Zen-Shin Martial Arts Association

176 Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, B19 1AL.

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The Zen in Kata

Zen is a school of Buddhism that emphasises the importance of meditation and intuition. ‘Zen-Shin’ refers to the ‘Zen mind’; to be more specific, a meditative and calm mind.

After our first Kata workshop, I have consistently been practicing Gojushiho Sho. I am still trying to master the movements. With practice comes understanding, and by understanding I have been able to relax more into my performance of the kata.

Some meditators choose to use a single point of focus to aid in their practice. Some use lights, or audial cues like chants and bells to create an environment that supports the art of meditation.

Kata reaches the same spiritual meditative state once you get past the point of learning the kata. It just depends on your own willingness to search deeper inside yourself.

I’m not saying that every time I perform a kata I enter a state of spiritual bliss. When performing kata with the intent of focusing on detail, your mind becomes still enough to start to feel the Zen.

I love how the breath works with technique. Gojushiho Sho starts with slow, drawn-out techniques that emphasises the mind-body connection. Finishing each technique properly, adjusting my hips, chest and shoulders to feel the move to its full extension.


I encourage my fellow Karateka to practice a small section of your kata. Aim to get each as good as you can. Our Sensei may have told us 1000 times about how we need to fix our feet, pull back our fist further the hip, or to keep our eyes up when we train. Let those details guide you further to gain understanding, and hopefully a mind of Zen.

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