First of a series of five HEIAN KATAs, focuses on basic techniques performed in ZENKUTSU-DACHI (front stance). Students learn how to turn, which is a basic foundation of TAI SABAKI. The kata is very similar to TAIKYOKU SHODAN (basic KATA for beginners’ students) but incorporates different techniques including a TETSUI-UCHI (hammer-fist) and SHUTŌ-UKE (knife-hand block). It is important that students can clearly demonstrate the difference in hip positions between TSUKI (punching) and UKE (blocking): hips to be SHOMEN (square) in TSUKI and HANMI (hip open) in UKE.
HEIAN NIDAN (Yellow belt)
This kata focuses on basic techniques in KŌKUTSU-DACHI (back stance). The kata incorporates different techniques including NUKITE (spear hand) and URA-ZUKI (uppercut). This KATA introduces KERI (kicking): MAE-GERI (front snapping kick) and YOKO-GERI KEAGE (side snapping kick). It also introduces GYAKU-HANMI (reserve position) in blocking, which is a more advanced movement of hips than SHOMEN and HANMI. It is important that students can clearly demonstrate the difference between ZENKUTSU-DACHI and KŌKUTSU-DACHI.
HEIAN SANDAN (Orange belt)
This kata focuses on basic techniques in KIBA-DACHI (horse-riding stance) and introduces more advanced arm techniques, i.e., YOKOENPI and URAKEN. It is also important for students to learn how to move their bodies in changing height during KATA which did not exist in HEIAN SHODAN or HEIAN SHODAN. It is important that students can clearly demonstrate different stances.
HEIAN YONDAN (Green belt)
HEIAN YONDAN is more advanced than the first three HEIAN KATAs in that timing, flow, power in fast movement and control of slow movements are all more pronounced. While it is still being a basic KATA, it has all the essential components of SHŌTŌKAN KATA and often related to more advanced KATA, KANKŪ DAI.
HEIAN GODAN (Purple belt)
HEIAN GODAN is the most advanced of the five HEIAN KATA and contains more advanced movements for TSUKI, KERI and UKE. It is also the first KATA that introduces jumping. It is important for students to demonstrate hips SHOMEN in KŌKUTSU-DACHI while doing GYAKU-ZUKI (reverse punch) in 2nd and 5th movements.
TEKKI SHODAN (Purple belt)
First of a series of three TEKKI KATAs, introduces the fighting situation where one’s back is against a wall or in a narrow alley. All movements are done in KIBA-DACHI. Creating power in a solid stance as well as using hips to change direction of upper-body is crucial in this KATA.
BASSAI DAI (Brown belt)
The meaning of BASSAI is to penetrate a fortress and as such, this KATA needs to demonstrate powerfulness in an explosive manner, which is accomplished by the turning of hips.
KANKU DAI (Brown/black belt)
A signature KATA for SHŌTŌKAN, containing all essence of SHŌTŌKAN principle. It is also one of the longest KATAs in SHŌTŌKAN KATAs.
ENPI (Black belt)
As it is signified by its name, ENPI or flying swallow, this KATA contains rapid movements with sharp changes of directions and height.
JION (Black belt)
JION means compassion and blessing, of which one may identify in Buddha. This KATA expresses its vast capacity by demonstrating its solidity and power, in a calm and peaceful manner.