Kata
(Forms)

Kata is the most important part of Karate training, for they are the time capsules where all the techniques, strategies and principles of the martial art are recorded. The rest of the elements, namely junbi undo, hojo undo and kumite, revolve around kata and are meant to enhance its practice and understanding. The practical study of Karate is nothing but the in-depth study of its kata.

Like textbooks to a student or tactical exercises to a soldier, kata are the most important element of Karate. It is safe to say that Karate begins and ends with kata.

Funakoshi Gichin

Jundokan kata list
Kata list at the Jundokan Dojo in Okinawa.

Kihon Kata
(Basic forms)

Gekisai Dai Ichi

Gekisai Dai Ni


Heishu Kata
(Breathing forms)

Even though the term heishu literally means "closed fist", it refers to the kata commonly known as "breathing kata". Although simple on the surface and commonly misunderstood, these kata contain all the principles of the system and allow the student to absorb them in order to apply them to every other area of practice, hence the great importance and emphasis placed upon them.

Sanchin should be practiced 30 times a day; in fact, if one were to practice Sanchin all one's life, there would be no reason to learn anything else, Sanchin contains everything.

Miyagi Chojun

In Sanchin, the most important things are correct posture and correct breathing.

Miyazato Eiichi

Miyazato Eiichi - Sanchin kata
Miyazato Eiichi Sensei practicing Sanchin kata.

Sanchin

This is Miyagi Chojun Sensei's modified version in which the turns were removed and repetitions of certain techniques added to make a more balanced kata.

Sanchin Dai Ni

This is Higashionna Kanryo Sensei's version which features two 180 degree turns and the pre-war manner of performing yoi kamae.

Tensho

Developed by Miyagi Chojun Sensei, Tensho contains all the essential elements of Sanchin and also introduces a number of open-hand techniques.

Shime

Even though it is often presented as a display of physical strength and toughness in public demonstrations, shime is a training method in which a partner applies resistance to help the practitioner performing the kata to feel what should be happening in their body whilst they perform the movements, drawing their attention to where their posture might be flawed.

Miyagi Chojun - Sanchin shime
Miyagi Chojun Sensei performing shime.

Kaishu Kata
(Classical forms)

The term kaishu literally means "open hand" and is the term used to refer to "classical kata". In Goju-Ryu, eight classical kata have been preserved. Each of them has its own features and all of them are equally important and should be studied thoroughly.

Teaching a kata to a student is like giving them a stone. It's then up to them to polish it and turn it into a diamond or leave it as it is.

Richard Barrett

Saifa

Seiyunchin

Shisochin

Sanseru

Seipai

Kururunfa

Seisan

Suparinpei

“No matter how you may excel in the art of Karate, and in your scholastic endeavors,
nothing is more important than your behavior and your humanity as observed in daily life.”