Do Karate Katas

Edited by Seighart, Kyoichiaquino, Lynn, Anonymous and 9 others

The Heian (peaceful mind) kata (form), comes from the older Okinawan Pinan kata (also meaning peaceful or calm mind). Sensei Gichin Funakoshi changed the name of many Shotokan kata, including these, when he introduced karate to Japan in the early 1920s. Heian is considered basic kata for new students or beginners.

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How to do Karate Katas

Heian shodan.jpg

Although to the average person, the karate katas look like a dance routine, they are actually a training drill. The moves of each kata are decided beforehand and performed one after another until the kata becomes defense and counterattack moves you would use when forced to fight two, three, or even five opponents at once. To perform katas properly, you must have a fair amount of skill in basic karate techniques. The kata expert makes the kata come alive with the combination of grace, speed and power. Some katas are slow, but most combine both fast and slow movements. The steps below are called Kata#1, or Heian Shodan - used in most Japanese and Korean Styles, as well as some of the newer American styles of karate.

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  1. 1
    Stand in ready stance.
    Bow from the waist.
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  2. 2
    Turn your head quickly to the left, as if you were expecting an attack from that direction.
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  3. 3
    Pivot your right foot to your left side as you execute a low block from the left forward stance.
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  4. 4
    Step forward with your right foot and deliver a lunge punch with your right hand from the forward stance.
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  5. 5
    Pivot on your left foot to your right side, and turn around 180 degrees (a half circle) to your opposite rear.
    At the same time execute a low block from the right forward stance.
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  6. 6
    Pull back your right arm in a wide circular motion as you draw your right foot back within 10 inches of your leg.
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  7. 7
    Continue the circular motion of your right hand, and focus a strong fist hammer blow at shoulder level.
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  8. 8
    Move forward into the left forward stance, lunge with your left hand.
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  9. 9
    Look to your left.
    Before moving, always glance quickly in the direction of the turn you intend to make.
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  10. 10
    Turn on your right foot 90 degrees (a quarter circle) to your left forward stance while doing a low block.
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  11. 11
    Without moving from that position, immediately do a high block with open hand.
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  12. 12
    Step forward with your right foot into a right forward stance.
    Use a right high block with a fist closed.
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  13. 13
    Move into left forward stance then left high block.
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  14. 14
    Step forward, right forward stance, right high block.
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  15. 15
    Pivot toward your rear and turn 270 degrees (three quarters of a circle) while executing a left low block from the left forward stance.
    Beginners sometimes find this move difficult. Turn on your right foot completely to your rear and keep on turning 90 degrees (a quarter circle) more to your left.
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  16. 16
    Step forward with your right foot into the right forward stance and make a right lunge punch.
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  17. 17
    Pivot on your rear foot toward your right, making a 180 degree turn (half circle) to your rear.
    Execute a right low block from the right forward stance.
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  18. 18
    Move forward one step with your left foot into a left forward stance and make a left lunge punch.
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  19. 19
    Turn 90 degrees (one quarter turn) to your left on your rear foot into a left forwards stance - do a left low block.
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  20. 20
    Move forward one step into a right forward stance and do a right lunge punch.
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  21. 21
    Step into a left forward stance and do a left lunge punch.
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  22. 22
    Move your right foot forward into a right forward stance, do a lunge punch and yell "Kiai".
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  23. 23
    Pivot your right foot to your rear and move to your left until you complete a 270 degrees (three quarter) turn.
    As you turn, drop into a left back stance and execute a left knifehand block.
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  24. 24
    Step forward, with your right foot at a 45-degree angle into right back stance with a right knifehand block.
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  25. 25
    Pivot on your rear foot to your right until you are facing exactly opposite.
    Execute a knifehand block with your right hand from a back stance.
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  26. 26
    Move your left foot forward at a 45-degree angle into a back stance while executing a left knifehand block.
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  27. 27
    Withdraw your left foot back to a ready stance.
    Bow from the waist.
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What is Heian Shodan?

Heian Shodan is composed entirely of basic tactics. There's nothing fancy about it. This is why, according to some people, Heian Shodan is one of the hardest katas to accomplish the right way, although a case could be made that it also has a lot to do with the fact they are all difficult.

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The word Heian is a combination of the word heiwan, which means peacefulness, and antei, which means calmness. Hence, this kata suggests a "peaceful mind".

As the name suggests, the student who has acquired all five Heian types is usually adept and sure of his or her ability to defend themselves, and because of this, the student can rest easy with a "peaceful mind". The original version of the katas was called, Pinan, developed by Master Itosu in the beginning of the 1900s. Sensei Funakoshi, with the creation with the Shotokan type, changed the katas. The reason for the changes is clear in his e-book, Karate-Do Kyohan.

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There are five Heian katas: Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, and Godan. Shodan is considered the best, and with Godan, one of the most complicated. The particular kata Heian Nidan, was the initially first in the string, but Sensei Funakoshi, recognized that this kata was too difficult to be first, and subsequently created Heian Shodan. This particular kata requires the pupil to use a style related to Taikyoku Shodan, although it involves various techniques, including the hammer-fist, plus a knifehand prevent. This kata presents alternate stances from the usual entrance stance - a cat stance, as well as afterward, in a back stance.

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Levels of of Heian

  1. 1
    平安初段 Heian Shodan:
    1st Level, A Peaceful Mind.
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  2. 2
    平安二段 Heian Nidan:
    2nd Level, A Peaceful Mind.
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  3. 3
    平安三段 Heian Sandan:
    3rd Level, A Peaceful Mind.
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  4. 4
    平安四段 Heian Yondan:
    4th Level, A Peaceful Mind.
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  5. 5
    平安�"段 Heian Godan:
    5th Level, A Peaceful Mind.
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Tekki

Tekki is also known as Naihanchi in Okinawa Japan. Katas of Tekki was renamed by Master Funokoshi when it was introduced in Japan to show strength, in Kiba-Dachi. Tekki offers close combat defense.

Levels of Tekki

  1. 1
    鉄騎初段 Tekki Shodan:
    1st level, Iron Horse Riding.
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  2. 2
    鉄騎弐段 Tekki Nidan:
    2nd level, Iron Horse Riding.
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  3. 3
    鉄騎参段 Tekki Sandan:
    3rd level, Iron Horse Riding.
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Advanced Katas

Bassai Dai

Bassai Dai kata emphasizes your hip movements and resembles battering RAM – it can and being used against fortresses walls. Bassai Dai kata means - to "Penetrate a Large Fortress".

Bassai Sho

Bassai Sho kata is a similar performance as Bassai Dai. It was derived from Bassai Dai, and means - to "Penetrate a Small Fortress".

Kanku Dai

Almost all of the Heian Kata came from or were derived from Kanku dai. This kata means "viewing the sky" (a symbol of the universe). This kata was preferred by Master Funakoshi to unarm your opponent/foe. Kanku Dai means to "View the Sky (long)".

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Kanku Sho

Similar movements from Kanku Dai or was created from the said Kata. Kanku Sho means to "View the Sky (small)".

Hangetsu

The Hangetsu kata's name was derived from the principal stance of Hangetsu Dachi. Hangetsu Dachi means "Half Moon Stance".

Gojushiho Dai

This Kata was called Hotaku (woodpecker) by Master Funakoshi, founder Karate-Do. The reason it was called Hotaku, is most of its movements, or techniques, are like a woodpecker using its beak to tap against a tree. Gojushiho Dai means "54 Steps (major)".

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Gojushiho Sho

Gojushiho Sho is a smaller version of the Goju Shi Ho Dai and also one of the advanced kata in Shotokan. Gojushiho Sho means "54 Steps (minor)".

Enpi

Enpi is a quick technique or movements. Enpi is one of the oldest kata in Shotokan, and was named Wanshu. Enpi kata means "Flying Swallow".

Jion

This is the most traditional kata in Shotokan. It uses the most basic techniques and stances and its named comes from Buddhism, and was the name of a temple in China. Jion means "Love and Goodness".

Jiin

Derived from Buddhism, Jiin has similar techniques and movements as Jion. Translation of the name means "Love and Shadow".

Jitte

This is a strong technique or kata similar to Jion and Jiin movements. This kata teaches students to defend themselves from 10 opponents or fight 10 opponents at the same time. Jitte means "10 Hands."

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Meikyo

This Meikyo represents the soothing water of mirror. The final jump at the end of the kata (Triangle Jump) has a secret meaning predicting a miracle. Meikyo means "Bright or Polished Mirror", sometimes translated as "Mirror of the Soul".

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Nijushiho

Nijushiho was formerly called, Sei shi. This kata seems like you are breaking waves onto a cliff. Nijushiho translates to "24 Steps".

Wankan or Wanton

Wankan or Wanton is the shortest kata in Shotokan. It means "King and Crown".

Gankaku

Gantaku represents a crane poised to attack its prey. The stance was formally called Tesuruashi Dachi. The stance of Gankaku can simulate fights in alleyways in Okinawa. Ganku used to be called, Chinto. Gankaku translates to "Crane and a Rock".

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Sochin

The stance of this kata is a strong well-rooted stance and called, Sochin Dachi. This kata is a defense against stick weapons and Sochin kata used to be called Hakko. Sochin translates to "Calm Strength".

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Chinte

Chinte has similar techniques as well as roundhouses techniques and these are not the shortest-teo points distance from Shotokan. Chinte translates to "Rare Hand".

Unsu

Unsu is another advanced technique from Shotokan and symboizes parting the clouds using your open hands. Unsu translates as Cloud hands.

Advanced Kata steps

Bassai Dai

Bassai Dai Kata 1.gif
  1. 1
    Hesoka Dachi Rei stance - at ease
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  2. 2
    Yi
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  3. 3
    Place your left hand to your right hand and wrap it.
    Then place your left thumb to the right fist next to the right thumb.
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  4. 4
    Raise your knee forward, then pull both arms to the left side of your body, while maintaining the position of your hands with the right thumb facing up.
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  5. 5
    Land the raised knee and foot in a forward position.
    If you are practicing your Kata, make sure to land the same full speed as you would apply in an actual Kata demonstration. Strike it in full step.
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  6. 6
    Do the Moroto Uchi Uke, or the augmented forearm block.
    Do not forget the crossed leg stance and locked knees. This movement can also be used for the following movement:  
    1. Backfist.
    2. Uppercut.
    3. Palm heal.
    4. Double Knee attack and any other.
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  7. 7
    Now, left leg steps across to prepare the Uchi Uke.
    The inside forearm block
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  8. 8
    Do the left arm inside forearm block to form the Hanmi position.
    Place the right arm to your stomach – the left is bent or extended to a straight position.
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  9. 9
    Do the Gyaku Uchi Uke using your right arm.
    The Reverse inside forearm blocking.
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  10. 10
    Use the right leg to step across, then lift your left arm, and extend the right arm forward.
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  11. 11
    Do the reverse outside forearm blocking technique, also called as Gyaku Soto Uke.
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  12. 12
    Put the right arm to your stomach that is below the left arm either extended or bent.
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  13. 13
    Do the inside forearm block technique also known as Uchi Uke.
    Then, do the body Shomen (square) then to Hanmi (to the side).
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  14. 14
    Now put the right leg to back stance and leave your right arm in Uchi Uke position or stance.
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  15. 15
    Imagine you are going to catch someone's front kick attack.
    Bend both knees to the right side then hook the right arm downwards to the right side.
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  16. 16
    Do the 90 degree position with your feet together, your left arm – Hikite, then your elbow should be out from your shoulder and palm up.
    The right fist t is facing upward.
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  17. 17
    Do the Right arm Soto Uke by passing the right arm, while the left arm remains at your side.
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  18. 18
    Same stance then put your left arm across your stomach and leave the right arm extended or bent.
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  19. 19
    Then do the reverse - inside forearm blocking technique using your left arm or Gyaku Uchi Uke.
    Your body should be facing right and your right knee should and be bent.
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  20. 20
    Now turn your body to the left and do a natural stance with bended knees and quickly put your left fist near your left chest and put the right fist on top of your left fist while the right fist is facing downward.
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  21. 21
    Do the vertical knife hand blocking technique.
    Then shoulders must be down and relaxed, then apply the Zashin position. Right fist is near chest and the left, palm up, extended arm.
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  22. 22
    After the Zashin, do a straight punch using your right fist and place the left to the right side of your stomach.
    Then bend your right arm with your fist at shoulder level.
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  23. 23
    Now, pivot 90 degrees to the left while your body is facing the left.
    Do the Uchi Uke when you complete the rotation of the body and hips.
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  24. 24
    Now turn your body to the right.
    While turning your body, do the straight punch using your left fist and put your right fist to the right side of your stomach. The legs should be in the "at ease" position with your legs apart.
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  25. 25
    Maintain this stance and bend the left arm and place the fist at chest level and your left palm should be face up.
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  26. 26
    Pivot 90 degrees on both feet and rotate the hips and body facing right.
    Leave your right fist to the right side of your stomach and do the Uchi Uke rotation to complete this step.
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  27. 27
    Now turn to the left.
    While turning, bend your arm and put the fists near your ears with your legs apart. Then stretch your left arm forward. Now, land the right foot forward and left foot facing right with bent leg. In short, do the side Shuto Uke in the Kokutsudachi stance.
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  28. 28
    Move the right knee and arm forward at the same time.
    Your arms must be open like chopping. Then do the left Shuto Uke in kokutsudachi (knife hand blocking technique in back stance). Repeat the hand and knee step mentioned, and repeat the Shuto Uke in kokutsudachi (knife hand blocking technique in back stance).
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  29. 29
    Do the same steps as above but moving backward and end with Uke in Kokutsudachi (knife hand blocking technique in back stance) facing right.
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  30. 30
    Move your legs a little away and do the chopping attack using your right arm, placing both palms together.
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  31. 31
    Rotate your hips and put your arms down, then place the middle finger at the wrist just right to the base of your right thumb.
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  32. 32
    Maintain the position, then raise your right knee to reach through the opening of your two arms, and do a stamping kick (Fumikomi) yelling, Kiai.
    Make sure to pull your fist to the chest once you kick.
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  33. 33
    Raise the leg you used for Fumikomi or low stamping kick.
    Step down the right leg, then do the Shunto Uke in Kokutsudachi stance (knife hand blocking technique in back stance).
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  34. 34
    Repeat the actions of the hand and knee as mentioned, while repeating the Shuto Uke in Kokutsudachi (knife hand blocking technique in back stance) twice.
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  35. 35
    After you've landed the Shuto Uke in Kokutsodachi stance, place your left foot next to the right foot and bend the legs.
    Then cup your hands to your stomach.
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  36. 36
    Simultaneously do a spear hand attack and Taesho barai (spear hand technique and palm heel block).
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  37. 37
    Now pull the leg back at the same time to do the Manji Gamae, followed by rotating the arms and the legs.
    Bend straight left arm high, while right arm straightens downwards.
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  38. 38
    Now straighten your legs then raise your cupped hands.
    Once your cupped hands reach your forehead, separate them by putting your arms to your sides. (it's optional to lift the leg while setting the arms apart).
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  39. 39
    Now do the hammer fist technique from a small front stance and do a straight punch using your right fist and place your left fist to the left side of your stomach.
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  40. 40
    Then perform a knife hand technique to prepare yourself for an attack.
    Attack using the spear hand technique, and at the same time, put your feet together, your body facing left with your right hand raised and bent like the letter "You", only half style. Place your left arm straight down.
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  41. 41
    Pivot the left foot only and raise your right knee.
    Place your right fist above your shoulder, and your left fist above your knee. Stomp the right foot vigorously. Now place your left fist to the left side of your stomach while your right fist must be above your right knee (knees must be bent).
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  42. 42
    Now turn your face to the left and place both arms on chest with open palm facing down.
    The left arm must be below the right arm and right arm.
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  43. 43
    Extend the left arm straight with open palm and place the right fist on the right side of your stomach.
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  44. 44
    Leave the left arm extended and use your right foot to kick (crescent moon kick) to level of the extended straight arm.
    Ankle should be level with the palm.
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  45. 45
    Once the right foot lands, the knees should be apart and bent, and do the round elbow strike - then the horse riding stance, also known as Mawashi Enpi Uchi, Kiba Dachi.
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  46. 46
    Make a fist and punch down the right arm and leave the left hand on top of the right arm then to the same stance.
    The sequence must be done right, left and right.
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  47. 47
    After the sequence, do a circular motion with the left arm going to the left side, and place it on the left side of your stomach.
    While doing the left circle motion with your left hand, do the same thing with the right hand by going down right to left and place it on top of the left fist, knees bent as usual. After the steps, do the letter "You" punch going to the right and place your left foot pointing to the right in a straight position. Then place the right fist on the right side of your stomach and place the left fist above the right fist.
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  48. 48
    Now raise your knee and stomp it bended then do the letter 'You" punch.
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  49. 49
    Slowly pull or place the left foot back to the right foot and place the left fist to the left side of your stomach, and place the right fist on top of the left fist.
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  50. 50
    Raise the right leg and stop, while you hold that bent leg position, and do the letter "You" punch.
    Now rotate your body by 270 degrees and step up with left leg. Stretch both arms, right arm on high and left arm on low like a windmill – looking forward. Sweep the right arm across the body with a hooking movement, then place the left arm high with a fist and place the right arm low with a fist and repeat the sequence, but the other way around.
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  51. 51
    From your current position, use the left arm and stretch it forward then place your left fist near your ear and your right fist forward while putting your feet together, legs bent.
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  52. 52
    Land the right foot and do a Shuto Uke in Kokutsochi stance.
    Now look 45 degrees to the left and maintain the stance. Move the right leg to place it next to the left and stretch the right arm from where you are looking, and place the left knife palm near the ear and land another Shuto Uke in Kokutsochi stance - left side.
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  53. 53
    Pull or place the left leg to the right to they are together and straight, and do the Yoi position, just like in the 2nd step.
    Then put both hands – opened - to each side of the body. Simply put - Heisoku Dachi Rei then pay respect by bowing - to end the demonstration.
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Questions and Answers

What is Shotokan karate kata Taikyoku Shodan? How is it different from Heian Shodan?

Kata Taikyoku Shodan is among the first kata of the Tailyoku series. It's comprised of only 20 moves, and is the most basic of all the kata. Its basic techniques are the front stance, down block and lunge punch. While Taikyoku Shodan teaches low defense, Heian Shodan teaches a peaceful form of self-defense.

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The Taikyoku Shodan, is referred as Kihon (basic). A form of karate kata, it is the primary kata in the Taikyoku series. The name "Taikyoku" came from the word "Tai" which means "great" or "big" and the word "Kyoku" means "ultimate" and the "Taikyoku" Shodan kata can be called the "Big Ultimate" kata.

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The Taikyoku Shodan has only 20 moves and only comprises of three basic techniques which are the low block (gedan barai), the lunge punch (chudan) and front stance (zenkutsu dachi).

The Heian Shodan, also known as "Peaceful Mind", has 21 moves compared to Taikyoku Shodan (20 moves) and it teaches two basic karates stances: the front stance (zenkutsu dachi) and the back stance (kokutsu-dachi) while the Taikyoku Shodan only teaches the front stance. It also teaches rising block (age uke), knife hand block (shuto uke) and low block (gedan barai) compared to Taikyoku Shodan which only teaches low block.

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Main differences between Taikyoku Shodan and Heian Shodan

See more questions like this: Taikyoku sandan shotokan karate kata

Taikyoku Shodan

  • 20 moves.
  • Front Stance.
  • Low block.

Heian Shodan

  • 21 moves.
  • Front and back stances.
  • Low block, knife block and rising block

What are the different karate forms?

Karate is a Japanese form of martial arts that use no weapons - just the feet and hands. There are several forms of karate which include:

  • Shorin-Ryu
  • Shorei-Ryu
  • Aikido
  • Judo
  • Hapkido
  • Bando Thaing
  • Kempo
  • Choi Kwang Do
  • Capoeira
  • Kendo

There are a large number of forms of Karate that you can use or learn. Below are are the most popular forms used:

  • Anaku
  • Annan
  • Jiin
  • Ryuko
  • Seichin

If you want to know more, you can search the internet to see he full list of karate forms.

What are some karate katas?

Kata is described as the movement patterns belonging to Karate, which can either be done solo or with a partner. Some of the most common karate katas are:

  • Annanku
  • Annan
  • Jiin
  • Jion
  • Taikyoku
  • Tensho
  • Weinkan
  • Unsu/Unshu
  • Shimpa
  • Seipai

There are a number of different Karate Katas here are a few for you to think on:

  • Ryuko
  • Seiryu
  • Pinan
  • Jion
  • Sanchin
  • Annan

Step by step martial arts moves?

Pictures and specific instructions are difficult when it comes to martial arts, because it requires someone to demonstrate it in front of you. Remember to always do the warm up before starting the basics, even if you're learning from videos, to oil your joints and prevent strains.

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Excellent Warm Up Video.

Martial Arts Basics

Martial Arts Basics 2

If you wish to learn more about martial arts, the best way to learn is by enrolling to a martial arts class. Visit your local Dojo to find out about class availability.

Heian Shodan movement step by step?

In order to do Heian Shodan, step by step, you need to have a sturdy back and strong wrists. You can follow the steps given in the video HERE

Nekoashi Dachi in Heian Shodan?

In the 4th step of Heian Shodan, when performing the Tetsui, is a full Nekoashi Dachi performed, or is it just a shortened version of Zenkutsu Dachi?

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I'm struggling with katas in my new class.

I use to take Taekwondo and then the instructor moved. I had gotten up to a yellow belt, but now we have a new instructor and it's totally different. I am struggling to get this down. It's been since January and I need help doing the 30-degree half turn. It won't stick in my head. I am still a yellow belt and I'm trying like crazy. I have tried: Training when I can but it looks like I need to do it every day. I think it was caused by: Slow learner.

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Categories : Combat Sports

Recent edits by: Dynamite15, dpresho, vc

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