Sensei, Karate Student - Dean Weber
by Dean Weber
(Long Island, New York)
I am a black belt in Shotokan having received it in 1975 from Master Fred Corritone, currently of Virginia. I think that kata are important for the karate practitioner. They teach many things; coordination, application of techniques and importantly, focus - the real core of Zen and Karate. One can learn to fight very well without kata but one would have a difficult time to learn Karate without them - it is possible, but kata is a nice tool, a vehicle for the student to get into a state of "karate-awareness".
I accented pure fighting for a few years, the ideas of Bruce Lee and others and they are great, but for pure karate, kata is a good way to get immersed. If one wanted to learn ONLY how to fight, then kata is not important at all but, if one wants to get the full picture of karate, the samurai spirit and all, kata is a very useful tool.