The Art of Kata Competition and Communication

by Alan Kandel

How we say things can make a positive or negative impact. We see this all the time. Sometimes there is no impact, that is, the reaction (or lack thereof) may be indifference regarding what was said, that is to say, the person on the receiving end might not care one way or another. Sometimes what we say can elicit an emotional response or reaction. Sometimes nothing needs to be uttered at all - body language speaks volumes.

In case you haven’t already guessed, all this has to do with communication and how we communicate. The way in which we communicate can make all the difference in the world in terms of whether what it is we wish to get across is understood or misunderstood.

I present two hypothetical situations below. The purpose of doing such is to show how two different methods of communication are effective in getting given messages across.

Hypothetical situation #1:

Say a contestant in a karate match is competing in the kata (or form) event. Now say a mistake in the kata is made. The contestant is unaware that a mistake was made.

Now comes the scoring part of the event and the contestant learns the results. The presented scores provide an implicit clue as to how the kata was performed. Nothing further needs to be communicated unless the competitor feels compelled to ask others what prompted the score or others feel obligated to share what constructive criticism they can.

Hypothetical situation #2:

Now say a contestant in a karate tournament is competing in the kata event and proceeds to announce the name of the kata but does so incorrectly. Once again, hypothetically, the head judge repeats the kata name back to the contestant only does so using proper pronunciation. The response from the judge was an explicit one. (I don’t know that this has ever happened but it is entirely possible that it may have on occasion).

In both hypothetical situations, it was noted by judges that mistakes were made and for each occurrence judges used different approaches to convey that mistakes were made. In the first scenario the mistake was addressed using scorecards and in the second scenario the mistake was corrected through use of the spoken word.

One final word; Sometimes there is nothing more frustrating than tying to explain something only to have the person on the receiving end not understand what was being explained.

Don’t think effective communication matters? Think again!

Copyright © Alan Kandel. July 13, 2012.

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