Shotokan Kata

 

Shitei Kata

Chosen by the examining committee on gradings. They are the mandatory kata required.

Sentei Kata

One Kata is chosen, from 2nd Kyu to Sandan usually from Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Jion or Empi. The list grows for examinations above Sandan, and full knowledge of the katas is mandatory. These are selected by the candidate themselves, and are an essential element, and a prerequisite to successful completion of the exam.

Tokui Kata

These are the 'free choice kata for grades above 2nd Kyu. Chosen by the candidate themselves. Any kata may be selected.

 

Heian Shodan

The word Heian is a mixture of the syllables for Heiwan and Antei - 'Peacefulness and Calmness'. The meaning of the Kata signifies a 'Peaceful Mind'. The original versions of the Kata were named Pinan however Funakoshi Sensei, during the creating of the style changed Chinese and Okinawan names to Japanese conveying his philosophical meanings.

This is the 'first step' or Shodan, and required for the 9th Kyu grade(yellow belt).

 

Heian Nidan

Heian Nidan is the 'second step' of the five kata in the series. This is a Shitei Kata for the grade of 8th Kyu. (Red belt).

It is also a mandatory kata (examiner's choice) for 1st Kyu(Last brown belt level) and Shodan (Black belt).

 

Heian Sandan

The 'third step' of the five kata in the series. This is a Shitei Kata for the grade of 7th Kyu. (green belt).

It is also a mandatory kata (examiner's choice) for 1st Kyu(Last brown belt level) and Shodan (Black belt).

 

Heian Yondan

The 'fourth step' of the five kata in the series. This is a Shitei Kata for the grade of 6th Kyu. (blue belt).

It is also a mandatory kata (examiner's choice) for 1st Kyu(Last brown belt level) and Shodan (Black belt).

 

Heian Godan

The 'fifth step' and final kata in the series. The karate-ka should now have developed enough basic ability within the techniques to be able to handle an average 'self defense' situation, hence the 'Peaceful mind'. This is a Shitei Kata for the grade of 5th Kyu. (purple belt).

It is also a mandatory kata (examiner's choice) for 1st Kyu(Last brown belt level) and Shodan (Black belt).

 

Tekki Shodan

The origins of this kata are Chinese. Known as Naihanchi in Okinawa. Funakoshi Sensei changed the name to Tekki signifying 'Iron Horseman' referring to the use of kibadachi to creating an 'iron' (strong) stance. The kata also develops the waist and torso area. This is a Shitei Kata for 4th & 3rd Kyu (brown belt).

It is also a mandatory kata (examiner's choice) for 1st Kyu(Last brown belt level) and Shodan (Black belt).

 

Tekki Nidan

The 'second step' of the three Tekki Kata. Emphasis is on the increased power within the Kiba dachi.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) requirement for Sandan to Yondan.

 

Tekki Sandan

The final level of the three Tekki Kata. Emphasis is on arm speed and co-ordination as well as ever increasing strength within the torso and legs.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Yondan.

 

Bassai Dai

Bassai means 'To penetrate a fortress' signifying the internal battle for control of the self. The kata switches from defense to offense quickly and gracefully, and the emphasis is on hip movements. The word Dai refers to 'large' or 'great' indicating the length of the kata and size of movement. Of the two Bassai Kata this is first and original version.

A Tokui Kata for 2nd Kyu,1st Kyu and Shodan.

It is also a Sentei Kata (mandatory -students choice) for Shodan,Nidan,Sandan,Yondan.

 

Bassai Sho

The shorter version of Bassai Dai utilising a similar embusen or performance line. The purpose as with Sochin is fighting against a stick or staff.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Kanku Dai

Kanku means 'To view the sky'. The opening movement 'looking at the sky' symbolises the universe and the concept of ku or 'empty' showing the opponent that you bear no weapons (Also see Meikyo). It is a graceful and powerful kata that was the forerunner to the Heian Kata. Many of the Heian movements and foundations can be clearly seen.

A Tokui Kata for 2nd Kyu,1st Kyu and Shodan examinations.

It is also a Sentei Kata (mandatory -students choice) for Shodan,Nidan,Sandan,Yondan.

 

Kanku Sho

Sho signifies 'short', therefore this is the shorter version of Kanku Dai utilising a similar embusen or performance line. The kata, as was its predecessor, was passed from Kushanku.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Jion

A Buddhist term for 'love' and 'good'. The Jion-Ji was a temple in China. This plus the posture of the hands in Yoi indicate the Chinese origins to the kata.

A Tokui Kata for 2nd Kyu,1st Kyu and Shodan examinations.

It is also a Sentei Kata (mandatory -students choice) for Shodan,Nidan,Sandan,Yondan.

 

Empi

Enpi means 'Flying Swallow'. The movements are light and darting, indicative of a swallow's defensive flight. An ancient kata known originally as Wanshu.

A Tokui Kata for 2nd Kyu,1st Kyu and Shodan examinations.

It is also a Sentei Kata (mandatory -students choice) for Shodan,Nidan,Sandan,Yondan.

 

Gankaku

Gankaku means 'Crane on a rock' and emulates the birds alleged weakness to its prey, which diversly is also its strong point. The kata uses the Tsuruashi dachi 'crane leg stance' or Sagiashi dachi as referred in other systems. The original kata was known as Chinto.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Yondan.

 

Jitte

Jitte means 'Ten Hands'. It is a very powerful kata designed to give the strength of being able to fight ten opponents.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Yondan.

 

Hangetsu

Hangetsu means 'Half moon' referring to the principle stance of the kata. The original name was Seisan. Emphasis is on correct use of breathing and focus. This is the Shotokan version of slow kata such as Sanchin.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Yondan.

 

Chinte

Chinte means' extra-ordinary or rare hand'. The kata uses large circular movements which is contrary to the usual Shotokan method of utilising the shortest distance between points, hence its name.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Sochin

The word Sochin means 'strength and calmness'. The Fudo Dachi or Immovable Stance (Also called Sochin Dachi) gives the kata its name. The original kata was named Hakko. The purpose as with Bassai Sho is fighting against a stick or staff.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Nijushiho

Nijushiho means twenty-four steps, and was originally named Niseishi. The calm and long movements relate to waves breaking upon the cliff face.

 

Meikyo

Meikyo means "Bright Mirror". The concepts Mizu no kokoro 'A mind like water' and Tsuki no kokoro a 'mind like the moon' can be evoked from the opening movements that seem to be the smoothing of water, making it calm as a mirror.

As Funakoshi Sensei's adage states, "As a mirror's polished surface reflects whatever stands before it, and so a quiet valley carries even small sounds, so must the student of karate render his mind free of emptiness and wickedness in an effort to react appropriately to whatever he may encounter. This is the meaning of Kara or empty in karate."

This kata has the Sankaku tobi, the 'triangular jump' at the end when correctly executed enables the karate-ka to turn disadvantage into advantage quickly and easily. This is the kata often performed by the masters.

 

Gojushiho Dai

Formerly named Hotaku due to the likeness of a woodpecker's action of tapping its beak against a tree. The kata's name means fifty four steps. One of the very advanced Shotokan Kata.

 

Gojushiho Sho

The shorter version of Gojushiho Dai. Also a very advanced kata.

 

Unsu

Unsu means "Cloud Hands", the opening technique symbolising the parting of the clouds with the hands. Funakoshi Sensei's calligraphy 'Hatsuun Jin Do' (Parting the clouds, seeking the way' may well have relevance to this movement. The kata seems to move from urgency to serene calmness.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Wankan

A kata that many feel was not completed due to its very shortness. Wankan means 'King's Crown'.

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

Jiin

Jiin, as with the kata Jion, has the Chinese origin. The name is the Buddhist term evoking 'Love and Shadow' or possibly 'Temple Ground' referring to the Jion-Ji (Monastery).

This is a Shitei Kata (examiner's choice kata) required for Godan.

 

 

 

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