The basic katas (Kihon Kata)
The basic katas used in the Ken-Shin-Kan Goju-ryu style, were created by Master Seiichi Akamine, to introduce the nascent from the beginning, in the basic techniques of our style. On the other hand, each one of the movements of this kata has an application basis established by Sensei Akamine, in addition other applications arising from this base can be extended by up to ten different variations of applications per technique. The majority of these applications were extracted by Sensei Akamine, from the advanced katas of Goju-ryu and were complemented with projection techniques to finish up with the adversary on the floor with a strike or using a locking technique pinning him down.
The basic katas are five and are very simple in their execution. They are constituted by five movements, and the movements are limited to one step to the front; one step back, or a diagonal step. Once the five movements have been executed with the right side, one returns to Heiko-dachi position (feet parallel), then the left side is executed, returning to the back, to the bow position, Musubi-dashi (Heels together, toes pointing out 45 degrees). The katas must be totally symmetrical, and they always return to the point where they started from.
Reishiki (Bow or greeting ceremony to begin basic katas)
1. Kata Uke-godan
The Uke-godan kata, demonstrates the five basic blocks of the Ken-Shin-Kan Goju-ryu style and these are characterised by conducting the strikes of the adversary instead of diverting them. And its bunkais exhibits the foundations of defence counter-attack that characterises this style.
2. Kata Empi-Godan
The Empi-godan kata, demonstrates the use of five elbow strikes, that are characterised by being intercepting strikes. The bunkais of this kata demonstrates the different trajectories of the strikes, with retentions and sweeping take down techniques.
3. Kata Tegatana-godan
The Tegatana-godan kata, demonstrates the use of five strikes with the edge of hand, and conserves the oldest expressions of karate. The bunkais demonstrate the applications of these strikes, with retentions, sweeping and kicks.
The Teisho-godan kata demonstrates the use of five strikes with the palm of the hand. These blows help us to remember the original teachings of Chinese Kempo. The bunkais for this kata are numerous and they show us the different variations in applications combined with sweeping, retention and locking techniques, using leverage.
The Tsuki-godan kata demonstrates the use of five fists strikes, utilizing the knuckles, at the base of the fingers and the middle knuckles of the fingers. The bunkais, applications combined the strikes with kicks and sweeps take downs.
Reishiki (Bow ceremony when finishing the basic katas)
The advanced katas (Koryu Kata)
It means “to attack and destroy” or “destroy and demolish”. They were created by Chojun Miyagi in 1940, to teach Karate to children. Its structure reflects a great influence of the Okinawan style denominated Shuri-te and its movements are very simple. The first kata is called Gekissai-Ichi or Shodan and the second Gekissai-Ni or Nidan
It means “to attack and destroy” or “destroy and demolish”. They were created by Chojun Miyagi in 1940, to teach Karate to children. Its structure reflects a great influence of the Okinawan style denominated Shuri-te and its movements are very simple. The first kata is called Gekissai-Ichi or Shodan and the second Gekissai-Ni or Nidan.
This kata was incorporated by Sensei Akamine, from the Okinawan style
Uechi-ryu to the Ken-Shin-Kan Goju-ryu it means “preparation to counteract the attacks” In the Uechi style, denominated Kanshiwa.
It means “destroy and tear” or “to break in pieces” and is of Chinese origin. It is believed that the teacher Chojun Miyagi introduced it in the Goju-ryu style, hence contradicting the theory that some text expose, in relation that it was Master Kanryo Higoana who would have brought it from China.
Also called Shisouchin or Shisounchin. It means “battle in four directions” It is of Chinese origin and it was taught to Kanryo Higoana by Master Ryu Ryu-Ko. It is believed that it was Chojun Miyagi favourite kata in his old age, since his body assimilated it very well.
Also called Sanseiru or Sanseryu. It means “36 hands” or “36 techniques” Also known as the kata of the dragon. It is focuses towards a combat in four directions.
This kata was brought from China by Kanryo Higoana; it means “three Battles (in the mind, in the body, and in the spirit) and, “cleaning of the three centres” (mind, heart and stomach). Also it is translated as “three attacks or strikes” It is the Goju-ryu fundamental kata.
This kata was created by Master Chojun Miyagi, based on the structure of the Sanchin kata and on the movements of the kata Hakutsuru, which was taught to him by his great Chinese friend, Gokenki (1886 -1940). From this kata Miyagi extracted the movements with the palms and the wrists, simulating the White Crane movements of the wings as well as of the head when attacking an adversary with its beak. With circular and smooth movements this form unfolds a great projection of energy, accompanied with deep breathing reminding us that a powerful spirit exists within us.
Also called Seinchin; Seyonchin; Seiyonchin, It is translated like “calm in the storm” It is a very old kata, and its origin can probably be found in the Hsing-I (Internal boxing system). All the movements are hand techniques, without kicks, which is very particular. It is of the Tiger kata series. Other denominations with which this kata is known are: Seiunchin, which means “eyes of the sky” and Seiyunchin which translates to “to throw and to fight system”, also it is interpreted as “marching far and calmly”.
It is translated as “18 hands or 18 techniques” of Chinese origin. It contains many hidden techniques, designed to confuse the adversary in combat. It is said that it is impossible to comprehend the significance of certain techniques when watching the execution. It is the continuation of the Seisan kata.
Also called Rufua. This kata was incorporated by Sensei Akamine to the Ken-Shin-Kan Goju-ryu. It represents the movements of the serpent and expresses the purest movements of Chinese boxing. In Okinawa the Bugeikan School practices this kata of Master Seitoku Higa.
Also called Sesan. Literally translated, “Three hands” or “Thirteen steps”. It contains 8 defensive techniques and 5 offensives. The Seisan is an extremely important kata in Goju-ryu, and one should dedicate many hours to its practice. Two version of this kata exist, one by the Goju-ryu style and the other by the Uechi style. The Ken-Shin-Kan School uses the second version, because Master Akamine found it more effective.
Also called Kururunfua. Meaning “always stop, suddenly tearing”, another translation is “hand without mercy” It is a very advanced kata brought from China. It is characterised by the tai-sabaki techniques (evasive manoeuvres) and very fast movements of arms.
Also called Suparinpei, Supainpe, Pachurin and Suparinpa. And its meaning is “108 Techniques” In 1600AD there was a group of soldier heroes that travelled throughout the country, robbing the rich feudal gentlemen and giving it to the poor. It is said that they were 108 men and were called 108 hands (a Chinese version of Robin Hood). They were finally defeated and were scattered amongst anonymity. It could have been one of these men that taught the kata to Sensei Ryu Ryu-Ko, which makes us think that he may have been connected with some of the members of that group. Another explanation could be that some Chinese used this name in honour of these men, who met to take oath and to fight against injustice. And perhaps, it looked to express the 108 mortal passions, by means of the practice of a martial art and to have a kata as a central axis with 108 movements.
This kata is also known with the name of Kusanku of Takemura. His creator, Kusanku, was a Chinese military attaché in Okinawa that soon became nationalised. He was also an expert in Chinese Boxing and decided to teach his favourite kata to the Okinawan. Later on the Okinawan teachers developed several versions of this kata according to their individual style. Takemura was one of the favourite disciples of Kusanku and he made himself well known in the form in which he performed the Kusanku kata. It is the most advanced kata in the Ken-Shin-Kan and according to Sensei Akamine, it contains the most important fundamentals of his school.
By Roberto Fernandez de la Reguera S.