Spiritual Content of Kata

Roy Kenneth Kamen

The Winter Holiday Spectacular Show

• 12-17-2019 •

The day was upon us. The students were nervous. The Director was nervous. I was nervous.

The previous day’s dress rehearsal was close to a disaster. To me, a seasoned show producer, it appeared that the Musical Director was not able to control the kids well enough for a smooth run through. He was able to arrange a few of the scheduled performers to be where they were supposed to be, but there were several “loose canons” floating about, on and off stage. My group of kids however, sat quietly waiting for us to be called to the stage. I was very proud of them.

 The day of the show the entire cast was very well behaved. I was pleasantly surprised that the show flow was smooth. The kids really pulled it off. Then our group was called up. I  had decided to approach the show as if I were running a class and that meant some audience participation. After our introduction the students bowed shouting “Please Teach Me” to the school Principle, After-School Program Director, the teachers, parents, friends and general audience guests. There was a lot of bowing.

The rest of the show consisted of basic exercises, breathing meditation, blocking, punching, kicking and Kata. At the end of the presentation I explained to the audience that the classroom we use for Martial Arts class ceases to be a classroom. It becomes a Dojo, a place to learn the way of KaraTe. I went on to explain that since today we were practicing in the Auditorium, the Auditorium now becomes our Dojo and all of the people in the room are now our students. To finish the presentation I lead a group breathing meditation with the entire room. It was a very powerful experience. Finishing the meditation I rang the Tibetan Singing Bowl. The sound of the bowl ringing then singing filled the Auditorium. It was a magical moment. We then bowed and shouted: “Thank You Very Much” and the curtain closed to a cheering audience clapping enthusiastically.

As the curtain closed the Musical Director, who was also the show host, called me to center stage and asked me to explain why we bow so much. I explained that KaraTe is not about fighting, that fighting is just a means to an end. That end being fearless compassion. Courtesy and manners are the cornerstone of the Martial Arts I teach and that is why we bow, to show respect.

The show ended with a big dance number. It was a rousing success. Several parents approached me afterwards telling me that they took Martial Arts when they were kids and how happy they are about what I am teaching their children.