Is Karate still Karate with no kata?

Hello! I am concerned Im a Black Belt in a style called Kan Shu Kenpo Karate, and I have not learned a single Kata. The class is based on self defence. Its a mixture of Karate and Jiu jitsu that we learn. We mainly spar and roll. Im just wondering if I can still be proficent in Karate without kata? I practice Kata I learn from videos though. I feel like im missing out on something valuable in my training. What should i do? Ask mah teacher to teach kata?
Edit I have never questioned or doubted my instructor. Hes a 6th Dan in Kenpo and has black belts in Taekwondo and jiu jitsu. Hes also a former pro cage fighter. Hes in the Black Belt Hall of Fame. The training in the class is very good I learn something new every time im in the Dojo. He just never taught a kata. He has said he knows kata. He just doesnt teach it.
hmm @Kokoro I respectfully disagree. The Black Belt hall of fame is an honor that takes a lifestime to earn. My instructor does NOT advertise himself or the dojo in any way. He actually loses more money then he earns to teach our class Iv been told. The quality of the training is good. But I respect your opinion.
@ J Its Kan Shu Kenpo Karate and brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I forgot to mention we do drills also. Thanks for your answer.

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7 Responses to Is Karate still Karate with no kata?

  1. georgewillings says:

    You should really question your instructor since I really doubt he actually knows anything. A friend of mine knows kenpo and he did kata. I have a black belt in jui jit su, and two other forms and there was kata for them all except for jui jit su.

  2. hapkidochuck says:


  3. Jim R says:

    You learn, and are able to analyze and think about techniques that go past you when just sparring. From my observations, the basic elements of fighting can be learnt from sparring, but the best fighters I ever saw are also very good at kata. You hear kids and wannabes disrespect kata all the time, which tells me they do not know anything about kata. I never heard of any style of karate that doesn’t include kata. My style of shotokan has fewer than many styles, but there are still 15-26 kata to learn, depending on the shotokan branch in which one trains. I think you are missing something, so you should ask your instructor why he isn’t teaching you kata. If he tells you that kata are useless, leave immediately and go find a properly trained instructor.

  4. Kokoro says:

    karate without kata is no longer karate. your style is defined by the kata. all the techniques in the style come from kata.
    kata is the manual to the style.

    kata is meaningless without bunkai. the technique are not what the appear, there are a lot of grappling applications inside kata.
    black belt hall of fame doesn’t mean crap,any one can start there own, and as long as you pay them enough you can be in it. its more a scam. or to impress people.

    count how many black belt hall of fame’s there are.
    pugpaws posted a question a while back on the hall of fame and how it was used.
    there is no one single over seeing committee for these there are thousands of them all over the u.s.

  5. BERSA 2 says:

    Okay, just to start off..its kenpo? wich would be american kenpo and yes they have katas. for starters they had the star blocking set just off the top of my head and for more advance forms they had the tiger/crane form… i know they had atleast 10 forms off the top of my head.

    so you should be learning forms from what little i know about american kenpo.

    @ jim r. sparring is not for learning how to fight in anyway shape or form. it should be used for what you have already learned . so it should be used as a test for one self. NOT a tool for learning how to fight!

    EDIT!! ..Can anyone read? it says Kenpo!!! NOT Kempo!!!

  6. J says:

    That’s a tough one. Seeing as he does in fact know kata but chooses not to teach makes me think that his goal in teaching is more towards self defense, like you said, but that’s sort of dispelled when you say you mainly spar and roll. If you trained in drills, then I think I’d understand where your instructor is coming from. I suppose it all depends on what his goals are in teaching.

    In my personal opinion, I don’t think Karate can ever truly be trained the way it was designed to be unless you practice Kata. Do you know what style of Karate it is?
    What it looks like to me is his focus is more on the Jujutsu rather than Karate. Again, do you know what style of Jujutsu it is he learned?

    Depending on what styles of Karate and Jujutsu, then it would be understandable what he’s thinking. Regardless of how you train (Kata, drills or sparring/grappling), unless you feel you’re getting everything you can out of the class, then it’s fine.
    You said you feel like you’re missing out on something valuable in your training. If it’s bothering you, then why not just ask him to teach you kata. If he knows it then I wouldn’t see why he couldn’t teach it if requested. I guess it depends on what type of person he is, but I don’t see why he would refuse.

  7. jwbulldogs says:

    You have every right to be concerned.

    Karate with kata in not karate. What you are learnig may be valuable techniques but you are learning your art. I mean no disrepect to your instructor but he is not teaching kempo. He may be teaching some techniques taken from kempo. You are missing out on a lot. There is probably some logical explanations as to why he doesn’t teach kata. it is likely he never learned the importance of kata and the bunkai of the kata. This is not uncommon unfortunately. There are many instructors that have been training practically a lifetime and have no idea what is really in the bunkai and how important it is.

    I doubt that your instructor loses money to teach, You don’t continue to teach if your are losing money. You can’t keep the doors open. You have to be able to pay your overhead unless you are teaching without overhead like in a church or rec center.

    The Hall of Fame is an honor to those that value it. In many cases not all it is just another way for some organization to make money. I personally only know one that does not make a profit off of awarding you into its Hall of Fame. They don’t even charge anyone that is being accepted into the Hall of Fame for the meal or banquet. They also do not limit Hall of Fame members to only people that are members of their organization. I was honored to have been included in the discussion as to listed in their Hall of Fame. I wasn’t sure why my name came up. I wasn’t selected though I was awarded honorable mention and my picture is hanging up in the Home Office dojo. I didn’t even have to pay for a copy of the picture. My sensei who is on the selection committee nominated me.

    BUt other organizations, hall of fame and whose who type organization have all wanted to exploit people and use this as a ploy to make money. You can be recognized if you pay the sum $ of this amount. You can can get a nice book to share with all of you loved ones to celebrate you selection for this amount. We can give you a copy in gold for an additional price of. I fell for this once when i was graduating high school and was being recognized for being one of the top students in my class. it has since been outed how these companies like Whose Who of High School Students are not really associated when the department of education and how they are making huge profits of of student and parent. This lead to pulling the cover off of other organizations like the Hall of Fames, Poetry writing, Can you draw the figure. Most of these places aren’t doing anything illegal, but they are really only there to make a profit expecting that the majority of the consumer are not educated on their businesses practices.

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