Videos of Karate Techniques, Kata, Bunkai, Oyo & Henka

Shotokan Karate Do

Mawashi Geri

Kata is a Japanese word ( or ) meaning literally "form" referring to a detailed choreographed pattern of movements made to be practised alone, and also within groups and in unison when training, as a way to memorise and perfect the movements being executed.


Kata is often described as a set sequence of karate moves organized into a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents. The kata consists of kicks, punches, sweeps, strikes, blocks, and throws. Body movement in various kata includes stepping, twisting, turning, dropping to the ground, and jumping. In Shotokan, kata is not a performance or a demonstration, but is for the individual karateka to practice full techniques - with every technique potentially a killing blow, while paying particular attention to form and timing (rhythm).


Kata was one person’s way of memorizing certain fighting sequences without the use of a partner, and to remember techniques that had a high rate of success when used in combat. Putting these movements into an organized drill that could be practiced regularly meant that they could not only be remembered more easily, but could also be taught to others. Kata has become more than just an exercise in practicing karate. Kata has become a form of moving meditation that enhances both the mind and body. Learning to fight is not the ethos of karate-do; to karate traditionalists, learning to fight your failings is the true essence of the art, and this can be achieved through austere kata training.


Shotokan Karate is comprised of 26 main katas, each with their own emphasis on fast and slow or controlled and powerful movements. Virtually all of the katas taught today in the Shotokan system have two Kiai points.


Bunkai (分解), literally meaning "analysis" or "disassembly", is a term used in Japanese martial arts referring to process of analysing Kata and extracting fighting techniques from the movements of a "form" (kata). The extracted fighting techniques are called Oyo.


Bunkai is most often, it is translated as “application,” or “the meaning of movements,” and is used as a label for the fighting techniques found in kata. “Bunkai” is actually a verb, and it means “to take apart and analyze,” or put more simply, “analysis.” In the context of kata, this describes the actual physical and mental processes involved in breaking down the kata into smaller pieces and analyzing how the movements should be done, and what they might be used for.


Bunkai is usually performed with a partner or a group of partners which execute predefined attacks, and the student performing the kata responds with defences, counterattacks, or other actions, based on a part of the kata. This allows the student in the middle to understand what the movements in kata are meant to accomplish. It also illustrates how to improve the technique by adjusting distances (Maai), timing, rhythm (Ritsudo) and fluidity (Nagare) in combat properly, in order to adapt and adjust any technique depending on the size of an opponent.

Some kata have another layer of application that is taught using an Oyo Bunkai, an "application of the kata in ways other than the standard bunkai." Different practitioners will learn or discover alternative applications, but the bunkai, like the kata, varies based on the style and the teacher.


Oyo is the application or interpreted moves put into practical use or for a particular fighting situation. Oyo means “practical application,” or “to put to use.” What most people call “bunkai”– the fighting techniques found in kata – is actually “oyo.”


When someone makes personal changes to a kata or its applications, you could call it “Henka.” This word literally means “change” or “variation.” Some people like to use it only in reference to applications of kata, but it can also apply to the movements of kata, themselves.  

Kata Heian Shodan - Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa - 'Peaceful Mind One' -  21 moves 

Kata Heian Nidan - 'Peaceful Mind Two' -  26 moves

Kata Heian Sandan - 'Peaceful Mind Three' - 20 moves

Kata Heian Yondan - 'Peaceful Mind Four' -  27 moves

Kata Heian Godan - 'Peaceful Mind Five' -  23 moves

Kata Tekki Shodan - 'Iron Horse One' - 29 moves

Kata Tekki Nidan - 'Iron Horse Two' - 24 moves

Kata Tekki Sandan - 'Iron Horse Three' - 36 moves

Kata Bassai Dai - 'Penetrating the Fortress Big' - 42 moves

Kata Bassai Sho - 'Penetrating the Fortress Small' - 27 moves

Kata Kanku Dai - 'To Look at the Sky Big' - 65 moves

Kata Kanku Sho - 'To Look at the Sky Small' - 48 moves

Kata Hangetsu - 'Half Moon' - 41 moves

Kata Gojushiho Dai - '54 Steps Big' - 67 moves

Kata Gojushiho Sho - '54 Steps Small' - 65 moves

Kata Enpi - 'Flying Swallow' - 37 moves

Kata Jion - 'Love and Goodness' - 47 moves 

Kata Ji'in - 'Love and Shadow' - 38 moves

Kata Jitte - 'Ten Hands' - 24 moves

Kata Meikyo - 'Mirror of the Soul' - 33 moves

Kata Niju Shi Ho - '24 Steps' - 24 moves

Kata Wankan - 'King and Crown' - 24 moves

Kata Gankaku - 'Crane on the Rock' - 42 moves

Kata Sochin - 'Strength and Calm' - 41 moves 

Kata Chinte - 'Incredible Hands' - 32 moves

Kata Unsu - 'Cloud Hands' - 48 moves

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