Goju Ryu Karate Katas

A kata is a patern of movements which contains a series of logical and practical attacking and blocking techniques. In each kata there are certain set or predetermined movements which the student can practice alone, without a partner. These kata's have been created by past masters after many years of research, training, and actual combat experience.

The applications of the techniques in kata's have evolved from and have been tested in actual combat. In this way each kata has been improved and refined, and has evolved into the kata we practice today.

The purpose for developing kata has always varied with the time and with the people who developed them. For example, in China over 1600 years ago kata was developed and practiced for the purpose of self-defense, wheras the Buddist monks would practice kata for the purpose of strenghening the spirit as well as the body. The true meaning and spirit of karate are imbedded in the kata and only by the practice of the kata can we become to understand them. For this reason, if we change or simplify the kata either to accommodate the beginner or for tournament purpose, then we also will have lost the true meaning and spirit of karate.

In karate there is no first attack. Every kata begins with a defensive movement, which exemplifies this spirit. Not only is there no first attack, but the best defence is to avoid the fight altogether. That is why it is said that karate is the art of a wise man.

To practice the kata correctly every movement must be repeated over and over again. One important aspect of kata is that it can be practiced alone, anytime and anywhere. When kata is performed by a well-trained person, its dynamic power and beauty of movement become almost aesthetic in quality.

The katas in Goju Ryu are mainly katas passed down from the Okinawan style of Naha-te. Listed here are Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu.

Taikyoku Katas

Taikyoku means "first course". It is also, according to a translator of the Karate-Do Kyohan, " a philosophical term denoting the macrocosm before its differentiation into heaven and earth: hence, chaos or the void".

Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of the Shotokan style, created the original Taikyoku series.

The Goju Ryu versions have been modified to reflect elements within the style, such as the Shiko Dachi and Sanchin stances.

Taikyoku Jodan Taikyoku Gedan
Taikyoku Chudan Taikyoku Mawashi Uke
Taikyoku Kake-Uke/ Hiki-Uke

Meaning of each Goju-ryu Karate Kata

Gekisai Dai Ichi Basic kata No 1 This kata was created by Miyagi Sensei in 1940 out of his desire to popularise Goju Ryu within the high school system in Okinawa. It is interesting to note that this kata finishes with a step forwards. Japan was at war at the time of this katas creation and according to Higaonna Sensei's book The History of Karate-Do, Miyagi Sensei included the forward step as an analogy to the country moving forward.
Gekisai Dai Ni Basic kata No 2 This kata was created at the same time as Gekisai Dai Ichi. It introduces open hand techniques and Neko Ashi movements, an important feature of many advanced Goju Ryu kata.
Saifa Smash and Tear Apart Saifa utilises tai-sabaki (Body Shifting) and many escape techniques.
Seiyunchin Control/Suppress and Pull Seiyunchin is unusual in that it does not employ any kicking techniques. It contains several escape techniques.
Shisochin Four Directions/Gates of Conflict/Attack This kata is said to have been the favourite of Miyagi Sensei in his later years. The kata employs joint locking and close quarter fighting techniques.
Sanseru 36 Techniques Sanseru employs many entry, joint attacks and defences against kicking attacks.
Sesan Snake 13 masters  Sesan contains many unusual techniques and demonstrates the difference between Go (Hard) and Ju (Soft) A different version is practised in Shotokan (Hangetsu) and in Wado Ryu (Seishan). Sesan was the favourite kata of Shinzato Jin'an Sensei.
Seipai    18 stances Sepai uses many movements that require co-ordination between the hips and hands. It contains many varied techniques.
Kururunfa Holding Ground Kururunfa employs a great deal of Neko Ashi movements and in-fighting techniques.
Suparenpai 108 Positions (Master Kata) The most advanced and intricate kata of the Goju Ryu system. Sometimes known by an old name of Pitchurrin.
Sanchin Three battles (Breathing Kata) The name Sanchin or 3 battles refers to the conflict between mind, body and spirit during the practice of this kata. There are two versions of Sanchin, Higaonna Kanyro Sanchin and the version developed by Miyagi Sensei.
Tensho Rotating palms (Breathing Kata) Miyagi Sensei developed this kata from his research in Fuzhou, southern China during the period 1917 to 1921. It is also known as Rokkishu.



1. Sanchin
2. Saifa
3. Seiyunchin
4. Shisochin
5. Sanseru
6. Sesan
7. Seipai
8. Kururunfa
9. Suparenpai
10. Tensho

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