Kata is a combination of karate poses and movements. It's designed to be practiced alone against imaginary opponents, to strengthen your mind along with your body.
Step 1: Warm up Go to an open space so you'll have plenty of room to practice. Before you start, do some warm-up exercises to loosen your muscles. Bend forward, backward, and sideways, and rotate your torso in a circle. Stretch your legs by stepping forward and to the side.
Step 2: Practice stances Practice stances. Do forward stance, back stance, horse stance, and cat stance. Stances are the foundation of all martial art techniques. Practice punches, blocks, strikes, and kicks in these stances.
Step 3: Imagine an attack Imagine an opponent attacking. Turn your head toward your opponent and start with a block followed by a punch. Move forward, backward, side-to-side, diagonally, or in a circle to simulate a fight.
TIP: To help memorize techniques, practice kata sequences in parts and consider working with an instructor.
Step 4: Practice breathing Concentrate on your breathing, focusing on the expansion and contraction of your diaphragm. Take a breath before each kata movement and breathe out at the end of each kata movement.
Step 5: Build and complete the practice Add on more moves, and focus on perfecting the fluidity and grace of each movement. Then, begin to speed up your movements. Always finish your kata practice in the same position you started.
FACT: Elisabeth Shue, who starred in 1984's The Karate Kid, went on to graduate from Harvard University in 1986.