The 27 Shotokan Kata
Kata is often described as a set sequence of karate moves organised into a prearranged fight against imaginary opponents. The kata consists of kicks, punches, sweeps, strikes, blocks and throws. Body movement in the various kata includes, stepping, twisting, turning, dropping to the ground and jumping.
In this article we mention the 27 standard Shotokan kata that are practiced by millions of karateka all over the world.
Several Shotokan groups have introduced kata from other styles into their training but when the JKA (Japan Karate Association) was formed by Nakayama Sensei, he laid these 26 kata (not including takyoku shodan or kihon kata) down as the training kata for the JKA karateka. Even today, many thousands of Shotokan Dojo practice these 26 Kata only.
Kata should be executed with the correct attitude first and foremost, if the karate practitioner has an understanding of the kata, each fast move will be executed with speed, power and intent. The karateka will execute the technique like it’s their last.
Kata is not a performance, or a demonstration, it is for the individual karateka to practice full techniques with ‘Ikken Hisatsu’ (finishing blow or to kill with one blow).
There is most definitely a health aspect to kata, the practice of kata is great for fitness, keeping the body soft, supple and agile. As the karateka gets older, a lot more emphasise is put on health and for good reason.
Here are Shotokan’s 27 standard kata.
1. Takyoku Shodan (also known as Kihon kata) Means ~ first cause first level Introduced by ~ Gichin Funakoshi
2. Heian Shodan Means ~ Peaceful way first level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
3. Heian Nidan Means ~ Peaceful way second level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
4. Heian Sandan Means ~ Peaceful way third level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
5. Heian Yondan Means ~ Peaceful way fourth level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
6. Heian Godan Means ~ Peaceful way fifth level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
7. Tekki Shodan Means ~ Iron Horse first level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
8. Bassai Dai Means ~ To storm a fortress (dai=major) Introduced by ~ Peichin.
9. Kanku Dai Means ~ To view the sky (dai=major) Introduced by ~ Kung Hsiang Chun
10.Enpi Means ~ Flying swallow Introduced by ~ Wang Ji
11.Hangetsu Means ~ Half Moon Introduced by ~ Bushi Matsumura
12.Jion Thought to be named after the Chinese temple Jion-ji. kata and comes from Tomari te
13.Sochin Means ~ Preserve Peace Introduced by ~Yoshitika Funakoshi
14.Meikyo Means ~ Mirror of the soul and comes from ~Tomari-te
15.Ji’in ~ Named after the saint and comes from Tomari te
16.Gojushiho Dai Means ~ 54 steps Introduced by ~Yasutsune Itosu
17.Jitte Means ~ Ten hands and comes from Tomari te
18.Gankaku Means ~ Crane on a rock Introduced by ~ Bushi Matsumura
19.Tekki Nidan Means ~ Iron Horse second level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
20.Tekki Sandan Means ~ Iron Horse third level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
21.Chinte Means ~ Incredible hands Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu?
22.Bassai Sho Means ~ To penetrate a fortress (sho=minor) Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
23.Kanku Sho Means ~ To view the sky (sho=minor) Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
24.Nijushiho Means ~ 24 steps Introduced by ~ Seisho Aragaki
25.Unsu Means ~ Hands of a cloud Introduced by ~ Seisho Aragaki
26.Wankan Means ~ Crown of a king Introduced by ~ Gigo Funakoshi
27.Gojushiho Sho Means ~ 54 steps Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu