There are three general mindsets with regards to kata:
#1. The “Traditionalist’s” perspective: Kata must NEVER be changed!
#2. The JKD/MMA mentality: A classical mess/worthless practice [i.e. dysfunctional]
#3. The “Revisionist’s” position: A contemporary reinterpretation of classic tradition
Karate is the Japanese art of protecting oneself with little more than the use, of our empty hands. Its origins can be traced back through Okinawa’s old Ryukyu Kingdom to an age-old liaison with China and SE Asia. The once secret art has since blossomed into a popular tradition, with myriad styles and methods practiced the world over. In spite of its wonderful diversity, Kata [template-based practice] remains the one single and common thread, weaving together the very fabric of this art. Regarded as a time capsule of sorts, it is believed that the very essence of its function lays cleverly concealed within the abstract practice. Remaining the topic of intense curiosity, with seemingly no definitive explanation as to how it actually works, a never-ending plethora of problematic-based hypotheses continue to compete for validation. As the director of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society, I feel confident that the work, which lies before you, simplifies both the origin and application of Kata, irrespective of style.
While there has never been any shortage of explanation outlining how this style varies from that style and why this method is better than another, etc., surprisingly few have ever spent much time looking at its contextual premise! By this, I simply mean, “WHY?” No one argues that self-defence serves as the impetus from which the creation of this art originally unfolded. The mistake, however, enthusiasts frequently make when looking at the history of this civilian art of self-defence is to associate it with warrior-based practices and culture, both of which it has little to do with. Subsequently, the premise of such a study is already flawed by the time it gets started. This art of self-defence undeniably owes its origins to the kind of physical violence as habitually perpetuated in domestic society. Also, judging by the remarkable similarities in other civilian-based fighting arts found in every culture, the problem of physical violence in domestic society was certainly not the exclusive domain of China, SE Asia and or Okinawa!