|Place of origin||Tomari, Okinawa, Ryūkyū Kingdom|
The Rōhai (鷺牌?) kata are a family of kata practiced in some styles of karate. The kata originated from the Tomari-te school of Okinawan martial arts. It was called Matsumora Rōhai, after Kosaku Matsumora, who was presumably its inventor. Ankō Itosu later took this kata and developed three kata from it: Rōhai shodan, Rōhai nidan, and Rōhai sandan. In Shorin-ryū/ Matsubayashi-ryū this Kata introduces Gedan Shotei Ate (Lower/Downward Palm Heel Smash) and Ippon Ashi Dachi. (One Leg Stance) It contains a sequence of Tomoe Zuki (Circular Punch) exactly the same as the one in Bassai, although the ending of the sequence chains into Hangetsu Geri/Uke (Half Moon Kick/Block)
In modern Karate, some styles teach all three kata (such as Shito ryu). However, other styles employ only one of them as a kata (such as Wadō-ryū, which teaches Rōhai shodan as Rōhai). Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, redeveloped and renamed Rōhai as Meikyo (明鏡), literally "bright mirror", often translated as "mirror of the soul." Meikyo is a combination of all three different Rōhai kata, containing elements of each. In Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do, practitioners have added a board (or brick) breaking element to the form, which can be performed using either a downward punch or palm strike.
- Redmond, R. Kata: The Folk Dances of Shotokan, 2006 (http://www.24fightingchickens.com/kata/)
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