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