Pastor Marc Unger


In music, it is called symphony; in dance, a ballet; in opera, an aria; in gymnastics, a floor routine; and in Karate, a Kata.  Kata is the Japanese word for a Karate floor routine.  But why bother?

Under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor, Kata gives a fairly strong indicator of an individual’s mastery of Karate.

Kata, through consistent repetitious practice, will improve the student’s stances, technique, balance, focus, speed, and power.  Kata teaches combinations of techniques unfamiliar to the student but useful in defending himself.  Through practice, the series of movements taught in the Kata become ingrained and reflexive.  If attacked, the student responds to his opponent with a large mental encyclopedia of combinations that can set off a series of movements designed to neutralize the attack.  Because the combinations have been ingrained through Kata, the student’s reaction time is less as the pre-conditioned body moves with the flow of the fight, requiring less time to think through strategy and offering the opponent less time to react.  Due to the conditioning nature of Kata, the student’s cardio-vascular system is in better condition and he should be able to move through an actual fight with greater fluidity and therefore less spent energy than his opponent.  In short, he should be able to outlast his opponent as he deflects the power of the attack with smoothness and grace, counter attacking and stepping away as may be necessary.

Some intangible results of Kata are evident.  The student finds his ability to memorize has increased as clearly observed by the increase in school grades of young Karate students required to learn Kata.  As ability and memory increase through the use of Kata, the confidence level of the student is raised.  With greater confidence come an increased self-esteem and less insecurity that, generally speaking, makes the student less likely to be attacked because most assailants are looking for what they would consider an “easy mark.”  Kata enhances self-control and causes the student to be less likely to initiate a fight and more likely to maintain control during a fight.

The presentation of Kata during Karate classes improves the student’s ability to present himself and helps in overcoming shyness.  Both are attributes that will help the student in meeting people and presenting a good first impression at work and leisure as well as employment of college admission interviews.

Finally, when the long-term student opts out of competitive Karate fighting, Kata presents him with an aerobic program that will prove in enhance health, vitality and mental acuity well into the senior years.  Kata can be a family recreational event for all generations as the grandfather, the son and the grandchild can all line up together and practice Kata.

In View of all the benefits of learning and practicing Kata already mentioned, perhaps we should not be asking the question, “Why bother?” but “Why not?”


Pastor Marc Unger is a Seventh Degree Black Belt in Sam Price’s Go Ju Ryu System, which he teaches at Marc Unger Karate in Exeter, CA., and has been in Karate training for over 28 years.  Marc is also the pastor of Exeter Baptist Church

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This site was last updated 01/01/21

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