Reverse kata analysis

By Yossi Sheriff

Reverse Kata analysis is an AKBAN practice that aims to extract historical meaning and possible contextual background from the techniques, movements and reactions depicted in the Kata. Kata, in the context of martial arts practice, is a succession of prearranged movements.

Reverse Kata analysis is a complementary practice to Kata analysis. Both these practices are part the use of the Methodical pyramid, the AKBAN organization method of managing traditional martial arts disciplines as an eclectic and living body of knowledge. In reverse Kata analysis the known background of the Kata, even if it is not verified, is compared to the sequence of the movements. This supplies information about many variables. A Kata that claims to be suitable for battlefield confrontation can suddenly be discovered to be lacking in some parameters. The practice of extracting background context of the kata should not be confused with ordinary Kata analysis. The incentive of the reverse analysis is making educated observations about the origin and historical background of the Kata, whilst the motive of regular Kata analysis is understanding different parameters that make the Kata work in Randori or Tatakai.

Reverse Kata analysis in Koryu Kata can reveal whether the Kata was put together in the context of personal armor warfare or whether it was intended as a set of movements for a civilian lifestyle. Practicing reverse analysis can probably reveal the certainties behind myths about the Kata background and history.