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Kanku image   Kyokushin Kata

The word Kata means "shape" or "form". Below is a list of the Kata practised within the Southwest Academy of Kyokushinkai Karate in alphabetical order.

  Gekisai Dai Ichi
  Kanku
  Pinan Sono Ichi, Ni, San, Yon and Go
  Saiha
  Sanchin
  Seienchin
  Seipai
  Sushiho
  Tensho
  Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni and San
  Yansu

Translations

Taikyoku is literally translated as "grand ultimate", and in Chinese, the kanji characters are pronounced Tai Chi. The word Taikyoku can also mean overview or the whole point – seeing the whole rather than focusing on the individual parts, and keeping an open mind or beginner's mind. The beginner's mind is what is strived for during training and in life. The beginner's mind does not hold prejudice and does not cling to a narrow view. The beginner's mind is open to endless possibilities.

Pinan is the Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for peace and relaxation (pronounced Heian in Japanese). Though the physical moves of kata involve techniques used for fighting, the purpose of kata is to develop a calm, peaceful mind and harmony between the mind and body.

Sanchin literally means "three battles" or "three conflicts". It is the principal kata in certain Okinawan karate styles, such as Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu, and it is likely one of the oldest kata. Certain legends attribute the creation of Sanchin to Bodhidharma in the early sixth century. Sanchin kata seeks to develop three elements at the same time:

- The mind, body and the techniques

- The internal organs, circulation and the nervous system, and

- The three ki, located in:

- the top of the head (tento),

- the diaphragm (hara), and

- the lower abdomen (tan den).

Sanchin is an isometric kata where each move is performed in a state of complete tension, accompanied by powerful, deep breathing (ibuki) that originates in the lower abdomen (tan den). The practice of Sanchin not only leads to the strengthening of the body, but to the development of the inner power (ki) and the coordination of mind and body.

Gekisai means conquer and occupy. The name is derived from the characters Geki, meaning attack or conquer, and Sai, meaning fortress or stronghold (literally translated as "closed", "shut" or "covered"). The word Gekisai can also mean demolish, destroy or pulverize. The katas teach strength through fluidity of motion, mobility and the utilization of various techniques. Flexibility of attack and response will always be superior to rigid and inflexible strength.

Yansu is derived from the characters Yan, meaning safe, and Su, meaning three. The name is attributed to that of a Chinese military attaché to Okinawa in the 19th Century. The word yansu also means to keep pure, striving to maintain the purity of principles and ideals rather than compromising for expediency.

Tensho means rolling or fluid hand, literally translated as "rotating palms". Tensho is the soft and circular (yin) counterpart to the hard and linear (yang) Sanchin kata. Not only was Tensho one of Mas Oyama's favorite kata, he considered it to be the most indispensable of the advanced kata:

Tensho is a basic illustration of the definition of Karate, derived from Chinese kempo, as a technique of circles based on points.

Tensho should be a prime object of practice because, as a psychological and theoretical support behind karate training and as a central element in basic karate formal exercises, it has permeated the techniques, the blocks and the thrusts, and is intimately connected with the very life of karate.

A man who has practiced Tensho kata a number of thousands of times and has a firm grasp of its theory can not only take any attack, but can also turn the advantage in any attack, and will always be able to defend himself perfectly.

Saiha means extreme destruction, smashing or tearing. The word Saiha can also mean great wave, the source of the IFK logo. No matter how large a problem is encountered, with patience, determination and perseverance (Osu) one can rise above and overcome it, or smash through and get beyond it.

Kanku means sky gazing. Literally translated, Kan means "view", and Ku means "universe", "air", "emptiness" or "void" (the same character as Kara in karate). The first move of the kata is the formation of an opening with the hands above the head, through which one gazes at the universe and rising sun. The significance is that no matter what problems are faced, each day is new and the universe is waiting. Nothing is so terrible that it affects the basic reality of existence.

Seienchin means conqueror and subdue over a distance, or attack the rebellious outpost. In feudal Japan, Samurai warriors would often go on expeditions lasting many months, and they needed to maintain their strength and spirit over a long period of time. This kata is long and slow, with many techniques performed from kiba dachi (horseback stance). The legs usually become very tired in this kata, and a strong spirit is needed to persevere, instead of giving up. The word Seienchin can also mean to pull in battle.

Sushiho means 54 steps. Sushiho is derived from the words Useshi, the Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for 54 (pronounced Go Ju Shi in Japanese), and Ho, meaning walk or step. Other karate styles call this advanced kata Gojushiho.

Seipai is the Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for 18 (pronounced Ju Hachi in Japanese). In other karate styles, this kata is sometimes called Seipaite, or eighteen hands. The number 18 is derived from the Buddhist concept of 6 x 3, where six represents color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice and three represents good, bad and peace.

Original source unknown

 

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