A typical discussion on the topic of Kata in Judo might go something like this:
Sensei: "People today don't appreciate Kata" Student#1: "What the heck is a Kata?" Sensei: "A routine of techniques and movements practiced as a tool for learning" Student#1: "Ohh, that stuff, like punching in the air and yelling ki-ai, well that's nice but Judo doesn't have Kata right?" Student#2: (looks to Student#1 next to him)... "Pssst, I think it's a joke/test, he's trying to see if we confuse Judo with Karate or something?!" Sensei: (slaps forehead)... "You both still have a lot to learn, now drop and give me 20 pushups."
The basic movements in a Kata can be used to assist in balance, strength & flexibility training in a manner relevant to most throwing techniques. Kata also assist in training spatial awareness, gripping, overall control, concentration, timing & that very important element of breathing.
“When properly performed, ju no kata gives a balanced exercise for the whole body. Constant use of this kata over an extended time period results in a harmoniously developed, flexible, and strong body, as well as giving the user the fundamental mechanics for sport and self defense Judo applications”
~ Donn F. Draeger.
“Kata is possibly the most misunderstood and sidestepped subject in nearly all judo circles”
~ Kenji Osugi
Kata can be a very important part of any judoka’s training.
The following is a set of links to the official Kodokan Kata:
- Nage no Kata (forms of throwing): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/docs/Kata%20textbook%20Nage%20no%20Kata%202nd%2020150415.pdf
- Katame no Kata (forms of grappling & pinning): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/docs/katame_no_kata.pdf
- Kime no Kata (forms of “real fighting” for preventive attacks on aggressor): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/docs/kime_no_kata.pdf
- Ju no Kata (forms of gentleness): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/docs/ju_no_kata.pdf
- Goshin Jutsu Kata (forms for self-defense against attack & weapons): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/docs/goshin_jutsu.pdf
- Itsutsu no Kata (not published yet): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/waza/forms/06/
- Koshiki no Kata (throws listed, but not fully published yet): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/waza/forms/07/