Kata is the heart and foundation of Karate studies. All students should try to perfect their kata form as much as possible. Inherent in the practice of Kata is a focus on basic stances and basic techniques. Kata grows with the practitioner and reveals new aspects as the student matures. In this respect the study of kata is a life-long pursuit. On this page you can find links to demonstrations of official Hombu dojo kata versions. New kata will be uploaded on a regular schedule.
Definition and Purpose of KATA
All the fundamental element of karate-do have been put into formal sets of systematized sequences thoroughly developed, codified, and improved by dedicated karate-do Masters through the course of several centuries. Each set, called a “kata”, is made up of carefully selected elements which all have a profound meaning both intrinsically, and in their individual context. Each posture, movement, or technique, is the most appropriate one under the circumstances as it has been repeatedly tested over hundreds of years in innumerable occasions of real fighting with regards to matters of life and death.
In recent days these principles have been scientifically rationalized by great karate-do Masters such as Doctor Masayoshi Kori Hisataka (Kudaka in Okinawa), who brought his expertise in the field of anatomy, physics and psychology to the study of karate-do principles.
Kata are truly a microcosm of karate-do for they contain all of the essential principles, techniques, and traditions. The salutations with their philosophical implications, the proper postures and stances, body and foot movements, the control and use of breathing, the various techniques, and their timing, the proper mental attitude, the kiai (“spirit yell”), and the search for perfection in the execution of each technique: are all included in the katas.
Until very recently, the kata were kept secret. They were never practiced in public by karate-do Masters. These Masters transmitted their knowledge only to a handful of trusted students through the practice of kata. Kata was then the sole and unique form of karate-do training. This gives a measure of the historical and practical importance of the kata in karate-do studies.
A kata is performed alone against imaginary opponents. Its purpose is to develop every aspect of karate-do: postures, body movements, techniques, and mental attitude. The assiduous practice of kata leads to a deep understanding of the techniques of karate-do. Its develops the ability to use these techniques and to respond almost automatically to any kind of attack in any situation. In addition, kata contains all of the various strategies of fighting.