an adaptation of traditional training and the training therefore innovative, yet traditional, and maintains the ART in the martial arts. So go ahead and practice the 9 different methods and watch as you move towards form perfection.

Jerry started training in the Martial Arts in the summer of “78” and enjoys anything that is related to the martial arts and self defense. To learn what self defense techniques are needed to survive being  attack out in the world click “Street Fighting Uncaged” and learn how to destroy your attacker and survive, or go to http://tinyurl.com/3xjydmv and read more articles like the one above.
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