Make kata as simple as possible.

Breakdown each component.

First show the student the leg movement and then when they are used to that add in the arm movement. Repeat until the student is happy with the technique.

Move onto the next technique. Treat this as a separate movement and then put the two techniques together.

After each technique is learned start from the beginning before adding the next one.

When there is a Kiai make sure they do it.

Concentrate on the arm and leg movement first until the student is confident with the whole kata and can remember it by themselves. Once this is accomplished then the student can refine their performance.

It should be pointed out to them the hip movement, speed and power.

To assist the student as to what it is they are doing, show them some Bunkai. The grade of the student will determine how in depth you should explain things to them.

If a student has trouble with any part of kata, just concentrate on that section. Slow it down. Once they are happy then incorporate it into the rest. There is nothing wrong with only performing a section (or just one technique) over and over again until you are happy.

Advanced students

Senior grades should start to concentrate on:

Timing – It’s not a case of just plodding through the techniques. There are quick movements and slow ones, ones that are relaxed and others performed under tension.

Focal Point – Look at your imaginary attacker. Picture the techniques that you should be blocking. Are you defending or attacking? Make sure you don’t keep looking at the floor.

Power – The same techniques you do when practising the basics still apply. ‘Pull for Power’ remember the pull back hand and shoot that punch out. What about the hip work? Just because you have turned to the side to perform a block doesn’t mean you should forget to face forward and then move the hip back. Don’t be lazy!

Kiai! – There are certain points in a kata where the spirit shout should be heard. Don’t forget them and certainly don’t add them in any place just because you feel like it.

Other things to consider

Allocate high grades to help as one on one instruction can be very beneficial not just in the teaching stage but when it comes to checking that the student is doing the kata correctly.

Performing Bunkai is a very useful way in understanding the techniques within the kata. It is also an opportunity for students to think about what they are doing unless you are telling them what to do (for demonstration purposes for example).

Using pad work as part of kata practice is a useful way of training the kata, developing power and focus at the same time, without the possibility of boredom creeping into the training.

Try to remember yourself, and remind students, of how to enter and leave the mat when performing assessed katas at either gradings or on a display.

Team kata & display work