I would like to know if you might have any opinion on the reason for slow movements in kata?
For example the opening movement in Heian/Pinan Yondan is performed slowly (at least in Shotokan). The back-hand block (haishu-uke) in Heian/Pinan Godan or Bassai Dai (followed by a crescend kick and an elbow strike both into the open hand) ist also performed slowly. I could give examples from almost any kata I know.
Why are a few select movements performed slowly while all others are executed with speed?
The four best answers I came across so far are these:
- Allow time to visualise multiple applications: The slow technique or the next one has several different applications using the same motion pattern, and the technique is not incorporated repeatedly (enough) into the kata. - But isn't that true for basically any technique?
- Build mental tension: The slow technique or the next one reqiures an exceptionally determined mindset. - But would that mean that I may do the rest only half dead-seriously?
- Build physical tension: By executing the technique slowly you allow yourself to consciously feel you muscular tension and body mechanics and therefore can practice precision in posture and motion. - But why would I do that with only some select movements and not the entire kata as a training phase?
- Aesthetics: The variations in speed throughout a kata evolved with respect to kata competitions where the visual appeal of the performance is of great importance. It simply looks cool and makes the next technique look even faster. - Granted. But from a practical perspective they say that in a self defense situation you'll do what you have been practicing, and that should not be slow, right?
If you have any other possible explanations I would love to learn them. Especially if they are in the lines of general kata analysis rules like "turning at an angle means you should position yourself at that angle to your opponent".
Thanks for your ideas. Take care. Marc