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kata

The kata practiced at the Traditional Karate Center

Kata is the very essence and foundation of Shotokan Karate. It is the encyclopedia of the system and through it the knowledge of the art form is passed down from generation to generation. Kata teaches the body stances, dynamic movements, and the principles of generating power from the hips and body. Also, kata teaches proper use of breath, timing, distancing, rhythm and coordination, and the fighting spirit and mindset of the art. Three essential elements should always be considered in each movement of any kata. These three elements are: application of power (i.e. strength or gentleness of power), speed of technique (i.e. slowness or quickness of technique), and extension and contraction of body (i.e. compression of body or expansion of body).

Also important in the study of kata is 1) executing exactly the correct number and type of techniques 2) executing the techniques in the correct order 3) executing the techniques with the correct timing in relationship to one another 4) adhering the the correct direction/position and kata pattern (i.e. enbusen).

The Traditional Karate Center practices and teaches all 26 major Shotokan kata (including Jiin and Wankan), as well as the three Taikyoku kata, five Kihon kata (Taikyoku variations), and several kata outside the Shotokan system, including Rohai and Sepai.


The Kihon Kata
Kihon means basics, or fundamentals. If kata is the heart of the Shotokan karate system, than the kihon is the blood and the foundation of the kata. These kata are designed to build strong basics and prepare students for the more advanced Heian kata series.

Kihon Kata Ichi (basic kata number 1) also called Taikyoku Shodan
Emphasis on basic low blocks/strikes and stepping punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration.

Kihon Kata Ni (basic kata number 2)
Emphasis on basic face blocks/strikes and stepping punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration.

Kihon Kata San (basic kata number 3)
Emphasis on basic outer blocks/strikes and stepping punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration.

Kihon Kata Yon (basic kata number 4)
Emphasis on basic combination blocks/strikes and stepping punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration.

Kihon Kata Go (basic kata number 5)
Emphasis on basic face blocks/strikes, front snap kicks, timing of lunging punch after kick, kicks exploding from the center, proper kicking chamber and snap back, control of arms and upper body during kick, building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration, and reconnection.

Click here to view diagram, explanation and video of the first kata Kihon Kata Ichi, also called Taikyoku Shodan.

View Kihon Kata Ichi Video


The Three Taikyoku Kata
Like the Kihon kata series the three Taikyoku kata are designed to build strong basics and appreciation for basics. The syllable Tai means big, or great. And the syllable Kyoku has several meanings including extreme, or carry to extreme. These three basic kata, along with the Kihon kata series, represent Shotokan Karate-do in its simplest and purest form.
Taikyoku Shodan and Kihon Kata Ichi are the same kata.

Taikyoku Shodan (Taikyoku first level)
Emphasis on basic low blocks/strikes, stepping middle punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration.

Taikyoku Nidan (Taikyoku second level)
Emphasis on basic low blocks/strikes and stepping head level punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kiai, hip rotation, vibration.

Taikyoku Sandan (Taikyoku third level)
Emphasis on basic low blocks/strikes and stepping punch, back stance and outer blocks, head level punches, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, proper basic breathing and application of kia, hip rotation, vibration.

"The sequence of Taikyoku Nidan is identical to that of Shodan except that in Nidan, all punches are upper level instead of middle level attacks. In Taikyoku Sandan, the down blocks along Lines 1 and 3 of Taikyoku Shodan are all replaced with middle level arm blocks (ude uke) executed in back (kokutsu) stance, and the threefold sets of middle level front attacks along line 2 become sets of upper level attacks, the remaining movements being identical to Taikyoku Shodan."

-Funakoshi, Karate-do Kyohan, The Master Text, page 47.

 

View Taikyoku Shodan Video



The Five Heian Kata

Said to have been created by Funakoshi's teacher Itosu Yatsume, these kata were developed to further help in teaching basic techniques and to help in conditioning the body, and learning proper hip usage. The name Heian comes from the contraction of the characters for heiwa and antei, meaning peace and stability. Many other karate systems, including Shito-ryu, use the Pinan kata series which is a slight variation of the Heian, the name Pinan meaning the same.

Heian Shodan (Peaceful Mind First or #1)
Emphasis on basic low blocks/strikes and stepping punch, moving through the center and building strong and low front stances, hammer fist technique and face blocks/strikes, including transitionally timed blocks and strikes, back stance knife hand block/strike, proper basic breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration, shifting/thrusting, reconnection.

Heian Nidan (Peaceful Mind Second or #2)
Emphasis on multiple blocks, trapping/breaking techniques, back stance knife hand block/strike, reverse stance blocks and counters, transitional blocks and counters, proper basic breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration, shifting/thrusting, pendulum (side snap kick), and reconnection.


Heian Sandan
(Peaceful Mind Third or #3)
Emphasis on multiple blocks, trapping/breaking techniques, release from wrist locks and grabs, forearm deflection and back fist strikes, defense from various grabs and holds, proper basic breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration, shifting/thrusting, reconnection.


Heian Yondan (Peaceful Mind Fourth or #4)
Emphasis on multiple blocks, trapping/breaking techniques, kicking and countering, double arm block/break/release, devastating counter attacks with elbow and knees, front kick defense, defense from various grabs and holds, proper basic breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration, shifting/thrusting, pendulum (side snap kick and front kick), reconnection.

Heian Godan (Peaceful Mind Fifth or #5)
Emphasis on multiple blocks, trapping/breaking techniques, defense from various grabs and holds, Leg blocks and strikes, continuous changing of focus and direction of attacker, take downs, proper breathing and application of kiai. Hip rotation, vibration, shifting/thrusting, pendulum (side snap kick and front kick), reconnection, up and down energy.

 

Included here are the original JKA training video of each of the Heian kata. They are in MPEG format and viewable on both Mac and Windows computers. They are meant only as a supplemental resource to your dojo training and it should be noted that in many cases the TKC dojo teaches variations that are different than what is demonstrated in these particular videos.

View Heian Shodan JKA Video

View Heian Nidan JKA Video

View Heian Sandan JKA Video

View Heian Yondan JKA Video

View Heian Godan JKA Video



The Three Tekki Kata
The Tekki kata originated in China. Know originally in Okinawa as naihanchi, the Tekki kata were renamed Tekki by Funakoshi. The characters for Tekki mean iron and horseman, or horse ridding. Horse-ridding stance, or kiba dachi, is emphasized exclusively in these kata.

Tekki Shodan (Horse Riding First or #1, also called Naihanchi)
Very old Shuri-te kata, Straddle-leg stance. Hip vibration and rotation.

Tekki Nidan (Horse Riding Second or #2)
Modeled after Tekki #1 created by Itosu. Grasping and hooking blocks. Hip vibration and rotation

Tekki Sandan (Horse Riding #3)
Modeled after Tekki #1 created by Itosu. Grasping and hooking blocks, continuous middle level blocking and grappling and breaking. Hip vibration and rotation.

 

Included here are the original JKA training video of each of the thre Tekki kata. They are in MPEG format and viewable on both Mac and Windows computers. They are meant only as a supplemental resource to your dojo training and it should be noted that in many cases the TKC dojo teaches variations that are different than what is demonstrated in these particular videos.

View Tekki Shodan JKA Video

View Tekki Nidan JKA Video

View Tekki Sandan JKA Video




The Advanced Kata of Shotokan Karate

Included here are the original JKA training video of each of the Heian kata. They are in MPEG format and viewable on both Mac and Windows computers. They are meant only as a supplemental resource to your dojo training and it should be noted that in many cases the TKC dojo teaches variations that are different than what is demonstrated in these particular videos.

 

Bassai Dai (To Penetrate a Fortress - Big or Greater)
This is one of the oldest kata in the system and is common, in many variations of both technique and name, to different styles of Japanese karate. This kata is known for its application of power and strength and changing disadvantage to advantage by the use of switching strikes to blocks and blocks to strikes. Extreme use of hip rotation is a hallmark of this kata, although all of the major hip actions can be found throughout it. This is a Shuri-te school kata of Itosu. There are two forms of Bassai taught in the Shotokan syllabus: Bassai-Dai, and Bassai-Sho. Bassai-Dai is considered one of the most important kata for shodan black belt level, along with Jion, Tekki and Kanku-Dai.

View JKA Video

 

Jion (Jion Temple in China, a Buddhist term meaning love and/or goodness)
One unique feature of this kata is the hand position that both starts and ends the kata. This position is a slight variation on a Chinese hand salutation or greeting. This basic, but powerful kata is considered one of the best representative kata of the Shotokan system. Although the kata is composed of primarily basic stances and techniques, it is quite difficult to perform properly and there is little room for error, or variation.

View JKA Video

 

Enpi/Empi (Flying Swallow)
The use of the "n" or "m" in spelling this kata is a matter of debate, although the most correct phonetic translation requires the use of an "n" in its name.
Named "Flying Swallow" because of its sharp and quick, up and down movements, and trademark jump. A very advanced kata with detailed and devastating applications.

View JKA Video

 

Kanku Dai (Look at the Sky - Big or Greater)
Originally named Kusanku, Itosu used the movements and sequences of this important kata to create the Five Heian kata. Considered the one of the "big three" of the Shotokan System for black belt level (along with Jion and Bassai-Dai) it was said to have been the favorite of Funakoshi.

View JKA Video

 

Hangestu (Half Moon)
Taken from the kata Seishan of the Okinawan System, this kata's name refers to the distinctive stance and through the center foot movements. Also important is the emphasis on distinctive breathing techniques reminiscent of Okinawan Tensho and Sanchin kata.

View JKA Video

 

Gankaku (Crane on a Rock)

View JKA Video

 

Jitte (Ten Hands)

View JKA Video

 

Bassai Sho (To Penetrate a Fortress - Small or Lesser)

View JKA Video

 

Kanku Sho (Look at the Sky - Small or Lesser)

View JKA Video

 

Nijushiho (Twenty-four Steps)

View JKA Video

 

Sochin (Strength/Calm)

View JKA Video

 

Meikyo (Bright Mirror)

View JKA Video

 

Ji'in (Temple Grounds, or Love)

View JKA Video

 

Wankan (King's Crown)

View JKA Video

 

Chinte (Rare Hands, or Unusual Hands)

View JKA Video

 

Gojushiho Sho (54 Directions - Lesser)

View JKA Video

 

Gojushiho Dai (54 directions - Greater)

View JKA Video

 

Unsu (Hands in the Clouds, or Cloud Hands)
The most advanced kata in Shotokan karate
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View JKA Video





 


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