This week Godan John Teramoto (one of Shotokan Karate of America’s [SKA] senior figures) visited New York City, and I had the pleasure of attending two of his classes. One of the benefits from a visiting scholar is a fresh approach and change in the day to day activity. John Teramoto touched many points in the macro level that lightened our practice.
There are many lessons that can be transfer or taken as an analogy from Martial art to the business world. In the past, I wrote how Capoeria inspires TrialX business development and Karate inspires business management. In this post, I choose to focus on one lesson out of many I learned this week from John Teramoto. This lesson deals with the Kata.
The kata is “way of doing things”. In Japan, the kata is not just a detailed pattern of movements, but a way of life. The kata has a strong hold in the Japanese business culture. There is an order to things and a long detailed process to get from point a to b. In Karate, the kata is a series of movements, stances, blocks and attacks. In a snapshot a kata practice can look as a practice to improve the technique and train the body. It is true, but holds much more than “how to turn and throw a punch”
Every business has at least one kata. We like to call our katas, “process”, “methodology” or “this is how we do stuff”. The process of getting an order of a drink in Starbucks and delivering it to the customer looks as if it doesn’t have any connection to chip manufacturing in one of Intel’s fabs, but it has.
The lesson from Godan John Teramoto is to look behind the process. Get into the macro understanding of Why, How and What. Some times we are captured in perfecting the technique or on passing the baton to the next guy, and we forget the reason why we practice the kata.