Earlier this year, Sensei Canna invited me to become a regular at his Weekly 3-hour Torture Chamber. I go as often as possible.
One of Van's theme's, his main theme, is the generation of power during the performance of kata. Kata performed without power may look pretty for the viewers and may get points in a tournament, but what good is it? That depends upon why you do kata in the first place. Dance or fighting?
Kata, in my book, is a tool which develops a person's fighting ability -- mind, body, and spirit. To develop the body, all movements must be done hard, fast, and crisp. This does not mean that you do the entire kata as fast as can be, rather execute each individual movement with the speed and power of a lightning bolt.
Van requires each student to perform each movement intensly, demanding surges of energy that leaves one completely drained at the completion of each kata; not just me but also 6th, and 7th dans, and even Van himself. He allows not one single movement to be wasted and focuses on the return from strikes as being strikes themselves. An example of this is the execution of a circle block. He teaches it as a strike as he 'tears-back' his arms to totally destroy the opponent. It a double treat when Sensei Arthur Rabesa attends because what one doesn't comment on, the other catches.
Allen - [email]firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</A> - <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email]