Shotokan Kata - Names & What They Mean

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Kata Names

 Kanji

Attributed to

Number of Steps

 Meaning

Grade

Old or Other Name

Kihon Kata 太極初段 Itosu 20 Steps Great Ultimate beginning step (basic kata) 10th Kyu Taikyoko Shodan
Taikyoko Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan & Rokudan 太教育 Itosu 20 Steps not part of SSKA syllabus not part of SSKA syllabus  
Heian Shodan 平安初段 Itosu 21 Steps Peaceful Mind or Tranquillity - Level 1 9th Kyu Pinan
Heian Nidan 平安二段 Matsumura 26 Steps Peaceful Mind or Tranquillity - Level 2 8th Kyu Pinan
Heian Sandan 平安三段 Itosu 21 Steps Peaceful Mind or Tranquillity - Level 3 7th Kyu Pinan
Heian Yondan 平安四段 Itosu 28 Steps Peaceful Mind or Tranquillity - Level 4 6th Kyu Pinan
Heian Godan 平安五段 Itosu 26 Steps Peaceful Mind or Tranquillity - Level 5 5th Kyu Pinan
Tekki Shodan 鉄騎初段 Matsumura 24 Steps Iron Horse or Horse Riding 1st Level 4th Kyu from Naihanchi kata
Tekki Nidan 鉄騎二段 Itosu 20 Steps Iron Horse - Level 2 Brown Belt Kata from Naihanchi kata
Tekki Sandan 鉄騎三段 Itosu 25 Steps Iron Horse - Level 3 3rd Dan Kata from Naihanchi kata
Bassai Dai 披塞大 Matsumura 46 Steps To Storm a Fortress (major) 3rd Kyu to 1st Dan variation of Passai kata
Bassai Sho 披塞小 Matsumura 27 Steps To Storm a Fortress (minor) 2nd Dan Kata variation of Passai kata
Kanku Dai  観空大 Matsumura 69 Steps To view the sky (major) * * Brown Belt Kata from Kashanku kata (or Kusanku)
Kanku Sho  観空小 Matsumura 48  Steps To view the sky (minor) 2nd Dan Kata from Kashanku kata (or Kusanku)
Hangetsu 半月 Matsumura 41 Steps Half moon * * Brown Belt Kata Old root from Seisan kata (Jusan)
Gankaku 岩鶴 Matsumura 42 Steps Crane on a rock 3rd Dan Kata Chinto
Gankaku Sho 岩鶴小 Itosu 55 Steps Crane on a rock (minor) not part of SSKA syllabus but SKIF & Shito-ryu Chinto - also called Koryu Gankaku
Enpi (or Empi) 燕飛 through Itosu  (1683) 37 Steps Flying swallow * *   Brown Belt Kata Wansu (Wanshu)
Jion 慈恩 Itosu 47 Steps Named after the Jion-ji temple (Kind and Graciousness) * * Brown Belt Kata NB: A compulsory kata in the "Federation of All Japan Karate-Do" organisations.
Jitte 十手 Itosu 24 Steps Ten hands * * Brown Belt Kata  
Jiin 慈陰 Itosu 33 Steps Translated Love of Truth (or kind shade) * *   Brown Belt Kata  
Nijushi-ho 二十四步 Seisho Arakaki 24 Steps 24 steps 2nd Dan Kata Niseishi
Nijuhachi-ho 二十四步 Okinawa 28 Steps 28 steps not part of SSKA syllabus but SKIF & Shito-ryu  

Meikyo

(or Rohai)

明鏡 Itosu 33 Steps Clear or Bright Mirror 3rd Dan Kata Meikyo is a combination of all three different Rōhai kata, containing elements of each.
Sochin 壯鎭 Seisho Arakaki 41 Steps Rooted or Tranquil Force - Named after the stance 2nd Dan Kata  
Chinte 珍手 Itosu 32 Steps Rare, Unusual or Incredible Hands * *   Brown Belt Kata  
Wankan  王冠 Matsumura 24 Steps Crown of a King or Emperor / A Proper Name 3rd Dan Kata  
Unsu 雲手 Seisho Arakaki 48 Steps Defence of a Cloud/Cloud Hands 3rd Dan Kata  
Gojushiho Dai 五十四歩大 Matsumura 54 steps Fifty Four Steps (major) 3rd Dan Kata Useishi
Gojushiho Sho 五十四歩小 Matsumura 54 steps Fifty Four Steps  (minor) 3rd Dan Kata Useishi

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Kata in the Dai form are the Major versions

Kata in the Sho form are the Minor versions

NB: Currently there are 26 Kata in the Traditional Japanese Shotokan style (not including Kihon Kata)

* * (Brown Belt Kata)

Shotokan Syllabus

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Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2013