Kata has been described as the heart of Karate. There is no direct translation of the word. To sum it up it is the systemised transmission of fundamental techniques through set forms which should act as a stimulus for a practioner to expand and extend their understanding of principles. There are many kata practiced worldwide of specific to a style. Here you will find a list of the kata taught at our school.
As your technical proficency improves you are introduced to more complex and demanding kata and are required to understand the vast variety of applied technique through the study of Bunkai (kata application).
Kata each have their own unique and rich history. They provide a living record of techniques and strategy passed down from the ancient teachers from China, Okinawa and Japan. The first thing Kata teaches is correct form for the execution of technique improving your power, speed, posture, balance and stances. You learn to root from the floor and utilise your whole body in your technique rather than disconnecting at your core. In our dojo we study bunkai for each Kata in three layers, Omote, Ura and Okuden. First learning the obvious surface techniques evident from the Kata before moving on to the hidden meaning of the various movements including joint locking, throws, chokes, strangles and escapes.
Different Kata are often practiced within different specific styles of Karate such as Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, Shito Ryu or Kyokushinkai etc. Originally however practice of Kata was separated more by the region it was practiced. The 3 main regions of Okinawa we associate kata with are Shuri, Tomari and Naha. Below is the list of kata roughly in the order they are introduced. The Shuri Lineage kata are focused on initially for all students before slowly introducing more Naha Kata as you progress beyond Black belt.
You can watch some Karate Kata with some Bunkai in the videos here.