Shotokan Kata


Kata is often described as a set sequence of karate moves organized into a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents.  The kata consists of kicks, punches, sweeps, strikes and blocks.  Body movement in various kata includes stepping, twisting, turning, dropping to the ground, and jumping.  In Shotokan, kata is a performance or a demonstration, with every technique potentially a killing blow (ikken hisatsu) - while paying particular attention to form and timing (rhythm).  As the karate-ka grows older, more emphasis is placed on the health benefits of practicing kata, promoting fitness while keeping the body soft, supple, and agile.


The original Shotokan kata syllabus is introduced in Funakoshi's book Karate-do Kyohan, which is the Master Text of Shotokan karate. The standard Shotokan kata are:


Taikyoku shodan (sometimes termed Kata Kihon or Kihon Kata, discontinued in most of today's Shotokan dojos) (太極初段),



  1. Heian Shodan (平安初段) – Peaceful Mind One

  2. Heian Nidan (平安二段) – Peaceful Mind Two

  3. Heian Sandan (平安三段) – Peaceful Mind Three

  4. Heian Yondan (平安四段) – Peaceful Mind Four

  5. Heian Godan (平安五段) – Peaceful Mind Five

  6. Jitte (十手) – Ten Hands

  7. Tekki Shodan (鉄騎初段) – Iron Horse One

  8. Tekki Nidan (鉄騎二段) – Iron Horse Two

  9. Tekki Sandan (鉄騎三段) – Iron Horse Three

  10. Bassai Dai (披塞大) – To Penetrate a Fortress Major

  11. Bassai Shō (披塞小) – To Penetrate a Fortress Minor

  12. Jion (慈恩) – From the Temple of Jion

  13. Empi (燕飛) – Flying Swallow

  14. Kanku Dai (観空大) – Viewing the Sky Major

  15. Kankū Shō (観空小) – Viewing the Shy Minor

  16. Hangetsu (半月) – Half Moon

  17. Gankaku (岩鶴) – Crane on a Rock

  18. Nijūshiho (二十四步) – Twenty Four Steps

  19. Chinte (珍手) – Incredible Hands

  20. Sōchin (壯鎭) – Immovable in the Face of Danger

  21. Meikyō/Rōhai (明鏡) – Mirror of the Soul

  22. Unsu (雲手) – Hands in the Cloud

  23. Wankan (王冠) – Crown of a King

  24. Gojūshiho Shō (五十四歩小) – Fifty Four Steps Minor

  25. Gojūshiho Dai (五十四歩大) – Fifty Four Steps Major

  26. Ji'in (慈陰) – Temple Grounds