Ron Tisdale wrote:
There is kata, and then there is kata, and, then, there is kata.
Most aikido is loosely based on kata.
Yoshinkan (and other forms of aikido) sees kata much the way Jean spoke of it.
Some forms of Daito ryu may take an even more serious look at kata...emphasising exactly the things both Larry and Jean spoke of.
So I guess there is kata training where one's partner utilises unknown, unplanned, targeted continuous attacks, constantly fakes, jabs and deliberately tries to destroy his partner's ma ai by sudden changes, utilises muscular or positional resistance and other pressure methods to place his partner in a place where his mind/body movement, toitsu ryoku and kokyu ryoku (not his waza) are truly tested or otherwise enticed to fail, thereby helping him to improve. Would be interesting to see this sort of kata practice imo.
We tend to refer to kata practice as the cooperative, choreographed practice of technical form, whereas the above stuff I mentioned falls into either drills that are not specifically technique-oriented, but designed to train certain fundamentals that can be applied to technique; or randori practice. I always thought the Hiriki no Yosei practice of Yoshinkan (we have a similar counterpart) was a drill to train movement fundamentals and focus of power, breathing and relaxation, not kata (actual techniques and forms) practice per se.
I guess one learns something new every day.