Recently I was in a martial arts discussion group and the topic of katas came up. Are they vital to martial arts training? Coming from a background of rich and varied teaching lineage, and a system that is mission directed to preserve ancient martial arts forms, I was shocked at the responses of some of the participants in the discussion, and the cavalier way in which they just tossed the idea of kata aside. It made me very grateful for the path of Chayon-Ryu and that from my time as a white belt on, the notion of the rich treasures contained in the forms are the wealth of our system was instilled in me.
There is a decided difference between form and technique. Techniques are in and of themselves simple gestures that go to make up the movements of self defense. But forms, are art, they are wisdom, they are the life work of a Grandmaster who composed them and put them together. It is our duty to preserve this legacy for posterity and future generations. Grandmaster Kim Soo speaks of this often, and how it is each black belt's responsibility to be the legacy of the future. So I am posting this clip of an interview with Grandmaster about the preservation of forms: