Importance of Poomsae and Kata in Taekwondo and Karate?

what they teach us actually? Are they for fitness or single sparring ? Is there any benefit in real life? Same thing is for kung fu but I don’t know what their names are.
Please let me know why do we practice them? I expect answers from both Taekwondo and Karate discipline. Thanks.

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6 Responses to Importance of Poomsae and Kata in Taekwondo and Karate?

  1. Karate Dave says:

    Kata is the heart of the styles that use them.
    Kata is not as simple as most try to make them. Doing kata simply for doing kata is worthless. There is much more to it than simply preforming the moves like a dance. Kata contain all the techniques in your style, more importantly they also contain all the applications in your style. Some of these applications are straight forward and are easy to pick out, others are not so plain to an untrained eye.
    Kata teach many aspects of martial arts, they teach proper breathing, transitional movement, vital point striking, grappling, joint manipulation. Kata are also used for cardiovascular exercise, strengthening of the core and legs, and endurance.
    No kata by itself does not teach fighting techniques, but through the use of bunkai ( or breaking apart) of the kata all the applications become available. Through the practice of these applications is where the martial skills develop. Kata is just one tool among many, it is neither the most important nor the least important.

  2. Jim R says:

    Dave is right. Kata are important training tools that teach timing, position, technique, and build muscle memory, among other things. Kata contain the entire style, and all applications within the style. They are not about fitness, they are about developing expertise with technique, and understanding movement and technique. That said, I also agree with Dave in that there are many other teaching and training tools and methods that add to the kata training.

  3. Ying Ding Aing says:

    Kata serve a lot of purposes, including building strength and stamina by doing them repeatedly, but also becoming more comfortable and adept with your body’s dynamics. They help you with posture, technique, focus, and accuracy, and introduce a little variety into practice. Finally, many kata/poomsae steps also have “real-world” applications, for example defense against an attack with a staff. If you have questions, ask your instructor.

  4. Adam Sandler says:

    In Taekwondo the poomsae patterns have many secret hidden applications…

    In poomsae you will have Punches,Kicks,Blocks,Self defence techniques,Elbow strikes, knee blows, grapple techniques and releases.

  5. callsignfuzzy says:

    Their original purpose was to catalog a system of fighting techniques.

    They can certainly be done with an emphasis on improving fitness, and in fact a few have been created (and many more modified) for that purpose.

    They can still be used as catalogs of self-defense techniques, but are not generally taught this way, or taught in a way that optimizes this. The Parker-lineage Kenpo schools do a pretty good job of this, and certain karate and TKD schools, often in the UK or Australia, have started to look for practical martial applications to their techniques:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RXtEQyZsJo&feature=related

    They can be very important depending on what your goals are, though I would forward the notion that in most cases, and in their unmodified forms, they are less vital than simply practicing realistic self-defense sequences without the need to put them into a solo form. Frankly, if you’re not practicing with an attacking partner, you can’t really consider your forms as teaching you self-defense.

  6. Kokoro says:

    karate Dave, Jim R, and callsign gave some great answers

    that can take several books to explain
    kata is your style, its your manual to everything about the style you study. without kata you dont have karate

    forms, kata or prones which every you may call them, are one of the most important parts in your style, since they are your style, everything your style is are lock inside of kata, Everything you need for sparing is also in your kata
    Kata at its core teaches the following
    Technique
    Tactics
    Kokyu (breathe control)
    Kaeshu (reversals)
    Atemi (vital strike to vital area)
    Kyusho (pressure point strikes)
    Kensetsu (bone or joint bending)
    Appaku (applied pressure)
    Kotekitai (absorbing and controlling pain)
    Nage (throwing)
    Chime (choking)

    kata is not that simple,
    it takes years to understand the simplest kata, there are different levels of studying bunkai, it can be anywhere from a basic understanding to a very advance one. and its not always a block or punch, take the kata tekki (naihanchin) this kata is all grappling moves with few strikes.
    each kata has a number of interpretations some depend on your level of understand and others very from teach or style. there is no one answer for what the bunkai is.

    bunkai is equally important Without bunkai kata is meaningless, there are several levels of bunkai

    i had just ask a question about kata vs kumite, about a week ago. there are some great answer in there as well.

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