Kata are the soul of karate. They combine both basic and advanced techniques, stances and body movements into a set of flowing compositions. All the kata taught in Wado-ryu have been handed down over the ages, often by simple demonstration, from teacher to student and father to son.
The kata that we teach at Derby Karate Club are those of ‘traditional’ Wado-ryu. The historical significance and of these kata are outlined in the table below. If anyone has any more information, I would be delighted to hear from you.
To the best of my knowledge there are fifteen Wado-Ryu Katas. We start with a series of five Pinan Katas. They are in correct order;
Shodan – Nidan – Sandan – Yodan – Godan
Most Karate schools teach Nidan first because it is easier to learn. These five katas will take you up to Purple Belt.
For Brown Belt you need the longest Kata which is called Kushanku. For Brown – White belt you need Nai-Fanchi. Nai – Fanchi is completely different to any Kata you have learnt up to now.
After this level Karate Schools differ in which Kata to learn next. For Brown Black Belt, DKC learn Seishan. For Dan Grade you have to learn Chinto. For 2nd dan you learn Bassai – Nei Seishi and Jitte. Then for 3rd dan you learn Wanshu and Rohai. For 4th dan, Jion.
|Pinan Series||Pinan translates as 'Peaceful mind'.||The Pinan Kata were composed in 1907 by Anko Itosu. They are thought to have been composed from parts of Kushanku, a much larger kata. These kata were originally intended as beginner kata for use in Okinawan High School physical education programmes in the first part of this century. They are sometimes called the Heian kata, since the same ideograms can be read differently in Japanese.|
|Kushanku||Kushanku can be roughly translated into 'Sky viewing'.||This Kata was adapted and developed by Okinawan Masters, having been originally brought to Okinawa in 1762 by a Chinese envoy named Kushanku (pronounced Kosokun in Japan). Reputed to be the most advanced and difficult of all the Okinawan kata, it is said to require more than a decade of painstaking practice to master. Gichin Funakoshi called this kata Kanku Dai (kan=observe, Dai=big) because of the first movement of the kata (making a circle with both hands) observing the world.|
|Naifanchi||The name may be translated as 'Battle in a narrow place' for example on the narrow paths between rice fields.||Naifanchi kata is the only kata where all the activity takes place in a straight line. The stance is also important, being the first of the so-called inner circular stances (both feet turned slightly inward). These stances are developed through Chinto and Seishan kata.|
|Chinto||A literal translation of Chinto is 'Fighting to the East'||Chinto was probably a Chinese military attaché, posted to the island of Okinawa at the same time as Kushanku The technique first introduced in this kata is the 'sagiashi' or crane stance - seen later in Wanshu and Rohai kata.|
|Seisan||Seishan may be translated as 'Crescent Moon'.||Seishan kata features 'dynamic tension' in its first half, the second half is performed at normal speed.|
|Wanshu||The name can be roughly translated to 'flying swallow'.||It was probably brought to Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy of the same name.|
|Bassai||The meaning of this kata is literally 'to storm a fortress'.||The origins of this kata are unknown.|
|Rohai||The literal translation of this kata is 'White crane'||This kata has an unusual start. It also shares a fair amount of its content with Bassai (the three 'mountain' punch grab techniques) and with Wanshu (the last two moves with slight alteration).|
|Jion||Jion means 'Temple sounds'.||Jion is a relatively long kata, although it is simple in form. Note that the grouping of techniques into three's first seen in Pinan Nidan is still evident here.|
|Jitte||Jitte translates to 'Ten hands' perhaps indicating that anyone who masters this kata can be said to have the spirit of five men.||Jitte kata is the only Wado-ryu kata not to feature kiai.|
|Niseishi||The literal translation of this kata is 'Twenty four steps'||Most kata are performed in an arrangement which takes you up and down or side to side. You should note that this kata is effectively conducted in three directions to the points of a triangle.|
|Suparinpe||This is supposedly the 'lost' kata of traditional Wado-ryu. It is not trained at DKC YET.|
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