KATA

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Heian shodan

The 26 shotokan kata

  • 5 HEIAN (SHO, NI, SAN, YON and GODAN)
  • 2 BASSAI (SHO and DAI)
  • 3 TEKKI (SHO, NI and SANDAN)
  • 2 KANKU (SHO and DAI)
  • ENPI
  • JION
  • JITTE
  • JI'IN
  • HANGETSU
  • GANKAKU
  • CHINTE
  • SOCHIN
  • 2 GOJUSHIHO (SHO andt DAI)
  • NIJUSHIHO
  • UNSU
  • MEIKYO
  • WANKAN
  • HEIAN (sho-, ni-, san-, yon- and godan)

    Peace or tranquillity : these 5 kata said to be educational contain most of the basic techniques.

    BASSAI-DAI and BASSAI-SHO

    Through the fortress : these 2 kata , dai for the long version and sho for the short one, although having the same name, are very different and require great power.

    TEKKI (sho-, ni- and sandan)

    To ride a horse : the 3 tekki, where the main stance is kiba-dachi, stance said to be the "rider", have the particularity of being performed on one and unique axis (enbusen).

    KANKU-DAI and KANKU-SHO

    To look at the sky : with 65 movements, kanku-dai is the longest shotokan kata.

    ENPI

    The flying swallow :

    JION

    A name of a Buddhist shrine in China : the starting stance reminds of the Chinese boxing schools.

    JITTE

    10 hands : same observation regarding the starting stance. Also known as JUTTE (where ju clearly means 10 and te the hand, in Japanese), it implies a fight against 10 opponents.

    JI'IN

    Sacred temple : same observation regarding the starting stance. As a matter of fact, these three kata, JION, JITTE and JI'IN, probably belong to the same school. Note that this kata is not learned at the W.S.K.F. The S.K.I. et J.K.A. ways are slightly different.

    HANGETSU

    Half moon : this kata consists partly of breathing techniques and that's the only one in shotokan. There are two different ways of doing the specific breathing parts, one aiming at the healthy aspect, the other at the "martial" aspect.

    GANKAKU

    The crane (the bird of course) on a rock : puts emphasis on power and stability on one leg.

    CHINTE

    Strange hand (rare hand) : ancient form with a majority of circular techniques and two hand strikes (actually only with two fingers : nihon nukite).

    SOCHIN

    Quiet strength : mainly interesting according to the fudo dachi stance an extent that the kata has given its name to the stance (sochin dachi).

    GOJUSHIO-SHO and GOJUSHIO-DAI

    54 steps : here, SHO and DAI do not refer to the length of the kata, but to the size of the movements. According to these criteria it is not surprising that, S.K.I. studies the SHO version while J.K.A. talks about the DAI version, and vice-versa...

    NIJUSHIHO

    24 steps : due to a succession of quick and slow timings, the rhythm is peculiar.

    UNSU

    Hands in the clouds : it is the only kata with a mawashi geri.

    MEIKYO

    To polish the mirror : it has a very peculiar spring (sankaku tobi geri) close to a secret technique.

    WANKAN

    King's crown : it is the shortest of the shotokan kata. Never the less it contains twice a difficult but effective technique.


    In 1986, the SHITEI-KATA was created to improve the "free style" competition : each one of the 4 main karate styles has chosen 2 kata considered to be the most representative.

  • Shotokan :
  • JION
    KANKU-DAI
  • Wado-ryu :
  • SEI SHAN (equivalent to Hangetsu in Shotokan)
    CHINTO (equivalent to Gankaku in Shotokan)
  • Shito-ryu :
  • SEI HEI SHIN
    BASSAI
  • Goju-ryu :
  • SEIPAI
    SAIFA

    Sensei HAYNES knowing these kata, teaches them in his school : which amount to 30 the number of kata to be known in a Shotokan federation : the 26 listed above, completed by SEI HEI SHIN (Shito-ryu), SEI PAI and SAIFA (Goju-ryu) and the ancient form of CHINTO (Wado-ryu) as the modern version is very close to GANKAKU (Shotokan).