Kata of the
Copyright 1998. All rights
- Aoyagi A self-defense kata for women
developed by Master Mabuni.
- Bassai-dai Bassai-dai is probably the most
popular kata among various branches of karate. It is often used as
the main test kata for Shodan (1st degree black belt). Master
Sakagami of the Itosukai cites 5 different varieties in his book:
"Itosu, Matsumura, Tomari, Oyadomari, and Ishimine". It is a
difficult kata requiring many, many long hours of practice.
- Bassai-sho This is a
unique kata in that it depicts defense against a staff (bo). It also
contains a difficult turn on one leg that makes it a difficult kata
- Chinte Classified
by Master Sakagami as being in the same series as Chinto, which
stemmed from the Shuri region.This kata contains a two finger strike
to the eyes.
- Chinto The Itosukai
version was developed by Master Itosu from the Tomari style's
version. It features many open-hand strikes and blocks and a
This kata was popular among the warriors in the Shuri Reigion. It was
a favorite of Master Mabuni. According to Master Sakagami, it is a
kata representative of the Shuri-te heritage of Itosu style karate.
- Ishimine Bassai This kata is very similar
to the Itosu Bassai-dai, and some believe that Master Ishimine based
it on the Itosu Bassai-dai.
- Jitte, Jiin, Jion Three kata from the
Tomari region of Okinawa. All three begin with the left hand poised
over the right fist at Adam's apple level, reminiscent of Chinese
kempo. heavy use is made of the shiko-dachi stance, making these good
kata for developing balance.
- Kusanku-dai (Kosokun-dai, Kanku-dai).
According to Master Sakagami, who references the writings of Master
Ohshima, this kata was brought to Okinawa by a military officer in
1762. It was popular in the Shuri region of Okinawa and Master
Sakagami cites a number of variations in his book on kata.
- Kusanku-sho (Kosokun-sho) This version was
developed by Master Itosu
- Matsumura Bassai Master Sakagami wrote that
this kata was passed on from Master Tawada to Master Chibana, who
held it as one of his favorites.
- Matsumura Seisan A kata of the Higashionna
style from the Naha region.
- Matsumora Rohai Another kata of the
Matsumora style from the Tomari region. The one-legged stance used in
this kata makes it one of the more graceful katas.
- Naifanchin (Naihanshin) Shodan, Naifanchin Nidan,
Naifanchin Sandan (Naifanshin 1-3) Three very fast,
powerful kata in which the movement is all in a sideways
- Niseishi A favorite of this author, this
kata stems from the Aragaki style. It is a short kata with a feint to
the eyes followed by a takedown, making it a kata which calls for
interesting shifts in balance.
- Pinan shodan,
Pinan nidan, Pinan sandan, Pinan yondan, Pinan godan (Pinan
1-5). These kata were developed by Master Itosu to
make learning the long and difficult kata known as Kusanku-dai (also
known as Kanku-dai, and Kosokun-dai) easier to learn and parts of
this intricate kata are broken down into 5 parts of varying
- Rohai Shodan, Rohai Nidan, Rohai Sandan
Three graceful kata in which the Sagiashidachi stance (heron stance)
where balance is taken on one leg is used (Rohai-shodan), both hands
are used to simulateously strike (Rohai- nidan. All three feature the
shiko-dachi stance coupled with the open-handed kakiwake uke towards
the end of the kata.
- Saifa A kata which has its roots in the
kata, Gekisai. It contains many techniques for fighting at close
- Sanchin A basic kata of the Higashionna
style, this kata's regulated breathing and concentration make it an
indispensible kata for learning the basics of breathing, movement,
- Seienchin A kata from the Higashionna
style. It begins with the shiko stance and slow, regulated breathing.
It's changes of stance and speed make it a popular kata for
- Seipai Master Sakagami attributes the roots
of this kata to the 18 basics of the Southern style of Shorinken.
It's difficult moves make it a kata often performed in kata
- Seisan One of the shorter katas of the Naha
branch of karate.
- Shiho Kusanku (Shiho Kosokun) This version was also
developed by Master Itosu. Shiho means "4 directions" in Japanese and
is indicative of the directions of movement in this kata. It has
fewer steps than Kusanku-dai.
- Shisochin Similar to Sanchin, except that
this kata makes almost exclusive use of open handed
- Sochin Another favorite kata of Master
Mabuni. The changes in speed of execution make this a very
- Su-pa-rinnpei A very long kata from the
Higashionna style, it is another popular kata performed in kata
competetions due to its difficulty and length.
- Wankan A kata of the Matsumora style from
the Tomari region.
- Wanshu According to Sakagami, there are two
types of the kata "Wanshu": the "Matsumora version" and the "Itosu
version" which Master Itosu developed from the Matsumora version,
incorporating all of the major techniques found in it.
- Unshu Another kata from the Aragaki style,
the one finger pokes (ippon nukite) and backkick make it a popular
kata for competitions. It is a favorite of Master Fujita of Osaka.
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Copyright, A.E.L.S., Inc. (Billy Hammond), 1998.