What makes a kata look better?

This is a repost as I accidentally put the question in the wrong category
What do you think makes a kata look better?
And also: do you think a kata looks better when a taller or shorter person does it?
Thank you all for reading and answering!

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10 Responses to What makes a kata look better?

  1. J says:

    It doesn’t matter what the person doing it looks like. I’ve seen short and tall, skinny and fat do Kata. There’s no denying good technique and correct form. That’s what makes a Kata look good, when it’s performed with expertise.

  2. Cheetah says:

    Crisp, clean movements, proper techniques and done with power.

  3. save us says:

    It just takes good technique applied with speed and power that comes from experience.

  4. Kendall Sylvan says:

    proper stance, execution of technique, balance, movement, power will make all of your kata look better.
    – These are just some of the aspects to consider.

    Kata can look good when performed by tall or short people. The key to making it good is getting everything correct.

  5. Leo L says:

    A kata looks right when it is done with full speed, power, balance, and timing. By speed, I do not mean that you rush through the form, ignoring pacing. I mean that each movement should be done as if your life depended on it. Different styles will have different looking kata. In a hard art, like TKD, the movements are more choppy (Ha) than in a soft art. The elements are all still there, though. Only the details change.

    Each kata has a specified rhythm. Movements occur in groups, typically a block and a counter. Pauses between individual moves within a group and those between groups of moves differ in length. Done correctly, kata exude power and train the student to react in the same manner.

  6. Darth Scandalous says:

    This young man was 13 at the time this video was taken.

    Look at the execution of his form. He generates lots of power and his body mechanics is excellent. His kata is flawless.

    He’s about 16 now.


    Here is Katsuhiko Shinzato Sensei… just watch.


  7. Reece Phillips says:

    heres a tip if martial art look good,then you’re doing it wrong
    This basically means that it’s not how something looks it’s how it works,the movies portray martial arts wrongly,look at real fights,it looks rough not smooth like the brice lee movies

  8. Odee says:

    Balance, power, speed and clean technique.
    The most important thing in my opinion is intent, looking like you’re executing people rather than techniques. Best kata I ever saw was done by a young lady, for forty five seconds I thought she was a killer.

  9. Ymir says:

    Intent changes the movements from an external perspective and an internal one.

  10. samuraiwarrior_98 says:

    Last question first. It is easier for a shorter person to do a kata well than a taller person and I use the example of two sprinters when talking about this with my students. The taller sprinter can be running the same speed or even faster but yet it will look slower because his stride and the motion of his legs turning over as he runs is a longer, bigger motion than that of the shorter sprinter.

    In kata when you are doing things with speed and power height and reach make it harder to do things to extension and it appear as fast and strong as that of a shorter person. Being taller than many of my counterparts when I competed in kata on the national circuit I would sometimes have to compensate for this in other ways by either executing something faster and harder or maybe cutting it short a fraction. Cutting it short a fraction usually did not work so well as then that movement or technique might look clipped and lower my scores so I would instead rely more heavily on the first solution of having to execute it instead with even more speed and power and to extension just for it to look like it was done with good speed and power.

    Your question also touches on some other aspects and there was just a question a week or so ago about pace and how fast kata should be done and if there are specific places where you should kai, breath, pause, and such. In traditional Japanese and Okinawan martial arts those places are indeed identified but this aspect is often lost in western schools and their teaching of kata. So much so that sometimes people look like just little robots out there doing something and don’t understand or know the concept of “living your kata”.

    At the same time kata can be done to fast and appear rushed which you never want. I also have to slow a lot of my techniques and such down for judges to see it and the quality of technique that I exhibit when doing something. Doing it at full speed they can’t see this so easily and I will also demonstrate this with students at times and do a kata at full speed and then the same kata again but at the proper speed with the proper emphasis, breathing, pauses, and kais in the appropriate places. Even white belts or non martial artists can pick out the better of the two but lack the ability to define why it is better or what it is that makes it better other than it was slower maybe. This further demonstrates what I am saying here in some of this I think and how kata is not done at one constant speed.

    I was just judging the black-belt grand champion division at a friend’s tournament last month and in it there was a shorter black belt wearing an all black gi. He executed things with good speed, precision, and power; sometimes even with too much speed and some of his technique was lost against the background of his dark gi. I later mentioned to him to start wearing a white gi top with black pants since he was from a Kempo style and some of the short, trapping and striking motions were lost against the back ground of his gi and this made it difficult for judges to see them and appreciate them more. Wearing a white gi top and black pants was something that I learned about and did while competing on the national circuit where I was nationally ranked for many years in the senior and executive black belt divisions. So that is one thing you might consider.

    Another is your kais and are they all the same or do you have any extended or semi extended kais for those techniques where you want greater emphasis. If they are all the same then your kata might appear robotic and just another one among many that judges have to sit through and watch. You can more easily emphasize a technique but that kai and extending it slightly or making it slightly different in the way it sounds.

    One of the other things about kata is consistency especially as far as stances go. All your stances of each kind or type should be done perfectly and look and be done the same way throughout that kata. This is where many lose points and/or their kata shows a lack of quality in testing for instance.

    I will take a student and have them demonstrate their best forward, cat, or pigeon toed stance for instance. Then when I ask them to demonstrate a kata with those stances and if that stance is done differently that says right there that there is something wrong with their execution and technique. None of those stances, when done perfectly, should change when kata is being done but yet many fail with or in this when doing kata.

    I have given you a lot to consider and think about as well as some things to work on here so consider them in your own journey of becoming a good martial artist and one that can do and perform kata at a high level.

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