Kata


Kata is at the very heart of our practice, giving it substance and shape. A loose definition of kata is 'set forms', i.e. a pre-arranged sequence of techniques which may contain kicks, punches, blocks, throws, grappling/locks, or even meditative techniques. It is the means by which the secrets of the martial arts have been passed down from generation to generation, from master to pupil.


Many kata are practised throughout the martial arts community. Different groups practice different combinations of kata. Furthermore, the practice of any one kata may vary between organisations. It is inevitable that no two people's practice will be identical in the world.

In our practice we have different kata for different types of practice:



Click here to go the kata videos.



ADVICE REGARDING KATA PRACTICE (Courtesy of www.shotokai.com)


Master Shigeru Egami says:


" If one has the time, he might practice other ancient kata - but to do so to brag about knowing a great number of kata would be pointless. It is said that in former days a single kata was practiced for a minimum of three years. Try to imagine what this means."


"A kata may be regarded as an integration of offensive and defensive techniques, but it is more than that. One should try to understand the spirit of the master karateka who created the kata, for it has a life of its own and requires five or six years to be mastered."


Due to changes that have taken place in the technique and the underlying spirit, the kata, even though their general layout has not changed considerably, the technical, rhythm and speed have been modified.


A Shotokai kata should be done fluidly from the initial position in hachiji-dachi to the same final position. As Master Egami said: "it should be beautiful, rhythmic, and the performer, full of vitality radiating power. Body and spirit must be one entity, and the power must be concentrated. Breathing must coninue without interruption. In former practice there used to be a pause between one movement and the next; now movement continues rhythmically, without pausing and is fluid and flexible."


Every movement and every defensive or offensive technique has its meaning, and a serious trainee must take this into consideration and practice accordingly, trying to understand the meanings and when they will actually be effective.


The movements within a kata must take into consideration the three pairs of opposites established by Master Gichin Funakoshi:


  • Force applied soft and hard
  • Bodily expansion and contraction
  • Fast and slow movements in the techniques


THE 'KATA' PROJECT (KATA ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE AGES)


The KATA project was born out of the recognition that the development of Martial Arts is never static. Whether we like it or not, it continuously evolves and changes over time and with each practitioner. We therefore present here a compilation showing the evolution of kata from Nihon Karate Kyokai (JKA) to Shotokai versions (the various 'streams' of Shotokai that exist around the world) to Shintaido and Kitaido versions.


We hereby humbly offer the findings of the KATA project with the following hopes and aims in mind:


  • To demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the Martial Arts.
  • To broaden our understanding of how the kata have evolved over time.
  • To foster mutual respect for fellow karateka around the world and their research/development of the Arts.
  • Raise awareness of the various skilled practitioners around the world.

The interactive flowchart below shows the different kata practiced by the different groups. Broadly speaking (in a stylistic sense), there are five groups in Europe that have a history leading back to Master Gichin Funakoshi and have headquarters in Japan. These have given rise to many off-shoot and/or affiliated groups over the decades.


1) The Nihon Karate Kyokai (NKK), formerly led by Masatoshi Nakayama Sensei (1913 - 1987) - This is commonly known as the JKA. Master Nakayama was a student of Master Gichin Funakoshi until his death in 1957. He founded the NKK and, in 1957, took it along a new philosophy of practice (looking at propagating the practice of karate as a sport and by encouraging competition). Although the movements of the NKK kata are quite different from the Shotokai, the kata presented here reminds us of what practice used to be like in the 1950s before the further refinement of the Art by the Shotokai.


The NKK (and affiliated or off-shoot groups) practice the following kata, to our knowledge, although not necessarily in this order: Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yodan, Heian Godan, Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, Tekki Sandan, Bassai Dai, Bassai Sho, Kanku Dai, Kanku Sho, Enpi, Hangetsu, Jion, Jutte, Ji'in, Meikyo, Gankaku, Chinte, Unsu, Wankan, Gojushiho Dai, Gojushiho Sho, Nijushiho, Sochin.


2) The Karate-do Shotokai (KDS), led by Harada Sensei - Harada Sensei is acknowledged by Jotaro Tagaki Sensei, the President of the Nihon Karate-do Shotokai, as being currently the highest authority of Shotokai Karate-do in Europe. He trained with Master Gichin Funakoshi and Master Shigeru Egami until he left Japan in 1955. He is currently the UK representative of the Nihon Karate-do Shotokai (NKS).


The KDS (and affiliated or off-shoot groups) practice the following kata, to our knowledge, although not necessarily in this order: Taikyoku Shodan, Taikyoku Nidan, Taikyoku Sandan, Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yodan, Heian Godan, Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, Tekki Sandan, Bassai Dai, Bassai Sho, Kanku Dai, Kanku Sho, Enpi, Hangetsu, Jion, Jutte, Ji'in, Meikyo, Gankaku, Sanchin, Tensho, Nijushiho, Sochin, Hojo (jo kata), Sueyoshi no kon (bo kata), Sakugawa no kon (bo kata), Matsukaze no kon (bo kata), Shirotaru no kon (bo kata).


You can find out more about the Karate-do Shotokai here.


3) The Nihon Karate-do Shotokai (NKS), formerly led by Shigeru Egami Sensei (1912 - 1981) - Master Egami trained with Master Gichin Funakoshi until his death in 1957. He inherited the seal of Gichin Funakoshi, his scrolls, the original Shotokan dojo and the Shotokai organisation. Egami Sensei had many students. The kata videos found here are performed by Miyamoto Sensei, senior assistant to Egami Sensei until his death in 1981, and by various practitioners of the Egami lineage.


The NKS (and affiliated or off-shoot groups) practice the following kata, to our knowledge, although not necessarily in this order: Taikyoku Shodan, Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yodan, Heian Godan, Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan, Tekki Sandan, Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Enpi, Hangetsu, Jion, Jutte, Meikyo, Gankaku.


You can find out more about the Nihon Karate-do Shotokai here or, alternatively, you can contact the webmaster who will be happy to put you in touch with your local Shotokai instructor.


4) The Shintaido, led by Aoki Sensei - Aoki Sensei was the former senior assistant to Egami Sensei. However, in the 1960s, he created the unique Art of Shintaido after many years of research alongside many other Shotokai karateka. Shintaido is profoundly different in spirit and philosophy (being less 'martial' and more 'art') when compared to the other three groups listed above but historically share common roots with the other three groups... therefore we have listed the Shintaido kata here too. The kata of the Shintaido are extremely beautiful and graceful, they are a wonderful expression of the unification between mind, body and spirit.


The Shintaido (and affiliated or off-shoot groups) practice the following kata, to our knowledge, although not necessarily in this order: Taikyoku Sho, Taikyoku Dai, Heian Dai, Heian Sho, Tekki, Bassai, Kanku, Enpi, Hangetsu, Jion, Jutte, Meikyo, Gankaku, Tenshingoso Sei, Tenshingoso Dai, Eiko Sei, Eiko Dai, Shoei, Taimyo, Taishi (jo kata), Hojo (jo kata), Hi no kata (bo kata), Kaze no kata (bo kata), Mizu no kata (bo kata), Sakugawa (bo kata), Matsukaze (bo kata), Hakuson (bo kata), Moses no kon (bo kata), Kyukajo (bokken kata).


You can find out more about Shintaido here or, alternatively, you can contact the webmaster who will be happy to put you in touch with your local Shintaido instructor.


5) The Kitaido, led by Waight Sensei - Ken Waight started his practice in 1963. He apprenticed with Master Harada, became his chief assistant and in 1966 became the first black belt in Shotokai Karate in the United Kingdom and the second graded black belt in the UK at that time. He then travelled to Japan to study under Egami Sensei. There he met Aoki Sensei, Egami Sensei's senior assistant at the time and founder of the Shintaido movement. He spent five years in Japan studying with Master Aoki, was appointed Head Instructor of Shintaido in the United Kingdom and helped propagate the practice throughout Europe. He also served on the international technical committee. In 1982 he began to study Zen meditation with Genpo Merzel Roshi, who was given Dharma transmission from Maezumi Roshi of the White Plum Sangha. (Zazen is taught and practiced at the retreats at their centre in France). In 1988 he studied Dance Movement therapy under Marcia Leventhal, Professor of D.M.T. at New York University. He brings these experiences and his understanding of them into the training of Seishin Kitaido. Ken's interest in Oriental Medicine led him to create a school of Shiatsu and Ki movement in 1987. He practices Acupuncture, Shiatsu and Bodyflow mindbody integration.


Seishin Kitaido is an evolving system that has its roots in classical Eastern Movement arts and Western movement expression and therapy. Seishin Kitaido combines two important aspects, form (structure, unchanging universal principle, conscious movement, sensing) and spontaneity (self expression, creativity, specific energy, unconscious, depth felt movement). This way of working integrates the need for individual expression whilst retaining the deep connections realised in the East through body practice. The practice of Seishin Kitaido keeps alive the spirit of the traditional martial arts, which aspired to engender harmony and peace through deep connections of body, mind and spirit.


The Kitaido (and affiliated or off-shoot groups) practice at least the following kata (though there are likely to be others), to our knowledge, although not necessarily in this order: Yang, Kaisho, Misogi (te), Seiruten, Furuyu, Nagari, En O Hiraku, Nami (bo), Matsukaze Sho (bo), Tatsumaki (bo), Misogi (bo), Zenki (bo), Mizu (bo), Matsukazi dai no kata (bo), Nagari (bokuto), Bokuto Kata 1 (bokuto), Bokuto Kata 2 (bokuto). The Kitaido also practice other kata.


You can find out more about Seishin Kitaido here or, alternatively, you can contact the webmaster who will be happy to put you in touch with your local Kitaido instructor.


Other kata - There are a number of kata which are no longer practiced by any of the mainstream practitioners from the groups listed above (although they may still be practiced occasionally by others or individuals within the organisations listed above): Tekki Den, Tomari no Bassai, Kanku Den, Enpi, Hangetsu Den, Jutte Den, Jutte Ni, Gankaku Den, Seienchin, Sepai, Kururunfa, Sochin Ni, Nijuhachiho. Gojushiho Dai and Gojushiho Sho were renamed by the Shotokai to Gojushiho Sho and Gojushiho Ni respectively but are no longer practiced by mainstream Shotokai. Nijuhachiho is believed to be a creation of Kanazawa Sensei combining karate-do and tai chi.



KATA FLOWCHART AND VIDEOS


Just click on the names of the kata to see the different versions of the kata that exist. Please be patient with us as we develop this page (i.e. not all kata links will be active yet, nor all the videos; only kata names that are in bold have videos). Please note: everything that is shown on this page is already available in the public domain.


kata_flowchart_1 kata_flowchart_2 kata_flowchart_3 kata_flowchart_4 kata_flowchart_5 Taikyoku_Shodan Niju_Hachi_Ho Taikyoku_Nidan Kanku_Dai Bassai_Dai Bassai_Sho Kanku_Sho Heian_Sandan Tekki_Sandan Heian_Yondan Heian_Shodan Heian_Godan Heian_Nidan Bassai_Dai Taikyoku_Sho Heian_Shodan Bassai_Sho Heian_Nidan Enpi Taikyoku_Shodan Tekki_Shodan Tekki_Shodan Tekki_Nidan Heian_Yondan Tekki_Sandan Heian_Godan Jion Heian_Godan Gojushiho_Sho Tensho Hangetsu Jitte Taikyoku_Dai Jitte Heian_Sho Gankaku Hangetsu Gankaku Jion Ji'in Nijushiho Hangetsu Enpi Unsu Chinte Gojushiho_Dai Gankaku Wankan Kanku Heian_Sandan Kanku_Sho Heian_Sandan Kanku_Dai Heian_Yodan Heian_Shodan Meikyo Heian_Nidan Sochin Taikyoku_Sandan Tekki_Shodan Enpi Tekki_Nidan Tenshingoso_Sei Tenshingoso_Dai Eiko_Dai Taimyo Misogi_No_Kata Furuya_no_kata Kuma _No_Ashidori Hojo Tsure_No_Kata Taishi Hi_No_Kata Kaze_No_Kata Mizu_No-Kata Shodan_Kata Nidan_No_Kata Sandan_No_Kata Yondan_No_Kata Mizu_No-Kata Tatsumaki_No_Kata Misogi Zen_Ki_No_Kata Mizu_No-Kata Matsukaze_Da Hakuson Hoshi_No_Ame Tonde_Hiru_No_Washi Zen_Ki_No_Kata Basic_Bokuto_Forms Advanced_Kenjutsu_1 Advanced_Kenjutsu_2 Advanced_Kenjutsu_3 Sosho Komyo