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scohen0300
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Joined: 09 Feb 2016
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Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:16 pm    Post subject: What are the main katas of each style and why? Reply with quote

I’d love to hear thoughts on this because I simply have no clue! What makes that kata (or katas) special for that style? Why would one style almost emphasize practicing that kata, while another style won’t even bother with it?

For example, I believe the main kata in Shorin Ryu is Naihanchi. I believe the main kata in Goju Ryu is Sanchin. However, I have no idea why. What about other styles?

Thank you in advance!
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SLK59
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is going to vary a lot, even for different organizations within the same style. It seems to me that, if such a thing does exist, the ‘main’ kata within a group or style often turns out to have been the personal favorite of the founder or current chief instructor.
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ashworth
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Styles just have different ways of training certain principles within their club through the use of kata.

Just the same as countries have different languages...
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For why one style considers a kata valuable and another does not practice it comes down to two factors:

1. Historical lineage.
2. Technical Redundancy.

The kata was never part of the past of that system: it emerged from a different geographical location or was devised by an instructor in that lineage at one point but never gained traction outside of said lineage. This is the reason found in most historical discussions of syllabus rationalisations.

The second is that it is felt that the kata offers nothing new or novel, or is made redundant by a kata that already exists in the system. This is a more modern reasoning, admittedly, as the world of karate has both grown and shrunk. As teachers came to create their syllabi they had to pick and choose what is relevant to teach, and thus parsed down their kata choice to what they considered valuable. If you already have two kata which both teach XYZ the logical thing is to choose the one you prefer and drop the other as redundant.

System by system analysis, just because there are so many systems, would be an enormous and probably impossible task for one man making one post. However, I think one can speak to family of kata and make some reasonable discussion points.

If we look at the Itosu no Kata then we see Naihanchigata are the foundation. The Naihanchigata teach postural ideas, how to generate power properly, and the use of the hands together. All ideas you need to be aware with as you study other kata which teach novel self-defence techniques. By being performed in a single stance: you make focusing on these ideas incredibly easy. To practice the techniques of the Naihanchigata as fighting techniques: just do the kata backwards and forwards, and add a step for each hand technique.

The Ryu Ryu Ko no Kata, and by extension those of Shushiwa and his descendants, are largely grounded in Sanchin. As with Naihanchi, Sanchin teaches many ideas about posture, breathing, and power generation essential as a foundation for then studying the novel self-defence techniques of other kata. As with Naihanchi, one simply needs to perform Sanchin quickly to understand the movements as fighting techniques. Also, as with Niahanchi, the manner of performance is simplified to allow focus on the essentials, without worrying about Kamae, and other nuances, which can distract from these fundamental ideas.

This is a fairly modern perspective, and at best my working hypothesis, but these are things that have been said to me by several instructors with no immediate connection to one another aside from being students of Okinawan Karate. It also makes sense of the mutual exclusivity of Naihanchi and Sanchin in most systems: they cover very similar ideas, and do so in a way quite easy to see.

Aside from the big two as it were: we can speak to some other "Families" of Kata. The Aragaki family of Kata, although also incorporating Sanchin, do in fact seem to begin with Niseishi: with regards to introducing the conceits of his system of kata, and also the basic combat principles. The Kyan family of Kata begin and centre on Seisan for similar reasons to Niseishi in the Aragaki grouping: the other kata in the grouping all borrow and lean on ideas found in Seisan in a much more straightforward manner.

The Pinangata, I would argue, outweigh the importance of the Naihanchigata in Nippon Karate Do systems which come from the lineage of Itosu Anko. Most tend to study the essentials of their arts through these early kata, with Naihanchi being a brown belt kata.
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aurik
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uechi-Ryu has 3 main katas: sanchin, seisan, and sanseiryu. These are the original 3 katas that Kanbun Uechi learned in China and brought with him to Okinawa/Japan. Of those 3 kata, Sanchin is by far the core kata of Uechi-Ryu. We do have five other kata, but they were added later, to "bridge" the concepts/complexities between the 3 main kata.

There is a saying in Uechi-Ryu -- "everything returns to Sanchin". Almost every one of our workouts begins with 3 things: Junbi undo (warmup exercises), hojo undo (accessory/supplemental exercises), and Sanchin kata. The principles of Sanchin kata guide everything in Uechi-Ryu katas. 75-90% of our katas are performed in Sanchin stance, and we are generally taught whenever we do a strike, our arms should "return to Sanchin".

There's a video of one of Kanji Uechi's (Kanbun Uechi's great-grandson) seminars here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQmoD3M22xk&t=65s where the students are performing sanseiryu (the first 2 pairs) and seisan (the last pair). In more than one occasion, you'll see him quote "go back to sanchin" or "everything is in sanchin", with examples.
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Wamp
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashihara Karate has 5 main groups of kata. Within these groups is anywhere from 2 to 5 katas.

Hideyuki Ashihara broke away from Kyokushin because he wanted to focus on and teach Sabaki methods. These katas have a heavy emphasis on Sabaki techniques.

Groups of kata:
Shoshinsya no kata - 3 katas
Kihon no kata - 3 katas
Kumite no kata - 5 katas
Nage no kata - 4 katas
Jissen no kata - 2 katas

All katas are a 10 step kata that focuses on fighting multiple attackers.


Here is a link for an example of Ashihara’s Katas.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsqYh_TV6RhXMD2k825rrl1YNcI9rp0NM
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SLK59 wrote:
That is going to vary a lot, even for different organizations within the same style. It seems to me that, if such a thing does exist, the ‘main’ kata within a group or style often turns out to have been the personal favorite of the founder or current chief instructor.

Solid post!!

Founders and the like chose what they consider effective to their methodology and ideology. Our Soke chose the Kata's from Okinawa-te and Shuri-te, and then made changes as he felt necessary, no matter how minor or not.



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scohen0300
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Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great answers, everyone! Very eye opening for me.

Since I’m a “rogue karateka” now (lol), I’d like to dive a little deeper into other styles. I love the kata of Shorin Ryu and I’ll never stop practicing them, but I’d just like to explore more.

Is there one kata from each style that you find significant, or worth adding to into personal practice?
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naihanchi is a Kata that expands in and through for all MA styles, and it's tenets can't be ignored, and it shall live forever in a commonality of MAists for a very long, long time.

It had been once said that if one only trained in the Niahanchi kata's, one wouldn't be wasting their life!!




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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Naihanchi is a Kata that expands in and through for all MA styles, and it's tenets can't be ignored, and it shall live forever in a commonality of MAists for a very long, long time.

It had been once said that if one only trained in the Niahanchi kata's, one wouldn't be wasting their life!!



I figured you'd go to this one! I recall our time working on it. I need to start practicing it again.
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