Learning kata for me has always been quite formulaic.
First I get to grips with the pattern step by step, turn by turn. Then I nail down the strikes and blocks. Then the stances. Then the little nuances of the kata that make it finished. Then the intensity and kime needed appropriate to the sections.
I've been back to training for almost a month (yes, I've been back and so far stayed back (except this week where I missed class because I was off work sick and my Mother always told me if you can't go to school, you can't go out to play ;)).
What I've discovered returning to the Dojo after my year long hiatus is that the process for unlearning kata seems to unravel in a similar vein to how it is learned in the first instance.
There is a Friday evening class now specifically dedicated to kata. A great opportunity for me to see where the land lay with my kata having missed so much training.
Interestingly, for my lower kyu kata I still (mostly) had the patterns and movements and some of the intricacies down. The thing that was evidently missing was the intensity.
For the higher grade kata my learning had unravelled to the point that for some of them I struggled even with the pattern. That meant any hope of intensity, intricacy, stances, blocks and strikes was long lost. It's pretty much impossible to be intense about a kata when you can't even remember which way you're supposed to be facing!
So begins the (hopefully-not-too) slow process of piecing my kata back together. I've decided to focus on them one at a time until I can drag them back to a place worthy of my shodan belt. First up, Bassai Dai. Wish me luck, I may need it!