My first Kata Performance

Tomorrow I’m going to perform a Kata in Java. The Roman Numeral Kata. It’s the first time I perform a Kata in front of a public and this is both scary and very exciting for me.

Scary because, despite it’s “just” a Kata, I will be performing in front of other people (so I will be showing other people, i.e. other 8th Light developers, my skills, from developing to fast-typing skills etc.), and this could turn out to be a potential disaster (nerves, please don’t abandon me tomorrow!!)

Exciting because this performing-a-Kata thing is quite a surprise and something new to me and I have absolutely no idea of what people do expect from a performance of this kind, how they will react, how I will react… all these things should contribute to create a feeling of terror but I’m actually very curious on how things will go and what feedback I will receive. So I’m excited to find out tomorrow!

I was really surprised the first time I saw someone performing a Kata. Everything went so fast (typing very fast is part of the thing), also I didn’t know much about coding and code editors back then so I basically couldn’t follow what was going on.

So I didn’t get the proper meaning of all back then. At first I thought the person performing the Kata was implementing the code right at the moment, so I thought: “Wow, that person is good!!”. Then I found out that all the implementation had been made, and each single step of the implementation and its testing had been memorised and practiced before.

So what the sense of all this?

The requirements for my Kata performance were:

  • perform the Kata within 10 minutes or so;
  • prepare a soundtrack related to the Kata to play during the performance.

According to a blog post by a former developer — and one of the founders — of 8th Light, a Kata performance,

as its name implies, […] is simply a performance meant to entertain.

This definition explains the requirements above. Performing a Kata basically means entertaining, and a Kata performance without music in the background to accompany it would be less appealing. Also, a fast and rhythmic performance rather than a slow and potentially ‘boring’ performance adds on fun and interest to the whole experience.

I used to play classic guitar and to perform in front of a public until I was 18. I never got used to performing in front of other people and I remember I was always very nervous and would start shaking before the performance. Sometimes I managed to control the stress, sometimes I didn’t and the performance ended up being a complete disaster. I didn’t like performing and I think this is the main reason why I quit playing the guitar (I kept playing it only for my own pleasure until I moved to London…)

I’m not going to play guitar tomorrow but I hope to deliver one of my good performances. And if not, well, it will be another lesson to learn from… so, fingers crossed!

For more info about the purpose of Code Katas performing and Guidelines read this.

To know more about Katas read this and this.

Read about Roman Numeral Kata here.