How Martial Arts Helps My Writing – Original Post – 3-12-11

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How Martial Arts Helps My Writing – Original Post – 3-12-11

Everyone knows that in martial arts and more specifically the style that I study (American Karate) in order for you to climb the ranks to obtain your black belt the student has to learn a series of cumulative “katas”.

For some who may be unaware a kata is a series of moves that includes kicking, blocking, punching, etc against an imaginary opponent. Some katas, like ours, have names such as Seoung Wu 1, Seoung Wu 7, Basai, Hengetsu, Kata of Darkness, etc. There are short katas for the beginning white belt that may only consist of about 50 or so moves but for the higher belts the katas become more complicated.

Although we are taught that the mind retains the moves by repetition (practice) it can at times become daunting to have to remember all of those moves in all of the katas. In light of that, teach what I’ll call “sectioning” which is to practice a section of the kata until you know it like the back of your hand and then move on to the next section. Keep going and before you know it you’ll begin to know the kata as a whole. I say “begin” because it is also taught that you can practice one kata your whole life and never master it. I can vouch for that one.

In any case, this is how I’m approaching the writing of the novel I’m currently working on. While obviously maintaining flow and continuity I’m proceeding in sections so as to have a goal of completing a section of the book one-two chapters at a time. That way I continue to feel good about my progress. Too many times, writer get to the middle of the book and lay it down because of mental exhaustion, distractions or some other reason but if you look at it in sections (like we do when we study kata) you can feel good about accomplishing a small goal while trying to achieve the greater one.

Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy books for all ages. For more info, please visit and sign up for the blog.