Shotokan Kata - We Are Family

June 6, 2019

It is very interesting to notice the several similarities and duplicates within Shotokan kata. Whether found in a relatively easier kata and/or in a more advanced kata, upon close examination, similarities are to be found. When looked at from this perspective, the natural order of progression and the concept of introducing the student to ideas and theories from the inception and journey of one’s training that will naturally lead to a greater understanding and
appreciation of said ideas and theories at a more experienced level of training and self-study.

As to not overwhelm the beginner student of techniques, ideas, theories, concepts, variations and combinations thereof, Shotokan kata gracefully and welcomingly introduce and expose the student to said techniques, ideas, theories, concepts, variations and combinations thereof at a level on a very gradual level.

There are several examples of this. Presented in this article are only a very brief few.

 
The Heian kata are designed to introduce and expose the student to the techniques of Shotokan Karate on a gradual and rather easy and comprehensible level.

We see in Heian Shodan the idea and application of defense of 4 opponents in 4 different directions in movements 18, 19, 20 and 21. This is similar to the exact same set of movements in techniques found in other kata, such as Heian Nidan, Kanku-Dai and Sochin.


In movements 1 and 4 of Heian Nidan we see the exact same kamae (posture) and defense as is found in the advanced kata Meikyo.

Heian Sandan introduces the student to the technique of fumi-komi (stomping kick) in movements 12, 14 and 16. These techniques are done in sets of threes
and these same techniques are found in the kata Jitte, yet with different arm techniques.

Heian Yondan features the use of Shuto-uchi (knife hand block) and Kakiwake-uke (wedge block), which are found in the kata Kanku-Dai and Gojushiho-Sho.

Heian Godan introduces student to the idea of performing more advanced
combination techniques. In movements 2 and 4, executing gyaku-zuki (reverse punch) while in kokutsu-dachi (back stance) is quite challenging. Hence, it is found in the kata Gankaku. Gankaku, having originally been named Chinto, a very few of the techniques thereof, were rather simplified by Master Yoshitsune (Anko) Itosu (one of the primary instructors of Master Gichin Funakoshi) when Itosu Sensei created Pinan Godan (as well as all of the other Pinan kata, which would later be renamed Heian by Master Funakoshi) which would later be renamed as Heian Godan.

What is also interesting is that in the Tekki kata, elements and techniques of the kata Jion, Empi, Bassai-Dai and (interestingly enough) Heian Sandan (as is in Tekki Sandan) are included.

Likewise, in the basic 15 Shotokan kata, yet still included in the 26 kata of Shotokan, elements and concepts therein are to be discovered. One example would be Ryowan jodan hasami uke, which is in the kata Nijushiho and is also found in the kata Wankan.

These that have been presented are only a very FEW of the examples of the not only similarities, but exact duplicates that are seen and found in Shotokan Kata. Upon further training and exploration, the dedicated and inquisitive student of Shotokan Karate will no doubt discover many more.

 

 


Reference:

Best Karate, Volumes 5-11
Masatoshi Nakayama

Shotokan Karate Kata Volumes 1 & 2
Hirokazu Kanazawa


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