Wisewarrior bowIn our sessions this week we saw more great 1-2-1 stuff done with the students of all levels from beginner to black belt, from Karate to sword. It is always rewarding to see students grow as they grasp a new technique or concept, there is that little glint in the students eye when, as an instructor, you recognise that they ‘get it’!!

In particular one of the main things discovered by students this Monday and wednesday was the huge difference timing can make to a kata performance. Its really quite amazing how just a slight pause of barely a second can totally change the look and feel of a sequence. Students are forever trying to add weight and emphasis to elements of katas and wazas, but more often than not they resort to adding ‘more power’ or ‘more speed’ or even just ‘more kiai’ in an effort to give the impression of Spirit.

But just a simple pause before and after a movement is usually all it takes to draw attention to it, making the next move that much more profound. Even something as simple as the bow can be dramatically enhanced by changing the timing. During a sword kata this is extremely important, the pause (and control of the space within this pause) is what separates the sword grades.

Also the bow is the beginning and the end and this is an important point to remember…

When you see the quality of the bow it sets in the audiences mind the level of quality to expect for the sequence that will follow. That is to say a crap bow doesn’t bode well for a great performance.

Equally at the end of a kata, the final bow reflects the students feelings about their own performance. And in this instance a poor bow suggests they didn’t rate their ability, and that it is nothing for them or anyone else to be proud of.

So…get the bows right, and the rest begins to fall into place. You have framed the kata for the audience and, more importantly, for your self. The initial bow in particular fosters the mindset that the performance rests upon.

See you in the dojo!