Kata Dictionary


Ānan アーナン 安南 Ānnán.
This majestic kata comes to us from the once secret family style of karate known as Ryuei-ryū. Nakaima Kenri, the founder of Ryuei-ryū, introduced this kata when he returned to Okinawa from Fuzhou, where he studied under the legendary Fujian martial arts master, Rū Rū Kou. Interestingly, Ānnán is the name of a district of Fuzhou, in China’s Fujian Province. Ānan is one of the most magnificent kata that Nakaima Sensei introduced while establishing Ryuei-ryū.

安南 = Ānnán, district of Fuzhou in the Fujian province, in Southeastern China.
安 = Ān. Chinese: Content, calm, still, quiet, safe, secure, in good health.
南 = Nán. Chinese: Surname for South.

Ānan アーナン
Ānan Dai アーナン大


Ānanku・Ānanko アーナンクー・アーナンコー Noble Anan. Honorable Brother Anan.
Earliest reference 1978. Introduced by Kyan Chotoku after returning from Taiwan in the 1930’s.

In the mid to late 1800’s, a ship from the Fujian province drifted into Okinawan waters and shipwrecked in Tomari. While repairing their ship, one of the crewmembers demonstrated Fujian martial arts to several Okinawan martial artists. The name of the crewmember is unknown, but people have called him Anan, after this legendary event. In any case, Kyan Sensei introduced this kata after returning from Taiwan in the 1930’s. This kata is practiced in many Shōrin-ryū traditions, like Matsubayashi Ryū, Shōrin-Ryū Seibukan, Shorinjiryu Renshinkan, Jyōshinmon Shōrinryū, and Shōrin-Ryū Shinkōkai.
安南公 = Anankō, Ananku. Noble Anan.
阿南公 = Anankō, Ananku. Honorable Brother Anan.
阿 = Prefix used before monosyllabic names, kinship term to indicate familiarity.
安 = Ān. Chinese: content, calm, still, quiet, safe, secure, in good health.
安 = An. Japanese: Relax, quiet, rested, contented, peaceful.
南 = Nán. Surname. South.
公 = Kō, ku. Highest of five orders of nobility. Duke.


Anji-kata nu MēkataMai no Te 按司方の舞方・按司の舞の手型 Dancing Form of the Lords.
This is the highest kata in Motobu Udundi and is unique to this style. Anji or Aji were the ruling class of lords in the Ryûkyû Kingdom. Their rank in the Ryukyuan royal court was below the Prince (ōji) but above the Ueekata. Mēkata is the ancient form of unarmed Okinawan martial art of Dī incorporated within the artforms of dance. Motobu Udundi has a long tradition of preserving mēkata.
按司 = 
Anji, aji. The ruling class of lords in the Ryûkyû Kingdom.
方 = Kata. A person, lady, gentleman (Honorific or respectful).
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
舞方 = Mēkata, maikata. Ancient martial dances of Okinawa.


Ansan・YansuYantsu アンサン 安三 Content or Calm Three. Three Peace.
Earliest reference Late 1970’s. Possibly introduced by Kuniba Shōgō.
This bold kata was originally called Ansan by Motobu-ha/Kuniba-ha ryū. Later, it would be adopted by the Kyokushinkai where it is known as Yantsu or Yansu. This kata is practiced by Motobu-ha/Kuniba-ha ryū Shitō-ryū, and also by the Kyokushinkai.
安 = An. Relaxed, low, quiet, rested, contented, peaceful.
三 = San. Three.


Aoyagi・Seiryū アオヤギ・セイリュウ 青柳 Willow.
Earliest reference 1956. Mabuni Kenwa and Konishi Yasuhiro created this kata together with the help of Ueshiba Morihei. This kata was created for women working at the Japanese Government Railways. This kata contains a nice blend of Mabuni’s Shito-ryū, Konishi’s Jiu-jutsu, and Ueshiba’s Aikido principles. Shito-ryū uses the name Aoyagi, while Shindō Jinen-ryū uses the name Seiryū.
青 = Ao. Blue, green interchangeably. Nature’s color.
青 = Sei. Youth.
柳 = Yanagi. Willow, weeping willow.
柳 = Ryū. Chinese “Willow” constellation (one of the 28 mansions).
青柳 = Green willow (i.e. one that has budded).


Ba Bu Lien 八步连 See PappurenPaipuren
Ba Bu Lien is the original Fujianese pronunciation.


Bassai・Passai バッサイ・パッサイ 拔塞・抜砦
Earliest reference 1911. The first mention of Passai comes to us from a Ryūkyū Shimpo newspaper article in 1911 where Kiyuna Taro Pēchin was reported to have performed it during the Shihan Gakko’s karate demonstration. Kiyuna Sensei was a student of Matsumura Sōkon. Funakoshi Gichin’s interpretation comes from Azato and Itosu Ankō. Mabuni Kenwa’s Bassai Dai and Bassai Sho are both from Itosu Ankō. Interestingly, Chibana Passai Dai is Tawada Passai, and Chibana Passai Sho is Itosu Passai. Kyan Chōtoku’s Passai, practiced in Seibukan, was handed down from Oyadomari Kōkan. Matsumura Sōkon and Matsumora Kōsaku both passed on their interpretation of Passai, thus, the areas around Shuri and Tomari enjoyed a Passai tradition. To this day, it is a very popular kata. “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 enemy’s fortress.” – Funakoshi Gichin
拔塞 = To Siege a Fortress. 抜砦 = To Uproot a Stronghold.
拔 = Bá. Chinese: Extract, remove, surpass, seize.
抜 = Batsu. Slip out, extract, pull out, pilfer, remove.
塞 = Sài. Chinese: Fortress.
塞 = Sai. Japanese: Close, cover, block, obstruct.
砦 = Sai. Fort, stronghold.

Kiyuna Passai 喜友名パッサイ Earliest reference 1911.
Passai Dai パッサイ(大) Major Passai. Earliest reference 1922.
Passai Sho パッサイ(小) Minor Passai. Earliest reference 1922.
Tawada Passai 多和田パッサイ Earliest reference 1934.
Matsumura Passai 松村パッサイ Earliest reference 1938.
Hanashiro Passai 花城パッサイEarliest reference 1938.
Ishimine Passai 石嶺パッサイEarliest reference 1956.
Azato Bassai 安里バッサイ
Chatanyara Bassai 北屋谷良バッサイ
Chibana Passai 知花パッサイ
Itosu Bassai 糸洲バッサイ
Kyan Bassai 喜屋武バッサイ
Matsumora Bassai 松茂良バッサイ
Motobu Bassai (Passai Guwa) 本部バッサイ(パッサイグヮー)
Oshiro Bassai 大城バッサイ
Oyadomari Bassai 親泊バッサイ
Teruya Bassai 照屋バッサイ
Tomari Bassai 泊バッサイ
Bassai Dai 拔塞大 Major Bassai.
Bassai Sho 拔塞小 Minor Bassai.


Bechurin ベッチューリン 百歩連 See Pechurin.


Byakko 白虎 White Tiger.
The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Seven Mansions Constellations, Byakko is said to rule over the Western heavens. This kata was introduced in 1988 by its creator Yagi Meitoku. Byakko is practiced in Meibukan Gōjū-ryū.
白 = Shiro, haku, byaku. White.
虎 = Tora, ko. Tiger.


Channan チャンナン
Earliest reference 1934. Supposedly, Pinan Shodan and Pinan Nidan were created from this kata, or they initially had the name Channan. Mabuni Kenwa states in his 1938 book “Kobo Kenpo Karatedo Nyumon” that Channan was Itosu’s original name for the Pinan kata. Itosu Sensei doesn’t mention this in any writings, though.
Yoshimura no Channan 吉村のチャンナン Earliest reference 1934.


Chatanyara KusankuKushanku 北谷屋良クーサンクー北谷屋良クーシャンクー See Kushanku.


Chatanyara no KonChatanyara nu Kun 北谷屋良の棍 Chatanyara’s Staff.
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. This amazing Bo kata is named after the legendary Okinawa Dī master Chatan Yara. Evidently, he was a master of many weapons and unarmed combat, thus, many kata are named after him. Naming a kata after one’s master was one way to pay homage to them, and their contribution to the arts.
北谷屋良 = Chatan Yara. A legendary master of Okinawa Dī, Chatan Yara.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Chatanyara no SaiChatanyara nu Sai 北谷屋良の釵 Chatanyara’s Sai.
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. This wonderful Sai kata is named after the legendary Okinawa Dī master Chatan Yara. Remarkably, he was a master of various weapons and unarmed combat, thus, many kata are named after him. Naming a kata after one’s master was one way to pay homage to them, and their contribution to the arts.
北谷屋良 = Chatan Yara. A legendary master of Okinawa Dī, Chatan Yara.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Chikan 地巻 Earth/Ground Volume (of book).
Creator: Kōjo Kahō. This kata is practiced in Kōjo-ryū.
地 = Chi. Earth, ground, land, soil
巻 = Kan. Volume (of book).


Chi no Kata 地之型 Form of the Earth.
Earliest reference 1955. Creator: Funakoshi Gichin.
地 = Chi. Ground, earth
之 = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Chi-i no Kata 地位の型 Form of Position/Social Status.
Earliest reference 1953. Creator: Shukumine Seiken.
This kata is practiced in Genseiryū.
地位 = Chi. Position, social status.
之 = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Chinpei チンペー
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Chinshu チンシュー 鎮衆
Earliest reference 1976.
鎮 = Chin. Tranquilize. A weight (Buddhist term). Temple supervisor. Town (of China).
衆 = Shu. Great numbers (of people), numerical superiority, masses.


Chinte・ChinteiChinti チンテ・チンテー 珍手・鎮定
珍手 = Exceptional Hands. 鎮定 = Suppression.
Earliest reference 1914. Introduced by Matsumora Kōsaku and Oyadomari Kokan. This exceptional kata has an interesting backstory. In the mid to late 1800’s, a ship from Fuzhou, Fujian province drifted into Okinawan waters and shipwrecked in Tomari. While repairing their ship, one of the crewmembers demonstrated Fujian martial arts to several Okinawan martial artists. According to Funakoshi Gichin, Matsumora Kōsaku and Oyadomari Kokan both learned Chinte from this traveler from Fuzhou. Chinte is most commonly practiced in
 Shitō-ryū, Shotokan, and Shōrin-ryū Kyudōkan. The Shōrin-ryū Kyudōkan refer to this kata as Chinti.
珍 = Zhēn. Chinese: Precious, treasure, rare, valuable.
珍 = Chin. Japanese: Rare, curious, strange.
鎮 = Chin. Tranquilize. A weight (Buddhist term). Temple supervisor. Town (of China).
手 = Te. Hand, means, trick, move, technique.
定 = Tei. Determine, fix, establish, decide.
鎮定 = Chintei. Suppression.


Chintō チントウ 鎮東・鎮闘・鎮党
Earliest reference 1911. Introduced by Gusukuma and Kanagusuku. As mentioned above, in the mid to late 1800’s, a ship from Fuzhou, China’s Fujian province, shipwrecked in Tomari. While their ship was being repaired, one of the crewmembers performed Fujian martial arts to several Okinawan martial artists. According to Funakoshi Gichin, Gusukuma and Kanagusuku both learned Chintō from this traveler from Fuzhou. Traditionally, Chintō is said to be the name of the person who taught this kata, thus, it was named in their honor. This kata was said to be a favorite of Kyan Chōtoku. As with any popular kata, there are multiple interpretations, for example, Itosu Ankō’s version is performed in a straight line, while Kyan’s version is performed diagonally. This kata is practiced in Shōrin-ryū, Shitō-ryū, Matsubayashi-ryū, Wadō-ryū, Isshin-ryū and other styles.
鎮 = Chin. Tranquilize. A weight (Buddhist term). Temple supervisor. Town (of China).
東 = Tō. East.
闘 = Tō. Fight, war.
党 = Tō. Party, faction, clique.

Tomari Chintō 泊チントウ Earliest reference 1914.
Itosu no Chintō 糸洲のチントウ
Kyan no Chintō 喜屋武のチントウ(泊チントウ)


Chōun no Kon・Chōun nu Kun 趙雲の棍朝雲の棍
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. Creator: Soeishi Yoshiyuki
Chōun is the Okinawan pronunciation for the Chinese name Zhào Yún. Zhào Yún was a legendary general of Shu Han who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty, and early Three Kingdoms period. His relation to Bōjutsu comes from the many traditional depictions of his exemplary skill with the spear.
趙雲 = Chōun. Okinawan: The legendary general Zhào Yún, who was a master of weaponry.
朝雲 = Chōun. Morning Cloud.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.

趙雲の棍 Taira Shinken Lineage. Earliest Reference 1938.
朝雲の棍 Matayoshi Lineage. 


Douchin ドーチン
Earliest reference 1961. Adopted by Kaneshima Shinosuke.
“Douchin is a kata never seen in Okinawa, therefore, it will be the first ever demonstration in public. He learned this kata from Chin Hando sensei after crossing over to Taiwan when 17.” – Onko Chishin Newspaper. November 21, 1961.


Empi・Enpi 燕飛 Flying Swallow.
Earliest reference 1935. This dynamic kata comes from Funakoshi Gichin’s rendering of Wanshū that he learned in the Tomari region of Okinawa. “The distinctive motion of this kata is an upper-level attack following which one grasps the opponent and draws him inward, simultaneously jumping in and attacking again. The movement resembles the up and down and flipping away flight of a swallow.” – Funakoshi Gichin. This kata is practiced in Shotokan.
燕 = En. Swallow (bird).
飛 = Hi. Fly.


Fukyūgata 普及型 Promotional Form. Promotional Kata.
Created in 1940 by Nagamine Shōshin, and Miyagi Chōjun.
“Two Fukyugata commonly practiced today were composed by Shōshin Nagamine, the originator of Matsubayashi-ryū karate, and Chōjun Miyagi, the originator of Goju-ryu karate, because the kata of the Shuri and Naha schools had been too difficult for beginners. In 1940, two of the compositions were authorized to be the formal basic kata by the special committee of Okinawa karate-do organized and summoned by Gen Hayakawa, then governor of Okinawa Prefecture.” – Nagamine Shoshin
普及 = Fukyū. Diffusion, spread, popularization.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements in martial arts.

Fukyūgata 1 普及型一 Created by Nagamine Shōshin in 1940.
Fukyūgata 2 普及型二 Also known as Gekisai Ichi, was created by Miyagi Chōjun in 1940.
Fukyūgata 3 普及型三 Created by Ueshiro Ansei in 1960.


GankakuGangaku 岩鶴 Rock Crane. Crane on a Rock.
Earliest reference 1935. 
This elegant kata comes from Funakoshi Gichin’s renamed version of Chintō that he learned from his main two instructors, Azato Ankō and Itosu Ankō. Gankaku is named after the one-legged stance in the kata which resembles a crane balancing on one leg. In Funakoshi Sensei’s version, all of the kicks executed from the one-legged stance have been changed to sidekicks. This kata is practiced in Shotokan.
岩 = Gan. Boulder, rock, cliff.
鶴 = Kaku. Crane, stork.


Gankaku Sho 岩鶴小 Rock Crane, Minor. Crane on a Rock, Minor.
This kata is a Shotokan version of Tomari (Kyan) Chintō introduced by Kanazawa Hirokazu. Kanazawa Sensei claims to have learned this kata from Inoue Sensei.
岩 = Gan. Boulder, rock, cliff.
鶴 = Kaku. Crane, stork.
小 = Shō. Little, small.


Garyū 臥竜 Reclining Dragon. Exceptional Person.
This kata was created in 1964 by Oyama Masutatsu, Garyū was Oyama Sensei’s nickname. This kata is practiced by the Kyokushinkai.
臥 = Ga. Bend down, bow, lie prostrate.
竜 = Ryū. Dragon, imperial
臥竜 = Garyū. Unrecognized genius, exceptional person. Reclining dragon.


Gekiha 撃破 Crushing.
Earliest reference 1976. Creator: Toguchi Seikichi.
These kata are practiced in Shorei-kan Gōjū-ryū.
撃 = Geki. Beat, attack, defeat, conquer.
破 = Ha. Rend, rip, tear, break, destroy, defeat, frustrate
撃破 = Gekiha. Crushing.


Gekisai ゲキサイ 撃砕 Pulverizing.
Earliest reference 1974. Created in 1940 by Miyagi Chōjun.
The Gekisai Dai Ichi and Ni kata are practiced in Gōjū-ryū.
The Gekisai Dai and Gekisai Sho kata are practiced by the Kyokushinkai.
撃 = Geki. Beat, attack, defeat, conquer.
砕 = Sai. Smash, break, crush.
撃砕 = Gekisai. Pulverizing.

Gekisai Dai Ichi・Shodan 撃砕 第一・初段 Created in 1940 by Miyagi Chōjun.
Gekisai Dai Ni・Nidan 撃砕 第二・二段 Created in 1940 by Miyagi Chōjun.
Gekisai Dai 撃塞大 Created post-1964 by Oyama Masutatsu.
Gekisai Sho 撃塞小 Created post-1964 by Oyama Masutatsu.


Genbu 玄武 Black Tortoise.
The Black Tortoise is one of the Four Symbols of the Seven Mansions Constellations, Genbu is said to rule over the Northern Heavens. Genbu is known as the Black Warrior of the North. This kata was introduced in 1991 by its creator Yagi Meitoku, and is practiced in Meibukan Gōjū-ryū.
玄武 = Genbu. Black Tortoise (said to rule over the northern heavens).
玄 = Gen. Mysterious, occultness, black, deep, profound.
武 = Bu. The art of war; martial arts. Warrior, military, chivalry, arms.


GojūshihoUseishi ゴジュウシホ 五十四歩 Fifty-four Steps.
Earliest reference 1911. The powerful kata Gojūshiho is first mentioned in a Ryūkyū Shimpo article in 1911 where Yabu Kentsū, a student of Matsumura Sōkon, was reported to have performed it during the Shihan Gakko’s karate demonstration. Interestingly, it is one of the few kata originally written in kanji instead of katakana. This is significant because the number 54 is considered an auspicious number in China. Most Shōrin-ryū styles trace their Gojūshiho/Useishi kata back through Itosu Ankō or Kyan Chotoku’s version because both are derivations of Matsumura Sensei’s rendition. The earliest reference to the Shotokan version is the early 1940’s. Shotokan’s original Gojūshiho kata is nearly identical to Yabu Sensei’s Matsumura Gojūshiho, and much later became known as Gojūshiho Dai. Funakoshi Gichin referred to this version as Hōtaku, a phoenix-like mythical bird, because of the quick pecking like finger strikes. The modern 
Gojūshiho kata popular in most Shotokan styles were modified from Mabuni Kenwa’s Itosu Gojūshiho. Additionally, they were introduced into the JKA by Obata Isao, and Nakayama Masatoshi after training with Mabuni Sensei. This kata is practiced in most Shōrin-ryū, Shotokan, and Shitō-ryū traditions.
五十四歩 = Gojūshiho. Fifty-four Steps.
五十四 = Gojūshi. Fifty-four.
歩 = Ho. Steps, counter for steps.

Matsumura Useishi 松村五十四歩 Earliest reference 1938.
Yabu Gojūshiho 屋部五十四歩 Earliest reference 1911.
Itosu Gojūshiho 糸洲五十四歩 Earliest reference 1934.
Kyan Gojūshiho 喜屋武五十四歩 Earliest reference 1934.
Gojūshiho Dai 五十四歩大 Fifty-four Steps Major. Earliest reference 1943.
Gojūshiho Sho 五十四歩小 Fifty-four Steps Minor. Earliest reference 1945.
Koryū Useishi 古流五十四歩 Old Style Fifty-four Steps. Earliest reference 1955.


Gorin 五輪 Five-Rings. Five-Wheels. Five-Tiers.
Creator: Nakazato Shugoro. The significance of Five Rings could be a reference to the Gorintō (五輪塔) meaning five-ring or five-wheel pagoda, sometimes simply called, Gorin (五輪). It is a five-tiered stone stupa that serves as a grave marker for the departed. In the past, the Gorintō would hold a relic of the Buddha. Each level of the five-tiered stupa represents one of the five elements. The bottom level is square and represents the Earth ring, Chirin (地輪). Above Earth is the spherical Water ring, Suirin (水輪). On top of Water is the triangular ring of Fire, Karin (火輪). Above Fire is a half-moon shaped Wind ring, Fūrin (風輪). At the very top of the stupa is the gem-shaped ring of the Void, Kūrin (空輪). Furthermore, Japan’s most famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi titled his masterpiece of sword fighting strategy, The Book of Five Rings, Gorin no Sho (五輪書). This kata is practiced in Shorin-ryu Shorinkan.
五 = Go. Five.
輪 = Rin. Wheel, ring, circle, link, loop, counter for wheels and flowers.
五輪塔 = Gorintō. Five-tiered stupa in Buddhism.
五輪書 = Gorin no Sho. The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
五輪 = Gorin. In modern Japanese Gorin means Olympics.


Haffa・Haufa ハッファ・ハウファー 白鳥 Swan. White Bird.
Earliest reference 1956.


Hakkaku・Hakuchō ハッカク・ハクチョウ 白鶴 White Crane
Earliest reference 1978. The White Crane kata has existed prior to 1978, however, the reference year reflects when it was first referenced by any publication.
白鶴 = White Crane.
白 = Haku. White.
鶴 = Tsuru, kaku. Crane, Red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis).


Hakko ハッコ 白虎 White Tiger.
Traditionally, the White Tiger is the ruler of the western heavens in Chinese Astrology.

This interesting kata is practiced in Kōjo-ryū.
白虎 = White Tiger.
白 = Haku. White
虎 = Ko. Tiger.


HakuchōHakkaku ハクチョウ・ハッカク 白鳥  White Bird.  Swan.
One of the kata that Fujian martial artist Go Kenki used to teach.
白鳥 = Hakuchō. Swan. White bird.
白 = Haku. White.
鳥 = Chō. Bird.


Hakuryu ハクリュウ 白龍 White Dragon.
This mysterious kata is practiced in Kōjo-ryū.
白 = Haku. White.
龍 = Ryū. Dragon.


Hakutsuru 白鶴 White Crane.
This is one of the kata that Fujian martial artist Go Kenki used to teach. There seem to be different versions that also use this kanji. Hakutsuru is the name that Matsumura Shorin-ryū use for their White Crane kata.
白鶴 = White Crane. Specifically the Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis).


Hamahiga no Sai・Hamahijya nu Sai 浜比嘉の釵
Earliest Reference 1682. This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata.
浜比嘉 = Hamahiga, Hamahijya.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Hamahiga no Tonfa・Hamahijya nu Tonfa 浜比嘉のトンファー(ハマヒジャヌトンファー)
This is a Tonfajutsu kobudō kata.
浜比嘉 = Hamahiga, Hamahijya.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
トンファー = Tonfa. Okinawan: A baton like kobudō weapon.


Hangetsu 半月 Half-moon.
Earliest reference 1935. This robust kata derives from Funakoshi Gichin’s 
version of Seishan that he learned from Azato Ankō. Azato Sensei, in turn, learned Seisan from Matsumura Sōkon himself. The embusen was reversed for this version, to help further parallel the kata’s original interpretation. Hangetsu is very similar to Shinzato Jin’an’s version of Seisan, which is interesting considering that Shinzato Sensei learned Seisan directly from Miyagi Chōjun. Up until the second edition of Karate-do Kyōhan (1958), forward stances were used instead of the half-moon stance (hangetsu-dachi). Also introduced in the second edition, the stances after the front kicks are fudō-dachi. Referring to the kata’s meaning Funakoshi Sensei said, “One characteristically describes semicircles with the hands and feet, and the name is derived from this.” – Funakoshi Gichin. This kata is practiced in Shotokan.
半月 = Hangetsu. Half-moon.
半 = Han. Half.
月 = Getsu. Month, moon.


Happiken ハッピケン 八臂拳
Earliest reference 1976. Creator: Hisataka Masayuki.
This kata is practiced in Shōrinjiryū Kenkōkan.
八 = Hachi. Eight.
臂 = Hi. Elbow.
拳 = Ken. Fist.


Happoren 八歩连・八歩連 See PappurenPaipuren


Happo Shō 八歩掌 Stepping Eight Palms. Eight Pace Palm.
This kata is practiced by some Shitō-ryū traditions.
八歩 = Happo. All sides; the four cardinal directions, and the four ordinal directions.
掌 = Shō. Manipulate, rule, administer, conduct. The palm of the hand.


Heian 平安 Peace. Tranquility.
Earliest reference 1922. The wonderful Heian kata are derived from Funakoshi’s rendering of the Pinan kata that he learned from Itosu Ankō. Funakoshi Sensei started using this pronunciation in 1925, but he had already changed the first movement of Pinan Nidan to a down-block way back in 1922. The Heian kata as we know them were still being fine-tuned until the publication of Funakoshi Sensei’s masterpiece, Karate-do Kyohan in 1935. Funakoshi also switched the order of the first (Pinan Shodan) and second (Pinan Nidan) kata relative to their earlier order. “Having mastered these five forms, one can be confident that he is able to defend himself competently in most situations. The meaning of the name is to be taken in this context.” – Funakoshi Gichin. These kata are practiced in Shotokan.
平安 = Heian. Peace, tranquility; tranquillity.

Heian Shodan 平安初段
Heian Nidan 平安二段
Heian Sandan 平安三段
Heian Yondan 平安四段
Heian Godan 平安五段


Heiku ヘイクー 虎・黒虎 Black Tiger.
This astonishing kata is originally from Ryuei-ryū. This pronunciation is an Okinawan interpretation of the original Fujianese. Heiku comes to us through the once secret family style of karate known as Ryuei-ryū. Nakaima Kenri, Ryuei-ryū’s founder, introduced this kata when he returned to Okinawa from Fuzhou, in China’s Fujian province. While in Fuzhou, Nakaima Sensei trained under the legendary Fujian martial arts master, Rū Rū Kou, and Heiku is one of the unique kata that Nakaima Sensei introduced while establishing Ryuei-ryū.
黑 = Hēi. Chinese: B
lack, dark, secret, shady, to hide.
虎 = Hǔ. Chinese: Tiger.


Hito no Kata 人之型 See Jin no Kata.


Hookiyu 普及型 Promotional Form.
Earliest reference 1976. Creator: Toguchi Seikichi.
Hookiyu is an alternate spelling for Fukyū. These kata are practiced in Shorei-kan Gōjū-ryū.
普及 = Fukyū. Diffusion, spread, popularization.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements in martial arts.


HyakuhachihoHyakuhappo 百八歩 108 Steps.
This kata is a version of Suparinpei practiced by a few Shotokan styles.
Asai Tetsuhiko’s groups refer to this kata as Hyakuhappo, and by Kanazawa Hirokazu’s groups as Hyakuhachiho.
百 = Hyaku. 100.
八 = Hachi. Eight.
歩 = Ho. Step.
八歩 = Happo. All sides; the four cardinal directions, and the four ordinal directions.


Jicchin ジッチン 実戦型 Form of Actual Combat.
This kata is practiced in Motobu-ryū, and is unique to this style.
実戦 = Jicchin. Okinawan: Combat, actual fighting.
実 = Ji. Reality, truth.
戦 = Chin. Okinawan. War, battle.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Jifa ジーファー Hairpin.
This is a Jifa kobudō kata.
Jifa resembles Kushanku Sho, although rearranged in some parts, and altogether slightly shorter. There is a video of Gushi Shinyu performing this kata before he passed. Gushi Sensei learned this kata from his teacher Uehara Saburo. This kobudō kata is practiced in the Ryukokaku style.
ジーファー = Jīfā, jifa. Okinawan: A hairpin used as a weapon in Okinawan kobudō.


Jigen no Sai・Jigen nu Sai 慈元の釵(ジゲンヌサイ)
Creator: Maezato Taira Shinken. This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. This kata is derivative of Kojo no sai, minus one sai. The kanji used for this kata is different from the famous koryū martial art, Jigen-ryū (示現流) used by the Satsuma Clan from Kagoshima prefecture. This kata is usually performed using manji sai. The meaning of Jigen refers to the Buddhist interpretation of the manji symbol while in its Omote positioning.
慈元 = Jigen. Buddhist term for the Omote Manji symbol’s representation of Infinite Mercy.
慈 = Ji. Mercy, compassion, gentle, merciful, kind, humane.
元 = Gen. Origin, source, foundation, cause.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Jiin ジーン 慈陰・慈允 Hidden Mercy・Sincere Mercy
Earliest reference 1911. Introduced by Yamasato Gikei. In the mid to late 1800’s, a ship from Fuzhou, China’s Fujian province, drifted into Okinawan waters and shipwrecked in Tomari. While repairing their ship, one of the crewmembers was reported to have demonstrated Fujian martial arts to several Okinawan martial artists. According to Funakoshi Gichin, Yamasato Gikei was one of those Okinawan martial artists fortunate to learn the kata Jiin from the Fujian traveler. This kata is m
ost commonly practiced in Shitō-ryū and some Shotokan styles.
慈 = Ji. Mercy, compassion, gentle, merciful, kind, humane.
陰 = In. Shade, yin, negative, secret, shadow.
允 = Yun. Chinese: Just, fair, to permit, to allow.
允 = In. Japanese: License, sincerity, permit. 


Jin no KataHito no Kata 人之型 Form of Humankind. People’s Form.
Earliest reference 1955. Creator: Funakoshi Gichin.
人 = Jin, hito. A person, human being, people.
之 = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Jin-i no Kata 人位の型 Form of Rank.
Earliest reference 1953. Creator: Shukumine Seiken.
This kata is practiced in Genseiryū.
人位 = Jini. A person’s rank.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Jion ジォン 慈恩・慈音 Merciful Grace・Merciful Sound.
Earliest reference 1922. The kata Jion was created on Okinawa proper, and not at the Jion-ji temples in mainland Japan, or elsewhere. The Jion-ji temples are Buddhist temples located in Saitama, Gifu, and Yamagata prefectures in mainland Japan. These wonderful temples continue to maintain Buddhism. Just to reiterate, the kata called Jion was created on Okinawa. This kata is practiced in Shotokan, Shōrin-ryū, Shitō-ryū, Tōon-ryū, and Wadō-ryū.
慈恩 = Merciful Grace. 慈音 = Merciful Sound.
慈 = Ji. Mercy, compassion, gentle, merciful, kind, humane.
恩 = On. Grace, kindness, goodness, blessing.
音 = On. Sound, noise.

Itosu no Jion 糸洲のジオン This kata is practiced in Shotokan, Shitō-ryū, and Wadō-ryū.
Yabu no Jion 屋部のジオン This kata is practiced in Tōon-ryū.
Hanashiro no Jion 花城のジオン


Jissen No Kata 実戦の型 Form of Actual Combat.
Created in 1980 by Ashihara Hideyuki.
These kata are practiced in the Ashihara style.
実戦 = Jissen. Combat, actual fighting.
実 = Ji. Reality, truth.
戦 = Sen. War, battle.

Jissen no Kata Sono Ichi 実戦の型(一)
Jissen no Kata Sono Ni 実戦の型(二)


Jitte・Jūtte ジッテ 十手・術手 Ten-handsTechnical Hand.
Earliest reference 1911. Introduced by Nakasato Bokunin. In the mid to late 1800’s, a ship from Fuzhou, Fujian province drifted into Okinawan waters and shipwrecked in Tomari. While repairing their ship, one of the crewmembers demonstrated Fujian martial arts to several Okinawan martial artists. According to Funakoshi Gichin, Nakasato Bokunin learned this kata from a crewmember, who was stranded in Tomari. Interestingly, Jitte is the original pronunciation. Among the styles that practice this kata, there are slight variations, but overall are very similar. This kata is practiced in most Shōrin-ryū, Shotokan, and Shitō-ryū traditions.
十手 = Ten-hands. 術手 = Technical Hand.
十手 = Jitte, Jutte. A weapon that was used by the Shogun’s palace samurai in Edo period Japan.
十 = Jū, ji. Ten.
術 = Jutsu. 
Art, technique, means.
手 = Te. Hand.

Itokazu no Jitte 糸数の十手
Itosu no Jitte 糸洲の十手


Jūmu ジュウム
Earliest reference 1911.


Jūni no Kata 十二の型
A very basic kata practiced by some Shitō-ryū styles that is identical to the Taikyoku kata.

十二 = Jūni. Twelve.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Jūroku 十六 Sixteen.
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa. This kata was created in the 16th year of Showa, or 1941. The number sixteen is significant because it can also be a reference to Izayoi (十六夜) the sixteenth of the month under the lunar calendar, the night just after full moon. There is a tradition dating back to the 16th century of Moon Viewing, or Tsukimachi (月待ち) where people would gather to wait for the moon to rise on the sixteenth day of the month, share food and drink, or give offerings and prayers to the moon.
十六 = Jūroku. Sixteen.
十 = Jū. Ten.
六 = Roku. Six.


Kakuha 鶴破 Tearing Crane. Ripping Crane. Destroying Crane.
Earliest reference 1976. Creator: Toguchi Seikichi.
These kata are practiced in Shorei-kan Gōjū-ryū.
鶴 = Kaku, tsuru. Crane, stork. Red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis).
破 = Ha. Rend, rip, tear, break, destroy, defeat, frustrate.


Kanchin カンチン 完戦 Complete War. To Finish the Fight.
Earliest reference 1977. Creator: Uechi Kanei.
The son of Uechi-ryū’s founder, Uechi Kanei used the first kanji of his family name Kanbun, Kanei, and his oldest son Kanmei for the creation of Uechi-ryū’s seventh kata. Uechi Kanei Sensei utilized the techniques he favored from his father’s teachings to render this kata for future generations.
This kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū.
完 = Kan. Complete, to finish.
完 = Kan. The first kanji in Uechi Kanbun, Kanei, and Kanmei’s name.
戦 = Chin. Okinawan: War, battle.


Kanegawa no NichōgamaKanigawa nu Nichōgama 鐘川の二丁鎌(カニガーヌニチョーガマ)
This is a Kamajutsu kobudō kata where the user wields a pair of kama.
鐘川 = Kanigawa, Kanegawa. Kanigawa Gimu was considered an expert in kamajutsu.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
二丁鎌 = Nichōgama. This is when two kama are used simultaneously in Okinawan Kobudō.
鎌 = Kama. Okinawan: A sickle kobudō weapon.


KankūKwankū 観空 To Look at the Sky. To Behold Emptiness.
Earliest reference 1935. This extraordinary kata originates from Funakoshi Gichin’s version of Kushanku that he learned from Asato Ankō and Itosu Ankō. This version has very few differences from his 1922 version, the renaming of the kata being the most obvious. The meaning of Kankū is named after the introductory movement, where one’s hands slowly raise while looking skyward. This was evidently Funakoshi Sensei’s favorite kata, and is said to contain the core fundamentals of his interpretation of karate. This kata is practiced in Shotokan under the name Kankū Dai and by the Shotokai under the name Kwankū.
観 = Kan. Look, watch, observe, to behold.
空 = Kū. Empty air, sky.
空 = Śūnyatā. The Buddhist concept of emptiness.
大 = Dai. Big, large, great. The large part of.

Kankū Dai 観空大 Major Kankū. Earliest reference 1935.
Kankū Sho 観空小 Minor Kankū. Earliest reference 1940’s.


Kankū Sho 観空小 To Look at the Sky, Minor.
Earliest reference 1943. This is the Shotokan version of Kushanku Sho introduced by Funakoshi Gigo. Gigo apparently learned this kata from Mabuni Kenwa. According to Harada Mitsusuke, this kata was introduced into the Shotokan in the early 1940’s, because he specifically remembers watching Gigo execute the jump while performing Kankū Sho. After Gigo tragically passed away, Funakoshi Gichin Sensei personally took Obata Isao, and Nakayama Masatoshi to visit his dear friend Mabuni Sensei so they could formalize a unified method of karate. During that time, they further researched Kosokun Sho from Mabuni Sensei. The result of that visit is the modern version of Kanku Sho. This kata is practiced in Shotokan.
観 = Kan. Look, watch, observe, to behold.
空 = Kū. Empty air, sky.
空 = Śūnyatā. The Buddhist concept of emptiness.
小 = Sho. Little, small.


Kanshiwa カンシワ 完子和
Earliest reference 1977. Creator: Uechi Kanei.
Uechi Kanei used the kanji of his father’s name, and Shu Shiwa’s name to pay homage to them. This kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū.
完 = Kan, the first kanji in Kanbun Uechi’s name, combined with his instructor’s name.
子和 = Shiwa. Uechi Kanbun’s renown instructor, Shu Shiwa.


Kanshu カンシュー 完周
Earliest reference 1977. Creator: Uechi Kanei.
Uechi Kanei used the kanji of his father’s name, and Shu Shiwa’s name to pay homage to them. This kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū. Konan-ryū refers to this kata as Dai Ni Seisan.
完 = Kan. The first kanji in Kanbun Uechi’s name, combined with his instructor’s name.
周 = Shu. Uechi Kanbun’s instructor was Shū Shiwa. To make a circle, circumference.


KasshinbōKassen-bō・Gassen-bō カッシンボー 合戦棒 Battle Staff.
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. This kata is practiced in Motobu-ryū and is unique to this style.
合戦 = Kasshin, Kassen, Gassen. Battle, fight, fighting, engagement, contest.
棒 = Bō. Pole, rod, stick, staff.


KasshindiKassen-te・Gassen-te 合戦手 Battle Hand.
Creator: Uehara Seikichi. The Kasshindi 1-3 are practiced in Motobu-ryū and are unique to this style.
合戦 = Kasshin, Kassen, Gassen. Battle, fight, fighting, engagement, contest.
手 = Dī, te. Hand. Means, way, trick, move, technique.


Kenpaku 拳伯 Supreme Fist.
Creator: Mabuni Kenzo.
拳 = Ken. Fist.

伯 = Haku. Count, earl. Eldest brother (archaic).


Kenshō 拳掌 Ruling Fist.
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa.
拳 = Ken. Fist.

掌 = Shō. Manipulate, rule, administer, conduct. The palm of the hand.


Kenshū 拳秀 Elegant Fist. Preeminent Fist.
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa.
拳 = Ken. Fist.

秀 = Shū. Preeminence, excel, excellence, beauty, surpass.


Kihon Dousa Bōgyo Rokkyodō 基本動作 防御六挙動 Six Defensive Fundamental Movements.
Earliest reference 1956. Creator: Konishi Yasuhiro
基本 = Kihon. Foundation, basis, standard.
動作 = Dousa. Action, movements, motions, behavior, execution.
防御 = Bōgyo. Defense, safeguard, protection.
六 = Roku. Six.
挙動 = Kyodō. Conduct, behavior.


Kihon Dousa Hiji Atari 基本動作 肘当たり Elbow Strike.
Earliest reference 1956. Creator: Konishi Yasuhiro.
基本 = Kihon. Foundation, basis, standard.
動作 = Dousa. Action, movements, motions, behavior, execution.
肘 = Hiji. Elbow.
当たり = Atari. Hit. Success.


Kihon Dousa Tegatana 基本動作 手刀 Sword Hand.
Earliest reference 1956. Creator: Konishi Yasuhiro.
基本 = Kihon. Foundation, basis, standard.
動作 = Dousa. Action, movements, motions, behavior, execution.
手刀 = Tegatana. Hand used as a sword in striking.
手 = Te. Hand, means, way, trick, move, technique.
刀 = Katana, Tō. Sword, saber, knife.


Kihon Gata・Kihon Kata 基本型 Fundamental Form.
There are many styles that practice a kata by this name.
The Kihon no Kata 基本の型 (1980) is a kata practiced in the Ashihara style.
基本型 = Kihon kata. Fundamental form, basic form.
基本 = Kihon. Foundation, basis, standard.
型 = Gata, kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.

Kihon no Kata Sono Ichi 基本の型(一)
Kihon no Kata Sono Ni 基本の型(二)
Kihon no Kata Sono San 基本の型(三)


Kokan コカン
Earliest reference 1922. A kata attributed to or named in honor of Oyadomari Kokan, the Tomari-te master whose teachers were Uku Karyū, and Teruya Kishin.
コカン = Kokan. Oyadomari Kokan (親泊 興寛), a Tomari-te master.


Kongo nu KunKongo no Kon 金剛の棍 Vajra Staff.
Earliest reference 1938. Creator: Maezato Taira Shinken. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
金剛 = Indra’s weapon, Vajra, thunderbolt, Buddhist symbol of the indestructible truth.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


KoshokunKosokun 公相君 See Kushanku.


Kūbō no Kon・Kubo nu Kun クーボーヌクン 公望の棍
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
公望 = Kūbō.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Kugusuku nu Sai・Kōjo no Sai 湖城の釵(クグスクヌサイ)The Kōjo Family’s Sai.
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. The Kugusuku family name was originally Sai (蔡) a family that was one of the original 36 Chinese families that came to Okinawa in 1372. The 36 families were from the valley of the Min River in Fujian Province, China. The 36 families established themselves in Kumemura, Naha. Today, the Sai family are known as the Kugusuku family in Okinawan and the Kojo family in Japanese.
湖城 = Kugusuku, Kōjo. The Kōjo family has practiced karate on Okinawa for many generations.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Kūkan 空巻 Sky Volume (of book) Emptiness Scroll.
Creator: Kōjo Kahō. This kata is practiced in Kōjo-ryū.
空 = Kū. Empty air, sky.
空 = Śūnyatā. The Buddhist concept of emptiness.

巻 = Kan. Volume (of book).


Kumite No Kata 組手の型 Form of Sparring.
Created in 1980 by Ashihara Hideyuki.
These kata are practiced in the Ashihara style.
組手 = Kumite. Sparring. Paired karate practice.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.

Kumite Kata Sono Ichi 組手の型(一)
Kumite Kata Sono Ni 組手の型(二)
Kumite Kata Sono San 組手の型(三)
Kumite Kata Sono Yon 組手の型(四)
Kumite Kata Sono Go 組手の型(五)


Kururunfa クルルンファー Restrain and Utterly Destroy
久留頓破・来留破・来留々破
久留頓破 = Lie in wait, suddenly destroy.
Earliest reference 1934. According to Gōjū-ryū tradition, Higaonna Kanryō brought back Kururunfa from his travels in China. Higaonna Sensei supposedly learned this kata from Rū Rū Kou or Wai Xinxian. However, seeing as though Tōon-ryū does not practice this kata, but also has a legitimate Higaonna lineage, it is possible that Miyagi Chōjun created this kata, or learned it independently while traveling in China. This kata is practiced in Gōjū-ryū and Shitō-ryū.
久 = Ku. Long time, old story.
来 = Kuru. Come, due, next, cause, become.
 = Ru. Detain, fasten, halt, stop.
頓 = Suddenly, immediately, in a hurry.
々 = Repetition of kanji (sometimes voiced).
破 = Ha. Rend, rip, tear, break, destroy, defeat.

Hanashiro no Kururunfa 花城のクルルンファー(ヌンフアー)Earliest reference 1934. Also known as Nunfa.


Kūshankū・KusankuKosokun クーシャンクー 公相君
Earliest reference 1911. The meaning of this extraordinary kata is a reference to the legendary Chinese diplomat Quán Kuí (全魁) who led the 1756-1757 Chinese investiture mission to the Kingdom of Ryūkyū, according to the Oshima Hikki. In the Oshima Hikki, Quán Kuí is said to have demonstrated some fighting techniques described as “kumia-jutsu (組合術) known as kenpo in the Bubishi.” Evidently, several members of the mission had started fights while in the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Funakoshi Gichin performed this kata for the Exercise and Physical Education Exhibition at Tokyo Women’s Teachers College in 1922.
公相君 = Noble Appearance, an honorific title, not his name. First recorded as 公相君 コウシヤンキン in the 1750’s.

Kūshankū Dai 公相君(大)Major Kushanku. Earliest reference 1922.

Kūshankū Sho 公相君(小)Minor Kushanku. Earliest reference 1922.
Chibana Kusanku 知花公相君 Earliest reference 1938.
Chatanyara Kusanku 北谷屋良クーサンクー Earliest reference 1959.
Kuniyoshi no Kusanku 国吉の公相君
Kosokun Dai 公相君(大)Major Kosokun.
Kosokun Sho 公相君(小)Minor Kosokun.
Shiho Kosokun 四方公相君 Kushanku in Every-direction. Earliest reference 1926.


Maezato no Nunchaku・Meezatō nu Nunchaku 前里のヌンチャク(メーザトゥヌヌンチャク)
Creator: Maezato Taira Shinken. This is a Nunchaku kobudō kata. Maezato Sensei was famous for his exemplary use of kobudō weaponry, consequently, he was the founder of Ryūkyū Kobudō Kongo-ryū.
前里 = Maezato. Maezato Sensei was a master of weapons, particularly Okinawan Kobudō.
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
ヌンチャク = Nunchaku. An Okinawan truncheon weapon linked by a rope, chain or horse hair.


Maezato no TekkōMeezatō nu Teikkō 前里の鉄甲(メーザトゥヌティッコウ)
Creator: Maezato Taira Shinken. This is a Tekkō kobudō kata. Maezato was famous for his exemplary use of kobudō, consequently, he was the founder of Ryūkyū Kobudō Kongo-ryū. This kata seems to follow the Jiin, Jitte and Jion template, but the performer is armed with a pair of Tekkō.
前里 = Maezato. Maezato Sensei was a master of weapons, particularly Okinawan Kobudō.
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
鉄甲 = Tekkō. A stirrup, acting as a fist loaded weapon in Okinawan kobudō.


Mai nu DiMai no Te 舞の手 Dancing Hands. Wielding Hand.
This kata is practiced in the Motobu Udundi style and is unique to this style.
舞 = Mai. Dance, flit, circle, wheel
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
手 = Dī, te. Hand, means, way, trick, move, technique.


Matsuhiga no KonMachuu Hijaa nu Kun 比嘉の棍(マチュー ヒジャー)Matsuhiga’s Staff.
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
比嘉 = Matsuhiga. Matsuhiga Pēchin was a royal bodyguard to the King of the Ryūkyū Kingdom.
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Matsukaze 松風 Pine Tree Wind. Pine Tree Style.
A bō kata, Matsukaze, was introduced in 1939 by its creator, Funakoshi Gigo. The kanji Matsu “松” refers to the lineage handed down from Matsumura Sōkon to Funakoshi Gichin, and lastly to Gigo. This bo kata is practiced by the Shotokai. Some Shitō-ryū styles refer to the kata Wankan as Matsukaze.
松 = Matsu. Pine tree.
松村 = Matsumura. Matsumura Sōkon’s family name.
松濤 = Shōto. Funakoshi Gichin’s pen name.
風 = Kaze. Wind, air, style, manner.


Meikyō 明鏡 Brilliant Mirror. Clear Mirror.
Earliest reference mid-1930’s. The mysterious 
kata Meikyō is derived from Mabuni Kenwa’s versions of Itosu Rohai Nidan and Itosu Rohai Sandan, which are themselves derivations of the much older Tomari Rohai kata. To be clear, Meikyō’s performance line (embusen) is slightly different than any of the Itosu Rohai kata practiced in Shitō-ryū, and many techniques were reimagined with consideration to Shotokan principles for this interpretation. Meikyō was introduced much later into Shotokan’s curriculum, and apparently was one of the favorite kata of Nakayama Masatoshi. The kata’s meaning is possibly a reference to the Yata no Kagami, the sacred mirror that is part of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. The sacred mirror represents wisdom or truth, like still water reflecting moonlight. This kata is practiced in Shotokan.
明 = Mei. Bright, light.
鏡 = Kyō. Mirror.


MutudiMoto-te 元手 Original Hand. Beginning Hand.
This kata is practiced in the Motobu Udundi style. Mutudi 1-5 are Motobu-ryū’s versions of Sanchin.
元 = Mutu, Moto. Beginning, origin
手 = Dī, te. Hand.


Myōjō 明浄・明星 Purifying Light・Morning Star
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa.
明 = Myō. Bright, light.
浄 = Jyō. Clean, purify, cleanse, exorcise, Manchu Dynasty.
明星 = Myōjyō. Venus, morning star, a place name.


Nage No Kata 投げの型 Form of Throwing.
Not to be confused with the much older Nage no Kata practiced in Judo, these kata were created in 1980 by Ashihara Hideyuki, and are practiced by the Ashihara style.
投げ = Nage. A throw, a fall.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures in martial arts.

Nage no Kata Sono Ichi 投げの型(一)
Nage no Kata Sono Ni 投げの型(二)
Nage no Kata Sono San 投げの型(三)
Nage no Kata Sono Yon 投げの型(四)


Naihanchi・NaifanchiNaihanchin ナイハンチ・ナイファンチ・ナイハンチン
内歩進 Inside Step Advance.
Earliest reference 1911. The first mention of Naihanchi comes to us from a Ryūkyū Shimpo article in 1911 where Itokazu was reported to have performed it during the Shihan Gakko’s karate demonstration. Years later, Funakoshi Gichin demonstrated this kata during the Exercise and Physical Education Exhibition at Tokyo Women’s Teachers College in 1922. Naihanchi predates the Pinan kata and were traditionally first taught to beginners. 
“Beginners used to learn Naihanchi instead of Pinan.” – Nagamine Shoshin.
内 = Nèi. Chinese: Inside, inner, internal, within, interior.
内 = Nai. Japanese: Inside, within.
歩 = Walk, stride. Counter for steps.
進 = To go forward, advance, proceed, progress.

Naihanchi Shodan ナイハンチ初段
Naihanchi Nidan ナイハンチ二段
Naihanchi Sandan ナイハンチ三段


Nanshu ナンシウ 南手 Southern Hand. Southern Dī.
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s book Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.
南 = Nan. South.
手 = Shu. Hand, means, trick, move, technique.


Nepai ネーパイ 二八 Two eight. 28.
The impressive kata Nepai was adopted into karate from the older Fujian White Crane form Neipaipo and is the precursor to the Shitō-ryū kata Nipaipo. Mabuni Kenwa’s Nipaipo derives from Fujian martial artist Go Kenki’s version of Nepai. Kyoda Juhatsu also learned this kata from Go Kenki, thus, it is practiced in Tōon-ryū. Matayoshi Shinko independently learned Nepai while traveling in Fuzhou, China. The older Fujian White Crane form Neipaipo is spelled 二十八宿 which means Twenty-Eight Constellations, the Twenty-Eight Mansions of the lunar cycle in traditional Chinese astronomy. 28 is considered an auspicious number in China and signifies prosperity, specifically “double prosperity.” Nepai is practiced in Tōon-ryū and Kingai-ryū.
二十八宿 = The Twenty-Eight Mansions of the lunar cycle in traditional Chinese astronomy.
二八 = 28. An auspicious number in China that signifies “double prosperity.”


Nīchin ニーチン
Earliest reference 1978. A kata listed in Sakagami Ryusho’s Karate-dō Kata Taikan from the 1978 version. Interestingly, it was not included in the 1974 nor 1976 versions. 


NichōSai 二丁釵(ニチョーサイ)
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. Creator: Matayoshi Shinpo.
二丁 = Nichō. Two.
丁 = Chō. Counter for tools.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Nidanbu ニダンブ 二段武
Creator: Kishimoto Sokō. This kata is practiced in Kishimoto-Dī.
二段 = Nidan. Two-level, two-stage. Corresponds to the second kata learned in Kishimoto-Dī.
武 = Bu. The art of war, martial arts, military arts. Warrior, valor, bravery.
小 = Sho. Little, small.
大 = Dai. Big, large, great. The large part of.

Nidanbu Sho 二段武小
Nidanbu Dai 二段武大


Nijūhachiho 二十八歩 Twenty-eight Steps.
This is the Japanese pronunciation of the kata Nipaipo.
This kata is a Shotokan interpretation of Nipaipo introduced by Kanazawa Hirokazu.
二十八 = Nijūhachi. Twenty-eight.
歩 = Ho. Steps, counter for steps.


Nijūshiho 二十四歩 Twenty-four Steps.
Earliest reference mid-1930’s. This dynamic kata, practiced in Shotokan, was adapted from Funakoshi Gigo’s version of Niseishi and later modified by the JKA. Gigo Sensei’s interpretation was likely derived from Mabuni Kenwa’s rendition of Niseishi, and his father’s expounding of the material. Niseishi movements were re-imagined within a Shotokan framework. There is a video showing a segment of Nijūshi being performed in front of Keio University’s karate club around 1936. Although it had since been practiced by most of the University Karate clubs, it was later officially adopted into the JKA’s curriculum by Obata Isao and Nakayama Masatoshi. Nakayama Sensei claimed to have learned this kata, along with Obata Sensei from Mabuni Kenwa. Nevertheless, Funakoshi Sensei trained with Arakaki Seisho, who was the creator of Niseishi, so there is no reason why he wouldn’t have known this kata. Moreover, Wadō-ryū tradition claims that Otsuka Hironori learned Niseishi directly from Funakoshi Gichin, and later modified it after working with Mabuni Sensei. Even if Niseishi was never included in the original 15 Shotokan kata, it is included within Funakoshi Sensei’s recommended kata list. In the late 1940’s, Funakoshi Sensei personally took Obata Isao, and Nakayama Masatoshi to visit his dear friend Mabuni Sensei so they could formalize a unified method of karate. During this visit, they further researched Niseishi from Mabuni Sensei and Sakagami Ryusho. This research gave birth to the modern JKA version of Nijūshiho. In any event, Funakoshi Sensei was well aware of Arakaki Seisho’s original Niseishi from as early as 1922 because it is on his recommended kata list from his book Tōdi: Ryūkyū Kenpo. Nijūshiho is practiced in Shotokan.
二十四 = Nijūshi. Twenty-four.
歩 = Ho. Steps, counter for steps.


Nipaipo 二八歩・二十八歩 Twenty-eight Steps.
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa. Mabuni Kenwa version of Nipaipo was derived from Go Kenki’s Fujian White Crane form Nepai. Evidently, Mabuni Sensei learned it directly from Go Kenki and reimagined its techniques within Shitō-ryū’s framework. Today, there is still a Fujian White Crane Míng hè quán form called Nei Paik Po, usually translated as “28 Steps.”
 However, when written with the original Chinese characters, 二十八宿 actually means the Twenty-Eight Mansions of the lunar cycle in traditional Chinese astronomy. The number 28 is significant because it is considered an auspicious number in China and represents prosperity, specifically “double prosperity.” Nipaipo is practiced by most Shitō-ryū traditions.
二十八宿 = 28 Mansions of the lunar cycle in traditional Chinese astronomy.
二十八 = Twenty-eight. An auspicious number in China that signifies “double prosperity.”
歩 = Steps, the counter for steps.


Niseishi ニーセーシ 二十四 Twenty-four.
Earliest reference 1922. Creator: Arakaki Seisho.
Arakaki Seisho created this beautiful kata. Arakaki Sensei probably taught this dynamic kata to several of his students, thus it is present in some of the original karate styles. Mabuni Kenwa, for example, acquired Niseishi, thus, it is practiced in many Shitō-ryū traditions. Wadō-ryū tradition claims that Otsuka Hironori learned Niseishi directly from Funakoshi Gichin, and later modified it after working with Mabuni Sensei, thus, it is practiced in Wadō-ryū. With regard to other interpretations, Sakiyama Kitoku and Nakaima Kenri were said to have learned a Niseishi kata while traveling together in China. Niseishi is practiced in Shitō-ryū, Ryuei-ryū, Wadō-ryū, and Okinawa Kenpo.
二十四 = Niseishi. Twenty-four.


Niseishi DaiNiseishi Sho 二十四大・二十四小 Major Twenty-four・Minor Twenty-four.
These kata are practiced in Chito-ryū.
二十四 = Niseishi. Twenty-four.
大 = Dai. Big, large, great. The large part of.
小 = Sho. Little, small.


Niwon 二ーヲン
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Nuichie ヌイチェー
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Nunfa ヌンフアー See Hanashiro no Kururunfa.


Oshiro no Kon 大城の棍 See Ufugusuku nu Kun.


Ohan オーハン
A kata practiced in Ryuei-ryū that is not usually taught outside of Okinawa.


Pachū パーチュー 巴球 Clinging Sphere. Revolving Sphere.
This vigorous kata is originally from Ryuei-ryū. This pronunciation is an Okinawan interpretation of the original Fujianese. Pachū comes to us through the once secret family style of karate known as Ryuei-ryū. Ryuei-ryū’s founder, Nakaima Kenri introduced this kata when he returned to Okinawa from Fuzhou, in China’s Fujian province. While in Fuzhou, Nakaima Sensei trained under the legendary Fujian martial arts master, Rū Rū Kou, and Pachū is one of the unique kata that he introduced while establishing Ryuei-ryū.
巴 = Bā. Chinese: Long for, wish, cling to, stick to, close, next to.
球 = Qiú. Chinese: Ball, sphere, globe.


Paiho パイホー 白鶴 White Crane.
The meaning of this elegant kata is derived from the graceful movements of the white crane, technically the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), or Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus). Unfortunately, both of these bird species are on the endangered species list. Paiho is a mysterious kata in Ryuei-ryū that is not usually taught outside of Okinawa. The fourth heir to Ryuei-ryū, Nakaima Kenko supposedly learned this kata from Fujian martial artist Go Kenki. This pronunciation is an Okinawan interpretation of the original Fujianese.
白鶴 = Báihè. Chinese: White Crane. Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus).
白 = Bái. Chinese: White, snowy, pure, bright, empty, blank, plain, clear, to make clear.
鶴 = Hè. Chinese: Crane.


Paiku パイクー 白虎 White Tiger.
The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Seven Mansions Constellations, ruling over the Western Heavens. This powerful kata is originally from Ryuei-ryū. This pronunciation is an Okinawan interpretation of the original Fujianese. Paiku comes to us through the once secret family style of karate known as Ryuei-ryū. Nakaima Kenri, the founder of Ryuei-ryū, introduced this kata when he returned to Okinawa from Fuzhou, in China’s Fujian province. While in Fuzhou, Nakaima Sensei trained under the legendary Fujian martial arts master, Rū Rū Kou, and Paiku is one of the unique kata that he introduced while establishing Ryuei-ryū.
白虎 = Báihǔ. Chinese: White Tiger (the seven mansions of the western sky).
白 = Bái. Chinese: White, snowy, pure, bright, empty, blank, plain, clear, to make clear.

虎 = Hǔ. Chinese: Tiger.


Pappuren・Paipuren パープレン 八步連・八步连 Continuous Figure-Eight-Step. Linked Figure-Eight Stance.
Earliest reference 1956. Transmitted into karate by Sai Chōkō.
Adopted from the Taiwanese White Crane form Papulien, or Ba Bu Lien, 八步连 also meaning Continuous Figure-Eight-Step. Ba Bu Lien is a reference to the longer Sanchin stance throughout the original White Crane form where the position of the performer’s feet resembles the Chinese character “八” for eight. A student of Mabuni Kenwa named Chan Teiyū learned this kata from Sai Chōkō, who was a master of Taiwanese White Crane Boxing.
八步連 = Continuous Figure-Eight-Step. Linked Figure-Eight Stance.
八步连 = Continuous Figure-Eight-Step. Linked Figure-Eight Stance.
连 = Lián. Chinese: To link, join, connect, continuously, in succession.


Passai パッサイ See Bassai.
Passai is the original Okinawan pronunciation.


Pechurin・Bechurin ペッチューリン・ベッチューリン 百歩連・百歩進
Earliest reference 1934. According to Kyoda Juhatsu, this is the name Higaonna Kanryō used to refer to one of his four special kata (Sanchin, Seisan, Sanseiru, and Pechurin). This kata is practiced in Tōon-ryū, Gōjū-ryū, and some Shitō-ryū traditions. Some styles use Pechurin/Bechurin to refer to their version of Suparinpei. Morinobu Itoman’s kata list from his book Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu includes Suparinpei and Pechurin (Pichurin) listed as separate kata.
百歩連 = 100 Continuous Steps. 百歩進 = 100 Step Advance.
百 = 100.
歩 = Counter for steps.
連 = Lián. Chinese: Continuous, linked, in succession.
進 = Shin. Japanese: Advance, proceed, progress.


Pinan ピンアン 平安 At Peace. Peace.
Introduced in 1904. Creator: Itosu Ankō.
Itosu Ankō created the Pinan kata to teach to elementary and jr. high school students within the Okinawa school system in the early 1900’s. These basic kata were meant to improve student’s coordination, develop strength, and teach them the introductory movements of Karate. Pinan is the Okinawan pronunciation of the Chinese, Píng’ān, or At Peace. This is usually said in a “be safe” context, for example, something one would say to a family member before a trip. According to Mabuni Kenwa, Itosu’s original name for the Pinan kata was Channan. Heian is the Japanese pronunciation of Pinan. These kata are practiced by most Shōrin-ryū and Shitō-ryū styles.

Pinan Shodan ピンアン初段
Pinan Nidan ピンアン二段
Pinan Sandan ピンアン三段
Pinan Yondan ピンアン四段
Pinan Godan ピンアン五段


Rinkan リンカン
Creator: Nakasone Seiyu.
This kata is practiced by the Gohakukai.


Rōhai ローハイ 鷺牌 Heron Shield. Heron Tile.
Earliest reference 1911. Creator: Possibly Matsumora Kōsaku.
According to Motobu Chōki in his book Okinawa Kenpo Tōdi Jutsu Kumite Hen, by 1879 there were already two versions of Rōhai that were only practiced in the Tomari area. The Rōhai kata practiced by Wadō-ryū is derived from Mabuni Kenwa’s version of Itosu Rōhai Shodan.
鷺牌 = Rohai. Heron Tile (Heron Piece in Mahjong).
鷺 = Ro. Heron.
牌 = Hai. Medal, Shield, Badge.
牌 = Pai. Tile, mahjong tile.

Matsumora Rōhai 松茂良ローハイ Earliest reference 1922.
Rōhai Shodan 鷺牌初段 Earliest reference 1938. Creator: Itosu Ankō.
Rōhai Nidan 鷺牌二段 Earliest reference 1938. Creator: Itosu Ankō.
Rōhai Sandan 鷺牌三段 Earliest reference 1938. Creator: Itosu Ankō.


Rokkishu 六氣手・六気手 Six Spirit Hands.
Earliest reference 1934. The Kanji is adopted directly from the Bubishi. Miyagi Chōjun is believed to have learned additional Fujian White Crane techniques from a student of Rū Rū Kou while traveling in China, but more specifically, these are the six open-hand techniques illustrated within the Bubishi. Mabuni Kenwa’s book “Seipai no Kenkyū” contains a reproduction of the Rokkishu illustrations. According to Gōjū-ryū tradition, Miyagi Sensei’s exploration of the Rokkishu techniques inspired him to create the kata Tenshō.
六 = Roku. Six
氣 = Ki. Spirit, mind, air, atmosphere, mood.
手 = Shu. Hand. Means, trick, move, technique.


Rūfua・Rūfa・Ryūfa ルーファー 竜波 Dragon-Wave. Dragon-Waves.
Creator: Kishimoto Soko. Kishimoto passed this kata down to Higa Seitoku of the Bugeikan. Shukumine Seiken also learned this kata from Kishimoto, however, it is now known as Shukumine Bassai Dai to their organization, Gensei-ryū.
竜 = Ryū. Dragon.
波 = Ha. Wave, waves, billows.


Ryūho リュウホ 龍歩 Dragon-step. Dragon-walk.
Earliest reference 1934 as 富間氏龍歩 Toma-lineage Ryuho. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu.
龍 = Ryū. Dragon.
歩 = Ho. Walk, counter for steps.


Ryūko 龍虎 Dragon and Tiger (Two Mighty Rivals).
This kata is practiced in Shōhei-ryū and was officially released in 2006.
龍虎 = Ryūko. Dragon and tiger; two mighty rivals.
龍 = Ryū. Dragon.
虎 = Ko. Tiger (Panthera tigris).


RyūsanRyūshan リュウシャン 龍山 Mountain Dragon. Dragon Mountain.
Chitose Tsuyoshi is said to have learned this kata from Hanashiro Chōmu. This kata is practiced in Chito-ryū.
龍 = Ryū. Japanese: Dragon, imperial.
山 = San. Japanese: Mountain, hill. 山 = Shān. Chinese: Mountain, hill.


Ryūshu リュウシウ 龍手 Dragon-hand.
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.
龍 = Ryū. Dragon.
手 = Shu. Hand, arm. Means, way, trick, move, technique.


Sai no Kata 釵の型
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.

Sai Kata 1 釵Iの型 
Sai Kata 2 釵IIの型 
Sai Kata 3 釵IIIの型 


Saifa サイファ 砕破・最破 To Rend Asunder・Maximum Destruction.
Earliest reference 1900’s. Creator: Possibly Higaonna Kanryō.
There is a photograph from the early 1900’s of Miyagi Chōjun and Kyoda Juhatsu practicing bunkai of the one-legged sagi-ashi dachi (Heron-leg stance) segment of the kata. Even if that photograph isn’t a direct depiction of Saifa, the counter kick element is included within the kata’s material, so it must have been significant in that regard. Interestingly, 
Saifa is the only kata within the Gōjū-ryū curriculum that uses a one-legged stance. Saifa is practiced in Gōjū-ryū, Shitō-ryū, and the Kyokushinkai. This kata is called Saiha by the Kyokushinkai.
砕 = Sai. Smash, break, crush.
最 = Sai. Utmost, most, extreme.
破 = Ha. Rend, rip, tear, break, destroy.


Sakugawa no KonSakugawa nu Kun 佐久川の棍(サクガーヌクン)
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. According to Maezato Taira Shinken, there were already three versions of this kata by 1938.
佐久川 = Sakugawa. Sakugawa Kanga was a famous Okinawa Dī and kobudō master.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.

Sakugawa no Kon Dai 佐久川の棍(大)(サクガーヌクン・大)Earliest reference 1938.
Sakugawa no Kon Sho 佐久川の棍(小)(サクガーヌクン・小)Earliest reference 1938.


Sanchin サンチン 三戦・参戦 Three Battles. Three Wars.
Earliest reference 1925. Adopted by Higaonna Kanryō from the Fujian White Crane form San Chiàn, 三戰 which also means Three Battles. Higaonna Sensei learned this form in China from Rū Rū Kou or Wai Xinxian. The Sanchin kata practiced by Gōjū-ryū, Tōon-ryū, Shitō-ryū, and Chitō-ryū is passed down from Higaonna’s version of Sanchin. Another Fujian Chuan-fa practitioner, Zhou Zi He (Shu Shi Wa) taught his version of Sanchin to Uechi Kanbun, thus, it was inherited by Pangai Noon and still practiced to this day by Uechi-ryū. Isshin-ryū’s Sanchin kata comes from Shimabukuro Tatsuo’s version of Sanchin that he originally learned from Miyagi Chōjun. “Sanchin” is the Okinawan pronunciation of the Fujianese form, similar to the Mandarin pronunciation “San Zhan.”
三戦・参戦 = Three Battles. Three Wars.
三 = San. Three. 参 = San. Three (used in legal documents).
戦 = Chin. Okinawan: War, battle, fight.


SanchōSai 三丁釵(サンチョーサイ)
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. Creator: Matayoshi Shinpo.
三丁 = Sanchō. Three.
丁 = Chō. Counter for tools.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Sandairyu・Sandairui サンダ-リュ・サンダ-ルイ 三十六 Thirty-six
This powerful kata comes to us from Uechi Kanbun. This kata was one of the original three forms Uechi Sensei inherited from his teacher, Zhou Zi He (Shū Shi Wa). Sandairui’s meaning “Thirty-six” is possibly a reference to the Thirty-Six Stratagems, a writing attributed to Lao Tsu to illustrate philosophical strategies used in political warfare and combat. It may also be a reference to the original 36 Chinese families that came to Okinawa in 1392. The 36 families established themselves in Kumemura, Naha. They were from the valley of the Min River in Fujian Province, China. Interestingly, Uechi Sensei learned this form in the very same Fujian Province, China. Nowadays, this is usually the eighth, and final kata taught within the curriculum of Uechi-ryū. Sanseirui is an alternate pronunciation for the kata’s original pronunciation Sandailui, but in Japanese “L” sounds are pronounced with “R”, so Sandailui becomes Sandairui. In any event, this kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū and its derivatives.
三十六 = Thirty-six.


Sankakutobi 三角飛び Triangle Jump. Triangular Jump.
Creator: Hisataka Masayuki.
Earliest reference 1976. This kata is practiced in Shōrinjiryū Kenkōkan.
三角飛び = Sankakutobi. Triangle jump, triangular jump.
三角 = Sankaku. Triangle, triangular.
飛び = Tobi. Flying, leaping, flight, leap.


Sanpabu サンパブ 三波武
Creator: Kishimoto Sokō. This kata is practiced in Kishimoto-Dī.
三 = San. Three. Corresponds to the third kata learned in Kishimoto-Dī.
波 = Ha. Waves, billows.
武 = Bu. The art of war, martial arts, military arts. Warrior, valor, bravery.
一 = Ichi. One. 二 = Ni. Two.

Sanpabu Ichi 三波武一
Sanpabu Ni 三波武二


Sansai さんさい 三才 The Three Powers.
Earliest reference 1964. Creator: Shukumine Seiken.
This kata is practiced in Genseiryū.
三才 = Sansai. The three powers (heaven, earth, and human beings).


SanseiruSanseru サンセールー 三十六・三十六手 Thirty-six.
Earliest reference 1922. According to Miyagi Chōjun, Kyoda Juhatsu, and Mabuni Kenwa, this kata was inherited from Higaonna Kanryō. The number Thirty-six comes up often and may be a reference to the Thirty-Six Stratagems, a writing attributed to Lao Tsu to illustrate philosophical strategies used in political warfare and combat. The number Thirty-six could also be a reference to the original 36 Chinese families that came to Okinawa in 1392. They were from the valley of the Min River in Fujian Province, China. The 36 families established themselves in Kumemura, Naha. Sandairui or Sanseirui is usually the eighth, and final kata taught within Uechi-ryū’s curriculum. This kata is practiced by many traditions, including Ryuei-ryū, Goju-ryū, Tōon Ryū, Shitō-ryū, and Uechi-ryū.
三十六 = Sanseiru. Thirty-six. 三十六手 = Thirty-six Hands.


Sanshiryu 三十六歩 Thirty-six Steps. Based on the Mandarin pronunciation Sānshíliù.
The number Thirty-six comes up often and may be a reference to the Thirty-Six Stratagems, a writing attributed to Lao Tsu to illustrate philosophical strategies used in political warfare and combat. The number Thirty-six could also be a reference to the original 36 Chinese families that came to Okinawa in 1392. They were from the valley of the Min River in Fujian Province, China. The 36 families established themselves in Kumemura, Naha. This kata is practiced in Chito-ryū.
三十六 = Sānshíliù. Mandarin: Thirty-six.
歩 = Steps, counter for steps.


Seichin セーチン 十戦 Ten Wars. Ten Battles.
Earliest reference 1977. Creator: Uechi Kanei.
This kata combines elements of both Seisan and Sanchin. This kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū.
十 = Sei. Fujianese: Ten.
戦 = Chin. Okinawan: War, battle.


Seido 誠道 Sincere Way.
Earliest reference 2001. Creator: Nakamura Tadashi.
These kata are practiced by the Seido Juku style.
誠道 = Seido. Sincere Way. Seido Juku, style of karate founded by Nakamura Tadashi.
誠 = Sei. Sincerity, honesty, integrity, fidelity.
道 = Do. Way, path, journey, moral, teaching.


Seipai セーパイ・セイパイ 十八・十八手 Eighteen.
Earliest reference 1934. Creator: Possibly Higaonna Kanryō. Higaonna Sensei taught this kata to Miyagi Chōjun, and later to Mabuni Kenwa. Mabuni Sensei dedicated a book to this kata in his 1934 “Seipai no Kenkyū” (Study of Seipai). This book contains photography of Mabuni Sensei performing Seipai, and complete bunkai with Konishi Yasuhiro. The number eighteen is significant because it can also be a reference to Imachi no Tsuki (居待の月) the eighteenth of the month under the lunar calendar. There is a tradition dating back to the 16th century of Moon Viewing, or Tsukimachi (月待ち) where people would gather inside to wait for the moon to rise on the eighteenth day, share food and drink, or give offerings and prayers to the moon. This kata is practiced in Gōjū-ryū and Shitō-ryū.
十八 = Seipai. Eighteen. 十八手 = Eighteen Hands.
十 = Sei. Fujianese: Ten.
八 = Bai. Fujianese: Eight.


Seirui・Seiryū セールー・セイリュウ 十六 Sixteen.
Creator: Uechi Kanei. The number sixteen is significant because it can also be a reference to Izayoi (十六夜) the sixteenth of the month under the lunar calendar, the night just after full moon. There is a tradition dating back to the 16th century of Moon Viewing, or Tsukimachi (月待ち) where people would gather to wait for the moon to rise on the sixteenth day of the month, share food and drink, or give offerings and prayers to the moon. This kata is practiced in Uechi-ryū.
十六 = Seirui. Fujianese: Sixteen.
十 = Sei. Fujianese: Ten.
六 = Rui. Fujianese: Six.


Seiryū・Aoyagi セイリュウ・アオヤギ 青柳 Blue/Green Willow. Willow.
Earliest reference 1956. Konishi Yasuhiro and Mabuni Kenwa created this kata with the help of Ueshiba Morihei for women working for the Japanese Government Railways. Shindō Jinen-ryū uses the name Seiryū, and Shitō-ryū uses the name Aoyagi.
青 = Sei. Youth. 青 = Ao. Blue, green interchangeably. Nature’s color.
柳 = Ryū. Chinese “Willow” constellation (one of the 28 mansions).
柳 = Yanagi. Willow, weeping willow.


Seiryū 青龍 Blue dragon. Azure Dragon.
The Azure Dragon is one of the Four Symbols of the Seven Mansions Constellations, Seiryū is said to rule over the Eastern heavens. There is a statue of the Azure Dragon in front of Kiyomizu-dera (temple) in eastern Kyoto that is said to drink from the waterfall within the temple grounds at night. Seiryū was created in the 1980’s by Yagi Meitoku. This kata is practiced in Meibukan Gōjū-ryū.
青龍 = Seiryū. Blue Dragon, Azure Dragon (said to rule over the eastern heavens).
青 = Sei. Blue, green, nature’s color.
龍 = Ryū. Dragon.


Seisan セーサン 十三・十三手・征参・正整
Earliest reference 1867. Adapted by Arakaki Seisho. Possibly adopted from the Fujian White Crane form Thirteen Ornaments, spelled 十三步摇. This is significant because the 1867 Okinawan performance of Seisan uses the kanji 十三步. Japanese does not contain the Chinese character 摇, thus 十三步摇 became 十三步. Arakaki Seisho demonstrated this kata during the Sanryuchu demonstration at the Uchaya-udunato in 1867. Seisan is mentioned in a Ryūkyū Shimpo article in 1911 where Funakoshi Gichin was reported to have performed it during the Shihan Gakko’s karate demonstration. This kata, being one of the oldest, is included within the curriculum of the greatest number of karate styles. Evidently, Itosu Ankō did not pass on a Seisan kata. Kyan Chotoku’s Seisan comes from Matsumura Sōkon. Funakoshi Sensei and Mabuni Sensei originally called their versions Seishan to differentiate it from Arakaki’s older Seisan. Uechi-ryū’s Seisan derives from Uechi Kanbun’s form that he learned while studying with Zhou Zi He (Shu Shi Wa) in the Fujian province.
十三 = Seisan. Fujianese: Thirteen. 十三手 = Thirteen Hands. 十三歩 = Thirteen Steps.
十三步摇 = Chinese: Thirteen Ornaments. Thirteen Shaking Steps.
步摇 = Bùyáo. Chinese: A dangling ornament that was worn by women.

Arakaki Seisan 新垣のセ-サン Earliest reference 1867.
Matsumura Seisan 松村のセ-サン・松村の正整
Higaonna Kanryō Seisan 東恩納寛量のセーサン This kata is practiced in Gōjū, and Shitō-ryū.
Higaonna Kanyu Seisan 東恩納寛裕のセーサン This kata is practiced in Tōon-ryū.
Iha Seisan 伊波氏十三・伊波のセーサン Earliest reference 1934.
Kyan Seisan 喜屋武氏十三歩・喜屋武のセ-サン Earliest reference 1934.
Oshiro Seisan 大城のセ-サン


Seishun セーシュン
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Seiyunchin・Seienchin セイユンチン・セイエンチン 制引戦・征遠鎮
制引戦 = Control, Pull, Fight. 征遠鎮 = Conquer, Subdue from Afar.
Earliest reference 1926. Creator: Possibly Higaonna Kanryō or Miyagi Chōjun.
According to Gōjū-ryū tradition, Higaonna Sensei brought back Seiyunchin from traveling in China after learning the kata from Rū Rū Kou, or Wai Xinxian. However, seeing as though Tōon-ryū does not practice this kata, but also has a legitimate Higaonna lineage, it is possible that Miyagi Chōjun created this kata, or learned it independently while traveling in China. Shitō-ryū stylists refer to this kata as Seienchin. This kata is practiced in Gōjū-ryū and Shitō-ryū.
制 = Zhì. Chinese: System, control, regulate.
制 = Sei. Japanese: System, law, rule, regulation, control, suppression, restraint.
引 = Yǐn. Chinese: Draw (e.g. a bow), pull, extend, lengthen, lead, guide.
引 = In. Japanese: Pull, tug, jerk, to draw back.
戦 = Chin. War, battle.
征 = Sei. Conquer, subjugate, attack the rebellious.
遠 = En. Far, distant.
鎮 = Chin. Press down, to calm, subdue, suppress, guard, quell.


Sesoko no KonShisuku nu Kun 瀬底の棍(シスクヌクン)
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
瀬底 = Sesoko, Shisuku.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Shihohai 四歩拝 Four-direction Salutation. Paying Respect in Four-directions.
This kata is practiced in Chito-ryū.
四 = Shi. Four.
歩 = Ho. Step, stride. Counter for steps.
拝 = Hai. Bowing one’s head (in respect or worship). Worship.


Shiho Kosokun 四方公相君 Kushanku in Every-direction. Kushanku in Four Directions.
Earliest reference 1938. Creators: Itosu Ankō and Mabuni Kenwa.
四方 = Shiho. All directions. The four cardinal directions, north, east, south, and west.
公相君 = Kosokun, Kushanku. Noble Appearance, an honorific title, not his name.


Shiho Uke 四方受け Every-direction Defense.
This kata is practiced in Tōon-ryū.
四方 = Shiho. All directions. The four cardinal directions, north, east, south and west.
受け = Uke. Defense, receiver of technique. Accept.


Shikiyanaka no KonShichiyanaka nu Kun 喜屋仲の棍(シチャナカヌクン)
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
喜屋 = Shikiyanaka, Shichiyanaka.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Shimpa・Shinpa シンパー 心破・新破・侵破
Earliest reference 1956. Creators: Mabuni Kenwa and Konishi Yasuhiro. Mabuni Kenwa and Konishi Yasuhiro cooperatively created this kata after an inspiring meeting they had with Uechi Kanbun. This kata incorporates defensive movements that Mabuni Sensei and Konishi Sensei wanted to further explore. It seems they were fascinated by Uechi Sensei’s unique methods of attack and defense.
心 = Shin. Heart, mind, intention, center, core.
新 = Shin. New.
侵 = Shin. To invade, raid, trespass, encroach, approach.
破 = Ha. To break, split or cleave, get rid of, destroy, to defeat.


Shinbaru no SaiShinbaru nu Sai 千原の釵(シンバルヌサイ)
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. Creator: Matayoshi Shinko.
千原 = Shinbaru. This is the neighborhood in Chatan, Okinawa where Matayoshi Shinko was from.
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Shinsei 新生 Rebirth.  New Life.
Creator: Mabuni Kenwa.
新生 = Rebirth, new birth, nascent.
新 = Shin. New.
生 = Sei. Life, living.


Shirataro no KonShiratara nu Kun 白太郎の棍(シラタラーヌクン)
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
白太郎 = Shirataro, Shiratara.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Shirotaru no KonShirataru nu Kun 白樽の棍(シラタルヌクン)
Earliest reference 1930. Creator: Chinen Sanda. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
白樽 = Shirotaru, Shirataru.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Shisōchin シソーチン 士壮鎮・師壮鎮・四向戦
Possibly referenced as ちしゃうきん (四向战) in 1867. If this is the case, Arakaki Seisho demonstrated this kata during the Sanryuchu demonstration at the Uchaya-udun in 1867. This kata is most commonly practiced in Gōjū-ryū, and Shitō-ryū.
士 = Shì. Chinese: Member of the ministerial class.
士 = Shi. Japanese: Gentleman, samurai.
師 = Shī. Chinese. Shi. Japanese: Teacher, master, expert.
壮 = Zhuàng. Chinese: Strengthen, vibrancy, strength, bravery.
壮 = Sō. Japanese: Vibrancy, strength, bravery.
鎮 = Zhèn. Chinese: To press down, to calm, to subdue, to suppress, to guard, to quell.
鎮 = Chin. Japanese: Tranquilize. A weight. Temple supervisor, town (of China).
四 = Sì. Chinese: Four. Shi. Japanese: Four.
向 = Towards, to face, to turn towards, direction, to support.
戦 = Chin. Okinawan: War, battle.
战 = Zhàn. Chinese: War, Battle.


Shoshinsha no KataShoshin no Kata 初心者の型・初心の型 Beginner’s Form.
Created in 1980 by Ashihara Hideyuki.
These kata are practiced by the Ashihara style.
初心者 = Soshinsha. Beginner.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.

Shoshin no Kata Sono Ichi 初心の型(一)
Shoshin no Kata Sono Ni 初心の型(二)
Shoshin no Kata Sono San 初心の型(三)


Shujaku 朱雀 Vermillion Bird.
The Vermillion Bird is one of the Four Symbols of the Seven Mansions Constellations, Shujaku is said to rule over the Southern Heavens. Shujaku was introduced in 1990 by its creator Yagi Meitoku. This kata is practiced in Meibukan Gōjū-ryū.
朱雀 = Shujaku, Suzaku. Vermillion Bird (said to rule over the southern heavens).
朱 = Shu. Vermilion, cinnabar, scarlet, red, bloody.
雀 = Jaku, saku. Sparrow.


Shushi nu Kun・Shushi no Kon・Shuji no Kon 周氏の棍 シューシシュージ
Earliest reference 1930. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. Although he did not create this kata, Maezato Taira Shinken demonstrates it in Nakasone Genwa’s Karatedo Taikan, 1938.
周氏 = Shushi, Shuji. Master Shū, Mr. Shū, or Shū Clan.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.

Shushi no Kon Dai 周氏の棍(大)(シューシヌクン・大)
Shushi no Kon Sho 周氏の棍(小)(シューシヌクン・小)


Sōchin ソーチン 壮鎮 Tranquil Strength.
Earliest reference 1918. Creator: Arakaki Seisho.
The Shotokan kata with the same name was created by Funakoshi Gigo, and the earliest reference for this version is 1943. Arakaki Sōchin is practiced in Shorin-ryū and Shito-ryū, while Shotokan practice the Funakoshi Gigo’s creation by the same name. The Shōrinjiryū Kenkōkan practice a Sōchin kata supposedly from Kudaka Island.
壮 = Sō. Vibrancy, strength, and bravery.
鎮 = Chin. Tranquilize. Ancient peace-preservation centers.

Arakaki Sōchin 新垣ソ-チン Earliest reference 1938.
Motobu Sōchin 本部ソ-チン Earliest reference 1918.
Funakoshi Sōchin 壮鎮 Earliest reference 1943.


Soeishi no Kon・Soeishi nu Kun 添石の棍 Soeishi’s Staff.
Creator: Soeishi Yoshiyuki. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
添石 = Soeishi. Soeishi was an Okinawan Bōjutsu master.
の = No, Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Sokugi Taikyoku 足技大極
Creator: Oyama Masutatsu.
This kata follows the embusen of Funakoshi Gichin’s Taikyoku kata, but with kicking techniques instead of arm techniques. This kata is practiced by the Kyokushinkai.
足技 = Sokugi, ashiwaza. Foot technique, footwork.
足 = Soku. Counter for pairs (of socks, shoes, etc.).
技 = Gi, waza. Technique, art, skill.
大極 = Taikyoku. Ultimate Conclusion. Supreme Goal.
大 = Tai. Large, big.
極 = Kyoku. Climax, extreme, culmination, zenith.

Sokugi Taikyoku Sono Ichi 足技大極(一)
Sokugi Taikyoku Sono Ni 足技大極(二)
Sokugi Taikyoku Sono San 足技大極(三)


Sunakake no KonChikin Sunakachi nu Kun 砂掛けの棍・津堅砂掛けの棍(チキンシナカチヌクン)
Sand Flipping Staff. Sand Scooping Staff.

Earliest reference 1938. This is a Uēku and Bōjutsu kobudō kata. According to Maezato Taira Shinken, there were already two versions of this kata by 1938. Raking sand into the opponent’s eyes, the critical movement within the kata is derived from using the uēku, oar. The Oar kata is usually referred to as Chikin Sunakachi nu Uēku-dī.
砂掛け = Sunakake. The sand scooping technique used to distract one’s opponent by throwing sand into their eyes.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Sunsu スンス Shimabuku’s nickname, “Sun nu Su.”
Created around the late 1940’s. Creator: Shimabuku Tatsuo.
Sun nu su was supposedly Shimabuku’s nickname.
This kata is practiced in Isshin-ryū.


Sushiho スーシーホー 五十四歩 Fifty-four Steps.
Creator: Oyama Masutatsu. Sushiho is Oyama Masutatsu’s reimagining of the kata Gojūshiho within the framework of Kyokushin principles. This kata is practiced by the Kyokushinkai.
五十四歩 = Fifty-four Steps.


Suparinpei・SuparimpeiSuparinpai 壱百零八・壱百零八手
スーパーリンペイ・スーパーリンパイ 108・108 Hands.
Earliest reference 1867.
 Chikudundon Tomimura demonstrated this kata during the Sanryuchu demonstration at the Uchaya-udunato in 1867. The number 108 is considered sacred by the Dharmic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In some Buddhist temples, at the end of the year, there is a tradition of ringing a bell 108 times to complete the year and welcome us into the new year. Each ring corresponds to one of 108 temptations a person must extinguish to achieve nirvana. This kata is one of the oldest and longest kata practiced today and is most commonly practiced in Gōjū-ryū, and Shitō-ryū. This kata is also known as Pechurin.
壱百零八 = 108. 壱百零八手 = 108 Hands.


Taikyoku 大極 Ultimate Conclusion. Supreme Goal.
Earliest reference 1930’s. Creator: Funakoshi Gichin.
“In karate, there is no advantage in the first attack. It is for these reasons that I have given them the name Taikyoku” – Funakoshi Gichin. These kata are practiced by the Shotokai and some Shotokan styles.
大極 = Taikyoku. Ultimate Conclusion. Supreme Goal.
大 = Tai. Large, big.
極 = Kyoku. Climax, extreme, culmination, zenith.

Taikyoku Shodan 大極初段
Taikyoku Nidan 大極二段
Taikyoku Sandan 大極三段


Tai no Kata 体位の型 Form of Physical Standard.
Creator: Shukumine Seiken.
This kata is practiced in Genseiryū.
体位 = Tai. Physical standard.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Taira no Nunchaku See Maezato no Nunchaku.


Taisabaki 体捌・體捌・体捌き Body Movement.
Earliest reference 1956. Creator: Konishi Yasuhiro.
Taisabaki is a term that usually relates to whole body movement or repositioning.
These kata are practiced in Shindō Jinen-ryū.
体捌き = Taisabaki. Defensive body movement.
体 = Tai. Body, physique, posture, shape, form.
捌く = Sabaku. To handle well, to process.


Tawada no Sai・Tāda nu Sai 多和田の釵(ターダヌサイ)Tawada’s Sai.
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata. Tawada was a royal bodyguard to King Shō Tai of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, who was famous for his Saijutsu, and Bōjutsu.
多和田 = Tawada. A royal bodyguard to King Shō Tai of the Ryūkyū Kingdom.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Tekki 鉄騎 Iron Rider. Iron Knight. Mounted Soldier.
Earliest reference 1935. This kata comes from Funakoshi’s versions of Naihanchi that he learned from Azato Ankō and Itosu Ankō. 
Funakoshi Sensei practiced diligently for ten years to learn these kata, he spent more than three years studying each one. Funakoshi Sensei updated the kata name from Naihanchi to Kibadachi, to eventually Tekki. “The name refers to the distinctive feature of these kata, their horse riding stance.” – Funakoshi Gichin. These kata are practiced in Shotokan.
鉄 = Tetsu. Iron. 
騎 = Ki. Counter for equestrians (for riders).

Tekki Shodan 鉄騎初段
Tekki Nidan 鉄騎二段
Tekki Sandan 鉄騎三段


Tenchi 天地 Heaven and Earth. The Universe. Nature.
Released in 1974. Creator: Yagi Meitoku.
This kata is practiced in Meibukan Gōjū-ryū.
天地 = Tenchi. Heaven and earth, the universe, nature, realm, world.
天 = Ten. Heavens, sky.
地 = Chi. Earth, ground, land, soil, place, territory.


Ten’i Happō 転位八方 Transposition to All Sides.
Eight-sided Transfer. This kata practiced in the Tōon-ryū.
転位 = Ten’i. Transposition, dislocation, rearrangement.
八方 = Happō. All Sides. The four cardinal directions.


Ten-i no Kata 天位の型 Form of the Imperial Throne.
Earliest reference 1953. Creator: Shukumine Seiken.
This kata is practiced in Genseiryū.
天位 = Teni. Imperial throne.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Tenkan 天巻 Heaven Volume (of book).
Creator: Kōjo Kahō. This kata is practiced in Kōjo-ryū.
天 = Ten. Sky, heaven.
巻 = Kan. Volume (of book).


Ten no Kata 天之型 Form of the Heavens. The Kata of the Universe.
Earliest reference 1939. Creator: Funakoshi Gichin & Gigo.
Ten no kata consists of two complementary parts, front (omote) and back (ura). These kata are practiced by the Shoto-kai.
Ten no Kata Omote is for individual training.
Ten no Kata Ura is for partner training.
天 = Ten. Heavens, sky, imperial.
之 = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements in martial arts.
表 = Omote.  Surface, front, or exterior.
裏 = Ura.  Undersurface, opposite, or reverse side.  Hidden from view.

Ten no Kata Omote 天之型表 Visible Form of the Heavens.
Ten no Kata Ura 天之型裏 Hidden Form of the Heavens.


Tenryu no KonTenryu nu Kun 天竜の棍 Heavenly Dragon’s Staff.
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
天竜 = Tenryu.  Heavenly Dragon. Deva and naga.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Tenshin 転身 Revolving Body. Shifting Body.
This is a kata practiced in Chito-ryū.
転 = Ten. Revolve, turn around, change.
身 = Shin. Body, oneself, one’s position.


Tenshō テンショウ 轉掌・転掌 Shifting Palms・Revolving Palms.
Earliest reference 1933. Creator: 
Miyagi Chōjun.
Miyagi Sensei first writes about Tenshō in his 1933 Karate-do Gaisetsu. This astounding kata was created by Miyagi Sensei with inspiration from the six open hand techniques called Rokkishu illustrated within the Bubishi. Tenshō combines dynamic breathing with sequenced open-hand techniques. According to Gōjū-ryū tradition, Miyagi Sensei introduced Tenshō to be a companion kata for Sanchin. “Among the karate formal exercises, none is more important than Tenshō.” – Oyama Masutatsu.
轉掌 = Shifting Palms.
転掌 = Revolving Palms.

轉 = Ten. Shift, move, turn.
転 = Ten. Revolve, turn around, change.
掌 = Shō. Palm (of one’s hand).


Teruya no Kon 照屋の棍 See Sakugawa no Kon.
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. Teruya was Sakugawa Kanga’s original family name before it was changed to Sakugawa.
照屋 = Teruya. The legendary master of Okinawa Dī, Sakugawa Kanga’s original family name.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Tokumine no Kon・Tukunmī nu Kun 徳嶺の棍(トゥクンミーヌクン)
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. Creator: Tokumine Pechin Seifu.
徳嶺 = Tokumine. Tokumine Pechin was a famous Okinawan karate and kobudō master.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Tsuken BoChikin Bo 津堅棒・チキンボー
Earliest reference 1938. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata. According to Maezato Taira Shinken, there were already three versions of this kata by 1938. Tsuken Uēkata Seisoku was a famous Bōjutsu practitioner from Shuri’s Tōbaru Village.


Tsuki no Kata 突きの型 Punching Form. Form of Thrusts.
Creator: Tada Seigo.
This is a Seigokan Goju-ryū kata, Kihon Tsuki no Kata.
This kata has also been adopted into the Kyokushin-kaikan style.
突き = Tsuki. Thrust, or to punch.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Ufuchiku no SaiUfuchiku nu Sai 大筑の釵(ウフチクヌサイ)
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata.
大筑 = Ufuchiku. Ufuchiku was a famous Okinawan kobudō master.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Ufugusuku nu KunOshiro no Kon 大城の棍 Ufugusuku’s Staff
Creator: Ōshiro Chōjo. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
Oshiro is the Japanese pronunciation of the original Okinawan name Ufugusuku.
大城 = Ufugusuku. Ufugusuku was a famous Okinawan kobudō master.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Ufukun ウフクン
Ufukun is Motobu-ryū’s version of Kōsōkun-Dai.
This kata is practiced in Motobu-ryū.
ウフ = Ufu. This is the Okinawan pronunciation for great, or big. 大 = Dai in Japanese.
クン = Kun. An abbreviation for Kushanku, like the kun in Koshokun.


Uke no Kata 受けの型 Form of Defense.
Creator: Tada Seigo.
This kata is practiced in Seigokan Gōjū-ryū.
受け = Uke. To block, to receive, defend.
の = No. Of. Indicates possessive.
型 = Kata. A standard form of movements, postures, etc. in martial arts.


Unuibu ウヌイブー
Earliest reference 1934. A kata listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Unsū・Unshu ウンスー・ウンシュウ 雲手 Cloud Hands.
The earliest reference to Unsu is 1914, to Shotokan Unsu is 1956. Creator: Arakaki Seisho.
Arakaki Seisho created this fascinating form. Some Shōrin-ryū styles, namely Kyudōkan, practice Aragaki Unsu, but it is unlike the Shitō-ryū and Shotokan interpretations. Shotokan Unsu was adapted from Mabuni’s Kenwa’s Unshu. In 1945, Funakoshi Gichin Sensei personally took Obata Isao, and Nakayama Masatoshi to visit his dear friend Mabuni Sensei so they could formalize a unified method of karate. During this time, they further researched many kata from Mabuni Sensei and Sakagami Ryusho. The result of that visit is thought to be the modern Shotokan version of Unsu. Funakoshi Sensei was well aware of Aragaki Seisho’s original Unsu from at least 1922 since it’s on his recommended kata list from his book Tōdi: Ryūkyū Kenpo.

雲 = Un. Cloud.
手 = Shu, su. Hand. Means, trick, move, technique.


Urashi nu Kun・Urasoe no Kon 浦添の棍(ウラシーヌクン)
This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
浦添 = Urasoe, Urashii. Urasoe or Urashii is a city located in Okinawa Prefecture.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


Useishi 五十四・五十四歩 See Gojūshiho.


Wanchin ワンチン
Created by Shimabukuro Zenryō in 1962.
This kata is practiced in Shōrin-ryū Seibukan. This kata’s name represents the combined kanji for Wansu and Chinto.


WandauWandō ワンダウ・ワンドウ
Earliest reference 1911. A kata also listed in Morinobu Itoman’s Tōdi Jutsu no Kenkyu, 1934.


Wandaun ワンダウン 腕打雲 Cloud of Arm Strikes.
腕 = Wàn. Chinese: Wrist. Wan. Japanese: Arm, or skill.
打 = Dǎ. Chinese: Da. Japanese. To beat, to strike, to hit, to break, to fight.
雲 = Yún. Chinese: Cloud. Un. Japanese.


Wankan・Wankuwan ワンカン・ワンクワン 王冠・腕貫 Crown・Piercing Arm.
Earliest reference 1922 as Wankuwan.
This kata is practiced in Matsubayashi-ryu, Kingai-ryū, Shitō-ryū, Gohakukai, among others. Wankan is sometimes known as Matsukaze in some Shito-ryū traditions. The Shotokan kata with the same name was supposedly created by Funakoshi Gigo. The earliest reference to the Shotokan version is 1943.
王冠 = Crown.
王 = Wan. King. This is the Okinawan pronunciation of the Chinese word wáng.
冠 = Kuwan. Cap, or Crown. This is the Okinawan pronunciation of the Chinese word guān.
冠 = Kan. Crown, best, peerless. This is the Japanese pronunciation.

腕貫 = Piercing Arm.


Wanshū ワンシュウ 汪輯・汪楫・腕秀
Earliest reference 1911. 
Wanshū became the popular Okinawan pronunciation for Wāng Jí, an envoy from China who was sent to Okinawa in 1683. He was an official contact between the Chinese and Okinawan government, and it is said that he was a skilled martial artist. Wāng Jí shared and exchanged some Chuan-fa techniques with some Okinawan officials. One of the rumored techniques was a spectacular throw where he then jumped on his opponent. In any event, this kata is said to have been created to honor Wāng Jí. According to Motobu Chōki in his book Okinawa Kenpo Tōdi Jutsu Kumite Hen, by 1879 there were already two versions of Wanshū that were only practiced in Tomari village. Mabuni Kenwa’s version of Wanshū traces its lineage through Itosu Ankō. Funakoshi Gichin’s version seems to have come from Tomari village, from when he was teaching at Tomari Elementary School. Funakoshi Sensei does not mention whom he learned the kata from, however, and would later change the name of his version from Wanshū to Empi.
汪輯 = Wāng Jí. An official Chinese government envoy who was on Okinawa in 1683.
He is known as Ōshū 汪楫(おうしゅう) in modern Japanese.
汪 = Wāng. Surname, meaning vast, expansive, or deep.
輯 = Jí. A first name, meaning gather up or collect.
腕秀 = Refined Wrist. Preeminent Skill.
腕 = Wàn. Chinese: Wrist. 腕 = Wan. Japanese: Arm, or skill.
秀 = Xiù. Chinese: Refined, elegant, graceful. 秀 = Shū. Japanese: Preeminence, excel.


Wansū ワンスウ・ワンスー
Wansu was an older Ryūkyūan pronunciation for the title of 王子, or “prince.” Wansu may also be a variation of the pronunciation for Wāng Jí, usually called Wanshū on Okinawa. Wāng Jí demonstrated his art while on Okinawa in 1683, and the kata is named in honor of him. Some styles use the kata names Wanshū and Wansu interchangeably. In Shōrin-ryū Seibukan, Shimabukuro Zenryō learned this kata from Kyan Chotoku, who in turn, learned it from Maeda Pechin. Isshin-ryū, also traces its lineage through Kyan Sensei, by way of Shimabuku Tatsuo. The kata practiced in the Gohakukai, however, traces its Wansu lineage through Tokashiki Iken, a student of Nakasone Seiyu, who learned the kata from Iha Kodatsu. Wansu is practiced in Shōrin-ryū Seibukan, Isshin-ryū, and the Gohakukai.
王子(わんす)= Prince. Wansu was an older Ryūkyūan pronunciation for “Prince.”

Wansu Dai ワンスー(大)This kata is practiced by the Gohakukai.
Wansu Sho ワンスー(小)This kata is practiced by the Gohakukai.


Yaka no Sai・Yakā nu Sai 屋嘉阿の釵(ヤカーヌサイ)
This is a Saijutsu kobudō kata.
屋嘉阿 = Yakā. Yakā is the Okinawan word for oceanview or beachfront house.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
釵 = Sai. Okinawan: A metal pronged kobudō weapon.


Yantsu・Yansu・Ansan 安三 ヤンツー・ヤンスー・アンサン
安三 = Content or Calm Three.
Earliest reference late 1970’s. Creator: Possibly Kuniba Shōgō.

This elegant kata was originally called Ansan by Motobu-ha/Kuniba-ha ryū. Later, it would be adopted by the Kyokushinkai where it is now known as Yantsu or Yansu. This kata is practiced by Motobu-ha/Kuniba-ha Shitō-ryū, and also by the Kyokushinkai.
安 = An. Relax, quiet, rested, content, peaceful.
三 = San. Three.

Yantsu


Yaraguwa nu Tonfa 屋良小のトンファー(ヤラーグァーヌトンファー)
This is a Tonfajutsu kobudō kata.
屋良 = Yaraguwa. The legendary master of Okinawa Dī, Chatan Yara was sometimes called Yaraguwa.
小(グァ)= Guwa. Okinawan: Small.
の = Nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
トンファー = Tonfa. Okinawan: A baton like kobudō weapon.


Yonegawa no KonYonigawa nu Kun 米川の棍(ユニガーヌクン)
Earliest reference 1938. Creator: Chinen Masanrah. This is a Bōjutsu kobudō kata.
米川 = Yonegawa. This is a neighborhood of Shuri, Okinawa.
の = No, nu. Of. Indicates possessive.
棍 = Kun. Okinawan: Staff. Japanese: Kon.


© 2014 Alan Godshaw

5 thoughts

  1. Thank you very much for this resource! I have, however, two questions which could be of interest: you mention the Tsuken Bo form 津堅棒, and Tsuken 津堅 is the name of a small island to the east of Okinawa. Does Tsuken Bo perhaps mean Tsuken Island Staff?

    You also mention Sunakake no Kon, a.k.a. Tsuken Sunakake no Kon 津堅砂掛の棍, suggesting Tsuken Sunakake is the personal name of an Okinawan Bojutsu master. However, as I mentioned above, Tsuken is the name of an island, and “sunakake” 砂掛 is the name of a staff technique. In his book Bo: Karate Weapon of Self-Defense, Fumio Demura mentions a technique called Sukuiage Sunakake, which I think is written 掬上砂掛, and which he translates as Sweeping (see pages 96-97).

    Sukuiage 掬い上げ means “scoop up”, “dip up”; suna 砂 means “sand”; and kake 掛け means “splash”, “sprinkle”, but also “attack”. Demura explains that “The early Bojutsu fighter used this technique to blind and distract his adversary. As the Bo rotated, he would sweep the lower end of the staff forward, down along the ground, then swiftly upward, scooping sand and dirt into the face and eyes of his opponent.” (p. 96) This technique was perhaps originally intended for the Eku エーク , i.e. the Okinawan oar.

    So Sukuiage Sunakake means something like “Scooped Up Sand Splash / Attack” and Tsuken Sunakake no Kon means perhaps Tsuken Island Sand Splashing Staff. Does this make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Please look for other mistakes. I am very grateful for your knowledge. I will research more the Tsuken Island connection before I change this, as most researchers have given Tsuken Uēkata Seisoku credit for introducing this kata, and he was from Shuri. In any case, I could still be wrong, so thank you very much for your help.

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