Goju Ryu and Shorin Ryu Katas

Okinawan Hatha Goju Ryu & Shorin Ryu Karate Do Website Goju Ryu and Shorin Ryu History Karate Legendary Masters Historical Evolution of Karate in America Introduction of Okinawan Hatha Goju Ryu Syracuse Spinning Cobras Karate Do History Famous Modern Masters of Karate Do Syracuse Spinning Cobras Karate Lineage Syracuse Spinning Cobras Karate Black Belt Members Black Belt Members Photos Part 2  Goju Ryu and Shorin Ryu Katas Karate Stances - Strikes and Vital Points Karate Stories and Oaths Kobudo History and Weapons Photos Page Karate Tournaments Listings Martial Arts Links


Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Katas

Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do Katas


A kata is a patern of movements which contains a series of logical and practical attacking and blocking techniques. In each kata there are certain set or predetermined movements which the student can practice alone, without a partner. These kata's have been created by past masters after many years of research, training, and actual combat experience.

The applications of the techniques in kata's have evolved from and have been tested in actual combat. In this way each kata has been improved and refined, and has evolved into the kata we practice today.

The purpose for developing kata has always varied with the time and with the people who developed them. For example, in China over 1600 years ago kata was developed and practiced for the purpose of self-defense, wheras the Buddist monks would practice kata for the purpose of strenghening the spirit as well as the body. The true meaning and spirit of karate are imbedded in the kata and only by the practice of the kata can we become to understand them. For this reason, if we change or simplify the kata either to accommodate the beginner or for tournament purpose, then we also will have lost the true meaning and spirit of karate.

In karate there is no first attack. Every kata begins with a defensive movement, which exemplifies this spirit. Not only is there no first attack, but the best defence is to avoid the fight altogether. That is why it is said that karate is the art of a wise man.

To practice the kata correctly every movement must be repeated over and over again. One important aspect of kata is that it can be practiced alone, anytime and anywhere. When kata is performed by a well-trained person, its dynamic power and beauty of movement become almost aesthetic in quality.

The katas in Goju Ryu are mainly katas passed down from the Okinawan style of Naha-te. Listed here are Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu, Freestyle, & Okinawan Kobudo Katas.


Okinawan Goju Ryu Katas


Ten No Kata - 10 Basics

This kata is a universal kata that is practice in many styles of karate.  Ten No kata is a basic kata that introduce beginning students to the basic blocks of karate and introduces the student to their first stance, the forward stance.



Sanchin - 3 Battles

This kata represent the Hard (GO) of Goju Ryu.
The 3 battles represent the battle between the mind, body, and soul.



Gekisai Dai Ichi - To destroy introduction No1



Gekisai Dai Ni - To destroy introduction No2

(Both Gekisai Ichi & NI were created by Grand Chojun Miyagi to promote karate among Okinawan youths).


Gekisai Dai San - To destroy introduction No3

(Gekisai Dai San Kata was create by Toguchi Seikichi- a former student of Chojun Miyagi. This kata combines both Geikisai Dai Ichi and NI together).


Saifa - To destroy by pounding/pulverising

Saifa was handed down by Ryu Ryuko Sensei to Higaonna Kanryo Sensei. Its origins are most likely to be found in the white crane boxing-style in China.


Seiyunchin - To Pull,Grasp, and Unbalance

Seiyunchin  kata is a very old Chinese kata, of which the roots probably can be found in the Hsing-I system. This kata consists, unlike most other katas, only of hand techniques. It belongs to the Tiger style of Kung-fu ( sometimes refered to as Tiger Gung Fu).


Shisochin - To destroy in 4 different directions

Shisochin is a kata practiced by many of the oldest karate grandmasters.  It is from Naha-te.


Sanseru - 36 hands

Sanseru is truly symbolical,  it is calculated from the formula 6 x 6. The first six represents eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and spirit, The second six symbolizes colour, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice.


Sepai - 18 hands

Seipai kata truly exemplifies the true spirit of Okinawa: It is a mixture of soft, round techniques (the ju-principle) with hard ones (the go-principle).Yagi Meitoku often said it is based upon the crane techniques which can be seen in the leaning stances, whipping style of striking, and evasive footwork.  This Kata is most performed in many karate tournaments



Kururunfa - Holding on long and striking suddenly

Kururunfa was handed down from the Chinese master, Ryuryu Ko to Kanryo Higaonna but the original creator of this kata is unknown. Kururunfa contains a wide variety of open-hand techniques and especially hand/hip co-ordination techniques. Like Sesan, Kururunfa has soft movements followed by hard movements, however in Kururunfa the difference between hard and soft are much more marked with slow drawn out movements followed by a pause with devastating explosive techniques to follow, then the cycle repeats again.



Seisan - 13 hands

Seisan contains 8 defensive and 5 attacking techniques, with which there is a change of direction.
Goju Ryu's kata Seisan, caters to Goju Ryu's main Principles which involve the grabbing and the controlling of the opponent while a weak spot of the body is hit. Seisan emphasizes close range fighting using short punching and low kicking techniques to break through the defence of the opponent.  This kata is widely practice by Okinawan Masters.



Tensho - Rotating palms

It means rotating & flowing palms. It's a combination of the hard dynamic tension with "ibuki" breathing (go) and soft flowing hand movements (ju), while the power comes from the Tanden. This kata finds it's roots in a Chinese 'soft'-Sanchin version (Tensho represents the (JU) softness of Goju Ryu).


Supeirempei - 108 hands

It is belived at midnight, a bell that is rung 108 times would drive away evil spirits.  The number 108 in Supeirempei is calculated from 26 x 3.  Supeirempei is Goju-ryu's longest and highest ranking kata.  It utilizes a large number of techniques, including breath control, and it contains the greatest number of applications and depth of meaning. It is said the mastery of Supeirempei is the mastery of the Goju-ryu system.


Shorin Ryu Katas


Tayikioku 1-3 ( Note: the Tayikioku series are mainly Shotokan).

Gichin Funakoshi Sensei is the creater of the Tayikioku katas.  Tayikioku mainly means first course.  It is mainly characterized by basic forward stances, basic blocks, and punches. This kata is mostly taught in almost every Karate school and some Taikwondo schools.



Fukyu Katas 1-3

Fukyu katas are basic Shorin Ryu katas that introduce the student to basic block, punches, and takedowns. This Kata also introduces the concept of defending all sides. Defense movements are at 90 degree turns and 180 degree turns. The Fukyu Kata teaches defense of central ground. The word fukyu means fundamental.



Naihanchi - "Staying and Fighting"

History shows that Naihanchi Kata had its origin in Chinese Shaolin Ch'uan Fa. Naihanchi kata were done in both Shuri Te and Tomari Te and a version of Naihanchi can be found in the early Japanese Shorinji-Kempo which came directly from China to mainland Japan. Also the word NAIHANCH! sounds very much like its Chinese equivalent DAI PO CHIN. Naihanchi kata stresses the developement of the KI (center life force). Strong lower body movements are developed while the action of the upper body in maintained. The side to side movements strenghten the legs. The back must be kept straight and the shoulders down so that the concentration can be kept in the HARA-physical and spiritual center of the body. In days of old these were the first kata taught to new students and the only kata taught for three of four years. Almost all the ancient masters performed Naihanchi kata in the same manner as it is performed today.







Naihanchi Dai  - "To fight against the wall"



Nanshashi Dai 2 - "Swift Horse" Created by Master Frankie Mitchell



Pinan - "Peaceful Mind"

Yasutsune Itosu (1830-1915), of the Shuri-Te system, developed the Pinan, peaceful mind, series of five forms around 1905. History tells us that Itosu created the Pinans from two other Shuri katas known as Kusanku and Channan. The Channan kata has been lost, but legend has it that Bushi Matsumura, Itosu's teacher, either devised these kata or they were an older set of Chinese kata passed on by Matsumura. These forms were taught to elementary school children in Okinawa and when Gichin Funakoshi was hired by Japan to teach karate; he used these as the main portion of kata. Funakoshi modified the order of the first two Pinans and changed the name to Heian.
The five katas follow a sequence designed to introduce the beginner to kata and to progressively introduce more techniques as the student advances. The series incorporates almost all of the basic stances and many of the basic techniques of the various Okinawan systems of karate, thereby making the Pinans suitable for beginners and intermediates. Mastering each form requires years of practice in order to understand the finer points of each movement. Although the Pinans do not contain symbolic movements often seen in more advanced kata, there are a variety of combat interpretations for several of the basic techniques included in the forms. Understanding the techniques and their usage against the attacker will help the student to take away a practical application from the Pinans.










Wansu (Wanshu) is one of the most popular forms among Okinawan systems and has been used for many years, undergoing many modifications. Even today, there are several variations of this traditional form. Wansu, is said to have been named after a Chinese envoy to Okinawa who happened to be a martial artist. It is believed that Wansu originated in China around 1690, making it one of the oldest Okinawan forms. Wansu was primarily used around the village of Tomari and therefore part of the Tomari-Te system. There is also a Chinese name that the form is translated to mean Flying Swallow.
The kata includes a distinctive upper level attack followed by the defender grasping the opponent and drawing him inward, simultaneously jumping in and attacking again. This movement resembles the up and down and flipping away flight of a swallow.

The form emphasizes speed and contains a throwing technique. Towards the end of the form, there are a series of moves in which the karateka picks up the attacker and dumps him to the ground. For this reason, Wansu kata is known as "the Dumping Form". Because the form emphasizes very strong vertical punches, it is also know as the "Strong Arm Form". Tatsuo Shimabuku referred to Wansu as the "Dragon Boy" form due to the strong movement of the downward strike or block from the T-stance, which feels like a sweep of a dragon's tail.

The primary technique of Wansu is the vertical punch. The "hidden" punch is the second vertical punch of each series which is executed while drawing the opposite hand to the neck. In some systems, this punch is delivered as a fore-knuckle punch.




The exact origin of Ananku is unknown, but it is believed that Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945) brought back this form to the Tomari region from Taiwan in the year 1895. Ananku means peace or safety from the south. The kata was developed as part of the Tomari-Te system and during the 1900's, was further passed on by Shoshin Nagamine (born 1907) and the Matsubayashi Ryu style.
The kata emphasizes both offensive and defensive moves from a deap forward leaning stance (front leg bent). Strong punches and double-punches occur throughout the form.


Passai  - "To Breach a Fortress"

Passai means to "thrust asunder" or "penetrate the fortress". The original composer of Passai is unknown though legend has it that Bushi Matsumura (1797-1889) brought the original form (Dai) from China. The form is from the Shuri-Te lineage though Passai also continues to be cherished by karateka around the Tomari village. Knife-hand techniques and speedy movements distinguish this kata from the others. This form contains repeated switching of the blocking arms, motions that represent the feeling of shifting from a disadvantageous position to an advantageous one, a feeling implying a will similar to that needed to break through an enemies fortress.

The shorter (Sho) version of Passai was developed by Yasutsune Itosu (1830-1915). This version stresses the use of the hips in generating power and changing positions quickly. It teaches how to protect oneself by shifting so as not to expose the vital areas. Other techniques contained in this kata are used for night fighting and defense against the bo (wooden staff). The defense against the bo is performed with the open palm and, as often for this purpose, require strength. Passai Sho should be practiced after mastering Passai Dai. The two kata form a series differing in the point that Passai Dai outwardly shows power and solemnity while Passai Sho, in the calmness of its techniques contains an inner strength.


Passai Sho - small, or lesser


Passai Dai - large, or greater



Kusanku - " This kata was name after a Kungfu master"

The details of a military envoy of the Imperial Court of China named Kusanku are recorded in a book of Poems called Oshima Hikki (Diary of the large Island), written by Tobe of Tosa village. Legend says that Kusanku befriended a resident of Shuri called Shionja. Shionja had lived in China and studied with Kusanku there. Shionja was very happy to find Kusanku in Okinawa when he returned home in 1784. Tobe Sakugawa was known to have studied with Kusanku when Sakugawa was in his late twenties. The fact that Kusanku was passed on by Sakugawa to Matsumura makes one think that the kata was also practiced in China because Sakagawa went to China after studying with Kusanku. Master Itotsu developed what we know today as Kusanku Sho and Kusanku Dai. However it was his student, Choshin Chibana, that is credited with refining these kata. The Kusanku practiced throughout the world all are based on the Kushanku Sho and Kusanku Dai taught by Choshin Chibana.


Kusanku Sho


Kusanku Dai



Gojushiho - "Fifty Four Steps of the Black Tiger"

This kata is the most advanced kata of the Shuri-Te branch of Okinawan Karate. In the native tongue of ancient Okinawa the Kata was called Useishi meaning 54 step. Recorded history takes the development of Gojushiho before the time of Matusmura. It combined more of the Chinese Ch'uan Fa elements than any other Kata. Techniques of several systems of Ch'uan Fa are united in this kata. Master Itotsu took great pride in the way Choshin Chibana performed this kata and encouraged him to spend much time with Gojushiho.  It is said, that mastery of Gojushiho means mastery of Karate-do, for it includes the fast and slow, the hard and soft and a range of circle theory techniques.



Chinto - "Crane on the rocks - fighting to the East"

The kata Chinto is surrounded by one of the most famous karate stories of Okinawa. Old legend said that a shipwrecked Chinese martial artist named Chinto lived in the hills of Nago. During the night hours he would use the cover of darkness to raid the farmers chicken huts. All attempts to capture him failed. The villagers confronted Chinto several times. Each time overwhelmed them with his martial art skill. The local officials deemed the problem too large for them to handle. The help of the most famous martial artist of the time was enlisted. Sokon Matsumura, karate teacher and chief of the royal guard of King Sho were sent to capture Chinto. When Matsumura and Chinto had their first confrontation, Matsumura was not able to capture him. Matsumura, being a master of martial artist, was intrigued by the skill of Chinto. After a time of playing cat and mouse hunting games, the relationship between the two developed to one of concern and respect. Chinto was befriended by Matsumura and Chinto taught him his art. Matsumura perfected this art into the kata CHINTO then develop this kata.



Seisan (Shorin Ryu)

This kata is named after a famous Chinese martial artist who lived on the island of Okinawa around 1700. It is said that he was one of the greatest karate men of that era. Seisan is associated with an astronomer and map maker called Takahara Perchin who was the first teacher of "Tode" Sakugawa. The kata is also known to have been performed by some of the greatest karate men in the history of the art including Bushi Matsumura, Yasutsune Itosu, and Chotoku Kyan. Seisan is used in many Okinawan systems such as Isshinryu, ShorinRyu, and Shurite. However, as with many other forms, the kata differs slightly between styles.  

Seisan is said to be the oldest kata still in use. The kata translates to the number "13" or "30" and its roots can be traced back to China. The unique thing about this kata is that there are two quite different versions. The Naha-Te version of Seisan favors the Chinese style and the Shuri-Te version had its own evolution. The Shuri-Te version can be traced back to Bushi Matsumura and includes techniques repeated in combinations of three, open-handed blocks and a defense against groin kicks.  Seisan incorporates the pivots and head turning action. Toward the kata's midpoint, there is a set of three double blocking maneuvers that can be interpreted as side blocks combined with center blocks. The follow-up movement of the center block is one of the unique features of Seisan.



Freestyle katas, sometimes referred to as Sport or Open katas, are katas that were created by true martial arts blackbelts.  These katas were created for the purposes of either sport, conditioning, or spiritual reasons.  Like the masters of the past, Freestyle katas have many hidden meanings and secret hidden techniques (Himitsu) within their forms.  Listed below are just some freestyle open katas.


Freestyle Katas


Kick Kata - "Created by Grandmaster Frank Van Lenten"

Shin-Te  - "Battle between the Heart, Soul, Hand"

Te-Chin  -  "The Fatal Hands Of War"  

Jugo-Chi of Naha-te -"Soft-Hard force of Naha hand"


Kobudo (Kobujitsu) Katas


Sai Katas

Toyei Sai
Towata Sai
Sai of Gienowansi


Bo Katas

Tokumini Bo
Sakagawa Bo
Bo of Shimabuku
Bo Bo Kumite
Bo Sai Kumite


Nunchaku Katas

Pinan Nunchaku


Kama Katas

Toyei Kama