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“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

 

Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF) includes all of the traditional 26 Shotokan kata, and also currently includes four additional kata from other styles chosen by the late Kanazawa Soke to complement traditional Shotokan karate training.  The four additional kata are Seipai (from Goju-ryu), Seienchin (from Shito-ryu), Gankaku-Sho (from Shorin-ryu) and Niju Hachi-Ho (from Tomari-te and White Crane style wushu).  Some kata have been passed down from generation to generation, while others having been developed in more recent times.  Kata when performed correctly require composure and exhibit strength and dignity and help with the development of fast reflexes and the ability to move quickly.  All kata require rhythm and coordination.  Training in kata is as much spiritual as it is physical.  In the performance of kata, all karate-ka should demonstrate boldness and confidence, but also humility, thus integrating mind and body in a singular discipline. 

The study, analysis and practical application of the movements in kata is referred to as bunkai.  This allows the karate-ka to understand what the movements in kata are meant to accomplish.  It also illustrates how to improve technique by adjusting distances, helps with the proper timing of technique, and adapt a technique depending on the size of an opponent.

SHOTOKAN KATA

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