Last year I wrote about The Value of Kata, and cultivating Mindlessness. And implied in the articles were how repeating patterns of combat related movements lead to the ability to execute movements without the need for any analytical thought, or as I said, mindlessly. Rather than the so-called "dead patterns", this type of training teaches the body how to move reflexively, and in doing so, allow a creativity of application that would not have been possible otherwise.
In the firearms world we drill all the weapon presentation and manipulations in "dry fire" which is in itself, a form of kata training. This is done again, for the purpose of repeating the prefect movement pattern so many times that it can be executed without the need for analytical thought. The mind, having been freed for the "how" of executing the move or technique, is free to apply actions or reactions to the situation at hand.
Recently I was host to our group from Italy and Switzerland here in Arizona. One of the visitors, Andrea Micheli, wanted to use the visit to obtain photos for a book on responding to active shooters in a world where citizens are not authorized firearms.
He set the scene -
You are in a "pseudo lock down" for an active shooter event somewhere in Europe. You hear the shooter approaching and you position yourself, knowing that you will have to deal with the attacker or die hiding under a desk.
I find the best solution to these problems, at least initially, is to simply respond naturally with what you would most likely do.
So I waited crouched by the door and as I saw Giorgio step through, I executed what fit and what came naturally. Again, movement patterns learned and practiced extensively to allow explosive movement without preparation nor forethought. Mindlessness created by freeing the mind to apply learned solutions to the problem at hand.
Look at the lead image. Does it look familiar?
It is only a violently executed, situationally applied "Yama-tsuke" from the Karate Kata - Bassai Dai.