Everyone wants to have katas that look good, whether it be for competition, or even grading.
One factor that makes a kata good, is its sharpness.
Sharp katas can be very impressive, and sharpness is usually what separates a bad kata from a good kata.
But what is this “sharpness” you are talking about?
My definition of sharpness is: the product of different elements of your kata working together. It isn’t so much one specific thing.
It is very hard to describe what a sharp kata actually looks like, so here is a list to some of the sharpest katas on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRPunyklI1_b1vO8OtAyZhjH69TdjtkXB .
Sharpness is pretty much to do with the speed of your kata, but it isn’t everything.
To get your katas looking sharp, you need to have these elements of your kata down packed.
You can have speed, but your kata will not look sharp if it doesn’t have good technique.
To have a sharp kata, all of your stances need to be at the right length and width, your punches need to be straight (depending on the technique), your “hikite” hand needs to be pulled back… come to think of it, pretty everything your sensei is constantly nagging you about!
This is because a sharp kata is a kata that looks good.
So to have a sharp kata, you need to make sure you have good technique.
This is a no brainer.
Balance is essential for every kata.
A kata will never be good, sharp or strong unless you have good balance. This is the same for sharpness.
To have a sharp kata, you need to make sure that after you have completed a series of movements, everything stops at the same time and there is no movement afterwards.
This is kinda hard to explain.
Take Rika Usami’s kata for example (the one in the list above). After her very first fast movement of the kata, everything stops at the same time. She doesn’t do the technique then hit the stance, or adjust her feet once she stops, or drop into her stance a little bit lower afterwards.
Everything stops together, and when it does, there is no more movement afterwards.
Theoretically, this point comes under technique, but I wanted to explain it in more detail.
Your kata needs to be strong, but not too strong that it is affecting your speed and technique.
Strength is probably the least important element of sharpness, since the sharpness of a kata is mainly to do with speed.
However, a little bit of strength is required to increase your speed, as well helping with balance.
As I mentioned before, speed plays a big role in producing a sharp kata. You can have all of the things mentioned above, but speed is what really makes a sharp kata.
Speed is what makes your kata impressive, and if you have good technique, balance and strength, the speed will stand out and make your kata look sharp.
Overall, sharpness is the product of speed, balance, strength and technique all working together.
If you improve on these elements, you will find that your Kata’s will start becoming a lot sharper.
Not only that, but you will find that your kata starts improving as a whole.
Hopefully this has helped.
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