DISCLAIMER: This thread is going to discuss kata and Karate-related themes so it is targeted mostly towards Karateka and the like. If You came here just to post "kata is a waste of time" - please just leave, thanks. Reading a book by Shigeru Egami, the founder of Shotokai, I recall him writing about how they used to train in his youth. When practicing kata (and probably kihon as well) the moves were supposed to be tense, rigid, forceful, hard. Despite building impressive muscle, he writes, he found this way of training to be detrimental to his technique (and also to his attitude, but leaving that aside for now). Here's a picture of young Egami: Learning from his mistakes, Shigeru founded Shotokai, where the kata are done without tension, in a loose and smooth manner, emphasizing technique and a relaxed state of mind. To quote from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shōtōkai As someone who has had his share of Karate-related injuries and then lots of physical therapy I can tell you that throwing your arms and legs out with full speed and force is not healthy for the joints. There have been numerous studies and posts on the subject and I'm sure many of you are aware of this and so was Egami. His solution was to train in a way that is relaxed and fluid. Fair enough. But what about TENSE and fluid? Recall that in many Okinawan styles (esp. Goju) there exist kata which you're supposed to do in a tense manner - slowly, controlling your breathing and muscle contraction in all the right spots - for example Sanchin. Shotokan doesn't have those (or at least doesn't practice them as often). Moving on, there is another thing that Shotokan doesn't do much, when compared to Okinawan styles - Hojo Undo. For those who don't know - Hojo Undo training was designed to develop ambidextrous physical strength, stamina, muscle coordination, speed, and posture with the use of simple, traditional devices, made from wood and stone. To simplify (horribly) it is a form of weight-lifting. Judging from personal experience - if I had done Hojo Undo regularly I might have avoided many ailments which still haunt me today. I remember a buff brown belt from my dojo, who did powerlifting to supplement his Karate. "You can't have Karate without lifting!" he would say half-jokingly. I now realize every one of us should have taken that joke very very seriously! Now I return to the "tense kata" issue mentioned by Egami. He mentions the muscle growth that they experienced as a rather coincidental, unintentional result of essentially erroneous training. What I am beginning to think is that PERHAPS this strengthening of the body was very much INTENTIONAL and thought-out by Funakoshi and his son. Without Sanchin (and similar) kata, without Hojo Undo a Karateka is very much at risk of injury in every part of his training, and even more so in a real fight! So even before proper technique comes into focus, all the muscles that take part in the stances, punches, kicks, blocks etc. must be strengthened properly. A common thing to hear in Shotokan is "low stance for beginners, natural stance for advanced students". The low stances are supposed to strengthen your legs, improve balance and posture. Wouldn't it be logical to assume the same attitude for kata? Slow and tense for beginners, fast and relaxed for advanced students. That's basically the point I wanted to make. Discuss?