Kata means form. For many years, all major and fundamental points, blocks, strikes, kicks, punches and basic techniques have been formed. Katas have series of points and techniques selected concisely and each has a specific and deep inner meaning.

Kata is the base and point of karate. There are primary principles and fundamentals of Karate in Katas that briefly are the position of body, stances, foot works, tai sabaki, changing directions, timing, breathing, kiai, as well as a correct mental behavior.

Long ago, kata was practiced secretly and was not common. At that time kata was the only form of karate learning and this can reveal the importance of kata.

Kata alone is a combat against some imaginary opponents on whom karate techniques are done. Therefore, the morals of the individuals during kata are of great importance. Practicing kata continuously, you will realize the real meaning of karate techniques. This knowledge allows you to show correct reaction automatically and in any situation against any attack. Moreover, kata consists of a kumite strategy. Practicing a kata, one should constantly focus on his opponent(s) and do the movements with the highest strength and care, as his life (being alive) depends on doing the techniques in the best possible way. This sort of practicing unifies body and mind. In other words, we can call it feeling, touching and living of kata. 

However, it has to be noted that some techniques are dangerous but practicing them in kata gives you a control of power and therefore, you gain enough power to control these techniques before using them in kumite. Katas practiced concisely and correctly, teach the trainer the real purpose of master in creating and doing them. That's why kata is counted as one of the most important points in karate.

Some katas are performed under the same name but differently. This is due to the fact that some masters have made some changes in kata on the basis of their own specific philosophy. As said before, in the past, the main axis of karate practice was kata as it was done to use techniques in attack and defense. Beauty in performing kata was not considered. The point was kata target.

There are some katas in which the strikes of fingers are used such as: chintei, unsu, and… They give effective strikes to the sensitive spots of the opponent's body. The masters who had trained their fingers sufficiently invented these techniques. In any case, as these strikes were and are forbidden in combats and competitions, they are only used as one movement in one kata. Here, a very big difference is made between kata and kumite. As one of the karate masters said: "only those who have good observation, try to perform kata techniques in kumite and only these people take katas seriously."

Generally, Japanese masters go after concentration, rhythm change, continuous movements etc, while in western countries, power, speed and beauty are taken into consideration. Even in some cases, the mental points of kata ate forgotten. The Easterns believe that martial arts should be practiced up to an old age and if possible to death. However, a 70-year-old man cannot practice as well as a 30 year old. On the other hand, the heart beat of those who practice kata in western styles increase. Medically and physically speaking, this sort of increase in heartbeat may be fatal and this is certainly not the aim of kata practice. Besides, technically speaking, there has to be a strong and stable position in which paying attention to Hara is necessary.

The kata, about fifty of which have come down to he present day, can be roughly divided into two groups. One the one hand there are those that are seemingly simple but also exhibit grandeur, composure, and dignity. Through practice of this type of kata, the karateka can build up his physique, tempering his bones and forming strong muscles. The other group is appropriate for the acquisition of fast reflexes and quick movements.

Execution of each kata, thst is, the leg movements, is alone a predetermined performance line (Embusen). Though one practices without a visible opponent, he should have in mined "disposing of enemies" coming from four directions or eight directions- and the possibility of a changing performance line.

Since the katas contain all of the elements essential for exercising the whole body, they are ideal for that purpose. Practicing alone or in a group, anyone can follow this way, in accordance with his own level of ability and regardless of age.

It is through these formal exercises that the karateka can learn the art of self-defense, enabling him to face a dangerous situation naturally and efficiently. But the degree of skillfulness is the determining factor.

As said before, in Shitoryu style, there are a variety of katas, some are thought by Anko Itosu (Shuri-te) such as Hian, Basai, Kosokun, Chinto, etc, whose feature is quick movements, some by Kanryo Higaonna (Naha-te), such as Sanchin, Seisan, Seipai, Seienchin, Suparinpei, etc, whose emphasis is on forming muscles and strength. In these katas besides slow movements, there are quick movements too.  

There are also other katas devised by Kenwa Mabuni such as Shinpa, Juruko, etc, other by Aragaki (Tomari-te), such as Sochin, Unsu, Niseishi, etc….

There are some points and factors in performing kata, which are of great importance. Some of them are easy and clear. On the contrary some others are complicated. Years should be spent in order to get accustomed with them. The points are as follows:

1.Kata has to be performed according to the fixed order. The number of the movements cannot be altered. Personal interpretation cannot be imposed either. The form and the order of movements cannot be changed. No mistake is accepted.

2.The movement and change of direction have to be made exactly on the Embusen line of kata. In some styles (i.e. Shotokan), kata is finished on the very spot it has been started. However in shitoryu, some katas are not finished on the start spot, although the distance between start and finish spot might be slight (i.e. a step towards right or left or back).

3.The meaning of each movement has to be understood and the movement itself has to be made correctly. The real application of each part of kata has to be practiced with the opponent seriously (bunkai).

4.The speed of each kata has to be regarded. Some are quick and some are slow (even some movements in one kata are slow) and require concentration.

5.The movements have to be made rhythmically. They are all in connection with one another. Usually, the end of one movement is the beginning of the next movement.

6.While kata is performed rhythmically, some major points have to be regarded. These points that give kata dignity are as follows:

*Correct use of power, which means correct use of power in certain moments of each movement.

*Smoothness in movement related to speed (slow, quick).

*Flexibility of body related to contraction and expansion of muscles in accordance with the movement.

Different forms of kata practices

1.Slow, without concentration (relax) performed as warm up.

2.Quick, without concentration (relax) in order to keep the moments of kata in mind.

3.Quick, powerful with Kime. The movements are performed one by one. This form is suitable in-group class.

4.With the real speed and rhythm of kata and kime. This is the real kata the same as real combat.

5.Slow, with contraction of muscles, performed as an exercise to strengthen the muscles.

6.Slow, relax along with deep breathing, feeling Hara in each movement like Tai Chi Chuan.

7.Symmetry movements, if kata is started from the left, try starting from the right.

8.Converse performance (i.e. perform from the end to the beginning). This is done in advance level of kata practice.

9.Selecting some parts of a kata and repeating them constantly.

10.Close-eyed performing.

A number of things can be said about kata. Below you will find some points that help to better learning and performing of kata:

-Do not try to do all the movements quickly. It has to be noted that each movement requires its own speed and position.

-Lower the hips and have pressure on Hara, you can shorten the distance between your anus and navel.

-Close your mouth and prevent contracting the muscles of your face.

-Keep your body upright all the time.

-Move your whole body as a unit and not partly.

-Be fully aware of the connection between kata and practice and kumite.

-Practice over and over.

In this section, we are going to read about thirteen very fundamental points in kata that must be considered while practicing kata.

1.Yooi no kishin- Readiness, concentration, will, and determination against opponent before starting kata.
2.In'yo - Active and passive (i.e. knowing whether you are attacking or defending).
3.Chikara no kyojaku - Correct method in using power, the amount of power used for each kata movement and position.
4.Waza no kankyu - Speed used in each kata movement and position.
5.Tai no shinshoku - the amount of contraction and expansion for each movement.
6.Kokyu - Breathing, right exhalation and inhalation in each kata movement.
7.Chakugan - Look spot, considering the aim and destination of technique.
8.Kiai - Shout, in one or more certain points, shout shows the soul of fight of kata. Additionally, the whole conducted power is released.
9.Hyoshi - Rythm. Proper accentuation and flow of the movement of kata and each combination of kata.
10.Kime - Focal point or Focus refers to the concentration of all the energy of the body in the instant a particular technique( blocks, kicks, punches and...)makes contact with its target.
11.Antei - Balance. Stability, adjusting, figure and using the proper and correct stance in each movement.
12.Keitai no hoji - Using each technique in its proper place.
13.Zanshin - Being fully aware, being in guard position at the end of kata. Looking towards the side kata is finished.

Today we can see that many karatekas do not practice kata seriously and do not realize the usage of kata. In fact, it is true that kata will be useable only for those who have studied it deeply and have perfect recognition.

  * Rey (Bow)
At the beginning and at the end of the kata, one bows. This is part of the kata. When doing kata successively, bow at the every beginning and at the completion of the final kata.

 Basic Katas
Foot Patterns for all Basic Katas

White Belt
1.Zenkutsu-dachi harai-uke;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
2.Zenkutsu-dachi yoko-uke;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
3.Zenkutsu-dachi jodan-uke;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
4.Zenkutsu-dachi harai-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
Yellow Belt
5.Zenkutsu-dachi yoko-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
6.Zenkutsu-dachi jodan-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
7.Zenkutsu-dachi yoko-uchi, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan-oitsuki
Orange Belt
8.Zenkutsu-dachi sukui-uke, mai geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
9.Zenkutsu-dachi ude-uke, mai geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
10.Neko-ashi-dachi harai-uke; mai geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
Green Belt
11.Neko-ashi-dachi shuto-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
12.Neko-ashi-dachi yoko-uke kaka-te, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
13.Shiko-dachi yoko-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi jodan-oitsuki
Blue Belt
14.Zenkutsu- dachi nagashi-uke, mawashi-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi chudan gyaku-tsuki
15.Zenkutsu-dachi harai-uke, neko-ashi-dachi shuto-uke, sokuto-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi,  chudan gyaku-tsuki
16.Neko-ashi-dachi jodan-uke, mai-geri;
zenkutsu-dachi harai-uke, chudan gyaku-tsuki
Brown Belt
17.Zenkutsu-dachi shuto-barai, neko-ashi-dachi kaka-te;
mai-geri, zenkutsu-dachi, chudan oitsuki:
Down the middle; zunkutsu-dachi, shuto-barai, neko- ashi-dachi kaka-te
then: sokuto-geri, mawashi-geri, ushiro-geri, chudan-gyaku-tsuki

Basic Katas
Kihon Shodan Kihon Yondan
Kihon Nidan Tenno
Kihon Sandan Chino


Katas Shuri-Te
Anko Itosu
Pinan/Heian Shodan Bassai Dai Rohai Shodan
Pinan/Heian Nidan Bassai Sho Rohai Nidan
Pinan/Heian Sandan Chintei Rohai Sandan
Pinan/Heian Yondan Chinto Kosokun Dai
Pinan/Heian Godan Jiin Kosokun Sho
Naifanchin Shodan Jion Shiho Kosokun
Naifanchin Nidan Jitte Wansu
Naifanchin Sandan Gojushiho
Katas Naha-Te
Kanryo Higaonna
Kururunfa Sanseru Seisan
Saifa Seienchin Shisochin
Sanchin Seipai Superimpei
Miyagi Chojun
Gekisai Dai Ichi Gekisai Dai Ni Tensho
Katas Tomari-Te
Seisho Aragaki
Tomari no Bassai Niseishi Unshu
Tomari no Wansu (Empi) Sochin
Matsumura Sokon
Matsumura no Anan Matsumura no Rohai Matsumura no Wankan
Matsumura no Bassai Matsumura no Seisan
Kenwa Mabuni
Shinsei Dai Ichi Aoyagi (Seiryu) Juroku
Shinsei Dai Ni Miyojo Matsukaze
Go Kenki (Wu Xian Hui)
Haffa (Hakucho) Nipaipo Papporen
Nakaima Norisato
Annan Pachu Paiku
Kosaku Matsumora
Matsumora no Annan Matsumora no Bassai Matsumora no Seisan
Chatan Yara
Chatan Yara no Kushanku
Kyan Chotoku
Chibana Shosin
Chibana no Kushanku
Ishimine no Bassai
Kokan Oyadomari
Oyadomari no Bassai
Takamasa Tomoyori
Tomoyori no Niseishi



1. Jitte 15. Chinte 29. Tensho
2. Jion 16. Seienchin 30. Seipai
3. Jiin 17. Sochin 31. Sanseiru
4. Matsukaze 18. Niseishi 32. Saifa
5. Wanshu 19. Gojushiho 33. Shisochin
6. Rohai 20. Unshu 34. Kururunfa
7. Bassai Dai 21. Seisan 35. Suparimpei
8. Bassai Sho 22. Naifanchin Shodan 36. Hakucho
9. Tomari Bassai 23. Naifanchin Nidan 37. Pachu
10. Matsumura Bassai 24. Naifanchin Sandan 38. Heiku
11. Kosokun Dai 25. Aoyagi (Seiryu) 39. Paiku
12. Kosokun Sho 26. Juroku 40. Annan
13. Shiho Kosokun 27. Nipaipo 41. Annanko
14. Chinto 28. Sanchin 42. Papuren
43. Chatanyara Kushanku

Meaning of each Shitoryu Karate Kata

Heian (Pinan) Peaceful Mind, tranquility Naifanchi Sideway Fighting,or Surreptitious Steps
Jiin Temple Ground Jitte Temple Hand, 10
Bassai Breach a Fortess, Trust Asunder Jion Temple Sound
Wanshu The name of Chinese Envoy Kosokun
The Name of the Chinese Public Official of the Ming Dynasty
Chinte Curious Hands Chinto Fighting to the
East, or where the
sun comes up
Sochin Strong Calmness Grand Prize Shiho Kosokun Four Directions of Kosokun
Rohai Vision of a White Heron Niseishi Twenty four Steps
Gojushiho Fifty Four Steps Unsu (Unshu) Cloud Hand, Hand
in the Clouds
Sanchin Three Battles Shinsei New Life, New
Shinpa New Break point Aoyagi Green Willow
Juroku Sixteen Myojo Pure Brightness
Matsukaze Pine Tree Wind Kenshu Excellent fist
Kensho Fisted Hand Kenpaku
Superior Fist
Happo Sho Hand in Eight Directions Shisochin Warrior's Grand Calmness
Seisan Thirteen Hands Tensho Rotating Palms,
Elegant Hands
Seipai Eighteen Hands Seienchin Lull in the Storm
Kururunfa Seventeen, Holding Your Ground Suparinpei One Hundred Hands, One
hundred Steps
Sanseiru Thirty Six Hands Saifa (Saiha) The Final Breaking Point
Nipaipo Twenty Eight Steps Haffa (Hakucho) White Swan, One
Hundred Birds
Papporen Eight Steps, Eight Steps at a time Ananku Light from the South

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