Kata are the forms that students
learn as they progress through the belt ranks. Each kata is a specific series of techniques performed by the
student against imaginary opponents their own size. This helps them
focus their punches, kicks and blocks.
Every kata teaches new techniques and dachi for the student to add to their fighting skills in addition to stressing particular strategic concepts. For example, some kata stress the “basic” kicks, punches and stances. Some kata have kicks while others do not, some teach grabs and throws, and some teach 180 or 360 degree turns, then some kata stress breathing and muscular tension… etc. Great emphasis is placed on the Isshin Ryu kata. Students must show skill and understanding of the kata if they are to advance through the ranks. Students begin learning weapons kata at the Green Belt level.
weapons kata have 4 opponents (except Bo-Bo).
By the time a student has learned all
the kata required to be promoted to the next belt color, they have
usually had sufficient time to learn the Basics, self-defense, and the
history along with other general skills involving Karate.
They are then ready to be checked for a promotion to the next
belt level in rank.