Technical Guide

Kata (Forms)

Karate Kata or the formal exercises of karate consists of a series of basic techiques of Blocking, Punching, Striking and Kicking which are logically and orderly combined. The formal exercises are a systematically organized series of offensive and defensive techniques performed in a set sequence. A karate player perfoms a kata as if fighting imaginary enemies attacking him from different directions which determine the performance lines. Every movement in a kata has a meaning defining either defence or offence. The various kata have been developed by ancient masters through experience. Every 'kata' begins with a defensive technique. The kata which are practiced in the present day can be divided into two groups. one, those kata that look simple but at the same time show elegance and majesty and can be used for building up the physique. The other group is suggestive of fast and can be used for acquiring fast reflexes and reaction timing. By practicing Kata one can exercise the whole body as bending, stretching, jumping and turning are all present.
Japanese Kanji for Kata
It was Funakoshi Dai Sensei's insistence on training in kata conforming to his view of learning one kata for three years which made famous his quote Hitotsu kata san nen ( see calligraphy) He stressed on training each kata to perfection Having trained with great masters like Azato, Anko Itosu, Niigaki and others, Funakoshi Dai Sensei was well aware of all the various Kata forms of the Naha, Shuri and Tomari schools.
        In the beginning of the 19th century, there were only 24 kata taught in Okinawa. However the secrecy that governed the martial art along iwth the absence of any written records meant that the only method of teaching was from master to student. This led to the katas getting different interpretations from various masters' students. It is because of these interpretations that in modern day karate a little over 60 katas are in existance.           
       To make his philosophy of training in karate-do kata more practical for the karateka, he chose to bring down the original number of kata taught in his school. In order to make Karate-do an integral part of Japanese culture and tradition, Funakoshi Dai Sensei also modified the names of the kata to make them more Japanese in nature. Katas like Kushanku became Kanku, Pasai changed to Bassai. Chinto to Empi, Seishan to Hangetsu and the Pinan series to Heian.


When a karateka performs a kata he should keep these points in his mind.

1) The performer must bow at the beginning and at the end of the kata. The bow must be stately and from the waist not just a simple nod. It must show humility, gentleness and courage.
2) At the "yoi" (Ready) position the performer must clear his head of all other thoughts and concentrate solely on the kata till he finishes the kata at "Naore (Eyesfront)" .
3) The Kata must be performed in the necessary stances and in the same order. Under no circumstrances can the kata be changed as otherwise loses it's meaning.
4) The kata must be performed on performance lines or the "Embu sen". These lines are based on predetermined directions of attacks by the enemy and the predetermined direction of movement by which these are is defended against. The kata must also finish at the point from where it was started.
5) One of the necessities to perform good kata is a clear and correctly understanding of the meaning of each movement performed and the expression of the attitude portrayed while performing these movements.
6) A corollary to the earlier point is that the performer must be aware of the exact points of attacks and counter-attacks and whilst turning from one to another keep his eyes on them according to the movements of the kata.
7) The most important point Funakoshi Dai Sensei stressed on was the three principles of kata - the correct use of power 2) correct usage of speed of movement 3) correct expansion and contraction of the body in order to give the kata performs beauty, power and rhythm.


A karate-do kata match can best be compared with a gymnastics competition where winners are determined by points allotted by the judges. Unlike gymnsatics however, in addition to perfect form and balance, factors like vitality, power, strength and attitude while executing the various techniques of the kata are also taken into consideration and in addition there must be a smooth flow from one technique to the next. In competition, no matter how skillful the overall performance may be if the player makes even a small slip his points diminish considerably.


 Heian Shodan Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Heian Nidan Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Heian Sandan Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Heian Yondan Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Heian Godan Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Tekki - Shodan
Elimination round 1 kata for JKA India tournaments
 Tekki - Nidan Tokui Kata for JKA India tournaments
 Tekki - Sandan Tokui Kata for JKA India tournaments
 Bassai-Dai Shitei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Jion Shitei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Enpi Shitei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Kanku-Dai Shitei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Hangetsu Sentei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Jitte Sentei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Gankaku Sentei kata for the Shoto Cup and JKA India tournaments
 Bassai-Sho Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Kanku-Sho Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Nijushiho Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Goju Shiho -Dai Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Goju Shiho -Sho Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Sochin Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Unsu Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Wankan Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Chinte Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments
 Meikyo Tokui Kata for the Shoto Cup & JKA India tournaments


Taikyoku series
The word Tai  means great & kyouku means to study throughly
These three katas Taikyoku Shodan, Nidan & Sandan were developed by Yoshitaka Funakoshi Sensei, the son of Funakoshi Ginchin Dai sensei These katas are primarily to teach the absolute fundamentals of Shotokan Karate-do.
Heian Series
The word Heian is shortened from two words heiwa meaning peace and antei neaning stability
These are the Basic Fundamental Katas. Though no written records exist, it is known that Yatsune Itosu Sensei, one of Funakoshi Dai Sensei's teachers developed these kata combining different movements from the Advanced katas.
Tekki Series
Originally called Naifanchi in Okinawa, the name was changed by Funakoshi Dai Sensei to Tekki meaning Iron Horseman
The Origin of the first of the tekki kata may be Chinese but the second and the third were made by Itosu Yatsune
series of Katas
Bassai Dai
Bassai Sho
The Meaning of Bassai is to Break into the Castle

Dai - Great
Sho - Small
The Kata teaches about Basic body shifting in different directions. It is said to have originated in the Shuri Te School of Master Itosu. The Kata is taught in 2 versions, the Dai (meaning great or Big and the Sho meaning Small or little. Both katas have the performance lines shaped as a  "T" The DAI kata was introduced by Master Oyadomori. The Dai kata has 42 movements. The Sho kata was introduced by the great master Itosu and has 27 moves
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Ji on" translated literally means Love Goodness. The kata is named after a temple in China
The kata is representative of the Strong movements of Shotokan Karate and is said to be considered of having it's origins in Tomari Te. The turning of the body and shifting of the body can be learned by practice of this kata. The kata cosnsits of 47 movements and the performance lines are  "I"  shaped.
series of Katas
Kanku Dai
Kanku Sho

The 2 calligraphic charectars "Kan Ku" translated literally means
To look at the sky
Dai - Great
Sho - Small

Like the Bassai kata, this kata too has 2 versions Dai and Sho. The Kata was originally known as Ku shan ku and ko sho kun and was named after after a Chinese boxing expert who developed the kata. The Dai version of the kata contains many movements incorporated into the Heian Series. The great Master Itosu created the Kanku Sho kata based on the Dai version The performance lines of both katas are similar, the Dai version has 65 movements the Sho version has 47 movements.
The 2 calligraphic charectars "En pi" translated literally means is "Flying Swallow"
Formerly called Wanshu, this kata has it's origins in the shuri Te school and is considered to be one of the earlier known katas. The kata's movements emulate the quick up and down flights of the Swallow. The kata cosists of 37 movements
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Ju te " translated literally means "Ten Hands"
The kata is symbollic of the strength needed to fight ten opponents. It belongs to the same group as Jion, Jiin in it's origin in the the Shuri te school. The Start posture & finish posture of the Kata is similar to the other two. The kata has 24 moves and is usually considered as a kata used for defence against the Bo (stick).
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Gan kaku" translated literally read as Crane standing on a rock.
Earlier called chinto, the kata has it's origins in the Shuri Te school and has 42 moves. The performance lines (embusen) is a straight line
Goju shi ho series of Katas
Goju shi ho Dai &
Goju shi ho Sho
The Meaning of
Goju shi ho is      fifty four steps
Dai - Great/Big
Sho - Small /Little
The katas have their origins in the Shuri Te school and are considered to be amongst the most advanced katas of Master Anko Itosu .The Dai version has 62 movements and the Sho version has 64 movements.
Niju shi ho
The Meaning of   Niju shi ho is      Twenty four steps
The name is said to have come from the number of foot movements in the kata. The original name of the kata was ni sei shi. The uniqueness of the kata is the smoothness of the movements and specifically the movement of the Haishu Uke found only in this kata. The kata has 33 movements.
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Han getsu " translated literally read as
half moon
The kata has it's base in Naha-te. Originally called Seishan, it is distinct in it's movements and the breathing involved whilst performing the kata. The kata consists of 41 moves.
The 2 calligraphic charectars "So chin" translated literally mean
strength and calmness
The kata uses Fudo dachi often called sochin dachi. The original name for the kata was hakko and was used to teach defence against the bo(stick) Full of stately movements the kata exudes strength when performed slowly. There are 40 movements in the kata.
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Unsu" translated literally mean Cloud Hands
Classically read & pronounced as un-shu, the kata takes it's charectar from the clouds in the sky always transforming themselves with continous changes. The kata's intricate movements make it one of the most advanced katas though the history of the kata seems to be recent. The kata has 48 movements.
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Wankan " translated literally mean "King" and "Crown"
The kata is very short and the smallest kata in Shotokan karate. Having it's origin's in the Shuri Te school, the kata is also uncommon as it has only one kiai
The 2 calligraphic charectars "Chin te" translated literally mean extraordinary (rare) hands
The kata begins with calmness and slowly emerges with power finishing in tranquility. The rare use in karate of tate ken is seen in this kata as well as the nihon nukite. The circular movements in the kata make it different from other Shotokan kata. The kata has it's origins in the Shuri Te school and has 33 moves.
The calligraphic charectars "Mei kyo" translated literally mean Shining or bright mirror
Orinally called rohai, the kata has 33 movements. The sankaku tobi or triangular jump is a spectular highlight of the kata if executed properly