Kata are pre-arranged fighting forms or exercise showing defenses against an attack They also incorporate
counter attack exercises. Kata helps develop speed, coordination, technique, and control of breathing.
There are eight empty hand kata that teach five stances in Isshinryu Karate. In addition, there are three Bo kata, two
Sai kata, and one Tuifa (Tonfa) Kata.
Empty Hand Kata:
- Seisan: This kata is of Shorin Ryu origin. This kata teaches the student how to fight several opponents
directly in front of him and how to turn and face opponents coming from different directions. The kata teaches a vertical
punch with the thumb on top, instead of the twist punch. It emphasizes the "Seisan Stance" (SHO ZENKUTSU DACHI) of fighting.
- Seiuchin: This kata is of Goju Ryu origin. It is a horse stance (as if riding a horse) position
in which the feet are about shoulder width with toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. The back and head are straight and
the shoulders in line with the hips. This stance is most effective when the opponent is close and directly to the side of
the karate-ka; This kata was designed to fight on difficult ground.
- Naihanchin: This kata is of Shorin Ryu origin. It teaches the Naihanchin stance (UCHI HACHIJI DACHI).
It is an erect position in which the toes are pointing straight and the legs and hips are locked. Movements in the kata are
lateral. This kata trains the karate-ka to tighten the legs and to defend against opponents on both sides. This kata is
designed to protect the back and knees.
- Wansu: This kata is of Shorin Ryu origin. It combines moves from the first three kata. The karate-ka
is taught to fight opponents forward, backward, and on both sides. This kata was designed for close in fighting.
- Chinto: This kata is of Shorin Ryu origin. It emphasizes pivots and fighting on angles. This kata
emphasizes techniques to be used against attackers on somewhat of a 45 degree angle. In addition, it introduces the karate-ka
to jump kick techniques and the use of the cross block and cross stances. There is legend tied to this kata. This kata was
designed for fighting in small areas and angles. ex: halls and alleys.
- Sanchin: This kata is of Goju Ryu origin. It emphasizes strong techniques and breathing control.
The name means"three battles", and refers to the control of mind, body, and breathing during the performance of the kata.
The control of mind, body, and breathing are the sources of chi (vital energy). This energy is generated in the area two to
three inches below the navel. This kata was designed for exercise.
- Kusan-Ku: Of Shorin Ryu origin, this kata comes from Chinese Master Kusanku. This kata is usually
referred to as a night kata, silhouetting the enemy against the horizon and then attacking. It emphasizes speed movements
for a man surrounded by eight attackers. The techniques in this kata are aimed at improving the karate-ka's speed in blocking
high and low, and maneuvering within the surrounding attackers. This kata was designed for fighting in open areas.
- Sunsu: Sunsu, Master Shimabuku's nickname, means "strong man". This kata is an original. It was totally
created by Master Shimabuku. It consists of movements from the first six kata.
Weapons Kata:Bo kata The bo is a round staff. It was used as a walking aid and comes from branches or farm
implements. Such as the hoe, shovel or fork handles, etc. The people converted the bo into a weapon.
- Tokomeni No Kun: (Bo #1) This kata is named after Master Tokumeni who virtually created the bo
as it is known in modern karate.
- Urashi: (Bo #2) In this kata, the student is taught to draw the opponent's attention by the front
of the bo until he is hit with the rear end of the bo which has been brought around with a vertical butt stroke.
- Shishi No Kun: (Bo #3) The kata contains 130 movements combined from the first two bo kata. It
also brings in the foot movements along with the use of both ends of the bo.
Sai kata: The sai is a three-pronged weapon used for defense and attack (similar to a sword) and for throwing
(similar to a spear). The sai is effective against the samurai sword and the bo (both short and long). Karate masters used
to carry three sais. Two were held in the hands, the shaft extending the length of the forearm, knob hidden in the hand. The
third sai was hooked in the belt and was used only after one of the hand sai was thrown.
- Kusan-Ku Sai: (Sai #1) The use of the sai is incorporated into the empty hand Kusanku kata. The
moves are basically the same in both kata without the kicks. This kata introduces the karate-ka to the sai. In this kata,
the sai is fighting the samurai swordsman.
- Chantan Yara No Sai: (Sai #2) The sais in this kata are used to defend against a bo. With counter
techniques using the, knob, shaft and tangs to block, stab, strike, punch and to hook the bo.
Tonfa kata: The Tonfa are usually 18 to 21 inches in length with a handle protruding 90 degrees about 3 inches
from one end. The Tuifa is thought to have originally been the handle for a grindstone.
- Chei fa: (also known as Hamahiga No Tuifa) This kata teaches the student to fend off attackers
with bos, clubs etc. using the tonfa to block and strike with.
Kobudo Kumite: Weapons Sparing - There are also two pre-arranged forms in which two karateka spar with weapons.
One with bo against bo and one with sai against bo.
- Bo Bo/kumite: (Bo vs Bo)
- Bo Sai/kumite: (Bo vs Sai)