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Progressive layering.

Knowledge in all things is cumulative.

We all learn to walk before we learn to run. As with most tasks in life this takes a certain amount of time. It also require the repeated successful practice of certain basic skills. It follows then that if a desired outcome is to be achieved within a reasonable amount of time, then those basic skills need to be learnt in a very specific order.

The art of Shotokan karate-do is no different. One of the important ways in which a student’s skills, and progress are measured within the Shotokan system, is through the quality of their kata. These katas, for a great many reasons should be taught to each student in a very specific pre-determined order. This order is based not only on technical complexity, but also on the previous experience, and knowledge of each individual student.

This is a process that I refer to as progressive layering. It is precisely because knowledge is cumulative that this layering process should not be circumvented. Those students who want to jump ahead thinking that knowing a higher kata makes them better are kidding no one but themselves. In fact quite the opposite will occur. For each kata has within it the building blocks of the kata to follow. Therefore, it is important that students accept early on in their training, that all of the katas should be learnt in a very specific order. This is by design.

So practice the katas you already know over, and over, learning each one as deeply as you can. If you do, in time you may find yourself with a new belt around your waist, and being introduced to a new kata. 

Remember: "What you learn, and when you learn it, are equally important."