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The 27 Shotokan Kata

Many Shotokan Dojo practice more kata, but here, we are just going to mention the 27 standard Shotokan kata that are practiced by thousands of karate-ka all over the world.

Several Shotokan groups have introduced other shotokan kata and kata from other styles, into their training, but when the JKA (Japan Karate Association) was formed by Nakayama Sensei, he put forward these 26 kata (not including taikyoku shodan or kihon kata), as the training kata for the JKA karateka. Even today, many thousands of Shotokan Dojo practice these 26 Kata only (leaving out Taikyoku Shodan or Kihon Kata).

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Mindful Practice in Karate

Mindful Practice in Karate

Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate, emphasized that every practitioner must seek perfection of character. In order to accomplish this, it is essential to obtain a clear focused mind in pursuit of a mental and physical state harnessed for perfection. When learning and practicing karate, particularly as it involves both physical and mental tasks, one must first start with the mindset of discipline. In karate, attending to the work of the mind is a discipline that can be practiced both in and out of the dojo.

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Kime: Trademarks of Shotokan karate

The readers will agree that perfect kime is what we dream of when we do the oi zuki or gyaku zuki. Bang boom! Look at Enoeda sensei’s tsuki; Yes, this is Shotokan.

Indeed, the powerful punches and kicks are trademarks of Shotokan karate.   When you look at Shitoryu kata, their performances look smooth and fluid but their techniques look “weak.” The Gojuryu kata have a lot of neko ashi dachi and sanchin dachi, and although their arm movements are circular, these movements, just like their stances, look short and do not have enough kime. (Note: I want to emphasize that I am in no way trying to bash any styles at all.  I am simply comparing the general impressions of shotokan and other styles.)  If the impressions above coincide with yours, then you want to ask, “OK, so what?”  Hold your breath, here is a shocking statement:  Kime (more precisely, encouraging it) is probably the most harmful action for most Shotokan practitioners while training, particularly for beginners.

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