“Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in Karate is useless.” – Gichin Funakoshi

What are katas?

Every student of karate studies the basics of blocks, kicks, stances and strikes.

In isolation, they are effective but limited.

Katas bring the basics together in powerful sequences that constantly evolve and enable the student to deal with any real-life situation.

Kata videos

Have a look at the videos on this page. They might appear straightforward, but to truly master a kata - if such a thing is possible - takes years of study and regular practise.

Which kata? Which grade?

The first kata you will study as a novice white belt is Kihon Kata. With each new belt comes a new kata.

Katas continually build on and feed off each other so it is important to keep practising those you've already learned to keep them fresh in your mind and, more importantly, your "muscle memory".

Kyu Grade (Coloured Belt) Katas

10thWhiteKihon KataBasic Kata
9thOrangeHeian ShodanPeaceful Mind: Level 1
8thRedHeian NidanPeaceful Mind: Level 2
7thYellowHeian SandanPeaceful Mind: Level 3
6thGreenHeian GodanPeaceful Mind: Level 4
5thPurpleHeian YondanPeaceful Mind: Level 5
4thPurple & WhiteTekki ShodanIron Horse (Level One)
3rdBrownBassai DaiStorm the Fortress (Major)
2ndBrown & 1 White StripeBassai DaiStorm the Fortress (Major)
1stBrown & 2 White StripesBassai DaiStorm the Fortress (Major)

Dan Grade (Black Belt) Katas

Kanku DaiTo Look at the Sky (Major)
EnpiFlying Swallow
JitteTen Hands
JionLove and Goodness
Tekki NidanIron Horse (Level Two)
Bassai ShoStorm the Fortress (Minor)
HangetsuHalf Moon
Kanku ShoTo Look at the Sky (Minor)
Tekki SandanIron Horse (Level Three)
GankakuCrane on the Rock
SochinPreserve Peace
Ji'inNamed after the Saint
ChinteIncredible Hands
MeikyoMirror of the Soul
Gojushiho Dai54 Steps (Major)
Gojushiho Sho54 Steps (Minor)
Nijushio24 Steps
UnsuCloud Hands
WankanCrown of a King

More resources

The Shotokan Way
A useful site dedicated to Shotokan Karate packed with information.