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Kata is a most important aspect of Karate. Kata allows you to train your body and mind. Practice is key. If you are interested in learning Karate, Shitoryu offers the greatest range of Kata.

The Kata listed below feature in our Examinations however we do study many more Kata including Gojushiho, Nipaipo and Unshu.

We hope the pictures shown will be of some help or reference.

WKKA Newsletter Technical Part 18 "KATA NAMES"

The origin of the name is classified into four types as follows:

1. From the name of the superiors.

2. From Philosophy (Meanings).

3. From style or Moving of Animals.

4. From the Number (moves or techniques).

Please click on any picture with a border for a further picture or a larger image.


The Kanji for Kata

One of The Temple Kata. This kata is from the Tomari region of Okinawa. Jitte begins with the left hand poised over the right fist at chest level. Heavy use is made of the shiko-dachi stance. (Click photo for Jitte Bunkai San-Ban, number 3)
Bassai begins with the right fist covered by the left hand. This gesture may come from China as a sign of respect, or it could simply be a way of performing kata that the person who gathered these particular kata together enjoyed. Maybe an Okinawan karate expert always started his kata in this position, and we retain the movement today. We really cannot be sure about the history of some karate kata. Bassai Dai in Shito-ryu is a defensive kata. It has to do with being inside the castle. Bassai Dai is done within the fortress and its feeling is impenetrability. (Picture coming soon)

Seienchin has a number of translations. One is "The Long Journey" and another is "The Calm within the Storm". Seienchin is a beautiful form utilising very low Shiko Dachi stances and dynamic breathing and block/striking techniques. There is probably no other kata that better demonstrates traditional karate than seienchin. This kata found its roots in the Okinawan city of Naha.
One of the most difficult yet wonderful froms in all of karate is Seipai. Seipai means "18 Hands" and begins with a unique Shuto (knifehand) technique. This kata is fairly long with many direction changes and grappling applications. Seipai originates in Naha, Okinawa. (Click photo for Seipai Bunkai San-Ban, number 3)
These were named after the founder, and taken from the original kata Chatan. It is also said these kata were named viewing the sky due to the initial move. This kata was brought to Okinawa by a military officer in 1762. It was popular in the Shuri region of Okinawa.
Thirteen hands. One of the shorter katas of the Naha branch of karate. (Click photo for further photo)
Rohai translates to "white heron" or "vision of a crane". This kata is also a Tomari-Te kata with a long history. The exact composer is unknown though the kata was probably brought to Okinawa by Karate Sakagawa. The most characteristic technique of this kata is the one-foot standing stance (crane-like) with the other foot drawn to deliver a kick and to shift the body from attack. (Click for larger photo)
Niseshi means twenty-four in the Okinawan dialect of Japanese.
To Penetrate a Fortress This kata is very similar to the Itosu Bassai-dai.
Light from the South.
Tomari can be translated to mean "Thunder" and therefore Tomari Bassai would mean "To
Penetrate a Thunder Fortress".
Thirteen hands. A kata of the Higashionna style from the Naha region. (Click for larger photo)
Matsumura Bassai is different to Bassai Dai. It is more offensive in character. It represents the army on the outside of the fortress attempting to breach the fortress. The movements are many and varied, with emphasis on attacks and maneuvering. Bassai in this kata could mean to breach the fortress like an attacking army would breach the fortress. (Click for larger photo)

Updated 4th July 2003