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Interview with a Fuchow Master

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Kata and Kata list

Kata and Kata list: Specific to Gojuryu Karatedo

Kata are patterns of movement containing a series of logical and practical blocks, strikes, defensive and offensive techniques. In each kata there are predetermined movements which can be practiced alone, without a partner or with a partner utilizing general or creative applications [Bunkai]. Kata were created via many years of research, training, and actual combat experience. Because Kata is visually aesthetic, it is not necessarily easy to analyze the movements without understanding the basic combat philosophy of a specific style. 

The applications of the techniques in kata have evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years through research and combat application. Bunkai, the analization of Kata, defines:

  • Escapes and defenses,
  • Strikes and striking variations, 
  • Kicks and kicking variations,
  • Throws and take downs,
  • Pressure point attacks,
  • Locks and Ne waza.

There are several level of bunkai for each kata. Usually a primary predefined Bunkai is established by association, group or Dojo Sensei. Variations of Bunkai escalate depending on the capability and knowledge of the student performing the kata. There is no single, correct bunkai for a given move. As we advance up the ranks, we gain a better and deeper understanding of kata and their possible varios applications [Bunkai]. Although there are hidden techniques in Kata, there are no secret principles because the body is limited in the by the variations it is capable of being manipulated. There is however, an unlimited number of combination variations and in this way, each kata has been improved, refined, and has evolved into the kata we practice today.

Because of losses during occupation and war, as well as complex evolution, it is impossible to trace the exact development many kata underwent. It is known that Masters having founded the styles and systems studied the combative techniques and movements in the fighting between animal and animal, animal and man, and man-to-man. They also studied the physiology of the human body and its relationship to combat, taking into account such factors as the circulation of the blood, bone density and weaknesses, the vulnerability of the vital points, soft tissue, opponents balance and general human weaknesses. All of these elements are incorporated into kata.

In the kata of Gojuryu Karatedo, there is no first attack. Every kata begins with a defensive technique or series of techniques, which exemplifies this spirit and intent of Gojuryu Karatedo. Not only is there no first attack, but the best defense is to avoid the fight altogether. That is why it is said that karatedo is the art of a wise men.

In both concept and performance, it is imperiable to practice kata correctly with repition. Only through constant repetition can the techniques become reflex action. Kata practice is a lifetime of dedication under the guidance of a knowledgeable and authentic teacher. An important aspect of kata is that it can be practiced alone, anytime and anywhere. When kata is performed by a well-trained person, its dynamic power and beauty of movement take on an aesthetic quality.

Elements of Kata

There are multiple key elements of kata. Some are:

  • Kime - Proper timing, speed and rhythm.
    • Slow part slow and fast part fast.
    • All kata, no matter what  Ryu-ha or Kai-ha, all kata must have a certain rhythm.
  • Kime - Balance, focus of power and strength.
    • The correct and proper use of breathing as an aid to kime.
  • Grace.
  • Embusen - Keeping of proper lines in both attacking and defending techniques.
  • Zanshin - The state of concious awareness and relaxed alertness.
    • Visualization of technique - Focus.
  • Bunkai - The degree of understanding of the techniques being used.
    • A realistic demonstration of the kata’s meaning.
  • Chakugan - Similar to Zanshin, the correct focus of attention and concentration.
  • Dachi - The correct use of stances with proper tension in the legs, and feet flat on the floor.
  • Hara - Proper tension in the abdomen and no bobbing up and down of the hips when moving.
  • Kihon - Correct form of the style being demonstrated.
    • Complexity and simplicity based on elements of the Kata.

Below is a standardized list of Gojuryu Karatedo kata as practiced by the major associations indicated:


JKF Gojukai

 [Nihon Karatedo Renmei Goju-Kai]

Seigokan & GKK

 [Seigo Tada Lineage]

Jundokan, Gojuryu Karatedo Kyokai, IOGKF

 [Eiichi Miyazato Lineage]

JKGA & IKGA

 [Goshi Yamaguchi Lineage]

Shoreikan & Shobukan

 [Toguchi Seikichi Lineage]

Meibukan

 [Meitoku Yagi Lineage]

 

Kanji Translation

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


Kihon Kata

{Kihon Tsuki no Kata [ Seigo Tada]}

 


大極上段一

Taikyoku Jodan Ichi

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

Hookiyu Kata Ichi

[Toguchi Seikichi]

 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


Kihon Kata

[Kihon Uke no Kata {Seigo Tada}]

 


大極上段二

Taikyoku Jodan Ni

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

Hookiyu Kata Ni

[Toguchi Seikichi]

 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極中段一

Taikyoku Chudan Ichi

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極中段二

Taikyoku Chudan Ni

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極下段一

Taikyoku Gedan Ichi

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極下段二

Taikyoku Gedan Ni

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極廻受一

Taikyoku Mawashi Uke Ichi

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極廻受二Taikyoku Mawashi Uke Ni

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極掛受一Taikyoku Kakae Ichi

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

 


 


 


大極掛受二Taikyoku Kakae Ni

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

 


 


 

基本形

(Kihon Kata)

三戦

Sanchin

[Kanryo Higaonna version]

三戦

Sanchin

[Kanryo Higaonna version]

三戦

Sanchin Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun version]

三戦

Sanchin

[Kanryo Higaonna version]

三戦

Sanchin

[Kanryo Higaonna version]

三戦

Sanchin

[Kanryo Higaonna version]

 

Three battles (Sanchin)

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

撃碎受一

Gekisai Dai Ichi

[Miyagi Chojun & Nagamine Shoshin]

 

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

撃碎受二

Gekisai Dai Ni

[Miyagi Chojun]

 

 


 


 


玄鶴

Genkaku

[Goshi Yamaguchi]

Gekisai Dai San

{Toguchi Seikichi [& Miyagi Chojun in theory]}

Tenchi

[Meitoku Yagi]

 

 


 


三戦二

Sanchin Dai Ni

[Higashionna Kanryo version]

 


 


 


 

閉手形

(Heishu Kata)




三戦転掌

Sanchin-Tensho

[Gogen Yamaguchi]



 

 


 


 


地鶴

Chikaku

[Yamaguchi Goshi]

Gekiha Dai Ichi

{Toguchi Seikichi [& Miyagi Chojun in theory]}

Seiryu

[Meitoku Yagi]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

碎破 Saifa

[Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

制引戦

Seiyunchin

[Koryu]

 

 


 

 


 

Gekiha Dai Ni

{Toguchi Seikichi [& Miyagi Chojun in theory]}

Byakko

[Meitoku Yagi]

 

 


Uke-no Kata

[Seigo Tada]

 


天 龍 Hokaku

[Koryu]

[Yamaguchi Goshi]

Kakuha Dai Ichi

[Toguchi Seikichi]

Shujakku [

Meitoku Yagi]

 

 


 


 


黃龍

Tenkaku

[Tenryu]

[Yamaguchi Goshi]

Kakuha Dai Ni

[Toguchi Seikichi]

Genbu

[Meitoku Yagi]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

三十六手

Sanseiru

[Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

四向戦

Shisochin

[Koryu]

四向戦

Shisochin

[Koryu]

四向戦

Shisochin

[Koryu]

四向戦

Shisochin

[Koryu]

四向戦

Shisochin

[Koryu]

四向戦

Shisochin [

Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

十三手

Seisan

[Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

十八手

Sepai

[Koryu]

十八手

Sepai

[Koryu]

十八手

Sepai

[Koryu]

十八手

Sepai

[Koryu]

十八手

Sepai

[Koryu]

十八手S

Sepai

[Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

久留頓破

Kururunfa [Koryu]

久留頓破

Kururunfa [Koryu]

久留頓破

Kururunfa [Koryu]

久留頓破

Kururunfa [Koryu]

久留頓破

Kururunfa [Koryu]

久留頓破

ururunfa [Koryu]

 

開手形

(Kaishu Kata)

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

壱百零八手

Suparinpei

[Pecchurin] [Koryu]

 

閉手形

(Heishu Kata)

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

転掌Tensho

[Miyagi Chojun]

 

閉手形

(Heishu Kata)




Hakutsuru

[Gogen Yamaguchi]

Hakutsuru no Mai

[Toguchi Seikichi]

 

 

 

I was queried by a colleague and college karate classmate 'Mary Crawford' regarding "What are comparable Gojuryu kata to the following Shotokan kata?" She further lists: 

  • Heian shodan,
  • Heian Nidan,
  • Heian Sandan,
  • Heian Yodan,
  • Heian Godan,
  • Bassai dai,
  • Jion,
  • Kanku dai and
  • Empi.

In my reply I must first explain that many Gojuryu groups use a sub-kata system called Taikyoku. Taikyoku are not 'true' kata. Taikyoku are only training exercises that lead into kata, familiarize students with the basic "H" pattern and coordination.

For the most part, Okinawa based clubs do not use these because they are not really Kata however training excercises. Contrary, most Japan based clubs do use them as they are convenient for prepare for the rest of the kata syllabus.

Now to answering the question. The Gojuryu Taikyoku excercises that are the nearest in which epitomize the Shotokan Heian series and are: 

  • Taikyoku Jodan [upper], Age Uke with Sanchin Dachi.  
  • Taikyoku Chudan [center], Chudan Yoko Uke with Zenkutsu dachi.  
  • Taikyoku Gedan [lower], Harai Otoshi Uke [Gojuryu version of Gedan Barai] and Shiko Dachi [Gojuryu version of Kiba dachi].  
  • Taikyoku Mawashi Uke, Mawashi Uke in Sanchin dachi and yondan renzoku in Shiko dachi [a combination of hiji ate, ura ken, harai otoshi and gyaku tsuki].  
  • Taikyoku Kake Uke, Kake Uke with Mae Geri and hiji ate in Zenkutsu dachi.

In addition, there are secondary versions [Dai Ni] of the same beforementioned Taikyoku series which include stepping forward with a defensive technique and stepping back repeating the sam, then continuing into the rest of the technique.

On into Bassai dai, of which the Gojuryu equivalent is Gekisai Ichi. Gekisai ichi and Ni are 'true' kata in the Gojuryu Kata syllabus. Gekisai ichi was created in cooporation by Chojun Miyagi; the founder of Gojuryu, and Sochin Nagamine; the founder of Shorin Ryu by commission of the Okinawa prefectural government for the physical education program. Gekisia Dai Ni was further developed alone my Chojun Miyagi.

Moving on to Jion, a comparable isn't very difficult because of the similar characteristics and level of difficulty. Shisochin is the nearest Gojuryu Kata to parallel Jion [Shotokan] however Shisochin is not generally viewed as a Kata for students below Shodan.

Next up is Kanku Dai which is difficult to compare to any Gojuryu kata because there are absolutely no similarities however because most Shotokan or Shuri based groups place this high into 1st Kyu range the equivalent Gojuryu kata is Seiunchin.

And finally we have Kata Empi which, I always, closely relate to Saifa [Gojuryu] because of the type of techniques being to grab and pull in and well as the level of difficulty and similarities.


It is possible we can learn the pattern and movements of kata in as little as a day however can take a lifetime to master its meaning and various applications. The spirit of karatedo is embedded in kata and only by the practice of kata through repitition and with guidance can we come to understand Karatedo. For this reason, when we modify or simplify kata, either to accommodate the beginner or for competitive reasons, we also loose the a bit of the meaning and spirit it envelops.

...by Copyright © Johnpaul Williams, GRN & AGK.

Comments
#1 Gravitate
on January 14 2008 00:29:23
Where is the IOGKF?
#2 gojuryu
on August 24 2008 03:49:39
IOGKF Kata are listed under Jundokan
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