Kata - Living Encyclopedia of Karate & Self-Defense
Karate is kata & kata is karate. Kata is not a dance even though some believe it was disguised to look like ancient traditional Okinawan dances to protect those who practiced karate and kobudo from Japanese Samurai & Okinawan Pechin prior to 1900. Kata provides muscle memory, muscle focus, power, proper stances, timing, visual focus, distancing (ma), and most important, when practiced like a warrior, kata provides performers with many devastating self-defense applications (bunkai). But when practiced like dance with no focus like Tai Chi, it will harm most self-defense abilities. How you practice kata is how you defend. Either sweat blood doing kata & bunkai, or lose blood on the street. It's your choice.
KARATE KATA are living encyclopedia of self-defense techniques. Kata is what makes karate beautiful and at the same time makes karate a weapon. As one learns more kata, more hidden meanings & techniques will be revealed. Shoshin Nagamine (1907-1997), Grandmaster of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu karate wrote in Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters, "If there is no kata, there is no karate, just kicking & punching". Think about that for a minute. This implies MMA is not karate and not even martial art - no more than boxing, gymnastics or wrestling.
KARATE KATA of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu
Kihon (Basic Kata)
The Basic karate kata of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu include two unique to Seiyo Kai. These were developed to teach practitioners proper hip rotation when striking and proper karate kicks.
- Taikyoku Nidan
- Taikyoku Sandan - developed by Soke Hausel to emphasize gyaku zuki, hip rotation & focus.
- Taikyoku Yondan - developed by Soke Hausel to emphasize correct use of basic kicks.
Pinan (Ping-an, Heian), translates as 'peaceful mind'. According to 'Martial Arts - A Layman's Guide' and 'The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary' Pinan karate kata were developed by Yasutsune Itosu from 1903 to 1906 & incorporated into the public school system of Okinawa Perfecture. Itosu simplified the Chiang Nan Chinese kata to produce five Pinan kata (Mark Bishop, 1989, Okinawan Karate, A & C Black, publisher, London). These are referred to as Heian on mainland Japan. These five kata, with some modifications unique to Seiyo Shorin-Ryu karate, incorporate self-defense bunkai (applications) for every technique. The applications include defenses against unarmed & armed assailants and street fighters as well as strikes, kicks, pressure points, throws & restraints.
- Pinan Sandan (see bunkai)
- Pinan Yodan
Naihanchi Kata (also known as naifanchi or Tekki on mainland Japan) are referred to as 'horse-riding' forms performed along a linear path in kiba dachi. It is thought these were developed to teach self-defense when a person has their back to a wall, while on a horse, or on a rice paddy dike. In Seiyo Shorin-Ryu we break down each individual technique into ippon kumite (one-step sparring). It is thought Itosu split this kata into three separate kata from a long, complex, form. There are many excellent bunkai found in these kata.
- Naihanchi Shodan
- Naihanchi Nidan
- Naihanchi Sandan
Passai Kata, referred to as Bassai in Japanese, includes two kata which translate as "to Penetrate a Fortress".
- Jutte (Ten Hands)
- Jion (named after the Jion-ji Buddhist temple).
Two kata named after a famous Chinese martial artist. Also known as Kanku kata in Japanese. "Translates as Looking at the Sky".
- Kusanku Dai
- Kusanku Sho
Group 5 Kata
- Niseishi (Nijushiho) (24 steps)
- Rohai Nidan (Meikyo ) (to polish a mirror)
Group 6 Kata
- Chinto (Gankaku). "Crane on the Rock". Originally known as Chinto, this was introduced to mainland Japan by Shihan Funakoshi as Gankaku. Also referred to as Rohai kata.
- Wanshu (Empi). "Flying Swallow". Originally named Wansu or Wanshu after the kata's founder.
- Sochin. Based on the powerful 'Rooted stance".
- Seisan (Hangetsu). 'Half-Moon Form'. The abundance of hangetsu dachi is characteristic and provides a feeling of a moving arch or half-moon due to the pigeon toe (hachi dachi) stances throughout the kata. The form is originally from the Shorei-Ryu school.
Group 7 Kata
- Wankan Dai. From Tomari-te school of karate. The Seiyo version is different from kata practiced by other systems and incorporated a few of Soke's favorite techniques.
- Okan (Wankan Sho)
- Useisan kata (Gojushiho) is known at the Drunken Monk form. In Japanese, the kata is referred to as Gojushiho (54 step form). (see also bunkai).
Group 8 Kata
- Anaku. A kata from the Matsubayashi-Ryu system.
- Rohai translates at 'vision of the crane' and considered to be a white crane form. Rohai is the Okinawan dialect for Meikyo. In Seiyo-Ryu we practice Rohai from one style of Shorin-Ryu and Meikyo from a different style of Shorin-Ryu. The term Meikyo was retained for the second Rohai kata.
- Hakutsuri Sho. a white crane kata (see also bunkai)
KOBUDO KATA of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu
Bojutsu Kata (6-foot staff). Our bo kata are from Yamani-Ryu and Ryuku-Ryu schools.
- Kihon Bo.
- Sho No Kun.
- Sho Ken No Kun.
- Suuji No Kun.
- Choun No Kun Dai
- Choun No Kun Sho
- Bojutsu Shodan
- Bojutsu Nidan
- Bojutsu Sandan
- Bojutsu-Katana Kata
Nunchaku Kata. The classical rice flails are a common staple of all Shorin-Ryu systems. Above photo taken of nunchaku training at the University of Wyoming.
- Nunchaku Shodan.
- Nunchaku Nidan.
- Nunchaku Sandan.
- Nunchaku Yodan. Kata created by Soke Hausel.
- Nunchaku Godan
- Nicho Nunchaku (Nunchaku Rokudan).
- Sai Shodan.
- Sai Nidan
- Sai Sandan
- Sai Yodan. Kata modified from Yamani-Ryu
- Sai Godan. Kata modified from Yamani-Ryu
Tonfa Kata. Rice Grinder Handles or side handle batons.
- Tonfa Shodan
- Tonfa Nidan
- Tonfa SandanKama Kata. SicklesGama Shodan
- Gama Nidan
- Gama Sandan
Tanto no Kata (see Bunkai) (knives)
Nitanbo no Kata (two sticks)
Seiyo Shorin-Ryu also trains in samurai arts including kenjutsu (samurai sword), manrikigusari (rope or weighted chain), yari (spear), naginata (halberd), hojo (rope tying). These also include various kata inlcuding:
- Iaido Kata (sword drawing) incudes 8 Okuden kata, 5 Chuden kata, and 5 Jodan kata.
Okuden kata Mae, Migi, Hardari, Ushiro, Ushiro-mae, Migi-hardari-mae, Nuki uchi, Choku-zen
Chuden Kata Kihon, Kake, Munae Utsu, Choaku, Hiza mizuki, Mizu Garuma
Jodan Kata. Yoshin Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan
- Naginata Kata. Naginata Dai and Katana-Naginata kata.
- Yari Kata. Yari Dai and katana-yari kata.
- Jujutsu Kata A variety of Waza.