Meditation and Kata

Contributors offers insight into the non-physical side of the Martial Arts, often ignored when discussing self-defense.

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Meditation and Kata

Postby KerryM » Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:23 pm

ok I've brought up this topic before but it was years ago :)

My question- how many Sensei employ this tool in their teaching time?

I was watching this show on the science channel that was talking about the olympic gymnast's and how they train-

One of the things they do is "think-through" a new move they ned to complete- several times before actualy trying to physicaly do the move- the reason they do this- this show was saying- is because they have "proven" that- by thinking about a move it creates the "road" so to speak- in which the message will take- the message being the new move- the road being the process your mind goes through when figuring something out-

So it got me thinking- they had all kinds of pictures etc to prove that they could accomplish the new move faster and more easily because of having "pre-created" the route for the message to take by thinking about it.

So - my thought was goin along the line of meditation- the visual being a kata or circle block or whatever "new" thing you were teaching to a student........

apparently thinking about doing the move and "practicing" doing it in your mind first was a key element..... aside from watching it performed- you envision "yourself" doing the new move... over and over and over again....

Has anyone tried this or done it or have any thoughts on it? :)

thought it could be a really interesting tool for the student who walks into a couple classes saying they don't have enough time to practice at home.....i.e. morning walk or doing dishes or some other mudane thing- think about karate.... could it really almost equal actual practice?

maybe not ACTUAL practice but goodness- it seemed to work for the gymnast :)

Thanks for the read-
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Postby Bellone, J » Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:58 pm

Hi KerryM,

Nice post. I believe that one of the real strengths of training in Karate-do is that you can make very good improvements both mentally and physically by training in the manner that you describe. Athletic trainers in the Soviet Union and the old eastern bloc countries were big on this type of training.

Kata usually gets associated with real physical training. Developing specific specific attributes such as timing, strength, speed, etc. The interesting thing that I'm coming to realize as I continue to train is that for me, Kata done right is really a great way to train physically that's really taxing mentally. One of my first internal teachers used to say that if you really practice correctly (mentally) you can make really great gains that show up physically all by walking through things mentally first(the place where you can practice perfectly), with much less time investment physically.

I remember a long time ago over at Walter Mattson's dojo where a very good student got in a really bad car accident and couldn't train with Walter because of his injuries. Walter told him to mentally practice to keep himself in the game. When the person gained enough strength Walter had him do the same thing and then just do Kata. When the guy came back to training with us, he not only didn't lose anything, he was stronger. That always left an impact on me.

Great thought.
Good training,

Bellone, J
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Postby KerryM » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:28 pm

That is Wonderful! I can see how that would certainly leave an impact! - as well as inspire others!

Well good then! I appreciate your insights! Thanks for responding :)

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Postby Tao » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:58 am

I have always liked the idea of meditation while profoming kata.
I try to take it one step further and often meditate, I veiw myself doing the kata with perfection, the hope is that my mind will one day help correct the flaws my body and feet make. I also invision fights in my mind, and my reaction to that first punch.
This I know is not a new idea, but it is to me and I like it. It helps me.
Long live the back yard dojo... Lets bang.
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Postby Jackie Olsen » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:51 pm

When the guy came back to training with us, he not only didn't lose anything, he was stronger. That always left an impact on me.

How true, Kerry ... the mind is very strong. As the ancients teach, where the mind goes, ki flows. So, with strong focus, imagination & intent, one could utilize the power of the mind to keep the memory/feeling of the movements.

When I was injured for a couple of years, I could barely walk down the steps to the dojo. Most times I had to sit after a Sanchin or kata. I told Sensei, I wanted to absorb all that ki floating around to help heal my body. I also focused on watching the others do kata & envisioned myself doing kata right along with them. Slowly, my body/health started coming back, and my 'moves'/strength returned. Kata is different as I've learned to adapt around my injuries, but the power & flow is still there.

Making the right kind of mental patterns is crucial to having good results.
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Postby Stryke » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:59 pm

I think the mindset involved in kata is as important as the technique , call it meditation , self hypnosis whatever ....

Rick calls it intent , and I see how its so important to maintain it and practice it .

many i know see a big difference between intent and meditation .

but I see them as closely related mental skills .

Postby KerryM » Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:46 pm

ooo- good one!

I think meditation and intent ARE VERY closely related- and different where they need to be- but certainly don't have to be-

you need intent to meditate- but can meditate without intent as well. In my opinion at least-


"Meditating" on "nothing" or just to increase your flow of prana/chi breath- can in turn then be used to "power-ize" or "super-size" your "intent" as well too-

And now that we know it's been scientificaly proven to help people to "think" as a form of practice- to create a new road for the message to travel on.... we are all set!

Hey Toa- I love the back yard dojo thing!

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