Shotokan Katas – Video & Written Instructions
This page provides free written & video instructions for Shotokan katas and will prepare you for your next Karate belt test. You will find detailed instructions for a wide variety of Shotokan Karate kata and kihon.
Traditionally, there are 26 Shotokan katas. However, if in doubt, check with your Sensei/Instructor because some Shotokan Karate schools use slightly different kata formats and/or include additional katas from other Karate styles into their curriculum. Moreover, after the first eight katas, many Shotokan Karate schools have their kata in different orders/sequences based on the preference of the school’s Sensei. Shotokan students should also know the meaning of Shotokan Karate kata (because many Shotokan schools test their students on these kata meanings).
Shotokan kata also includes JKA kata. JKA (Japan Karate Association) is the one of the largest & oldest Shotokan organizations. Unfortunately, over the years, a number of groups have broken off from the JKA and this has lead to some differences in kata and techniques.
You should also read the Black Belt Wiki section on Is Kata Useful or Useless? It discusses the pros & cons of kata. For information on the katas of other Karate styles (i.e. Wado-Ryu katas or Kyokushin katas), please visit the main Black Belt Wiki section on Katas & Forms.
Wiki – Best Shotokan Books
Shotokan Karate Katas – Click on pages below for kata videos and/or written instructions
“Kihon” Shotokan Katas – These introductory katas are used by some Shotokan schools.
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Shodan
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Nidan
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Sandan
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Yondan – Less frequently used
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Godan – Less frequently used
- Shotokan – Taikyoku Rokudan – Less frequently used
“Official” Shotokan Karate Katas
- Heian Shodan – Shotokan Kata 1 – This is the first “official” kata used at many Shotokan schools.
- Heian Nidan – Shotokan Kata 2
- Heian Sandan – Shotokan Kata 3
- Heian Yondan – Shotokan Kata 4
- Heian Godan – Shotokan Kata 5
- Tekki Shodan
- Tekki Nidan
- Tekki Sandan
- Bassai Dai
- Bassai Sho
- Kanku Dai
- Kanku Sho
- Enpi or Empi
- Gojushiho Dai
- Gojushiho Sho
Additional Kata Used By Some Shotokan Schools & Organizations
- Asai Katas (i.e. Junro kata)
- Gankaku Sho – This kata is not used by all Shotokan schools & organizations.
- Kato Katas
- Niju Hachi Ho – This kata is not used by all Shotokan schools & organizations.
- Shotokan Wheelchair Kata
Reasons for Shotokan Kata
Many different Karate styles use kata in order to help students practice certain moves (i.e. kicking techniques, self-defense techniques and various strikes) as well as for improving a student’s physical conditioning, muscle memory, focus/concentration, balance, etc. For additional benefits, you should read our section on the Benefits of Forms, Patterns & Kata. Whereas some martial arts question the value of kata, most Karate schools think that kata is an essential tool in order to train karate students.
To master kata, martial arts students should try to imagine that they are fighting an imaginary opponent. This allows students to practice “offensive” and “defensive” techniques (i.e. strike the imaginary opponent’s neck at the correct height and angle) versus just going through the motions in order to pass a belt test.
Step-By-Step Instructional Video for Shotokan Kata – Heian Shodan
Demonstration Video for Shotokan Kata – Heian Shodan
Image provided by Wikimedia Commons.