If you have been assiduously practicing your kata, you might be under the impression that the greatest threat came from the left hand side, particularly when four toughs block your path. Yeesh! In my previous blog, I ranted about the insanity of the multi person attack scenario. Now, I ask you to prove it to yourself. How would you fight four attackers?
While you are cogitating on that, let me say that apart from avoiding dark places where four baddies can sneak up on you, you can really only deal with one person at a time. So, either find a way to line up the four assailants that you might take them on sequentially, or prepare to take a beating. You see, it doesn't work. While your mind is fixated on fighting four men, you miss out on the important kata lesson of dealing with the most dangerous threat, and that is the single attacker in front of you.
The right and left hand symmetry of kata is not to emphasize multiple attackers, rather it is to demonstrate that the man in front of you may present you with an attack from either side. Your responses, then, is to move off-line to a side which is advantageous to you.
If you dispense with the multi-person attack scenario, and think of only one attacker, it will be easier to see how a combination of moves set-up complex technique. You will see that kata is intricate and at the same time conservatively simple. If the strike to the face does not immediately have the desired effect, follow-up by wrapping your arm around the back of his head, and turn whilst simultaneously dropping your center of gravity. Which kata did this application appear in? (Hint, it is the one where you were told to elbow the guy in front of you in the chin at the same time as you elbow the guy behind you in the gut.)