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Shotokan Karate Tora Dojo

Chuck Billo — Head Instructor


Kata are sets of choreographed moves that were originally used to teach Karate. Kata are the very heart of Karate.

One of Funakoshi Sensei’s twenty precepts was :


“Hitotsu Kata, Sannen” : One Kata, three years.


The idea was that one becomes so good at a particular Kata, almost any portion could be adapted to meet any attack.  With the research that UFC has inspired, we have found that Kata are indeed very adaptable.  Any one technique can have several applications.  Throwing techniques and joint controls are there to be found.  Shotokan can produce well rounded fighters, with far more control and safety than MMA.  Thorough understanding of the Kata’s lessons is the only requirement.


In modern times, we do not practice individual Kata for three years before taking an exam.  

A demonstration of some Kata applications is required for your exam. Color ranks practice a different Kata at each stage.

Kata technique names (in Japanese) are available.



KYU                 BELT                KATA NAME


9th                          White                     Heian Shodan                      - Peaceful 1st

8th                          Yellow                    Heian Nidan                         - Peaceful 2nd

7th                          Orange                   Heian Sandan                      - Peaceful 3rd

6th                          Green                     Heian Yondan                     - Peaceful 4th

5th                          Blue                        Heian Godan                        - Peaceful 5th

4th                          Purple                    Tekki Shodan                      - Iron Horseman 1st         

                                                                Tekki Nidan                         - Iron Horseman 2nd

                                                                Tekki Sandan                      - Iron Horseman 3rd

3rd                          Brown 1                Bassai Dai                             - Breaking the Fortress

2nd                         Brown 2                Jion                                         - Love and Goodness

1st                           Brown 3                Enpi                                        - Flight of the Swallow

                                                                Kanku Dai                            - Looking at the Sky, large



Brown belts must learn all four Kata. 3rd Kyu students (on their first brown belt) usually perform Bassai Dai for their exam. The Kata for the next two exams are the choice of the student — they may even retain the same Kata for all three exams.  1st Kyu students will take a Shodan exam, usually at the end of an intensive weekend seminar, called a “camp”.


Mori Masataka Sensei (9th Dan) from New York gives Dan exams a few times a year here in Montreal.  Other JKA camp guest instructors will also give Dan exams for certain levels.  It is up to the student to decide which camps, if any, they will attend.  It is also up to the student when they take their Dan exams; some never wish to pursue any official rating beyond Shodan — they just want to do Karate!




                                BLACK BELT KATA


                Jitte                                                        - Ten Hands

                Ji’in                                                        - Love and Shadow

                Meikyo                                                   - Bright Mirror

                Gankaku                                              - Crane on a Rock     

                Chinte                                                    - Strange/Unusual Hands

                Kanku Sho                                           - Looking at the Sky, small

                Bassai Sho                                            - Breaking the Fortress, small

                Hangetsu                                              - Half Moon Stance

                Sochin                                                    - Rooted Stance

                Nijushi Ho                                            - Twenty-Four Steps

                Gojushiho Sho                                     - Fifty-Four Steps, small

                Gojushiho Dai                                     - Fifty-Four Steps, large

                Unsu                                                       - Cloud Hands

                Wankan                                                - King and Crown