Hinode  Karate & Kobudo

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Telephone: 604 - 340 - 3319 or email: info@hinodekarate.ca


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This character means "form", or "pattern".  Kata are the formal exercises of karate which emulate defence against multiple imaginary opponents.  Always showing respect and courtesy to your opponent, kata are preceded and concluded with a bow.

Every movement has a function and meaning, and every kata is designed to teach particular techniques, movements, stances, and fighting strategies.  Every kata must be practiced as if engaged in a real fight; with spontaneity, total commitment in blocks and attacks, and the feeling that the next imaginary attack may come from any direction.  In this way the kata becomes more than just a performance for others; the student learns to harness his or her fighting spirit.


The Shotokan Kata

Masatoshi Nakayama's "Best Karate" books are generally considered to be Shotokan Karate's kata bible, and are viewed by many to be the definitive work on publishing visual images of Shotokan kata.  Hinode karate-ka can acquire copies of Nakayama Sensei's books through the club.

To view a kata, click on any kata name

Kata  Play  List


Kata Name Kanji

English Translation

Purpose & Key Points


Taikyoku Shodan   "First Course" or "Basic Ultimate" First  Step Introduces the two most common forms of hip movement, hip rotation and counter rotation.  Only two techniques, downward sweeping block (gedan berai) and lunge punch solar plexis (oi-zuki chudan) are performed, all in zenkutsu dachi. 20
  Taikyoku Nidan   "First Course" or "Basic Ultimate" Second Step Identical to Taikyoku Shodan, except that all punches are face target (oi-zuki jodan). 20
Taikyoku Sandan   "First Course" or "Basic Ultimate" Third Step Identical pattern to Taikyoku Nidan except that techniques to the side are inside forearm block (uchi-ude-uke chudan) in kokutsu dachi (back stance), and lunge punch solar plexis (oi-zuki chudan).  Punches along the centre leg are jodan level. 20

The Taikyoku kata are in use in several types of karate.  "Taikyoku" is translated as "first course" or "basic ultimate."  The Taikyoku kata were developed by Gichin Funakoshi as a way to simplify the principles of the already simplified Pinan/Heian kata.  The embusen, or pattern of the kata's movements, are virtually the same as in Heian Shodan.  Students of karate systems that use the taikyoku kata series are often introduced to them first, as a preparation for the Pinan/Heian kata.  These katas will not be asked as part of any grading syllabus.

Heian Shodan - 8th kyu kata Peaceful - First Step Advancing in front and back stance.  Changing direction. 21
 Heian Nidan - 7th kyu kata Peaceful - Second Step Introduces sword & spear hand techniques.  Reverse blocking. 26
Heian Sandan - 6th kyu kata Peaceful - Third Step Complicated turning/footwork.  Close distance techniques. 20
Heian Yondan - 5th kyu kata Peaceful - Fourth Step Teaches balance and control.  Side kicks and back stances. 27
Heian Godan - 4th kyu kata Peaceful - Fifth Step

The first jump, encountered among the 26 kata, is found here.

Tekki Shodan

Iron Knight or, Steel Horse or, Steel Horse Riding

The kanji refer to "land between two rice paddies" and "battle", or "war" 

These kata are performed solely in horse riding stance (Kiba Dachi).  Provides for strong knee development.  Side to side combat.  Snappy head motions.  The kanji suggests fighting techniques used by a horseman in combat, or from the back of a horse.


Tekki Nidan


Tekki Sandan 36

Tekki Shodan is performed for 3rd kyu (brown Belt) examination.  Tekki Nidan is required for 2nd level black belt examination, and Tekki Sandan for 3rd level black belt.

Bassai - Dai

"Extract from a fortress", "rescue" (Big Bassai)

Large scale techniques with wide motions.  Frequent reverse postures with snappy hip motions.

Kanku - Dai

"The view of the sky" (Big Kanku)

The longest of Shotokan Kata, Kanku-Dai is a compilation of all the Heian.  It is thought to be the Shotokan parent kata. The 2 level double kick is encountered here.

Jion "Temple" - from a temple named "Jion-Ji" A large scale and simple kata with familiar single technique and single step combinations.  Simple to learn for one who has mastered the Heian and Tekki kata. 47
Enpi "Flying Swallow"

Contains the first difficult jumping technique, combined with a knife hand block.  Best suited for light, agile students.  Very athletic kata.


"Bassai-Dai", "Kanku-Dai", "Jion", and "Enpi" are considered to be the "Big Four Kata"  They are considered to be the standard Shotokan kata by international, inter-style competitions.  In JKA tournaments, they are a requirement in progressive rounds.  They are also the four kata from which a student may choose a kata for their examinations from 3rd kyu (3rd level brown belt) to Shodan (1st level black belt).  For Nidan (2nd level black belt), the student is required to know all four of these kata.


"Crane Standing Upon a Rock"

Balance and control.  Much use of one legged stance, "Sagi Ashi Dachi" 42

"Ten Hands"

Some techniques are indicative of "bo or staff fighting techniques.


"Half Moon" or "Half Month"

Named after the Half Moon Stance "Hangetsu Dachi".  Contains many slow, tensed motions requiring breathing exercises of the performer.  Hardens the body against a blow.


The aforementioned kata complete the mandatory 15 kata, any of which can be asked of a student during their Sandan (3rd level black belt) examination.  The advanced kata listed below are typically practiced by the karate-ka for advanced training and competition, as well as examinations.  Of the advanced kata below, choose one that suits your body style and athletic abilities, as well as your preference.  Never stop practicing the first 15 kata.

Advanced Kata

Bassai - Sho

"Extract from a fortress", "rescue" (Little Bassai)

Unique emphasis on stick defenses and counters.  Neko ashi dachi is encountered here.


Kanku - Sho

"The view of the sky" (Little Kanku)

Contains many double punches and stick controlling techniques.  The mid section is the prime target area 47
Chinte "Unusual Hands"

Use of elbow strikes, scissors punch, and 2 finger punch help give Chinte it's name.  Thought to be more appropriate for women, having strikes indicative of using technique more than raw power.

Sochin "Grand Suppression" or "Energetic calm" Smooth with a powerful and heavy rhythm.  Stance is mostly Fudo Dachi with remainder of kata in Kokutsu Dachi.  Muso-Gamae & Manji-Gamae postures. 41
Nijushiho "Twenty-four Steps" Sanchin Dachi (inward tension stance) is introduced in this kata.



"Bright Mirror"

The opening technique has the performer pull both palms up to their face and look in them, as if they are looking into a mirror.  Derived from the Rohai kata in Okinawa. 33
Gojushiho - Dai "Fifty-four Steps" (Big Gojushiho) Some interesting techniques include the "Flowing Cloud Block", the "Flowing Water Back Fist Posture", and the "Chicken Head Wrist Block".  The kata should convey the idea of a bird attacking its foe with its beak, wings, and claws.  Smooth and flowing techniques when performed well. 62
Gojushiho - Sho "Fifty-four Steps" (Little Gojushiho) 65

"Cloud Hands"

The most intense and acrobatic of the 26 kata, it is arguably the most beautiful to watch.  It's ground techniques, and a 360 degree turn, leaping into the air, are indicative of it's degree of difficulty.  48
Wankan "Kings Crown" The shortest of the 11 advanced katas, it contains smoother and lighter movements than what is typically encountered in Shotokan kata. 24
Jiin "Temple Grounds" Although more complex and difficult than "Jion", Jiin contains many of the same movements.  Where "Jion" has simple stepping movements, Jiin contains many twists and turns that add to it's difficulty. 35

Wankan and Jiin were left out of Nakayama's "Best Karate" series.  It is unclear whether this was intentional, or caused by Nakayama's sudden death in 1987.  Regardless, it leaves the two kata shrouded in darkness.


Ten no Kata   "Kata of the Universe", or "Kata of the Heavens" Developed by Gichen Funakoshi Sensei to practice basics (kihon) more so than kata.  Presented in two parts....."omote (front) and "ura" (back).  The back end of the kata (ura) is particularly useful for practicing partner work, or kumite.  20


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