Recommended reading: “Solo Training – Why Iai?” by Ellis Amdur

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Some practitioners of modern martial arts deride kata training, claiming that an adherence to form is inherently weak. They claim that one trains stereotyped responses by rote and repetition, thereby rendering oneself unable to respond with freedom to an unpredictable, random attack. On the other hand, one’s freedom is limited by one’s neurological organization — stereotypical patterns of action and reaction entrained through another type of kata training — the repetitive, habitual patterns of movement one arrives at simply by living. Proper kata training is, in fact, a means of teaching one’s nervous system new patterns of response.

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  1. …if you’re reacting to the other guy, you’re playing his game. Not only is that defensive, but defensive in an area where you MUST be less familiar. Unless you are stronger or lucky, it’s a recipe for defeat. Kata give you a chance to impose your game. You are more familiar with it, and the shoe is then on your opponents wrong foot. What did Patton say? “You’re not here to die for your country. You’re here to give the other sorry bastard a chance to die for his…”

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