Mental Attitude for the Performance of Kata
(1) Ceremonial Bow: Karate training begins and ends with a ceremonial bow. To perform this movement a musubi-dachi ("informal stance") is taken with hands relaxed,lightly touching the thighs. The body is then bent forward, while the eyes remain focused straight ahead. Out of respect to his training partner the karateka must perform the bow with sincerity.
Courtesy and decorum are the first requirements of the karateka. As the famous instructor Funakoshi Gichin often told his pupils: "The spirit of karate is lost without courtesy." And the karateka must be courteous, not only in training but also in daily life. Furthermore he must be humble and gentle. Yet the karateka must never be servile—he must always perform the kata boldly and with confidence. This combination of boldness and gentleness, which might seem paradoxical to the beginner, ultimately leads to harmony.
(2) Kamae ("posture") and Zanshin ("perfect finish"): After bowing at the center of the embusen (kata "performance line") the karateka stands with his feet apart, toes pointing outward, in the hachiji-dachi ("open-leg stance") before beginning the kata. If the heisoku-dachi ("closed-feet stance") is taken the toes are placed together. The karateka must avoid being too tense and must not be over-conscious of the movements he is about to make. He must ease the tension in his body, particularly from the joints of the shoulders and the knees, in order to be fully prepared for any slight or sudden movement. Power and concentration should be centered on the tanden ("area of the navel"), breathing should be relaxed and the karateka must instill in himself a fighting spirit.
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