Student mind and kata

Not beginner’s mind, which is a good thing, but student mind.

This is when a student feels they must know why they are doing what they are doing in the kata, instead of simply trusting and copying exactly what they have been shown.

Rarely when first learning any kata is a student given all the information that the kata contains.
So the student mind fills in the blanks, it comes up with its own explanation and the student then subtly and gradually, changes the way they perform the kata, believing sincerely that this is what they were originally taught.

All based on their mind’s misunderstanding, stemming from an unnecessary, rational, need to ‘know’.

There are reasons detailed explanations are not given in the teaching of kata.

To do so would deny the student real understanding when the inevitable moment of realisation comes, through their own continuous practice of the forms in the correct manner.

Also the kata, as it is first shown is often just the first layer, tailored to the level of the student’s ability and understanding. Once that has been mastered then, and only then, the next layer is revealed. It is tortoises all the way down.

If you are genuine in your desire to study a traditional martial art, you and your brain need to shut the fuck up and trust your teacher. Just do as you are told and nothing else, stop trying to second guess and understand.

Once you reach a certain level of real mastery, perhaps then you can question your teacher, but until then, all the student mind does is prevent real progress.

Kai Cho

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