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The Way of Kata
A Comprehensive Guide
 to Deciphering Martial Applications

Lawrence Kane
Kris Wilder

Kata ("formal exercise") ... sometimes the most boring aspect of any martial arts training, especially for the younger students who want to be sparring.

But ancient masters developed kata to preserve their unique, combat-proven fighting systems. Unfortunately, only the "select few," (inner circle) students who had gained the master's trust, would be taught the hidden and powerful applications. The "outer circle" of students unknowingly received modified forms with critical details or important principles omitted.

Even today, while the basic movements of kata are widely known, advanced practical applications and sophisticated techniques frequently remain hidden.

This ground-breaking book reveals these methods, not only by teaching how to analyze kata to understand what it is trying to tell you, but also helping you to use your fighting techniques more effectively -- in self-defense and in tournament application.

The Way of Kata defines 15 general principles to identify effective techniques; 12 rules for deciphering martial applications; comprehensive insights into kata history, strategy and tactics; vial physiological considerations; and well-organized materials for easy reference and comprehensive understanding.

The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Martial Applications (YMAA Publications Center) 2005, 278 pages, ISBN 1-59439-058-4

Softcover,  Item# Bwaykata
Book -- $24

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Those who've read this excellent book have noted:

Kata has great value when correctly approached. I ensures that the martial art you practice is a workable system. That is where this superb book by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder proves so invaluable to pragmatically minded budoka. The Way of Kata will give you the vital information you need to approach kata in the 'correct' way and to practice your art as a functional, holistic and pragmatic martial system. This book is a thoughtful, thorough and informative analysis of the 'hidden' fighting applications of kata. This superb book is essential reading for all those who wish to understand the highly effective techniques, concepts and strategies that kata were created to record! Enjoy! -- Iaian Abernethy, author of four books on applied karate, former UK national kata judge, member Combat Hall of Fame, 5th dan in applied karate from British Combat Association


I REALLY like Lawrence's insights into the nature of kata. It's not just jumping around and waving your arms and legs. His understanding of karate is something that has sadly been lost from a majority of the hard style martial arts. Many styles have become like a car without an engine and transmission. They have the form, but not what makes it go. This book helps put the engine and transmission back. It becomes a drivable vehicle, instead of a shell that someone sits in and says, "Vroom! Vroom!" -- Marc "Animal" MacYoung, author of 15 books and five videos on martial arts, defensive tactics and street survival.


I found this to be a comprehensive book that bridges the gap between form and application in a realistic, easy-to-read and easy-to-apply manner. It's packed with profound insight into the true meaning of kata, while at the same time identifying street-worthy technique, as well as valuable tips for sparring competition. This book is loaded with fascinating history, street fighting wisdom, sparring tips, insight into well-known kata, and invaluable quotes and tips from a host of martial arts masters. It will increase you knowledge of the depth and wisdom of forms, and in the process make a better fighter. -- Loren Christensen, 7th degree black belt, retired military and civilian police officer, author of 29 books on martial arts


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