“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
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.
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.
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".
|10th||White||Kihon Kata||Basic Kata|
|9th||Orange||Heian Shodan||Peaceful Mind: Level 1|
|8th||Red||Heian Nidan||Peaceful Mind: Level 2|
|7th||Yellow||Heian Sandan||Peaceful Mind: Level 3|
|6th||Green||Heian Godan||Peaceful Mind: Level 4|
|5th||Purple||Heian Yondan||Peaceful Mind: Level 5|
|4th||Purple & White||Tekki Shodan||Iron Horse (Level One)|
|3rd||Brown||Bassai Dai||Storm the Fortress (Major)|
|2nd||Brown & 1 White Stripe||Bassai Dai||Storm the Fortress (Major)|
|1st||Brown & 2 White Stripes||Bassai Dai||Storm the Fortress (Major)|
|Kanku Dai||To Look at the Sky (Major)|
|Jion||Love and Goodness|
|Tekki Nidan||Iron Horse (Level Two)|
|Bassai Sho||Storm the Fortress (Minor)|
|Kanku Sho||To Look at the Sky (Minor)|
|Tekki Sandan||Iron Horse (Level Three)|
|Gankaku||Crane on the Rock|
|Ji'in||Named after the Saint|
|Meikyo||Mirror of the Soul|
|Gojushiho Dai||54 Steps (Major)|
|Gojushiho Sho||54 Steps (Minor)|
|Wankan||Crown of a King|
The Shotokan Way
A useful site dedicated to Shotokan Karate packed with information.