Kobudo training can be divided into three component parts
2) Kumi Waza
3) Hojo Undo
Each of these component parts informs the direction of practice of the others.
Kata: Through the practice of Kata, we should envisage the nature of real combat. Good Kata practice necessitates the visualisation of attackers and in doing so we can perceive our body in relation to those of our opponents. We can begin to understand how sequences of movements may be put together in different directions against multiple attacks. The spirit or nature of each Kata also teaches us lessons on how to prepare our mind for different offensive or defensive modes of combat. If we are uncertain about the effectiveness of a given technique we can test them in Kumi Waza. If we are unsure about the speed and accuracy of the technique we can practice Hojo Undo.
Kumi Waza: Here we will practice single techniques or sequences with partners or small groups. This may often require weapon contact and though this must be done with the highest degree of safety, it will reveal many elements of our techniques and their efficacy. Kumi Waza is a fantastic opportunity to learn about distance and how weapons respond. It is also the perfect time to develop light footwork and an awareness of mind. We would never practice Kumi Waza at full speed or with full power, since it is too dangerous and often counterproductive. To practice combination full speed and full power we can use our Hojo Undo. To inspire the development of emerging 'bunkai' techniques and combinations we can use our 'Kata'.
Hojo Undo: This is the opportunity to improve our physical condition and weapon handling by the repetition of techniques in formal rows in the Dojo. The same block, strike or combination may be repeated many times in order to develop speed, strength, accuracy or balance. Through Hojo Undo we get the opportunity to fine tune a technique for a specific purpose. We can visualise a broad range of these techniques in application through the practice of Kata. We can learn about how techniques must adapt for different opponents through the practice of Kumi Waza.
All of these methods of training help to prepare the Kobudo student for effective use of the weapons. None is more important than the others, none should be favoured and none neglected.