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Shotokan Karate Handbook: Kata & Kumite Applications

Kata are exercises where techniques are used against imaginary opponents. These forms are short, intense application of karate techniques and body shifting. Kata demands total physical and mental concentration. In addition, kata's are categorized by the type of movements they contain. Shorin kata are characterized by quick, sharp, agile movements.

Shorei kata emphasizes slower, but more powerful techniques. Heian kata, from the shorin class, are the first group students study. Heian means "peaceful mind". The name reflects the peace of mind students experience from perfecting the self-defense techniques contained in the kata.

Heian Shodan | Heian Nidan | Heian Sandan | Heian Yondan | Heian Godan | Bassai Dai | Kunku Dai

Shorin Kata
Empi | Gankaku | Gojushiho | Unsu | Wankan | Nijushiho | Chinte | Kanku Sho

Shorei Kata
Tekki Shodan | Tekki Nidan | Tekki Sandan | Hangetsu | Jion | Jutte | Sochin

Kumite Application
Kumite or sparring is an arrangement where one side takes on the roll of an attacker, while the other assumes the roll of the defender. In both basic and free sparring, attacks and counter attacks are aimed at a vulnerable target. Only focused attacks to vital areas are considered significant. Techniques are focused just short (about one centimeter) from the target. Students must study the distance, timing and focus necessary to make a proper defense.

Sanbon/Gohon Kumite - Three step / Five step basic sparring. Defend against successive attacks to upper, middle or lower levels. Attacks are announced in advance.

Ippon Kumite - One step basic sparring. Defend against a single attack to upper, middle or lower levels. Attacks may be punches or kicks. Practice may include announced or unannounced attacks.

Jiyu Ippon Kumite - Semi-free sparring. Defend against single attacks to upper, middle or lower levels. Distance is not fixed -- attacker and defender are free to move to their advantage.

Jiyu Kumite - Free sparring. Attack and defense are not prearranged. Participants must develop distance and timing. To see pictures and videos of the Katas in action, click on this link.

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