The kata of Karate Jutsu

The complete kata syllabus of Hakuda Kempo Toshu Jutsu:

1) Channan Shodan (Shuri Te)

Known in Shorin Ryu as Pinan Shodan, and in Shotokan as Heian Nidan this is the first kata in the system. The Channan forms were practiced by masters like Motobu and renamed as Pinan by Itosu and Heian by Funakoshi. Thought to originate in the combat manuals of General Qi, we believe the name is a contraction of Chang Chuan (Long Fist Boxing). Shodan can be performed with Jo/Bo or Nunchaku. Its performance with these weapons is drawn from the nucleus of forms like Sakagawa no Kon Sho. Shodan begins with our most fundamental flinch and wedge combat defences and includes several throws. This kata is first studied for Red/Yellow Belt.
2) Channan Nidan (Shuri Te)
Known in Shorin Ryu as Pinan Nidan, and in Shotokan as Heian Shodan, this form has footwork that echoes the Tenkan of Aikido and also has throws, locks and joint manipulations reminiscent of Aikido. This is due to the relationship with Motobu Udon and Te which has this quality. However it also contains excellent strikes and more traditional throws. This form can also be performed with Jo/Bo or Sai. Here we use the nucleus of forms like Hamahiga no Sai. This kata is first studied for Yellow/Orange Belt.
3) Channan Sandan
Also known as Pinan Sandan or Heian Sandan, we believe this form was derived from the art of Bagua Zhang (Pakua Zhang). It uses circular movements and turns not seen in the other Channan forms and contains excellent Chin Na applications. This kata can also be performed with Nunchaku. It is first studied for Orange/Green Belt.
4) Channan Yondan
Also known as Pinan Yodan or Heian Yondan, this form is related to the longer kata Kushanku (Kanku Dai) it is therefore also related to Cotton Boxing (the forerunner of Taiji Quan) as seen in its opening posture. This kata is versatile in its weapons practice, lending itself to twin swords (dipdao), Sai, Tanto or Tonfa. It is first studied for Green/Blue Belt.
5) Channan Godan
Also known as Pinan Godan or Heian Godan, this form is related to the longer kata Bassai Dai. Like Bassai it makes use of Rising and Sinking power and also includes Chin Na joint manipulations. This kata lends itself very well to the Bo but is also an excellent boxing form. It is first studied for Blue/Purple Belt.
6) Naihanchi (Shuri Te)
Also known as Tekki Shodan, this is one of the most fundamental forms of Shuri Te in terms of posture, power generation and destructive strikes. Thought to have been developed by students of Ason, it was Choki Motobu’s favourite kata and was also studied at length by Gichin Funakoshi. It has notable similarities with the Koryu Jujutsu (Yawara) style Yagyu Shingan Ryu and has techniques that can be employed on the ground. It also contains strikes reminiscent of Hsing-I Chuan and Yang style Taiji. It is first studied for Purple/Brown Belt. There are also Naihanchi (Tekki) Nidan and Sandan but these are not compulsory.
7) Wanduan (Tomari Te)
The nucleus of the Okinawan form Wanduan (Wando) is seen in our two man kata Matsu. Students typically learn this form early on in their training but it is only essential for brown belts. Matsu drills elbows, knees, shoulder strikes, headbutts and joint manipulations in a two man form. The form can then be performed as a solo kata as an aid to remembering the drill when no partner is available. As well as Wanduan the kata also includes elements of the Naha Te forms Suparimpei and Sanchin.
8) Bassai Dai (Shuri Te)
Our Bassai Dai identifies with the Matsumura line (Tawada, Ishimine, Funakoshi) rather than the Itosu versions of Bassai (Shorin Ryu, Shito Ryu). It is a versatile kata that can be performed with weapons such a the Bo or Tonfa but its main strength is in its fighting techniques in response to a wide array of violent attacks. It is first studied at Brown Belt.
9) Kushanku (Shuri Te)
Regarded by Hohan Soken as the Matsumura family’s most important kata, Kushanku (also called Kanku Dai) was also the kata Funakoshi chose to demonstrate in Tokyo. It is thought to have been developed by masters Chatan Yara and/or Tode Sakugawa which would make it one of the oldest extant katas with a date of around 1760. Like Yondan, Kushanku is related to Wang Zong Yue’s Quan Fa and includes many of the postural principles of Taiji Quan especially the crane and snake movements. It can be performed with twin swords and according to Hohan, with hairclips as knives. Kushanku is essential study for Black Belt. There is also the related kata Kanku Sho but this is not compulsory.
10) Seisan (Shuri Te, Naha Te)
Also known as Seishan and Hangetsu this form is probably the most ‘universal’ kata in Okinawa. It is clearly related to the White Crane/Naha Te form Sanchin and is thought to have been brought back to Okinawa in 1828. Master Matsumura taught it in the mid 1800s and it was also known by Motobu, Aragaki, Funakoshi, Miyagi and Kyan. Aspects of Seisan relate to the Bear form of the Five Animals and its meaning ’13’ may refer to the 13 principles of Taiji Quan (5 elements and 8 directions). It may also be related to the Tiger boxing of Tang Daiji as is apparent in the Uechi Ryu version. Seisan is studied at around 1st Dan-2nd Dan level.
11) Wanshu (Tomari Te)
Also called Wansu and Empi, this form is regarded as a Tomari Te kata. It may be related to the Swallow Boxing form of Hsing-I and we also practice a version of this kata with the Chinese style straightsword (Jian). The nucleus of this form is derived from the Wutang Jian form of Li Jing Lin. Wanshu has a very light feel to it and is suited to fast explosive strikes but also includes an array of grappling. Wanshu is studied at around 1st Dan-2nd Dan level.
12) Bassai Sho (Tomari Te)
Bassai Sho, otherwise known as Passai Gwa is thought to have been developed in Tomari by Gusukuma. Obviously related to Bassai Dai it uses more open handed techniques but follows the same rough sequence. Bassai Sho is also practiced with a Japanese style sword (katana) using several fundamental cuts of Iaido. It is usually studied at around 2nd-3rd Dan.
13) Gojushiho (Shuri Te)
Known in Okinawa as Useishi (54 steps) this is one of the most important kata in the system. Gojushiho is to Shuri Te as Suparimpei is to Naha Te. It was prized by master Matsumura in the 1800s and he taught it to Kyan. It was also the favourite kata of the Karate Jutsu master Kanken Toyama. Gojushiho may also be the only Shuri Te form mentioned in the Bubishi as ’54 steps of the Black Tiger’. Gojushiho has two versions, Dai and Sho owing to the changes made by Mabuni and Toyama. The form has common principles to Yang style Tai Chi – with its Karate versions of sequences like Carry Tiger to Mountain, Press and Punch, Hands like Clouds, Grasp Sparrow’s Tail and Play the Lute. Gojushiho is one of the most ‘complete’ forms in Shuri Te and is almost a full system in itself. It is usually studied at around 4th-5th Dan.
Additional forms:
Niseishi & Matsukaze (Aragaki)
Also called Nijushiho, the Niseishi form is related to Hakutsuru (white crane), a kata believed to have been taught by the Matsumura family. Niseishi itself is believed to have been passed from master Aragaki to Mabuni. Matsukaze (also called Wankuan and Wankan) is also of the Aragaki set. They are also related to the Unsu and Sochin forms, none of which are compulsory.
Rohai & Jutte (Tomari Te)
Otherwise known as Meikyo, Rohai comes from the Monk Fist boxing style of Quan Fa and was developed in Tomari. Another Tomari form that originates in Monk Fist boxing is Jutte. Box of these forms include softer movements as well as techniques for disarming the Bo. They may have been developed in Okinawa by Bushi Kosaku Matsumora. Neither are compulsory. There are also the related forms of Jion and Ji’in as well as the Tomari forms Chinte and Chinto, but none of these are compulsory.

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