Why do so many Martial Arts Instructors force their students to practice dance routines? They call them Forms or Kata but we know the truth, they are dances. The Instructor will drill every move into their students, forcing them to repeat the sequences over and over and over … and over. So, Why?
Tradition! That was always the first thing I was told when I asked the question, but not all traditions are worthy of being continued. My father, Uncle and their children go camping every Father’s Day. For a long time, the tradition was for it to rain, soaking us to the bone. It took DAYS to dry out. The past few years we manage to break that tradition … for a little while at least. On the other hand, some things become a tradition for good reason.
After a lot of PURPOSEFUL practice, the forms begin to introduce something else as well. They start to reveal abstract ideas about whichever art you are trying to learn. The better you understand those ideas the more proficient you become in the application of your art. This can take years or decades to uncover though.