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kata, it is a Japanese world which literally means “Form”. Karate kata, is a pre-arranged series of movements and techniques (stepping, turning, defenses and attacks) where the practitioner is counseled to visualize the opponent’s moves and react accordingly. The practice of the katas enhances the physical, visual and spiritual awareness.


Fukyu Kata 普及型

The purpose of Fukyu kata or "common kata for the all styles of karate", was to unify all karate styles in one so to make Karate as a general and more standardized Japanese-like art for the sake of popularization.

 

Taikyoku Kata  体極 Taikyoku literally means first course. It means also, according to a translator of the Karate do Kyohan: "... a philosophical term for the macrocosmos, for it's differentiation in heaven and earth (energy and matter): so, it's the chaos of emptiness." Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of the Shotokan Karate do style, created the original Taikyoku katas. The Goju-Ryu versions have been adapted to certain aspects of the Goju style, like Shiko and Sanchin Dachi. They all follow the basic "H"-pattern and they are: Jodan, Chudan, Gedan, Kake Uke, Mawasi Uke.

 

Gekisai Kata  撃碎 Gekisai literally means to destroy, "Di Ichi (Ni)" means number one (two). This Kata was created by the founder of Okinawa Goju Ryu, Miyagi Chojun Sensei. It consists of basic techniques which facilitate the later learning of difficult ones in the classic Kata starting from Saifa.


Kihon Kata 基本型

Kihon kata means a "kata of basics". It is intended to teach basic movements and technique so that the karate-ka is ready for the next more advanced learning stages.


Sanchin 三戰
Sanchin means "three battles". It does not refer to actual physical battles, but the internal battle of harnessing body, mind, and spirit through will. It is a classically "hard" Kata, involving continuous muscular tension throughout the body, as well as hard "ibuki" breathing. It is characterized by loud, focused and intense breathing, as well as the sanchin pigeon-toed stance which is characteristic of Goju-Ryu.


Tensho 転掌Was created by Miyagi Chojun Sensei. It means flowing hands. It's a combination of the hard dynamic tension with "ibuki" breathing (go) and soft flowing hand movements (ju), while the power comes from the Tandem. This Kata is very characteristic for the Goju-Ryu style and finds it's roots in a Chinese 'soft'-Sanchin version.

Kaishu Kata 開手型


Kaishu kata
means a "kata with open hands." This is a more advanced level and it is serves as a "combat application reference" kata and is open to vast interpretation (Bunkai) of its movements purpose (hence, "open hands").


Saifa 碎破
Literally means tear apart and destroy/smash and tear. It is the first classic Kata in the Goju-Ryu repertoire of Kata. Classic in the sense that is was handed down by Ryu Ryuko Sensei to Higaonna Kanryo Sensei. Its origins are most likely to be found in the white crane boxing-style in China.

 

Seinchin  制引戰 Probably means silently marching far or to pull depending on the interpretation. It's a very old Chinese Kata, of which the roots probably can be found in the Hsing-I system. This Kata consists, unlike most other Kata, only out of hand techniques. It belongs to the tiger series of the Kata.

 

Sanseiru  三十六手 Written in Chinese characters, is the number 36. Symbolically it is calculated from the formula 6x6. The first 6 represents eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and spirit. The second six symbolizes colour, voice, smell, taste, touch, and justice.

 

Seipai  十八手 Similarly, is the number 18. It is calculated from 6x3. The 6 is the same as the second 6 of Sanseiru. The 3 represents good, bad, and peace. This Kata truly exemplifies the true spirit of Okinawa Goju-Ryu: a mixture of soft, round techniques (the ju-principle) with hard ones (the go-principle). Yagi Meitoku often said it is based upon crane techniques which can be seen in the leaning stances, whipping style of striking, and evasive footwork.

 

Shisochin  四向戰 Literally means fight in four directions. One reason for this is that this Kata typically includes a combination of techniques executed in four directions. It is of Chinese origin, taught to Kanryo Higaonna by Ryu Ryuku. It is said to be one of Chojun Miyagi's favourite Kata in his later years, and that it was well suited to his body.

 

Seisan  十三手 Literally means thirteen hands. It contains 8 defensive and 5 attacking techniques, with which there is a change of direction. Thirteen is a prime number and in China is a number representing good luck and prosperity. Traditional Goju-Ryu falls back upon techniques which involve the grabbing and the controlling of the opponent while a weak spot of the body is hit. This Kata is a perfect example of this principle. It emphasizes close range fighting using short punching and low kicking techniques to break through the defence of the opponent. Seisan is an extremely important Kata in Goju-Ryu and it should be practiced for many hours for it contains a wealth of information and knowledge.

 

Kururunfa  久留頓破 Means forever peacefulness, stops tearing. This was handed down from the Chinese master, Ryu Ryuku to Higaonna Kanryo Sensei but the original creator of this Kata is unknown. Kururunfa contains a wide variety of open-hand techniques and especially hand/hip co-ordination techniques. Like Seisan, Kururunfa has soft movements followed by hard movements, however in Kururunfa the difference between hard and soft are much more marked with slow drawn out movements followed by a pause with devastating explosive techniques to follow, then the cycle repeats again.

 

Suparinpei  壱百零八手 (Pechurin), One hundred and eight (3x36=108). This Kata has special significance in Buddhism. It is believed that man has 108 evil passions and so in Buddhist temples on December 31st, at the stroke of midnight, a bell is rung 108 times to drive away those spirits. The number 108 is calculated from 3x36. The symbolism of the number 36 is the same as in Sanseiru (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and spirit; colour, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice). Suparinpei is Goju-Ryu's longest Kata. It utilises a large number of techniques, including breath control, and it contains the greatest number of applications and depth of meaning. It is said the mastery of Suparinpei is the mastery of the Goju-Ryu system.

 

Tokutei Kata 持定型

Genkaku 玄鶴 Gen means "deep, profound, dark, black, mysterious, obscure" en Kaku means "crane"; Gen-kaku can thus be translated as Mysterious Crane or Black Crane.

 

Chikaku 地鶴 Chi means "ground, earth" and Kaku means "crane" and thus Chi-kaku can be translated as Crane on the ground.

 

Kouryu 天龍 Kou means "yellow" and Ryu means "dragon" and thus Kou-ryu can be translated as Yellow Dragon.

 

Tenryu 黃龍 Ten means "air, heavenly, celestial, god" and Ryu means "dragon"; Ten-ryu can thus be translated as Heavenly Dragon, Divine Dragon or Dragon from the sky.