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Some people claim that a martial art kata, or a form, is useless, or no longer relevant.

I believe that they are about much more than just stepping in a pattern on the floor. When you look deeper than the surface, you start to find a relevant truth.

You can practice a kata, form, or pattern, a million times and yet, it is different every time. There is always room for  improvement. There are a whole array of katas or patterns, from simple too difficult. Basic movements turn into manoeuvres that challenge even the most experienced martial artists. 

Beginners often struggle as they try to decipher the correct direction and flow. The first, most basic kata, is always the most difficult to learn because it feels unnatural and confusing. While forms practice is a good work-out, and looks pretty, don’t let what appears to be a dance of defence trick you into thinking they are easy, or have little value. The intricacies and nuances are tremendous.

The martial art kata, is not all that different than the patterns that make up your life. Your life contains array of feelings and actions that are swept up in patterns and directions.  There are variables to your daily form. You may be strong one day. Another day, you struggle with a positive mindset, get thrown off your path, or lose the plan for your journey.

The patterns of life can all be controlled in subtle ways. How you react, for what you strive, and how you treat others, tops the list of the most important parts of patterns. These are important tenets of martial arts, but are also the ultimate tests of a purposeful life.

    One step forward, be kind.

    Two steps to the right, seek truth.

    Turn around, be thoughtful.

    Back a few steps, share your thoughts.

    Jump high, reach for love.

    Finish strong, find your peace.

One step leads to another. In the end, all of the steps blend together effortlessly. They are so seamless, in fact, that you barely notice how each relates to the other.  Flow and rhythm are everything. Both the life kata, and the martial art kata, require practice, unending endurance, and skill. The key is to wear your black belt on the outside, and on the inside. Your patterns will lead you in the right direction.

The way I see it, life is one long, flowing kata. There is so much to learn. The practice never ends. You must review each passing moment and decide how to handle the next. Step through the martial art pattern, and the direction of life, with diligence, persistence, and patience.

I learned a very valuable lesson recently, and the biggest truth about patterns. Life is the most complicated kata you will ever practice. It is also the most original, remarkable, fascinating and challenging kata, that has ever existed.

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