Master Kenwa Mabuni, Seipai kata

Shito-Ryu Katas

You may be asking yourself, what is kata? Kata has been described as simulated fighting, as one locked into mortal combat with a dangerous enemy, and one seeking perfection in their karate techniques. Kata is all of this and more. Kata is the heart and soul of Karate-Do. Without kata we are no better than street fighters with no history, lineage, or art to pass on to the next generation. Karate is alive and well today because of kata and the dedication of those that passed it along to their students. Kata was handed down from one generation of karateka to the next. In its history, karate training was forbidden by law and it was an executable offense if one was caught training in karate. Many karate masters risked their very lives as they trained in darkness and in secret so that Karate could continue.

Kata is the most difficult part of karate training. It requires a student to work on perfecting technique, power, kime, zanshin, kiai, embusen, breathing, and much more. In addition, each kata has bunkai which is the actual application of the kata fighting techniques. Many hours can be spent on learning the kata, bunkai and its defense and counter attack techniques. A kata that is well performed is a work of art and the student that understands and performs the bunkai well, understands the battle within the battle. For kata is not just a series of moves linked together, it is a series of battles won or lost by the karatekas understanding of the kata.


Kata Name Translation
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Way of Peace; literally "Great Peace", sometimes translated as "Calm Mind" or "Peaceful Mind"
1, 2, 3
Iron Horse
Chinte Incredible Hands.
Chinto Crane on a Rock.
Wanshu Flying Swallow.
Jiin Named after the Saint.
Jion Named after the Temple.
Jitte Ten Hands.
Kushanku-Dai Viewing the Sky (major version).
Kushanku-Sho Viewing the Sky (minor version).
Shiho-Kushanku Viewing the Sky (four directions).
Bassai-Dai To penetrate (storm) a fortress (major version).
Bassai-Sho To penetrate (storm) a fortress (minor version).
Gojushiho 54 Steps/Techniques.
Itosu Rohai
1, 2, 3
Mirror of the Soul/Clear Mirror.


Kata Name Translation
  • # Kata created by Chojun Miyagi Sensei
  • * Not taught by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei, now used by many Shito-Ryu schools
Seisan Half moon (Thirteen).
Sanchin Three battles. The three generally accepted as being the body, mind and spirit.
Saifa Tearing.
Sanseiru Written in Chinese characters, is the number 36, and is also referred to as the Dragon Kata.
Shisochin Four peaceful facing.
Seienchin Marching far quietly or pulling.
Kururunfa Forever stops, peaceful and tearing.
Seipai Is the number 18.
Superinpei The 108 hands.
Tensho*# Flowing Hands.
Sochin Preserve Peace.
Niseishi 24 Steps/Techniques.
Unsu Hands of a Cloud.
Gekisai Dai-Ichi*# Attack and Smash 1.
Gekisai Dai-Ni*# Attack and Smash 2.


Kata Name Translation
Wankan Crown of a King.
Rohai Mirror of the Soul/Clear Mirror or Sign of the White Heron.
Tomari Bassai


Kata Name Translation
  • * Not taught by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei, now used by many Shito-Ryu schools.
  • ** Kata created by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei.
  • *** White crane Kata Kung Fu Kata learned by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei from the Chinese
Nipaipo*** Twenty-eight Steps.
Annanku* Light from the South.
Aoyagi** Green Willow.
Shinpa New Break or New Tear.
Juroku** Sixteen.

Kata List by Belt Ranks

Mudansha Kata

Rank Kata Name
Kyu-Kyu Kihon No Kata, Pinan Nidan, Kihon No Kata, Pinan Nidan
Hachi-Kyu Pinan Sandan, Pinan Shodan
Shichi-Kyu Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan
Roku-Kyu Naifanchi Shodan, (Itosu) Bassai Dai, Matsumora Rohai, (Ishimine) Bassai Dai
Go-Kyu Jitte, Jiin, Aoyagi male & female, Itosu Rohai Shodan
Yon-Kyu Sanchin, Gekisai Dai Ichi, Saifa, Tensho
San-Kyu Naifanchin Nidan, Wankan, Wanshu
Ni-Kyu Jion, Juroku, Niseishi
I-Kyu Seienchin, Gekisai Dai Ni, Kushanku Dai

Yudansha Kata

Rank Kata Name 2
Shodan Naifanchin Sandan, (Itosu) Bassai Sho, Seipai, Kushanku Sho
Nidan Chinte, Matsumura Bassai, Seisan, Chinto, Shiho Kushanku
Sandan Nipaipo, Kururunfa, Superinpei (a.k.a. Pechurin)
Yondan & above Itosu Rohai Nidan, Itosu Rohai Sandan, Shisochin, Aragaki Sochin, Sanseiru, Gojushiho, Unshu (a.k.a. Unsu), Matsumura Seisan
Additional Kata by creator
Seisho Aragaki (a.k.a. Arakaki)
Tomari Wanshu, Tomari Bassai
Go Kenki
Hakutsuru, Hakucho, Paipuren
Chatan Yara
Chotoku Kyan
Annanko (a.k.a. Annanku)
Kenwa Mabuni
Miyojo, Shinpa, Matsukaze, Shinsei, Shinsei Ni
Additional Kata
Annan, Tomari Chinto, Kuniyoshi Kusanku, Oyadomari Kusanku, Pachu, Heiku, Paiku, Ohan