During the last training session we covered kata Pinan Nidan in detail, trying to find ways to best remember and memorise the techniques and stances.
I briefly discussed with some of the students about the many different ways that kata can be practiced to better understand it and learn it.
This is an article by a great Karate blogger, Jesse Enkamp, and I thoroughly recommend you read not only through this article, but through many of his other pieces.
The article above covers some of the variations I discussed in how to learn the kata. Mirroring it, practicing it in reverse, breaking it into pieces, top-half and bottom-half practice only etc.
Perhaps the most interesting way to practice, one that I have used since I first started training, is visualisation. Now, I’m a little biased, as I know that I am very lucky in my ability to memorise kata in the first place (and therefore being affectionately called a “kata absorbing sponge”), however I truly believe that you have to think about every element of a kata in order for your body to be able to then connect with it and replicate it. I’m going to try and look into the science of this.
In the meanwhile, keep reading, keep training, and when in doubt, ask. I’m always here to help.