How Many Kata Should I Practice Between Tests?

A very good question is, How Many Kata Should I Practice Between Kyu Tests?

It does vary from karateka to karateka, some people take longer to pick up a kata, others find learning a kata a lot easier.

Obviously, the first thing to do is learn the kata.Unfortunately, this is where some people believe they are ready to test, they believe that once than can get through the kata, that’s it, they are ready to test! But this is not correct.

Once you have a kyu grade kata like Heian Yondan, meaning, you know the sequence and what each karate move is and can get through the kata without hesitating and stopping to think whats next. Then it’s time to practice the kata at full speed and power.

Over the years I have seen many karateka test not fully understanding the kata and it shows in thier every move.

When someone doesn’t fully understand a kata and they haven’t drilled the kata fast, you can see them thinking about the next move in the kata, they hesitate and have pauses where there shouldn’t be pauses.

The difference between someone who doesn’t fully understand a kata and hasn’t drilled the kata fast and someone who understands the kata and has practiced the kata a lot, at full speed and power, is immense!

How Many Kata Should I Practice Between Tests

1.So as a guide and this is only a guide, as every karateka is different.First, fully understand the kata in terms of the pattern, what each technique is and how to do them, basic timing and you can get through the kata without continuously thinking what move is next.

2. Second, practice the kata at full speed and power at least one hundred times before even considering to test.

One hundred kata is a not a lot, I know. But this one hundred kata comes after you know and understand the kata on a basic level.

Just to add to this, one hundred at full speed for Taikyoku Shodan and the five Heian Kata.

For Tekki Shodan and the five Brown belt kata, Kanku Dai, Jion, Bassai Dai, Hangetsu and Enpi, I would increase that to 200.

I hope this helps as a rough guide to the question, How Many Kata Should I Practice Between Kyu Tests?

The more you study and practice the early kata, the better a black belt you will be!

The Heian Kata and brown belt shotokan kata are the foundation for the Shotokan black belt kata, so there is no rush, your black belt test will come around soon enough and you need to be ready.

The Karate Snowball

How Many Kata Should I Practice Between Tests

Lets imagine we have a competition for two karateka, a competition to see who can roll the biggest snowball over the line at the bottom of a very large snowy mountain:)

Now the competition lasts one day, so they have one day to create the largest snowball ever! There are lots of chearing supporters at the finish line.

Both karateka talk to eachother about the best way to attack this challenge.

The first karateka desperately wants to win, he loves all the chearing crowds, but is a bit lazy, the second karateka tries to figure out the best way to complete the challenge.

The second karateka says to the first karateka, ‘i think, if i climb to the top of the mountain and start a small perfectly round snowball from there, make sure there is a clear route down, then as it rolls down the mountain, the snowball will get bigger and bigger.’

The first karateka said ‘NO WAY! It would take half the day to get to the top of the mountain and it would be so tiring, i am not doing that, but i am going to give you a head start, so i will start building my snowball half way through the day, just as you get to the top of the mountain’

The first karateka was true to his word, he waited and lapped up the cheers from all the people, then half way through the day he started to make his snowball, a few hours later the first karateka had a massive snowball which was at least six feet in diameter, he looked up the mountain, but could see nothing. He said to himself ‘there is only a short time left, I have won easily

Suddenly! There was a rumble form up the mountain, the first karateka, who was lapping up the cheers, looked up the mountain, only to see a huge snowball charging down.

He quickly got one side of his snowball and frantically started to push the snowball over the finish line, but the snowball was to large and he just wasn’t strong enough to move it one inch.

Just as he looked over his shoulder, he jumped out of the way and a snowball as big as house smashed through his snowball and over the finish line.

Your karate should be like the snowball coming down the mountain, get the preparation correct and there will be no stopping your karate.

The preparation in this little story was the hard climb up the mountain and the creation of a perfectly round snowball with a clear run down the mountain, something the first karateka did not want to do.

This is the same with karate, people want fast results, they want their black belt yesterday! But they fail to realize, without correct foundations, their karate will crumble!


I hope this helps answer the question, how many kata should i practice

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Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle