This guest post is from Carol Strickland, Shodan, Tallahassee Karate Club.
Knowledge and skill are necessary elements for us to be able to understand. A student who really understands must be able to explain, interpret, and apply what they have learned.
We are taught the Niahanchi katas are known for teaching power. I have been told the only kata I really need to learn is Naihanchi Shodan to understand how to make this power. It is said Niahanchi must be practiced over ten thousand times to understand it. But what does the word understand mean? Understand means to be able to transfer what you have learned to new and sometimes confusing settings. After learning how to make the power we must take our knowledge and skill and use it in different settings on our own before we can say we understood what we have learned. We will have to learn to transfer our knowledge and skill from Niahanchi to other kata to fully understand how to use this power.
As students we must have knowledge and skill to be able to transfer and gain an understanding. When students transfer knowledge many times they misunderstand, and teachers need to remember that mistakes signify an attempted and plausible but unsuccessful transfer. This is why feedback is so important when students are trying to understand. The student must remember to accept the feedback and criticism without being defensive. This way they can gain the knowledge and skill they need to have a true understanding.