Kata - Living Encyclopedia of Karate & Self-Defense
Zen philosophy teaches us that karate is kata & kata is karate. Kata is not a dance even though some believe it was disguised to look like ancient traditional Okinawa dances to protect those who practiced karate and kobudo from Japanese Samurai & Okinawan Pechin prior to 1900. Kata provided training of muscle memory, muscle focus, power, proper stances, timing, visual focus, distancing (ma), and most important, when one practiced kata like a warrior, it provided performers with bundles of self-defense applications (bunkai) to choose from. But if practiced like dance with no focus, it harmed self-defense abilities. How you practice kata is how you defend yourself.
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. Kata are forms with built-in training methods that develop muscle memory, timing, focus, power & self-defense. As one learns more kata, the more hidden meanings & techniques they will discover.
Karate kata can provide self-education; but if abused, they will destroy technique and a person's ability to effectively defend against an attack. 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. It 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 that are unique to Seiyo Kai. These two were developed to teach practitioners proper hip rotation when striking and proper karate kicks.
- Taikyoku Nidan
- Taikyoku Sandan Developed by Soke Hausel emphasizing development of gyaku zuki, hip rotation & focus.
- Taikyoku Yondan Developed by Soke Hausel emphasizing correct use & variety 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' the Pinan karate kata were developed by Yasutsune Itosu from 1903 to 1906 & incorporated into the public school system on 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. The karate kata incorporate strikes, kicks, pressure points, throws & restraints.
- Pinan Sandan (see bunkai)
- Pinan Yodan
The Naihanchi Kata (also known as naifanchi or Tekki on mainland Japan) are referred to as 'horse-riding' forms that are 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, or while on a horse, or on a rice paddy dike. In Seiyo Shorin-Ryu we break down each individual technique into ippon kumite. It is thought that Itosu broke this kata down into three separate katas from a single, complex form.
- Naihanchi Shodan
- Naihanchi Nidan
- Naihanchi Sandan
Our 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 common 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 from many years ago.
- 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 the 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 members in samurai arts including kenjutsu (samurai sword), manrikigusar (rope or weighted chain), tanto (knife), 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.