Shotokan Katas – Instructions

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.

“Official” Shotokan Karate Katas

Additional Kata Used By Some Shotokan Schools & Organizations

Reasons for Shotokan Kata

Many different Karate styles use kata in order to help students practice certain moves (i.e. kicking techniquesself-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

Shotokan Katas

Shotokan Katas

Image provided by Wikimedia Commons.

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