Re: The GREAT kata debate
An illustration for aikidoka:
the 13 jo kata can also be done with two attackers. Even when you have learnt the 13 jo kata, doing the defence against two attackers (as a 'paired' kata) feels completely different because you have to move your body in relation to the attackers.
Kata is good for learning the basic movements of a technique and ordering information.
Contact is necessary for understanding the technique practically.
I think naturally martial arts produce kata to retain the form of the techniques - I have done the same in aikido, though I know it is nothing like the real thing. Kata is a tool, just as all martial arts training is - understanding how to use this tool is the key to getting realistic training. [I feel like I'm constantly saying understanding a martial art is about understanding the training method].