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Foundational Katas

Gekisai Dai Ichi (to Attack & Smash I) 
This kata was created by Chojun Miyagi Sensei approximately in 1940.    The Chinese characters for Geki and sai mean to "attack, smash and demolish" (an attacker). This kata contains powerful basic movements aimed at introducing a student to higher levels of kata.  Many of its movements are taken from more advanced kata.

Gekisai Dai Ni (to Attack & Smash II)
This kata was created at the same time as Gekisai Dai Ichi. It introduces open hand techniques (Kake Uke) and the cat-stance (Neko-Ashi Dachi).  It is also used as an introductory kata to more advanced kata.

Saifa (to smash & tear)
Saifa literally translates to "smash and tear."   This kata stresses close-quarter fighting utilizing the hammer fist (Tetsui Uchi) and back fist (Uraken Uchi) strikes along with knee strikes and kicks to the groin. Saifa helps build dynamic power and grace, while stressing taisabaki and balance.

Seiyunchin (grab & pull in battle)

Although there are many interpretations inherent in the translation, Seiyunchin literally translates to "grab and pull into battle."    Its origins are believed to be from the Hsing-i internal system and its techniques are well suited for practical, close-quarter fighting. Seiyunchin is long and demanding, containing pulling and gripping techniques, and hidden throwing techniques.  Seiyunchin requires a strong body, excellent breath control, and lots of stamina.  This particular kaishugata has no kicking techniques in it.

Shisochin (4 direction (palm) battle)
Shisochin literally translates to  "four-directional battle." Kanryo Higaonna Sensei brought this kata to Okinawa from China. Shisochin kata uses open -hand movements and strikes in a close quarter fighting manner.  In his later years, Miyagi Sensei favored this kata for personal practice. Shisochin is one of the most beautiful and dynamic katas in Goju-Ryu.

Sepai (18 hands)
Sepai literally translates to 18 hands.   The kata has 18 primary types of movements.  It also contains an array of unusual body twisting techniques with rapid, whipping movements in addition to pulling techniques.   It is one of the original kaishugatas brought to Okinawa from China by Kanryo Higaonna in 1881.

Sanseru (36 hands)
Sanseru literally translates to  "36."  Sanseru is referred to as "36-hands." It also uses four-directional fighting. Sanseru contains many joint attacks, and defenses against kicking attacks.   It also contains many low kicks and double-hand techniques.  Kanryo Higaonna Sensei brought Sanseru to Okinawa from China. Like Shisochin, the techniques in this kata are basic, direct and hard.  Unique to this kata is morote ko uke (two handed wrist block) that has many close-quarter applications.

Kururunfa (holding on long and striking suddenly)
Kururunfa literally translates to "holding on long and striking suddenly."   It contains a wide variety of open-hand/hip coordinated techniques that can be interpreted as joint locks, blocks, strikes or a combination of the three. Kururunfa was brought to Okinawa from China by Kanryo Higaonna in 1881. It is considered to be one of the most elegant and powerful katas in Goju-Ryu.

Sesan (13 hands)
Sesan literally translates to "13"  or "13-hands."  It is believed to be one of the oldest kata in Okinawa stressing fundamental techniques. Sesan is both graceful and powerful stressing the attacks to the centerline of the body. Sesan contains many techniques that dichotomize the  Go (Hard) and Ju (Soft). Sesan takes many years of practice to learn correctly, and to master.  It is one of the most important Goju-Ryu katas.


Suparinpei/Pichurin (108 hands or movements)
Suparinpei is the most advanced and intricate kata of the Goju Ryu system.This is the longest kata of the Goju-Ryu system and has 108 movements.  This kata utilizes many sophisticated techniques,  and contains a great number of applications. It also introduces two kicks not found in any other Goju-Ryu kata.  Suparinpei is the most performed kata in tournaments today.

Sanchin (3 battles)
Sanchin literally means "three battles"signifying  the battle between mind, soul and body. Through hard training and steady practice, the three of them will unite. Originally this kata was taught by Higaonna Sensei with open hands, and later changed to closed- fists.   Because of its dynamic tension and breath control, Sanchin is the core kata of Goju Ryu.  There are two versions of Sanchin kata, one by Higashionna Sensei and the other by Miyagi Sensei, respectively.   Although classified as a Heishugata (closed-fist kata) Sanchin contains both open and closed hand techniques done with extreme tension and power.  It is also considered to be a Kihongata (basics kata).

Tensho (rotating palms)
Like Sanchin, Tensho is a Heishugata (closed-fist kata); however, Tensho uses primarily open-hand techniques.  Miyagi Sensei developed this kata from his research in Fuzhou, China.  Mastering Tensho requires breath control and relaxed tension. Tensho can be considered the internal kata of Goju-Ryu.


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Sekai Seito Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai, 2015