Kata is a Japanese word meaning 'forms' or 'patterns'. Kata is a set amount of techniques put together into a routine. The kata is performed on your own normally (except in a team competition) and you are defending and attacking imaginary opponents. Katas are vital to Karateka, as they are very old and have been passed down the generations. When you get to a higher grade you break katas down and find the application (Bunkai), which really gives you more of a insight into them. .
There are 27 katas in Shotokan to learn (not including the other Taikyoku katas). Here are the list below, in order.
1) Taikyoku Shodan
2) Heian Shodan
3) Heian Nidan
4) Heian Sandan
5) Heian Yondan
6) Heian Godan
Kihon refers to Basics. Basics are the Kicks, Blocks, Strikes, Punches & Stances in karate. Even though you learn basics when you first join, you need to always practice your basics because these are what makes up your kata, set work and freestyle.
There is always more to learn or perfect when performing basics. No-one can ever be perfect.
Kumite means "sparring".
When you see two boxers fighting in the ring, they are sparring with each other. Each tries to score a point by landing a blow to the target area of their opponent, and the winner will be the one who has the most points by the end of the match.
The sparring that we practice in Shotokan Karate is always controlled. This is what sets us apart from many other sports, and makes us more deadly as opponents. We recognise and understand the power that Shotokan techniques bring, and we accept a responsibility for that power. If a Karateka (student of Karate) enters into a contest or had to defend themselves or someone else in public they must have full control of their punches and kicks as these kind of techniques are very dangerous.
Students of Shotokan Karate must practice extreme control at all times.
There is a famous phrase which Master Funakoshi stated: "There is no first attack in Karate". Your Karate training is designed first and foremost to defend against attacks, and counter if it is needed. The Kumite discussed on this page observes this principle. The attacker always loses.
Kumite in Shotokan refers to any partner work that you do, where there is an attacker and defender. Here are the types of Kumite we do in Shotokan:
1) Kihon Ippon Kumite (Basic sets 1-5)
Kihon Ippon Kumite is the application of fully controlled, formalised one step attacks and defences.There are 5 Kihon sets to learn. All the sets (like basics) are derived from Shotokan Kata. As you advance in your training, with each grade you learn a new set. Each set introduces a variation of attack and defence. Both left-hand and right-hand attacks and defences must be learned, and 5 different attacks Jodan Zuki, Chudan Zuki, Mae Geri, Kekomi Geri, and Mawashi Geri, are involved from Set 3 onwards.
2) Gohon Kumite (5 step sparring)
One of the first sets you are likely to come across, is Gohon Kumite. This is a sequence of five Jodan Oi Zuki (upper-level stepping-punches), performed one after another, while stepping forward. Each punch is met by Age Uke (upper-rising block), performed, while stepping backwards, to counter the attack, finishing with a counter-punch (Gyaku Zuki)after the last defence. The initial attack is carried out with the attacker in formal Zenkutsu Dachi stance, while the defender stands in hajiji dachi. Sounds easy? Next time you're in the Dojo, try it - at high-speed! Believe me, it's not as simple as it sounds.
3) Sanbon Kumite (3 step sparring)
This is a sequence of 3 steps performing the following attacks (Jodan oi zuki, chudan oi zuki and Mae geri. The defender steps back defending (age uke, soto ude uke and gedan barai)followed by a gyaku zuki counter attack.Attacker starts from gedan barai in in zenkutsu dachi and defender stands in hajiji dachi.
4) Juyu Ippon Kumite (Freestyle sets 1-3)
Once you have learned the Kihon sets, it's time to start learning the Jiyu Ippon Sets (semi-free, one-attack sparring). Unlike with Kihon, there are 3 sets to master. The major difference between these and the Kihon sets is that they are conducted from the Jiyu Dachi (freestyle stance) position. The sets begin with quite simple moves. For example, Set 1 Jodan is an Oi Zuki attack to the head, countered by side-stepping away from the blow, defending Tate Shuto Uke, and countering with Chudan Zuki . Set 3, however, involves much more complex defences, including ai uchi techniques. Just like Kihon, both left-hand and right-hand attacks and defences must be learned, and 5 different attacks Jodan Zuki, Chudan Zuki, Mae Geri, Kekomi Geri, and Mawashi Geri, are involved from Set 3 onwards. Freestyle sets are different because contact is needed on all counter attacks and there is more movement in general. There must be stalking from the attacker, and defender must slide in and out for the counter attacks. As a rule, you wont start to learn Jiyu Ippon techniques until you get your Purple belt (4th Kyu). Later, certainly after you get your black-belt, you can concentrate more of your personal training to developing your Kumite skills for full freestyle sparring
5) Okuri Juyu Ippon Kumite (Return semi contact freestyle sparring)
Okuri juyu ippon kumite uses the same routine of attacks as the Juyu ippon kumite, starting with jodan first. The defender blocks the jodan attack by using one of their freestyle sets. From the position that the attacker finishes, the attacker must then perform a second immediate attack of their choice but without telling the defender. The defender must block (using anything) and counter attack using techniques of their choice. The attacker then goes on to the 2nd attack (chudan).
Okuri Juyu Ippon kumite is difficult to master because it is very fast moving, quick thinking, control and agression. The only difference is that there will also be a Ushiro Geri attack.
6) Kaeshi Ippon Kumite (Return One step basic sparring)
Kaeshi Ippon Kumite again is basic movements. The attacker attacks Jodan oi zuki, where the defender step back and blocks age uke. No counter is used at this point because the defender must then attack back using a chudan oi zuki. The original attacker steps back and blocks soto ude uke and then finally delivers gyaku zuki as the final move.
The second part of return one step sparring is where the attacker attacks chudan oi zuki and the defender comes back jodan oi zuki after their defence.
These 2 sequences must be performed both left and right sides.
As higher grade you will perform with the attacker starting from hajiji dachi and does not call out the attack. The defender has no idea when they are going to go and they have less time to block.
7) Juyu Kumite (Freestyle fighting)
Juyu Kumite is where you pad up with your pads and mitts and perform free controlled fighting with a partner. The idea is to score points on your partner by performing allowed kicks, punches and strikes. There is no routine and there is no attacker or defender. You must stop your partner scoring on you by using appropriate blocks and then use your dodging, speed, movement and techniques to overcome your partner.
This is the sparring used in many competitons and although is described as free fighting...it is still controlled and semi contact.
It is important to know what areas of the body to attack and know what areas are dangerous if struck. We teach self defence at in ZOKU which involves locks, holds, throws and pressure points, to fend off an attacker.
It is important for men, women and children to know what to do if you are grabbed or attacked on the street. Simple 'gets out's' and counter attacks are taught in all our classes, as well as simple precautions and things to look out for.
The body is covered in hundreds of pressure point areas, which although can be used for healing, they can also be used to cause pain, unconciousness or even help you gain control over your attacker. These areas can be manipulated, hit, held or squeezed to get the desired effect.
Simple pressure points in face area
1. Top of head
2. Frontal Area
4. Base of nose
5. Bridge of nose
7. Upper lip
8. Lower edge of jaw
9. Articulation of lower jaw
10. Cavity below ears
Simple pressure points on the body
11. Side of neck
12. Adams apple
13. Top of sternum
14. Bottom of sternum
15. Solar plexus
16. Lower abdomen
17. Rib cage - below armpits
18. Rib cage - below nipples
19. Rib cage - either side of abdomen
21. Side of stomach
22. Inner part of upper thigh
23. Outside of thigh
24. Knee cap and joint
26. Top of foot
28. Back of hand
Simple pressure points on the back
30. Back of head
31. Back of neck
33. Tip of spine
34. Back of upper thigh
35. Lower calf
36. Back of knee