What is Kata?
Kata are structured routines that you practice deliberately, especially at the beginning, so their pattern becomes a habit and leaves you with new abilities. Kata are a way of learning fundamental skills that you can build on. The word comes from the martial arts, where Kata are used to train combatants in fundamental moves. But the idea of a Kata can be applied in a much broader sense. The ImprovementKata and Coaching Kata are for training managers and leaders in a new way of doing their jobs.
At first you should try to practice each Kata exactly as described, until its pattern becomes somewhat automatic and habitual for you. That can take several months of practice. When you reach that point and have learned through practice to understand the “why” behind that Kata’s routine, then you can start to deviate from it by evolving your own version or style of the pattern… as long as its core principles remain intact.
© Mike Rother / Improvement Kata Handbook