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Shito-Ryu Katas

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You may be asking yourself, what is kata? Kata has been described as simulated fighting, as one locked into mortal combat with a dangerous enemy, and one seeking perfection in their karate techniques. Kata is all of this and more. Kata is the heart and soul of Karate-Do. Without kata we are no better than street fighters with no history, lineage, or art to pass on to the next generation. Karate is alive and well today because of kata and the dedication of those that passed it along to their students. Kata was handed down from one generation of karateka to the next. In its history, karate training was forbidden by law and it was an executable offense if one was caught training in karate. Many karate masters risked their very lives as they trained in darkness and in secret so that Karate could continue.

Kata is the most difficult part of karate training. It requires a student to work on perfecting technique, power, kime, zanshin, kiai, embusen, breathing, and much more. In addition, each kata has bunkai which is the actual application of the kata fighting techniques. Many hours can be spent on learning the kata, bunkai and its defense and counter attack techniques. A kata that is well performed is a work of art and the student that understands and performs the bunkai well, understands the battle within the battle. For kata is not just a series of moves linked together, it is a series of battles won or lost by the karatekas understanding of the kata.

Pinan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Way of Peace; literally "Great Peace", sometimes translated as "Calm Mind" or "Peaceful Mind".
Naifanchi 1, 2, 3Iron Horse.
ChinteIncredible hands.
ChintoCrane on a Rock.
WanshuFlying Swallow.
Jiin"Temple Ground". Named after the Saint.
Jitte"Template Hands". Ten Hands.
Kushanku-DaiViewing the Sky (major version).
Kushanku-ShoViewing the Sky (minor version).
Shiho-KushankuViewing the Sky (four directions).
Bassai-DaiTo penetrate (storm) a fortress (major version).
Bassai-ShoTo penetrate (storm) a fortress (minor version).
Gojushiho54 Steps/Techniques.
Itosu Rohai 1, 2, 3Mirror of the Soul/Clear Mirror.

Kata NameTranslation
  • # Kata created by Chojun Miyagi Sensei
  • * Not taught by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei, now used by many Shito-Ryu schools
SeisanHalf moon (Thirteen).
SanchinThree battles. The three generally accepted as being the body, mind and spirit.
SanseiruWritten in Chinese characters, is the number 36, and is also referred to as the Dragon Kata.
ShisochinFour peaceful facing.
SeienchinMarching far quietly or pulling.
KururunfaForever stops, peaceful and tearing.
SeipaiIs the number 18.
SuperinpeiThe 108 hands.
Tensho*#Flowing Hands.
SochinPreserve Peace.
Niseishi24 Steps/Techniques.
UnsuHands of a Cloud.
Gekisai Dai-Ichi*#Attack and Smash 1.
Gekisai Dai-Ni*#Attack and Smash 2.

Kata NameTranslation
WankanCrown of a King.
RohaiMirror of the Soul/Clear Mirror or Sign of the White Heron.
Tomari Bassai

Kata NameTranslation
  • * Not taught by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei, now used by many Shito-Ryu schools.
  • ** Kata created by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei.
  • *** White crane Kata Kung Fu Kata learned by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei from the Chinese
Nipaipo***Twenty-eight Steps.
Annanku*Light from the South.
Aoyagi**Green Willow.
ShinpaNew Break or New Tear.
Kata List by Belt Ranks
Mudansha Kata
RankKata Name
Kyu-KyuKihon No Kata, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Nidan
Hachi-KyuPinan Sandan, Pinan Shodan
Shichi-KyuPinan Yondan, Pinan Godan
Roku-KyuNaifanchi Shodan, (Itosu) Bassai Dai, Matsumora Rohai, Ishimine Bassai
Go-KyuJitte, Jiin, Aoyagi male & female, Itosu Rohai Shodan
Yon-KyuSanchin, Gekisai Dai Ichi, Saifa, Tensho
San-KyuNaifanchin Nidan, Wankan, Wanshu,Itosu Rohai Nidan
Ni-KyuJion, Juroku, Niseishi
I-KyuSeienchin, Gekisai Dai Ni, Kushanku Dai
Yudansha Kata
RankKata Name 2
ShodanNaifanchin Sandan, (Itosu) Bassai Sho, Seipai, Kushanku Sho
NidanChinte, Matsumura Bassai, Seisan, Chinto, Shiho Kushanku
SandanNipaipo, Kururunfa, Superinpei (a.k.a. Pechurin)
Yondan & aboveItosu Rohai Nidan, Itosu Rohai Sandan, Shisochin, Aragaki Sochin, Sanseiru, Gojushiho, Unshu (a.k.a. Unsu), Matsumura Seisan
Additional Kata by creator
Seisho Aragaki (a.k.a. Arakaki)
Tomari Wanshu, Tomari Bassai
Go Kenki
Hakutsuru, Hakucho, Paipuren
Chatan Yara
Chotoku Kyan
Annanko (a.k.a. Annanku)
Kenwa Mabuni
Miyojo, Shinpa, Matsukaze, Shinsei, Shinsei Ni
Additional Kata
Annan, Tomari Chinto, Kuniyoshi Kusanku, Oyadomari Kusanku, Pachu, Heiku, Paiku, Ohan

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