In the dojo on Tuesday we had a discussion about performing kata with the correct attitude and the difference in 'faking it' or really 'meaning it'. The consensus was that the attitude with which you perform kata is what makes it uniquely your own and without it, the kata is devoid of any life - it is simply a bunch of movements.
Attitude is a big thing. It can shape what we do, what we become and how others see us.
How we approach challenges, how we handle success or failure or how we support others along life's journey is all dependent on our attitude. Attitude defines character and character is the seed of us all, creating uniqueness and humanity.
Honestly expressing the technique of kata through positive attitude will be visibly through its silhouette. Lack of confidence for instance can cause the head to dip, the back to round and the sharpness of every posture will dull like a diamond that's been wrapped up in a pillow. Although the body has physical limits, the energy from kata movements transcends these and should project to each corner of the dojo with assertiveness, rather than aggression.
The attitude developed in karate stems from the consistent drive for improvement and facing regular challenges of body, mind and spirit. This tenacity and persistent effort towards constantly moving goals is what forges an attitude that can be extracted and functionally used every day of your life - by no means does the application of karate end in the dojo!
If we only studied karate for self-defence, then I don't think it would be a valuable investment of time - there are many quicker ways of learning how to look after yourself! Indeed, karate forges something much deeper.
The meaningful application of karate is such that the art becomes useful in all that we do. In this way, our development becomes integrated into our daily way of life so that with every action and with every thought, you are functionally applying the concepts of kata.
Chris Denwood has been studying martial arts since childhood and specialises in the practical application of karate's traditional principles for civilian self-defence, personal development, life integration and discovery.