7.1 Kata overview

The Purpose of Kendo Kata

Kendo kata gives us an  opportunity to truly understand the life and death feeling of kendo. No armour is worn and wooden or steel swords are used. Through kata we develop our kendo posture, form, zanshin, metsuke, breathing, kiai and our power of concentration. Kata is an essential ingredient in our Kendo practice and more and more emphasis is being placed on kata by the International Kendo federation. Competency in kata 1-5 is required for shodan, 1-7 for nidan, 1-10 sandan and above.

The attitude in Kata

Kendo kata requires an attitude of serious concentration in keeping with the simulated attack and defence sequence. Each cut and thrust must be made with full commitment, good kiai and with zanshin afterwards. Courtesy and respect for the opponent is required as in all of our Kendo training. Both the attacker (Uchidachi) and the defender (Shidachi) must be positive and confident in all their various movements.

The start and finish Rei

Kata generally commences with a kneeling rei (Zarei) with the kendoists about 3 steps apart. Once completed both Uchidachi and Shidachi move to their respective positions approximately 9 steps apart, perform a standing bow to the kamiza or guests, then to each other. Once the kata is completed they bow to each other, then to the kamiza. The they move to their initial positions for a kneeling bow. The Uchidachi always leads on to and off the kata area.

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