Shorin-Ryu Kata

Eighteen kata are practiced in Shorin-Ryu. In the early years students would practice a single kata for 3 years or more before being allowed to learn a new kata. Shorin-Ryu's most advanced kata, Kusanku, was said by Master Nagamine to take at least ten years to master. At three years a piece and 10 for Kusanku it would take a dedicated student 61 years to "perfect" all eighteen kata!  There are also unlimited bunkai (fighting) applications to each individual kata. The following is a short description of the various kata practiced in Shorin-Ryu.

Fukyugata  - "Promotional Kata"
Fukyugata I was created by Master Shoshin Nagamine in 1941 and Fukyugata II by the Master of Goju-Ryu, Chojun Miyagi. These two introductory kata were originally requested to be created by a special committee of all the Okinawan Karate-Do Association organized and summoned by the governor of Okinawa at that time, Mr. Gen Hayakawa. The reason for the inception of these two introductory kata was to allow beginners and school children to approach Karate practice in the most lenient way possible.

Pinan - "Peace"
Pinan I through V were created by Anko Itosu in 1907 and were intended to be practiced by high school students as an integral part of the regular curriculum. When Ginchin Funakoshi introduced karate to mainland Japan he modified the Pinan katas and renamed them "Heian" in Japanese. Additionally the Shotokan system he founded changed Pinan I to Heian II and Pinan II to Heian I.

Naihanchi - "Horse Riding Kata"
The composer of the Naihanchi katas is unknown. The Naihanchi katas were traditionally the first katas a studnet would learn. They are charachterized by powerful lower body movements and all movements are conducted left and right in a straight line from the starting position. In the Shotokan system these katas are known as the Tekki katas. When the Pinan katas were introduced in 1907 they replaced the Naihanchi katas as introductory katas. Students now learn the Fukyugatas, then the Pinans, then the Niahanchis before moving on the to "black belt" katas.

Anaku  - "Ten Gods"
The first of the so called "black-belt katas". It is simple in makeup, but considered advanced because of emphasis on power in the techniques. Most movements are performed in the zenkutsu-dachi stance.

Wankan - "King's Crown"
The composer of this kata is unknown as well, but it has been practiced for a long time primarily in the village of Tomair on Okinawa. This kata combines elegant but powerful movements in both attack and defense sequences.

Another kata created by an unknown master. It too was practiced predominately in Tomari village. The characteristic of this kata is the one-foot stances where the other foot is drawn to deliver a quick snap-kick. It is not as long as some of the other katas (27 movements) but has a powerful, graceful flow to it.

It is believed that this kata was brought to Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy named Wanshu; but later, this kata was reformed and developed by Karate men of Tomari Village. The characteristic of this kata is the execution of hidden fist punches (kakushi-zuki).

The composer of this kata is also unknown. The characteristic of this kata is the execution of knife-hand techniques. This kata was the favorite of Sensei Kyan.

Gojushiho - "54 Steps"
The composer of this kata is also unknown. Goju-Shi-Ho literally means 54 steps. The characteristics of this kata are the spear-hand thrust and the resemblance of a drunken man's movements.

The composer of this kata is unknown. The characteristics of this kata are the execution of a flying kick, and every movement is composed in a diagonally straight line.

This kata was adopted and developed by Okinawan Karate men after it was brought to Okinawa in 1761 by a Chinese Martial Artist named Kusanku. This kata is the most magnificent and advanced kata of all Matsubayashi Ryu Karate. It is also the longest and most difficult kata, requiring painstaking practice for more than a decade for mastery.

In addition to the 18 kata, 7 yakusoku (promise) kumite forms are practiced. These forms were heavily influenced by Choki Motobu.  The AKF also practices Tiktin Kata Ichi, and 4 kick exercises.

The Kata Curriculum of the AKF 

Tiktin Kata Ichi 
Fukyugata Ichi 
Fukyugata Ni 
Pinan Shodan

Pinan Nidan 
Pinan Sandan 
Pinan Yondan 
Pinan Godan

Naihanchi Shodan

Naihanchi Nidan 
Wanshu 1 
Wanshu 2 
Niahanchi Sandan 

Gojushiho 1 
Gojushiho 2

View all eighteen Shorin-Ryu Katas in mpeg format from the Copenhagen Dojo of Denmark (WMKA).

Master Takayoshi Nagamine is currently in production with Tsunami Videos and producing a series of videos that include the katas listed above. Tsunami videos can be located at http://

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