After mastering the basic moves (kihon), you move on to the kata, the core of all karate skills. In kata, there is no wasted or meaningless movement. We emphasise repeating kata over and over again. Through constant repetition, your body learns to move automatically, effortlessly and efficiently. Over time, the techniques become unconscious, rather than deliberate mechanical movements. You can do them without thinking, which frees your mind to be still and experience the dynamics of that moment.

At the JKA, we’ve refined the kata to be more applicable in kumite sparring. Through the techniques learned in the kihon and practiced in the kata, you discover how to respond to situations naturally and freely, and apply your techniques appropriately as the circumstances demand.

And that’s when the true power of karate can be known. When your entire being —body and mind—explodes forward and downs the opponent with one blow, it is called kime. Kime is the ultimate purpose of the kihon-kata-kumite trinity.

There are accepted to be 26 kata in the Shotokan system.

Kihon, the first kata attempted by beginners, is not included in the 26 katas generally acknowledged as being within in the Shotokan canon: this is because it is such a simple sequence of moves – although it won’t feel easy when you first attempt it!

1 Heian Shodan

2 Heian Nidan

3 Heian Sandan

4 Heian Yondan

5 Heian Godan

6 Tekki Shodan

7 Tekki Nidan

8 Tekki Sandan

9 Bassai Dai

10 Jion

11 Enpi

12 Jitte

13 Hangetsu

14 Kanku Dai

15 Gankaku

16 Nijushiho

17 Jiin

18 Bassai Sho

19 Kanku Sho

20 Chinte

21 Wankan

22 Sochin

23 Meikyo

24 Gojushiho Sho

25 Gojushiho Dai

26 Unsu