European Commission Karate Club

European Commission Karate Club


The three core elements of karate are kihon, kata and kumite.

Part 2 - Kata ( 形 ) means: shape, form and pattern. The direction or map of the kata is referred to as embusen.

If you are beginning your karate journey, don't feel overwhelmed by all of the new terms and techniques....everything will form clearly and simply time and practise; and don't hesitate to ask a class mate or instructor for advice, we've all been there before.

The goal of the kata is twofold:

- On the one hand to make gestures and postures work  in given situations, in order to have a "calm" and more applied learning than during a fight.

- On the other hand, to discover fundamental principles of martial arts, such as distance management, attitude and balance management, coordination of movements.

The following are the 26 katas of the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation. Our target is the first 10 katas up to the intermediate level - this provides you with an in-depth understanding and mastery of the key elements of karate. You can do it! 

They are listed in one video here performed by Master Hirokazu Kanazawa; or you can click on them individually for links:

1. Heïan Shodan (Peace and tranquility) See details

Heïan Shodan is the first kata that each karateka learns, and includes basic movements such as gedan-barai, oi-zuki, age-uke in the zenkutsu-dashi position and shuto-uke in kokutsu-dashi.

2. Heïan Nidan (Peace and tranquility) See details

Heïan Nidan is the second kata, with movements such as Yoko Geri, Mae Geri, Nukite. Kokutsu-dashi is one of the main positions of this kata.

3. Heïan Sandan (Peace and tranquility) See details

Heïan Sandan is the third kata Heian, with kiba-dashi position, ushi-uke, morote-uke, Empi-Uké blockages, uraken attacks, Fumikomi, Ushiro-Empi,...

4. Heïan Yodan (Peace and tranquility) See details

Heïan Yodan is the fourth kata and is characterized by great dynamics, many leg techniques (yoko-geri, mae-geri, hiza-geri) as well as double blockages (Morote-Uke, kakiwake-uke).

5. Heïan Godan (Peace and tranquility) See details

The fifth and last Heïan kata, Heïan Godan addresses many new techniques and positions such as kosa-dachi, renoji-dachi, mikazuki-geri. It is carried out at a particular pace with an alternation of fast and slower times.

6. Tekki Shodan (Iron cavalier) See details

Tekki Shodan is done entirely in kiba-dachi on a single line.

7. Bassaï Daï (Penathe fortress) See details

Bassai dai is a powerful and dynamic kata. This kata has more defense techniques than attack. It represents the transformation of an unfavorable combat situation into a favorable situation.

8. Kanku Daï (Look at the sky) See details

Kanku dai is the longest kata shotokan with 65 movements. It is also particular by its beginning, the hands form a triangle opening towards the sky to look following this opening.

9. Empi (Swallow flight) See details

Empi is a kata carried out on a fast tempo, it is characterized by its pivots, its revolutions at ground level, and ascents and descents from the centre of gravity.

10. Jion (From the name of a Buddhist temple) See details

Jion refers to an old temple, with the starting position referring to Chinese boxing.

11. Hangetsu (Mhalf moon) See details

When moving, the foot describes an arc of a circle.

12. Tekki Nidan (Iron valr) See details

Tekki Nidan is the second kata Tekki, also done entirely in kiba-dachi and on a single line.

13. Bassai Sho (Penathe fortress) See details

Bassai sho is the short version of bassai dai, they are however nevertheless very distinct.

14. Gankaku (Grue on a rock) See details

One of the peculiarities of Gankaku is the fact of standing in balance on a leg several times like a crane.

15. Jiin (mour du Boudha) See details

16. Jitte (Hand of Mercy - 10 hands) See details

Jitte is the representation of a fight against 10 people.

17. Kanku Sho (Looking at the sky) See details

Kanku sho is the short version of kanku dai. However, they are quite different.

18. Meikyo (Polishing the mirror) See details

Meikyo is one of the only kata making defenses against a stick. It also has a particular jump.

19. Nijushiho (24 steps) See details

Nijushiho is a kata with a particular rhythm alternating fast and slow passages.

20. Sochin (Quiet Force) See details

Sochin is a particular kata with the fudo-dachi position (position between zenkutsu-dachi and kiba-dachi).

21. Tekki Sandan (Iron Cavalary) See details

Tekki Sandan is the third and last kata Tekki, it is also done entirely in kiba-dachi and on a single line.

22. Unsu (Cloud hand) See details

Unsu is a summary of several katas such as Bassai-dai, Kanku-dai, Jion, Empi.  It is the only kata in which a mawashi-geri is performed.

23. Chinte (Secret Hand) See details

Chinte is an ancient kata in which we find techniques such as nihon nukite (two "picks" of the hand).

24. Gojushiho Dai (54 steps) See details

Gojushiho sho and Gojushiho dai are two of the longest katas of Shotokan with kanku dai; sho and dai in this case refers only to the amplitude of the movements.

25. Gojushiho Sho (54 steps) See details

Gojushiho sho and Gojushiho dai are two of the longest katas of shotokan with kanku dai; sho and dai in this case refers only to the amplitude of the movements

26. Wankan (King's Crown) See details

Ten No Kata 

This is the shortest of the Shotokan katas.

This unique and simple kata contains many of the basics of karate. It can be completed at home in the smallest of spaces, but is both exacting and demanding.

There are two versions of the kata:

Ten-no-kata, Omote:
Solitary version of the kata. We play the role of Tori (attacker) and then Uke (defender)

Ten-no-kata, Ura:
Version with partner. We play the role of Tori and the partner as Uke. Then we reverse the roles

Here is a link to two demonstrations, and also the breakdown of the 20 elements: 

Rainhill Kase Ha Shotokan Karate Academy

Akademia Fudoshin

Ten-no-kata (Tori - attacker)

1.    Chudan Oi-Zuki Right (migi)

2.    Chudan Oi-Zuki Left (hidari) 

3.    Jodan Oi-Zuki R

4.    Jodan Oi-Zuki L

5.    Chudan Gyaku-Zuki R

6.    Chudan Gyaku-Zuki L

7.    Jodan Gyaku-Zuki R

8.    Jodan Gyaku-Zuki L 

Ten-no-kata (Uke - defender)

9.    Gedan Barai L - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki R

10. Gedan Barai R - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki L

11. Chudan Uchi Uke L - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki R

12. Chudan Uchi Uke R - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki L 

13. Chudan Shuto Uke L - Chudan Tate Nukite R 

14. Chudan Shuto Uke R  - Chudan Tate Nukite L

15. Jodan Shuto Barai L - Jodan Gyaku-Zuki R

16. Jodan Shuto Barai R - Jodan Gyaku-Zuki L

17. Jodan Age Uke L - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki R

18. Jodan Age Uke R - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki L

19. Soto Uke L - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki R

20. Soto Uke R - Chudan Gyaku-Zuki L