Kata, are fixed patterns that teach kendoka the basic elements of swordsmanship. The kata include fundamental techniques of attacking and counter-attacking, and have useful practical application in general kendo. There are ten Nihon Kend Kata (). These are generally practised with wooden swords (, bokut or bokken). Occasionally, real swords or swords with a blunt edge, called kata-y () or ha-biki (), may be used for display of kata.
All are performed by two people: the uchidachi (), the teacher, and shidachi (), the student. The uchidachi makes the first move or attack in each kata. As this is a teaching role, the uchidachi is always the losing side, thus allowing the shidachi to learn and to gain confidence.
Kata one to seven are performed with both partners using a normal length wooden sword. Kata eight to ten are performed with uchidachi using a normal length weapon and shidachi using a shorter one (kodachi).
The forms of the Nihon Kend Kata () were finalised in 1933 based on the Dai nihon Teikoku Kendo Kata, composed in 1912. "It is impossible to link the individual forms of Dai nihon Teikoku Kendo Kata to their original influences, although the genealogical reference diagram does indicate the masters of the various committees involved, and it is possible from this to determine the influences and origins of Kendo and the Kata."
In 2003, the All Japan Kendo Federation introduced Bokut Ni Yoru Kend Kihon-waza Keiko-h (), a set of basic exercises using a bokuto. This form of practice, is intended primarily for kendka up to second dan (, ni-dan), but is very useful for all kendo students which are organised under FIK.
Kata can also be treated as competitions where players are judged upon their performance and technique.
Kata is also known as the heart of Kendo
Kingfishers are generally shy birds, but in spite of this, they feature heavily in human culture, generally due to the large head supporting its powerful mouth, their bright plumage, or some species' interesting behaviour.
For the Dusun people of Borneo, the Oriental dwarf kingfisher is considered a bad omen, and warriors who see one on the way to battle should return home. Another Bornean tribe considers the banded kingfisher an omen bird, albeit generally a good omen.
The sacred kingfisher, along with other Pacific kingfishers, was venerated by the Polynesians, who believed it had control over the seas and waves.
Modern taxonomy also refers to the winds and sea in naming kingfishers after a classical Greek myth. The first pair of the mythical-bird Halcyon (kingfishers) were created from a marriage of Alcyone and Ceyx. As gods, they lived the sacrilege of referring to themselves as Zeus and Hera. They died for this, but the other gods, in an act of compassion, made them into birds, thus restoring them to their original seaside habitat. In addition, special "halcyon days" were granted. These are the seven days on either side of the winter solstice when storms shall never again occur for them. The Halcyon birds' "days" were for caring for the winter-hatched clutch (or brood), but the phrase "Halcyon days" also refers specifically to an idyllic time in the past, or in general to a peaceful time.The kingfishers tribe is called the "first one color."
Various kinds of kingfishers and human cultural artifacts are named after the couple, in reference to this metamorphosis myth:
The genus Ceyx (within the river kingfishers family) is named after him.
The kingfisher family Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers) is named after his wife, as is the genus Halcyon.
The belted kingfisher's specific name (Megaceryle alcyon) also references her name.
Not all the kingfishers are named in this way. The etymology of kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is obscure; the term comes from "king's fisher", but why that name was applied is not known.