THE KATAS OF SHOTOKAN KARATE-DO
 
Enough for a lifetime
Below you will find a list of all of the katas taught in the modern Shotokan Karate system, as well as photographs of all their respective movements.
 
I have made a point of specifying the exact location of the various "kiai points" that are to be found in each kata, some of the techniques that are introduced for the first time in each particular kata, as well as the allowable time in which each kata should be performed.
 
It is important for every student to remember that as they rise up through the various kyu levels and Dan ranks, the continued regular practice of all of the previous katas that they have been taught is vital to their future progress.
 
Kiai points
Virtually all of the katas taught today in the Shotokan system have at least two kiai points.
 
There are, however, exceptions to this rule, an example being the kata "Wankan" which has only one kiai point. It must be noted that the number of kiai points contained in each kata should in no way be used as a means of evaluating the importance, or the dificulty, of each individual kata.
 
The kiai or "spirit cry" as it is sometimes referred to, occurs only at certain pre-determined moments in each kata. It is precisely at these pre-determined moments that the karate-ka is required to demonstrate a total commitment of body, mind, and spirit, and to channel all of their available energy and apply it appropriately to the required technique. The kiai is a common thread that runs through all major styles of karate.
 
Progressive layering
Knowledge in all things is cumlative.
 
We have all heard the expression "you must learn to walk, before you can learn to run".
 
As with most tasks in life, learning to walk and then to run, not only takes a certain amount of time it also takes the repeated and more importantly the successful practice of certain basic skills. These skills must all be learnt in a very specific order if the desired outcome is to be acheived within a reasonable amount of time.
 
The art of Shotokan karate-do is no different.
 
One of the most important ways in which a students skills and progress are measured within the Shotokan system, is through the quality of their kata. These katas are considered the "soul" of the Shotokan karate system, and they should be taught to each student in a very specific, pre-determined order, that is based not only upon the complexity of each individual kata, but also on the previous experience, and current technical ability of each individual student.
 
This is a process that I refer to as "progressive layering".
 
It is precisely because of the fact that knowledge is cumlative that this "progressive layering" process should be strictly adhered to and not circumvented. For example, if a student were to make a habit of trying to learn katas that are well above their current level of personal developement, then all of the movements, and techniques, contained in each of the katas that they have omitted learning, would not be imbedded into the memory cells of their body, or their mind.
 
Consequently the over all quality of the kata they were attempting to learn would suffer greatly.
 
To develop a true understanding of all that the art of Shotokan karate has to offer, you must progess in a linear fashion, taking all that you have learnt to date, and applying it to what comes next. Those students who jump ahead thinking that knowing a "higher kata" makes them a better karate-ka, are kidding no one but themselves. In fact most often, quite the opposite will occur. It is, therefore, imperative that students accept the fact very early on in their karate training, that all the katas must be learnt in a specific order, and that this is by design, for each kata is in fact the building block for the kata to follow.
 
In this fast paced, fast food, I want it now environment that most North Americans are use to, kata may seem out of place. Yet I assure you it is not, but it is only after many years of hard work and dedication that the true value of any kata will ever be reveled to those who truly seek it.
 
Remember, just knowing the "embusen", or pattern of a specific kata, making fierce faces, a loud kiai, and strong movements, is not an indication of "knowing" the kata, let alone understanding it.
 
Only time can do that, and only for those who spend their time well.
 
My thanks go to two individuals for their kind generosity in allowing me to copy images from their own personal web sites.
 
They are Shihan John Ang, 6th Dan, Chief Instructor of The Australian Ninjukai Association, for allowing me to copy the images of the various coloured belts from his web site, and Shihan Scot Mertz, Chief Instructor of the World Shotokai Federation, for allowing me to transfer all the photographs of the various Shotokan katas and embusen from his web site. You will find a direct link to each of their respective organizations listed in my Karate Links section.
 
Remember:
Learning the pattern of all twenty-six katas found in the Shotokan system is one thing,
truly understanding them, however, is a process that will take you an entire lifetime.
 
 
THE REQUIRED GRADINGS KATAS OF THE
FUNAKOSHI SHOTOKAN KARATE ASSOCIATION (FSKA)
 
 
SHIHAN KENNETH FUNAKOSHI, 9TH DAN, (FSKA)
CHIEF INSTRUCTOR OF THE FUNAKOSHI SHOTOKAN KARATE ASSOCIATION
 
The following Shotokan katas are presented in the order in which they are taught at our dojo and as specified by Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, Sandan 9th Dan, (FSKA) Chief Instructor, of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association. While Taikyoku Nidan and Taikyoku are not a required part of Shihan Funakoshi's curiculum, I have listed them here as a point of interest, since all three of the Taikyoku katas can be found referrenced in Karate-Do Kyohan, by Gichin Funakoshi, Sensei.
 
The first of three kata in the Taikyoku series, Taikyoku Shodan is the most basic kata taught in the Shotokan syllabus. This kata is primarily to teach beginners some of the fundamental aspects of kata. Due to it's similarity to Heian Shodan a kata found in the next series many Shotokan dojos today do not even bother teaching this kata to their students. Personally I consider this to be a good kata for beginners to learn first, since this kata permits the beginner to develop a basic understanding of kata, while only having to concentrate on learning one basic stance zenkutsu-dachi (front stance), and two basic hand techniques, chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) and gedan-barai (lower level down block). Only after having first trained for some student then move on and learn the more complex hand techniques, stances, and combination movements, that will be taught in the up coming when a student has finally become proficient in Heian series of katas. It has been said that after spending many decades of training, and having finally mastered all of the katas found within the Shotokan karate system, a karate-ka should return once again to this kata and in the words of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, use it "as the ultimate training kata".
 
 
 
NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE
 
There are two kiai points found in Taikyoku Shodan, the first one occurs on the last chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the " I " of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the bottom of the " I " of the embusen (line of attack). This kata contains 20 movements and should take the student approximately 35 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and then your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 10th kyu (white belt) to 9th kyu (yellow belt).
 
The second of three kata in the syllabus Taikyoku Nidan is also used primarily to teach beginners the most fundamental aspects of kata. Once again due to it's similarity to a kata found in the next series called Heian Shodan, many Shotokan dojos today do not even bother teaching this kata to their students. Personally, as with Taikyoku Shodan, I consider this to be a good kata for beginners to learn. Taikyoku Nidan in particular is used to introduce students for the first time a new hand technique, jodan-oi-zuki (upper level lunge punch), while still retaining the zenkutsu-dachi (front stance), and the gedan-barai (lower level down block) they were taught in the previous kata. Only after having first trained for some time in both Taikyoku Shodan and Taikyoku Nidan will a student then be ready to move on and learn the more complex hand techniques, stances, and combination movements, that will be taught in the up coming Heian series of katas.
 
 
 
NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE
 
There are two kiai points found in Taikyoku Nidan, the first one occurs on the last jodan-oi-zuki (upper level lunge punch) at the top of the " I " of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last jodan-oi-zuki (upper level lunge punch) at the bottom of the " I " of the embusen (line of attack). This kata contains 20 movements and should take the student approximately 35 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot, stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot, and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 10th kyu (white belt) to 9th kyu (yellow belt).
 
The third kata in the Taikyoku series, and the last of the most basic katas taught in the Shotokan syllabus, Taikyoku Sandan is also used primarily to teach beginners the most fundamental aspects of kata. Once again due to this kata's similarity to the katas taught in the Heian series many dojos today do not even bother teaching this kata to their new students. Once again I reiterate, that as with the two previous Taikyoku katas, I consider this to be another good kata for beginners to learn. Taikyoku Sandan in particular is used to introduce the beginner for the first time to a new hand technique, chudan-uchi-uke (inside outward block), and to a new basic stance, kokutsu-dachi (back stance), while at the same time maintaining the jodan-oi-zuki (upper level lunge punch), gedan-barai (lower level down block) and zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) found in the previous two katas. Only after having first trained for some time in both Taikyoku Shodan, Taikyoku Nidan, and Taikyoku Sandan will a student then be ready to move on and learn the more complex hand techniques, stances, and combination movements, that will be taught in the up coming Heian series of katas.
 
 
 
NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE

There are two kiai points found in top the punch) at Taikyoku Sandan, the first one occurs on the last jodan-oi-zuki (upper level lunge of the the at lunge punch) " I " of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last jodan-oi-zuki (upper level bottom of the approximately student should take the 35 " I " of the embusen (line of attack). This kata contains 20 movements and seconds to completewithdrawing your left foot, stand up movement, leave your right foot in place and . To finish the kata from the last and face forward in a towards your right foot, and your right foot left foot half way in (natural stance), now bring your hachiji-dachi half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 10th kyu (white belt) to 9th kyu (yellow belt).

 

HEIAN SHODAN - "Peaceful Mind Number One"

This is the first of the katas taught in the Heian series, which is a series consisting of five different katas. This series of katas was originally created by the great Okinawan karate teacher, Master Itosu Anko (1831 - 1915) and this series of katas was originally known by it's Okinawan name Pinan. Master Itosu created the katas in order to teach the art of karate to children in the Okinawan school system and it is believed that he derived many of the movements and material was from more advanced kata such as the much older root katas Channan was Kanku Sho. When the Founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi Sensei first introduced karate to Japan he changed the name of the first five katas from the Okinawan pronunciation of Pinan to Heian or "Peaceful Mind" perhaps in order to have these katas more readily accepted by Japanese society. It is interesting to note that this kata was originally the second kata taught in this series and Heian Nidan was taught first, however Gichin Funakoshi Sensei reversed the order as he felt it was more appropriate as he felt that Pinan Shodan was less complex than Pinan Nidan and should therefore be taught as the second kata. This kata introduces the student for the first time to several new hand techniques, such as rising block jodan-tetsui-zuki, (upper level hammer fist strike), jodan-age-uke (upper levelblock), and shuto-zuki, (sword hand strike), as well as the concept of tai-sabaki (body shifting).
 
 
Sempai Dan Quinn - Sho Dan
Performing Heian Shodan
 
HEIAN SHODAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points found in top of the Heian Shodan, the first one occurs on the last jodan-age-uke (upper level rising block) at the at the punch) " I " of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge bottom of the approximately the student 40 " I " of the embusen (line of attack). This kata contains 21 movements and should take seconds to complete withdrawing your left foot, stand up right foot in place and . To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your and face forward in a towards your right foot, and your right foot your left foot half way in hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), reileft foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is also a (bow), now step out with your required kata for advancing from (yellow belt).10th kyu (white belt) to 9th kyu
 

HEIAN NIDAN - "Peaceful Mind Number Two"

The second kata in the Heian series, this kata requires the student for the first time to include a kick in their kata. In this instance there are two of them, a front chudan-yoko-geri-keage (middle level side snapping kick), and a chudan-mae-geri-keage (middle level snapping kick) (middle level ). In addition, several new hand techniques are also introduced for the first time. They are chudan-uraken back fistas well as, an ), chudan-nukite-zuki (middle level spear hand strike), chudan-gyaku-zuki (middle level reverse punch), augmented or supported technique, previously mentioned morote-chudan-uchi-uke (supported middle level inside outward block). As previously mentioned Heian Nidan was originally taught by the Okinawan's as the first kata in the Pinan series, but Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, the "Founder of Shotokan Karate" reversed the order of Pinan Shodan and Pinan Nidan when he first introduced karate to Japan, as he felt that Pinan Nidan was a much more complex kata, and should therefore, be taught as the second kata. It was also at this time that he changed the name of this particular series of katas from Okinawan pronunciation of Pinan to the the Japanese pronunciation of Heian or "Peaceful Mind", perhaps in order to have these katas more readily accepted by Japanese society.
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Heian Nidan
 
HEIAN NIDAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Heian Nidan, the first one occurs on the chudan-nukite-zuki (middle level spear hand) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the very last movement of the kata, which is a jodan-age-uke (upper level rising block). This kata contains 26 movements and should take the student approximately 40 seconds minute to complete, to finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot, stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 9th kyu (yellow belt) to 8th kyu (orange belt).
 
 
 
 
HEIAN SANDAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Heian Sandan, the first one occurs on the chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last movement of the kata a jodan-mawashi-zuki (upper level hook punch). This kata contains 23 movements and should take the student approximately 40 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdrawing your right foot, stand up facing forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, now standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 8th kyu (orange belt) to 7th kyu (red belt).
 
 
 
HEIAN YODAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Heian Yodan, the first one occurs on the augmented chudan-uraken (supported middle level back fist) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the chudan-hiza-geri (middle level knee strike) at the bottom of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack). This kata contains 27 movements and should take the student approximately 45 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdrawing your right foot, stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 7th kyu (red belt) to 6th kyu (green belt).
 
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Heian Godan
 
HEIAN GODAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Heian Godan , the first one occurs on the chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs when you are at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack) for the second time, the kiai should begin the moment you start the jump and continue until you land in a kosa-dachi (cross legged stance). This kata contains 25 movements and should take the student approximately 45 seconds to complete, to finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdrawing your right foot, stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 6th kyu (green belt) to 5th kyu (violet belt).
 
 
 
TEKKI SHODAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Tekki Shodan, the first one occurs to the left side on the first ni-yoko-chudan zuki (double middle level side punch), this occurs half way through the kata at the extreme left hand end of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs to the right side on the second ni-yoko-chudan-zuki (double middle level side punch), at the extreme right end of the embusen (line of attack), which also happens to be the last movement of the kata. This kata contains 29 movements and should take the student approximately 45 seconds to complete, to finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and draw your right foot to your left foot, and finish with your hands to the front of you so you are now in the yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, now bring your hands to your sides and stand in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 5th kyu (voilet belt) to 4rd kyu (blue belt).
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Bassai Dai
 
BASSAI DAI KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Bassai Dai, the first one occurs on the gedan-sokuto-kekomi (lower level sword foot thrust kick) which occurs on the last movement at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the last movement of the kata, a chudan-shuto-zuki (middle level sword hand strike). This kata contains 42 movements and should take the student approximately one minute (60 seconds) to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot, stand up and finish with your hands in front of you so you are now in the yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, now bring your hands to your sides and stand in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 4th kyu (blue belt) to 3rd kyu (brown belt). Now for the first time, in addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
 
JION KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Jion, the first one occurs on the third jodan-soto-uke (upper level forearm block) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack), and the second one occurs on the very last movement of the kata a chudan-yoko-zuki (middle level side punch). This kata contains 47 movements and should take the student approximately one minute (60 seconds) to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdrawing your right foot to your left foot, stand and finish with with your hands in front of you in the yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, now bring your hands to your sides and stand in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), now rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 3rd kyu (brown belt) to 2nd kyu (brown belt). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
KANKUDAI KATA
 
There are two kiai points in this Kanku Dai, the first one occurs on the chudan-nukite-zuki (middle level sword hand strike), and the second one occurs on the second to last movement in the kata a chudan-ni-mae-geri (double middle level kick). This kata contains 65 movements and should take the student approximately one and a half minutes (90 seconds) to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, since your are already in a yoi (ready) stance facing forward, simply bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and finish with your hands at your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from 2nd kyu (brown belt) to 1st kyu (brown belt). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
HANGETSU KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Hangetsu, the first one occurs quite early in the kata on the first turning combination which is comprised of a shuto-chudan-uchi-uke and shuto-gedan-barai (middle level sword hand inside outward block, and a lower level sword hand block), and the second kiai occurs on the second to the last movement of the kata, a gedan-zuki (lower level punch). This kata contains 41 movements and should take the student approximately one minute (60 seconds) to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdraw your left foot and stand up facing forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and finish with your hands at your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from 1st kyu (brown belt) to Sho Dan (1st Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
EMPI KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Empi, the first one occurs on the on the jodan-soto-uke (upper level forearm strike) that is performed while in a hidari-ashi-dachi (left legged stance), and the second kiai begins the moment your start the jump and continues until you land in a kokutsu-dachi (back stance) where a chudan-shuto-zuki (middle level sword hand strike) is performed. Thought to be Chinese in origin this kata was originally introduced to Okinawa as Wanshu a name by which this kata is still known today within several other styles of karate. This kata contains 37 movements and should take the student approximately one minute (60 seconds) to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot, stand up facing forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from 1st kyu brown belt to Sho Dan (1st Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
TEKKI NIDAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Tekki Ni Dan , the first one occurs half way through the kata on the first morote-shita-zuki (augmented upper level inverted punch), on the right side of the body, and the second one occurs on the last movement of the kata, also a morote-shita-zuki (augmented upper level inverted punch), only this time on the left side of the body. This kata contains 21 movements and should take the student 45 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdrawing your right foot stand up and face forward in a hachiji-dachi (natural stance), now bring your left foot half way in towards your right foot, and your right foot half way in towards your left foot, and at the same time bring your hands to your sides, now standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance), rei (bow), now step out with your left foot, then your right foot and stand once again in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). This is a required kata for advancing from 1st kyu brown belt to Shodan (1st Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
NOTE : At this point in their training, the average student will probably have been studying Shotokan karate for approximately three to four years and will in most cases now be on the threshold of grading for their black belt, and the rank of Shodan (1st Dan).
 
While all of the katas that are listed above must be known by a student grading for a black belt, and the rank of Sho Dan (1st Dan) within the FSKA Shotokan Karate system, the katas that must be performed at their Shodan grading are: Bassai Dai, Jion, Kanku Dai, Hangetsu, Empi, and Tekki Ni Dan. In addition, to performing these katas, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for all six of these katas as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
Remember:
It is far better to do a few katas very well,
than a great many katas very badly.
Train with patience.
 
 
Beyond Sho Dan
The katas that are listed beyond this point should only be taught to a student once they have reached the rank of Shodan. Further more, the very advanced of the following katas should only be taught to a student much later in their Shotokan karate career once they have obtained a rank such as Ni Dan (2nd Dan), San Dan (3rd Dan), Yon Dan (4th Dan) and beyond.
 
As mentioned earlier, it is very important to always bear in mind that due to the complexity of each individual Shotokan kata you should never try and rush from one kata to another. Trying to learn in this manner accomplishes nothing. In fact it may even slow your ultimate progress, and deminish your understanding of all that Shotokan karate has to offer.
 
 
 
KANKUSHO KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Kanku Sho, the first one occurs on the naname-shita-ni-oshinobasu (double downward oblique push) and the second one occurs on the very last movement of the kata a chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch). This kata contains 47 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and withdraw your left foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.

BASSAI SHO - "To Penetrate the Fortress"

The second of the two katas in the Bassai series Bassai Sho follows a similar embusen (line of attack) as Bassai Dai but it is shorter in length. This kata introduces several new techniques such as a ni-jodan-shita-zuki (double inverted upper level punch), a chudan-tsukami-uke (middle level grasping block), and a gedan-tsukami-uke (lower level grasping block). Once a student has familiarized themselves thoroughly with Bassai Dai they can begin to learn Bassai Sho which they will find portrays a more outward feeling calmness, while still maintaining great inner strength, which is in fact quite the opposite from Bassai Dai which is noted for is visible display of outward power. Within this kata the student will discover a whole new set of challenges, while at the same time still performing some of the more familiar techniques found in Bassai Dai. The term "Sho" means "lesser" and in this instance refers to the length and strength of this kata.
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Bassai Sho
 
 
BASSAI SHO KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Bassai Sho, the first one occurs on the gedan-sokuto-kekomi (lower level sword foot thrust kick) which occurs on the last movement at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack) and the second one occurs on the last ni-yoko-chudan-zuki (middle level side double punch). This kata contains 27 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place and withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 

JITTE - "Ten Hands"

The second in a series of three katas the name Jitte implies that once a student has mastered this kata they should be able to defend themselves with the hands of ten men. This kata is particularly effective in dealing with stick attacks such as a bo or a jo. Jitte introduces several new techniques such as a series of three consecutive jodan-yoko-uchi-barai (upper level side sweeping block), as well as a series of two sho-koko-bo-uke (tiger mouth block). A good kata for a student who looks strong and powerful Jitte remains a popular kata with many senior ranks.
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Jitte
 
 
JITTE KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Jitte, the first one occurs on the last jodan-yoko-uchi-barai (upper level side sweeping block) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack) and the second kiai occurs on the very last movement of the kata a jodan-age-uke (upper level rising block). This kata contains 24 movements and should take the student approximately 60 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and pivoting on your right foot withdraw your left foot to your right foot and at the same time turn 180 degrees counter clockwise and finish in the yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
* CHINTE KATA
 
*Note: As the photographic diagram of this kata had many movements out of sequence it is no longer shown here.
 
There are two kiai points in this kata, the first one occurs on the jodan-empi-uchi (upper level elbow strike) and the second on occurs on the last chudan-tate-zuki (middle level vertical punch) just before the three small jumping steps. This kata contains 33 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave both your feet in place, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
TEKKI SANDAN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Tekki San Dan, the first one occurs on the first jodan-shita-zuki (upper level rising punch) on the left side half way through the kata and the second kiai occurs on the last movement of the kata which is the second jodan-shita-zuki upper level rising punch) only this time on the right side of the body. This kata contains 22 movements and should take approximately 45 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place, withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Sho Dan (1st Dan) to Ni Dan (2nd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
NOTE : At this point in their training, the average student will probably have been studying Shotokan karate for approximately six to eight years and will in most cases now be on the threshold of grading for their second level black belt and the rank of Ni Dan (2nd Dan).
 
While all of the katas that are listed above must be known by a student grading for the rank of Ni Dan (2nd Dan) within the FSKA Shotokan karate system, the katas that must be performed at their Ni Dan grading are: Kanku Sho, Bassai Sho, Jitte, Chinte, Tekki San Dan. In addition, to performing these katas, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for all five of these katas as a requirement for advancement.
 
Remember:
It is far better to do a few katas very well,
than a great many katas very badly.
Train with patience.
 
 
Beyond Ni Dan
The katas that are listed beyond this point should only be taught to a student once they have reached the rank of Ni Dan. Further more, the very advanced of the following katas should only be taught to a student much later in their Shotokan karate career once they have obtained a rank such as San Dan (3rd Dan), Yon Dan (4th Dan) and beyond.
 
As mentioned earlier, it is very important to always bear in mind that due to the complexity of each individual Shotokan kata you should never try and rush from one kata to another. Trying to learn in this manner accomplishes nothing. In fact it may even slow your ultimate progress, and deminish your understanding of all that Shotokan karate has to offer.
 
 
 
GANKAKU KATA
 
There are two kiai points in this kata, the first one occurs on the first chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch), and the second one
occurs on the very last movement of the kata also a chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch). This kata contains 42 movements and should take the student approximately 60 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place and pivoting on your right foot withdraw your left foot to your right foot and at the same time turn 180 degrees counter clockwise and finish in the yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
SOCHIN KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Sochin, the first one occurs on the first jodan-shita-zuki (upper level rising punch) on the right side three quarters of the way through the kata and the second kiai occurs on the last movement of the kata which is a chudan-kizama-zuki (middle level thrust punch). This kata contains 40 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place, withdraw your left foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
NIJUSHIHO KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Nijushiho, the first one occurs on the jodan-kensei (upper level palm feint), and the second kiai occurs on the second to last movement of the kata, a combination jodan-zuki/chudan-zuki (upper level and lower level punch) that is performed in sanchin-dachi (hour glass stance). This kata contains 34 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place, withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
WANKAN KATA
 
This kata is unusual in that it has only one kiai point and the kiai occurs on the very last movement of the kata a yama-zuki (mountain punch), identical to the double punch found in the kata Bassai Dai. This kata contains 20 movements and should take the student approximately 45 seconds to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place, withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This kata is practiced primarily by older more experienced karate-ka because unfortunately is not taught that often in dojos today, even in Japan. Wankan is sometimes referred to as the "lost kata" of Shotokan karate. This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
JI'IN KATA
 
This kata contains 34 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place, withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Meikyo
 
 
MEIKYO KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Meikyo, the first one occurs on the mikazuki-geri (crescent kick) and the second kiai occurs on the jodan-soto-uke (upper fore arm strike) which is performed during the sankaku-tobi (triangle jump). This kata contains 33 movements and should take approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place, withdraw your left foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
At this point in their training, the average student will probably have been studying Shotokan karate for approximately ten to twelve years, and will in most cases now be on the threshold of grading for their third level black belt and the rank of San Dan (3rd Dan).
 
While all of the katas that are listed above must be known by a student grading for the rank of San Dan (3rd Dan) within the FSKA Shotokan karate system, the katas that must be performed at their Sandan grading are: Gankaku, Sochin, Nijushiho, Wankan, Jiin. In addition, to performing these katas, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for all five of these katas as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
Beyond San Dan
The katas that are listed beyond this point should only be taught to a student once they have reached the rank of San Dan. The following are the three most advanced katas found within the Shotokan karate system, and they should only be taught to a student once they have obtained the rank of San Dan (3rd Dan).
 
As mentioned earlier, it is very important to always bear in mind that due to the complexity of each individual Shotokan kata you should never try and rush from one kata to another. Trying to learn in this manner accomplishes nothing. In fact it may even slow your ultimate progress, and deminish your understanding of all that Shotokan karate has to offer.
 
 
Sempai Curtis Lindsay - Ni Dan
Performing Gojushiho Sho
 
 
GOJUSHIHO SHO KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Gojushiho-Sho, the first one occurs a chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack) three quarters of the way through the kata and the second kiai occurs on the second to last movement of the kata which is a chudan-ryo-te-seiryuto-uchi (middle level double handed ox jaw strike). This kata contains 65 movements and should take the student approximately one and a half minutes to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place, withdraw your left foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from San Dan (3rd Dan) to Yon Dan (4th Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
 
GOJUSHIHO DAI KATA
 
There are two kiai points in Gojushiho-Dai, the first one occurs a chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the "I" of the embusen (line of attack) three quarters of the way through the kata and the second kiai occurs on the second to last movement of the kata which is a chudan-otoshi-ryo-ippon-nukite-zuki (middle level double one finger spear hand dropping strike). This kata contains 62 movements and should take the student approximately one and a half minutes to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your left foot in place, withdraw your right foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from San Dan (3rd Dan) to Yon Dan (4th Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
 
UNSU KATA
 
There are two kiai points in this kata, the first one occurs on the gedan-kekomi (lower level thrust kick) and the second on occurs on the last movement of the kata a chudan-gyaku-zuki (middle level reverse punch). This kata contains 48 movements and should take the student approximately one minute to complete. To finish the kata from the last movement, leave your right foot in place, withdraw your left foot and stand in a yoi (ready) position identical to the start of the kata, bring your hands to your sides, rei (bow). This is a required kata for advancing from San Dan (3rd Dan) to Yon Dan (4th Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
At this point in their training, the average student will probably have been studying Shotokan karate for approximately fifteen to twenty years and will in most cases now be on the threshold of grading for their fourth level black belt and the rank of Yon Dan (4th Dan).
 
While all of the katas that are listed above must be known by a student grading for a black belt and the rank of Yon Dan (4th Dan) within the FSKA Shotokan karate system, the katas that must be performed at their Yondan grading are: Gojushiho Sho, Gojushiho Dai, Unsu. In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
 
Beyond Yon Dan
There are no further katas to be learnt at this stage of a students journey down the Shotokan road.
 
At this point a student should be self motivated and dedicated enough to constantly practice, and review on their own, all of the katas they have been taught, always seeking at every opportunity to improve their personal performance and to increase by every means possible the depth of their knowledge of all things related to the art of Shotokan karate.
 
For the rank of Go Dan (5th Dan) all of the katas listed above must be performed to the satisfaction of the grading examiner.
 
REMEMBER:
Always train as if it is your last day in the dojo.
One day it will be.
 
Part the clouds - see the way.
 
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay