Students are often fascinated by the fact that I can predict very accurately the score they will receive for their kata after viewing just the presentation, salute and first 2 moves. Now, it isn’t 100% accurate, but you would be surprised just how accurately those elements predict how your entire kata will go.
As with any first encounter, your presentation is the first time to make a good impression on the judges. How you present yourself goes a long way towards laying the foundation for your score. If you are slow to get ready to present and appear to have no enthusiasm, the judges will note it and already start forming an (adverse) opinion about how seriously you take your martial arts. Likewise, how you stand, how you speak and how you are dressed also play a part in how the judges will react to you.
Key tips for the presentation:
• Once called, quickly get in front of the judges and into a strong ‘choon bi’ stance
• Speak loudly (don’t shout) and clearly
• Sound confident and enthusiastic
• Once given permission to proceed, give a nice full bow before you proceed
You are now ready to salute. The salute is like a bow. It shows respect for the kata, the system, and how you perform it says a lot about you. Take it seriously. Perform it accurately. Make your intentions clear to the judges. Practice it in front of a mirror. Have someone record you and watch yourself perform it. Make it shine.
Now you are ready to begin the kata. So many students feel this is like the start of a 100-meter dash. They go as fast as possible trying to speed through the moves. This is exactly what you should not do! The pace of a kata is very important and if you start off super fast, you will slow down as the kata progresses and this will not show well. Also, if you go too quickly, you will undoubtedly skip through vital details that will lower your score. You want to go though each move and show that you know exactly what you are doing, and you want it to look like you are fighting someone.
Key tips for the first few moves:
• Don’t perform the first few moves too fast.
• Show all the positions and details to get maximum value
• Always look where you strike; don’t look down or away
The judges start evaluating you from the moment you are called to when you sit back down. Make sure you start off with a good impression by working hard to polish the presentation, salute and first few moves. This will bring your kata to a new level, and help you get the results you are looking for!