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)
- 2 GOJUSHIHO (SHO andt DAI)
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
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.
The flying swallow :
A name of a Buddhist shrine in China : the starting stance reminds of the Chinese boxing schools.
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.
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.
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.
The crane (the bird of course) on a rock : puts emphasis on power and stability on one leg.
Strange hand (rare hand) : ancient form with a majority of circular techniques and two hand strikes
(actually only with two fingers : nihon nukite).
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...
24 steps : due to a succession of quick and slow timings, the rhythm is peculiar.
Hands in the clouds : it is the only kata with a mawashi geri.
To polish the mirror : it has a very peculiar spring (sankaku tobi geri) close to a
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.
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).