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Kata (形), meaning "form," is a prescribed series of techniques against imaginary attackers. Each movement represents a self-defense technique against a potential opponent. These self-defense "applications" are traditionally called bunkai (analysis). All kata have an embusen, the path of the kata. The movements of a given kata must always be performed in the correct order, and the kata must always start and finish on the same spot. 

Kata is one of the earliest forms of karate training and an effective measure to pass down teachings. Kata can be quite diverse. Some are very strong and sturdy in nature, while others require great speed and agility. Certain techniques are performed slowly and powerfully, while others are executed more sharply and quickly. By practicing kata, the students learn rhythm and timing, expansion and contraction of the body's muscles, and proper breathing. Above all, an individual's performance in kata must exude confidence while maintaining the kata's humble nature. Students must always remember to not do kata on autopilot, but act as if the attacker is truly right there in front of them. Kata begins with a bow and only after the final bow is the kata truly finished.

 Here are the katas in Shotokan, practiced in our dojo. Karatekas must be able to execute all previously learned katas.

White Belt

KyuKataMeaningNumber of Moves
8thTaikyoku ShodanFirst Cause, First Level20
7thHeian ShodanPeaceful Mind, First Level21

Green Belt

6thHeian NidanPeaceful Mind, Second Level26
5thHeian SandanPeaceful Mind, Third Level20
4thHeian YondonPeaceful Mind, Fourth Level27

Brown Belt

3rdHeian GodanPeaceful Mind, Fifth Level23
2ndTekki ShodanIron Horse, First Level29
1stBassai DaiPenetrating the Fortress of an Enemy, Big 42

Black Belt

ShodanKanku DaiTo View the Sky, Big65
EmpiFlying Swallow37
JionTemple Sound47

Student's favorite kata (after Shodan)

HangetsuHalf Moon41
SochinTranquil Force41
MeikyoBright Mirror33
Ji'inTemple Sound35
JitteTen Hands24
Tekki NidanIron Horse, Second Level24
Tekki SandanIron Horse, Third Level36
Bassai ShoPenetrating the Fortress of an Enemy, Small27
Kanku ShoTo View the Sky, Small48
NijushihoTwenty Four Steps34
WankanKing's Crown24
GankakuCrane on a Rock42
ChinteRare Hand32
Gojushiho ShoFifty Four Steps, Small65
Gojushiho DaiFifty Four Steps, Big67
UnsuCloud Hands48