The often underrated, and always abused, training aid: The Kata
Successful training in Mixed Martial Arts, or any Martial Art for that matter, requires adeptness in many areas of activity and competition. Examples of these are listed in the blog “Mixed Martial Arts as a Style” in the 11 aspects.
These areas are trained in several ways:
Single Technique Development (TD)
Combination Work/Shadowboxing (CW/S)
Full Contact Sparring (FCS)
TD is important for achieving an elementary understanding of techniques as well as developing basic cardiovascular endurance, and a framework for one’s style.
CW/S is important for obvious reasons as well, among them are:
1. Developing fluidity of motion
2. Developing power
3. Further understanding technique beyond the elementary and developing an understanding of how they work in conjunction.
4. Building cardiovascular endurance
FCS is important for obvious reasons that I will not delve into at this time. Perhaps in another blog!
The definition of shadowboxing by my interpretation is: engaging an invisible opponent in hand-to-hand combat to develop and advanced understanding of technique and to begin to understand the basic application of technique.
The definition of combination by my interpretation is: a pre-determined series of techniques designed to emulate actual combat.
The definition of Kata by my interpretation is: Engaging multiple invisible opponents in hand-to-hand combat using a pre-determined series of techniques designed to emulate actual combat.
A Kata is in essence a hybrid of both shadowboxing and combination work. While alone it can be ineffective, in coordination with shadowboxing and combination work, it adds a new layer of effective training to supplement TD, CW/S, FCS.
There is one aspect of training not previously listed that is not covered by shadowboxing and combination work, this aspect is freestyle heavy bag work. This aspect added to the other four, TD, CW/S, Kata, and FCS creates a five-sided circle of training excellence.
In summation, while its obviously possible to achieve great potential without the involvement of Kata, it is my humble opinion that proper respect of, and potentially, the application of Kata can advance one’s abilities further than ignorance of, and disrespect of, the Kata could ever produce.