Shotokan katas


This is the most elementary kata practiced. Developed by Master Funakoshi’s son, Gigo, Taikyoku helps new students learn basic kata principles.

Taikyoku Shodan – (first cause) (Kata Kihon)


Created relatively recently, the Heians were originally called Pinan from the Okinawan pronunciation of the Chinese word for safety. When introduced to Japan, Master Funakoshi opted to use the Japanese pronunciation Heian. Considered basic kata for beginning students.

 Heian Shodan – (peaceful mind, first level)
 Heian Nidan – (peaceful mind, second level)
 Heian Sandan – (peaceful mind, third level)
 Heian Yondan – (peaceful mind, fourth level)
 Heian Godan – (peaceful mind, fifth level)


Originally known in Okinawa as Naihanchi, the katas were renamed by Master Funakoshi upon its introduction to Japan to reflect the strength exhibited with kiba-dachi. Rich in fighting techniques, the Tekki family offers a plethora of close combat techniques.


Tekki Shodan – (iron horse riding, first level)
Tekki Nidan – (iron horse riding, second level)
Tekki Sandan – (iron horse riding, third level)


Advanced Katas

Bassai Dai (to penetrate a fortress – big)
The strong techniques of this kata emphasize hip movement. Some resemble a battering ram being used against fortress walls.

Bassai Sho (to penetrate a fortress – small)
This kata was derived from Bassai-Dai. It has a similar performance line.

Kanku Dai (to view the sky – big)
Most of the elements of the Heian Kata were derived from this kata. The first movement in this kata views the sky, which symbolizes the universe and shows your opponent that you are unarmed. It was Master Funakoshi’s preferred kata.

Kanku Sho (to view the sky – small)
Kanku Sho was created from Kanku Dai. The movements and performance line are similar.

Hangetsu (half moon)
This kata received its name from its principal stance, hangetsu dachi (half moon stance).

Goju Shi Ho Dai (fifty four steps – big)
This kata is one of the most advance kata of Shotokan. Master Funakoshi called it hotaku (knocking of a woodpecker) because some of the techniques resemble a woodpecker tapping its beak against a tree.

Goju Shi Ho Sho (fifty four steps – small)
This is a smaller version of Goju Shi Ho Dai. It is also one of the most advanced kata of Shotokan.

Enpi (flying swallow)
The quick up and down movements of this kata are reminiscent of a fling swallow. Enpi is one of the oldest kata in Shotokan. Its former name was Wanshu.

Jion (love and goodness) (Temple)
Jion is a term in Buddhism. It is also the name of a temple in China. It uses basic stances and techniques. It is one of the most traditional kata in Shotokan.

Jiin (love and shadow)(Named after Chinese temple jion ji)
Jiin is another term in Buddhism. It has similar techniques and performance line as Jion.

Jitte (ten hands)
The goal of this kata is to teach a student to fight against ten opponents. This is a strong kata, similar to jion and Jiin.

Meikyo (bright mirror)(Brightly Polished Mirror)
The first movements of this kata suggest the smoothing of water to make it as calm and even as a mirror. The triangle jump at the end of this kata is said to have a secret meaning portending to a miracle.

Niju Shi Ho (twenty-four steps)
The movements in this kata resemble waves breaking on a cliff. The former name of this kata was ni sei shi.

Wankan (king and crown)(Kings Crown)
Wankan is the shortest kata in Shotokan.

Gankaku (crane on a rock)
The main stance in this kata (tsuruashi dachi) resembles a crane ready to strike at its prey. The movements are supposed to simulate a fight in the narrow alleyways of Okinawa. The former name of this kata was Chinto.

Sochin (strength and calm)(Rooted Stance / Immovable Stance)
The name of this kata comes from its stance (sochin dachi), a strong, rooted stance. The purpose of this kata is to teach defense against a stick. Its former name was Hakko.

Chinte (rare hand)(Chinese Hands)
Chinte has a lot of circular and roundhouse techniques. These are rare and are not typical of the shortest distance between two points concept of Shotokan.

Unsu (cloud hands)(Hands of the Cloud)
Unsu has several techniques that symbolize parting the clouds with open hands. It is also one of the most advanced kata of Shotokan.



Kata kihon (Taikyoku Shodan) First Cause

Heian Shodan (Peaceful Mind Level 1)

Heian Nidan (2)

Heian Sandan (3)

Heian Yondan (4)

Heian Godan (5)

Tekki Shodan

Tekki Nidan

Tekki Sandan

Bassai Dai (To Storm a Fortress) Large

Kanku Dai (To Look at the Sky) Large

Enpi (Flying swallow)

Jion (Temple)

Jiin (Named after Chinese temple jion ji)

Jitte (Ten Hands)

Hangetsu (Half Moon)

Bassai Sho (To storm a fortress) Small

Kanku Sho (To Look at the Sky) Small

Gankaku (Crane on a Rock)

Sochin (Rooted Stance / Immovable Stance)

Chinte (Chinese Hands)

Nijushiho (Twenty Four Steps)

Meikyo (Brightly Polished Mirror)

Unsu (Hands of the Cloud)

Wankan (Kings Crown)

Gojushiho Sho (Fifty Four Steps) Small

Gojushiho Dai (Fifty Four Steps) Large