Karate kata

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Kata (Japanese: , or more traditionally, ; lit. "form") is a Japanese word describing detailed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs.[1] Karate kata are executed as a specified series of a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. The kata is not intended as a literal depiction of a mock fight, but as a display of transition and flow from one posture and movement to another, teaching the student proper form and position, and encouraging them to visualise different scenarios for the use of each motion and technique. Karateka "read" a kata in order to explain the imagined events, a practice known as bunkai. There are various kata, each with many minor variations.

Origins[edit]

Kata originated from the practice of paired attack and defence drills by ancient Chinese martial artists, these were known as the "five form fists" or "five patterns" after the fighting methods of five different animals.[2][3] These were brought to Okinawa and were later used as the foundations for new kata to be devised.[2]

Kata were created as solo forms containing the concatenated sequences of movements of the defensive portions of the drills. The initial forms being simply strings of movements, sets of rules were created to allow the creation of kata which could fit comfortably within training spaces.[4]

Teaching[edit]

Traditionally, kata are taught in stages. Previously learned kata are repeated to show better technique or power as a student acquires knowledge and experience. It is common for students testing to repeat every kata they have learned but at an improved level of quality.[5]

The various styles of karate study different kata, or variations of a common core. Some kata may therefore be known by two names, one in Japanese, the other in Okinawan or Chinese. This is because Gichin Funakoshi, and others, renamed many kata to help Karate spread throughout Japan.

Kata names[edit]

Chinese connections[edit]

The number 108 has mythological significance in Dharmic religions and is present in a number of traditional kata. This number also figures prominently in the names of Karate kata, predominantly those with an origin in Naha-te, including Goju-ryu. The advanced Gōjū-ryū kata, Suparinpei, literally translates in Foochow to the number 108, while gojushi of Gojūshiho is the Japanese pronunciation of the number 54 (half of 108). The other Gōjū-ryū kata, Sanseru (meaning "36") and Seipai ("18") are factors of the number 108.[6]

However this direct connection between Zen Buddhism and karate particularly has been discredited in recent times as both a modern Western misinterpretation and as part of a tendency towards nationalist religious homogenisation in the early unified Japan of the late 19th century.[7] Other propositions for the origin of the number 108 in kata include the legendary story of Outlaws of the Marsh (of which there were 108), or from Yue Fei, a 12th century Chinese general who created the Yibai Lingba Qinna (一百零八擒拿; "108 Locking Hand Techniques") of the Ying Sao (Eagle Hands) or Ying Kuen (Eagle Fist) which evolved into modern Chinese boxing that karate was influenced by.[8]

Kata performed in various styles[edit]

Some kata and/or styles are not included here, due but not limited to popularity and common usage for kata, and recognition (or not) of styles by the various governing bodies.

Kata
Ananku Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some Some
Annan Yes Yes Yes
Annanko Yes Yes Yes
Ansan Yes Yes
Chinte Yes Some Yes Yes Yes
Chintō/Iwa Ame/Gankaku Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chinsu Yes
Fukyugata/Gekisai/Shinsei Yes Some Some Yes
Gojūshiho/Useishi (some: dai and sho versions) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Happiken Yes
Jiin Yes Yes Yes
Jion Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jitte Yes Some Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Juroku Yes Yes
Kururunfa Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kusanku/Kanku/Bokanku (some: dai and sho versions) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Naihanchi/Tekki (some: series of 3) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes
Nipaipo/Neipai Yes Yes Yes
Niseishi/Nijushiho Yes Some Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bassai/Passai (some: dai and sho versions) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Yes Some
Enpi/Wansu/Wanshū Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some Yes Some Yes
Pinan/Heian (series of 5) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Rōhai/Meikyo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Ryuko Some Some Some
Saifā Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sanchin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sankakutobi Yes
Sanseiryu/Sanseryu Yes Yes Yes
Seichin Yes Yes
Seipai Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Seiryu Yes Yes
Seisan/Hangetsu Yes Yes Some Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Seiyunchin/Seienchin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shimpa Yes Yes
Shisōchin Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sōchin Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Suparimpei/Pechurin Yes Yes Some Yes
Taikyoku/Kihon (some: series of 3 or more) Some Yes Some Yes Yes Some Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tensho Yes Yes Some Yes Yes Yes
Ten No Kata Yes Some Some
Unsu Yes Yes Yes
Wanduan Yes
Wankan/Matsukaze Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Global Allure of Karate". 2 January 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b McCarthy, Pat (1987). Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate. Ohara. p. 55. ISBN 9780897501132.
  3. ^ Black Belt Magazine. Active Interest Media, Inc. November 1995. p. 80.
  4. ^ Toguchi, Seikichi (2001). Okinawan Goju-Ryu II: Advanced Techniques of Shorei-Kan Karate. Black Belt Communications. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-89750-140-8.
  5. ^ Pawlett, Ray (2004). The Karate Handbook. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing. pp. 149–233. ISBN 978-1-4042-1394-4.
  6. ^ "Hyaku Hachi No Bonno: 108 Defilements". www.seinenkai.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  7. ^ Bragg, Melvyn. "In Our Time, Zen". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  8. ^ Hopkins, Giles (2021). Suparinpei: The Last Kata of Goju-Ryu Karate. Blue Snake Books. p. 3. ISBN 9781623175597. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  9. ^ Gōjū-ryū kata Archived 2006-04-21 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Shitō-ryū kata Archived 2012-05-24 at archive.today
  11. ^ "Best Travel Safety Tips & Tricks -". Best Travel Safety Tips & Tricks. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2018.