Kata is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. The adrenaline of doing a kata in a tournament in front of an audience and the pressure one places on one's self can easily cause a loss of mentally focus. Practice kata with all of your mental energy focused on the movement. You must be able to completely shut out your surroundings and the distractions and focus only on the kata you are performing. Distractions are not only physical ones around you but also the mental ones that reside in your own mind. You can not be worrying about your performance, how well the other guy is doing in the other ring, what you are going to be doing tomorrow, or how your workday went yesterday. You mind must completely shut these things out and totally focus on your kata and the movements you are performing. Learn to focus and do kata even with distractions all around you. Enter many tournaments, not to win, but as an exercise in doing kata in a tournament situation. Do katas in public parks or at the dojo with people watching you. 

Loss of concentration will manifest itself in one of 2 ways. One you will forget what you are doing and where you are in the performance of your kata and falter. Or two the lack of concentration will cause you to put less than 100% of yourself into the kata physically. This loss of mental focus will show in the physical movements you perform but also will be picked up by the alert judge that can not only see what you are doing but can also feel your level of concentration. The focus of the eyes is one of the easiest ways to see the intensity of the mental focus.  Development of this concentration is not easy and for some takes years to develop. For others, it never comes. One way to help you develop this is to practice your kata with the utmost of mental concentration. Continual practice of kata in this state of mind will make you mentally stronger and more focused. Other tools that can be used to develop this focus are meditation. Meditation practice focuses on clearing your mind and also on being able to focus on a single idea or thought. There are two basic meditation practices. One that focuses on relaxation and one that focuses on concentration. Both types should be practiced and are beneficial to the karateka



Mental Focus