Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate Doh Jundokan South Africa  

Kata of the Okinawa Karate-Doh 

Goju Ryu Jundokan

Copyright 1997 by Buddy Govender.  Permission to use, copy and/or download any material from this site MUST be sought from the copyright holder.

These are the kata as practiced by the Jundokan So-Hombu Dojo in Okinawa, and the South African Shi- Hombu Dojo in Durban.  With the exception of Sanchin and Tensho Kata, the kata as outlined below are taught in that order.  Sanchin Kata is taught at an early stage while Tensho Kata at a later stage (about 2nd kyu Brown Belt).  The gradings require certain kata to be performed per grade however, there are no rigid restrictions on the number of kata to be learnt.  After Gekisai Dai Ichi & Ni the other Goju Ryu Kata are categorized into two sections, Heishukata aFiroze Ebrahim performing Gekisai Dai Ichind Kaishukata.  Tensho and Sanchin Kata are both Heishukata, while all the other Goju Ryu kata are Kaishukata. Heishukata can be translated as 'closed hand kata', but, how can that be if Tensho Kata contains open hand techniques?  What is really meant by Kaishukata is that the body is in a constant state of tension throughout the kata - the muscles are contracted or 'closed'.

Gekisai Dai Ichi is kata was developed and introduced in the 1940's by Nagamine Shoshin Sensei (1907-1997) of the Matsubayashi Ryu and Miyagi Chojun O'Sensei.  It's intention was to popularize Karate-Doh to the general public and help establish a curriculum for school children.  It contains powerful, basic movements that are quite easy to interpret and learn, however many of the techniques have multiple applications.  All the movements are done with a closed fist and with full power. 

Gekisai Dai Ni   The format of this kata is very similar to Gekisai dai Ichi, however some advanced techniques and timing are included.  Hiki uke (open hand hooking block), mawashi uke (circular block) and neko ashi dachi (cat foot stance) are the additional techniques in the kata.  In Gekisai dai Ichi full power and speed was utilized however, in Gekisai dai Ni the concept of 'muchimi' (a heavy, sticking but flowing action) is introduced in the hiki and mawashi uke's.  'Muchimi' requires stances with a lower centre of gravity, hence neko ashi dachi!

Saifa   Saifa kata introduces tai sabaki (body evasion)  and open handed palm-heel blocks and strikes (haito uchi).  It mixes swift, light stances (neko ashi dachi & sagi ashi dachi) with solid, grounding stances (shiko dachi).  Saifa contains a vast number of techniques like hammer fist strike (tettsui uchi), back fist (ura uchi), morote tsuki (double fist punch), ashi barai (foot sweep), haito uchi (ridge hand strike) etc, etc.

Seiyunchin   Seiyunchin is a long and strength-sapping kata.  It contains pulling and gripping techniques, throws, hidden techniques and requires a strong upper and lower body, good breath control and lots of stamina.  There are NO kicks in this kata!!  This kata is most performed at tournaments throughout the world.  The techniques are well suited for practical, close-in fighting.

Shisochin   Again, close range techniques are used throughout this kata.  Rapid, whipping techniques are blended in with those requiring 'muchimi'.  Joint locks and breaks are a feature of Shisochin kata.  The photo on the left shows Chantal Dai-Sempai performing Shisochin Kata. Much practice is required to master this kata.

Sanseru    The techniques in this kata seem basic, direct and hard, however there are some unique and advanced, close-in techniques.  Joint and knee locks and kicks, low front kicks while moving forward and blocking after turning are techniques that require lots of practice.  Slow movements evolve into fast, explosive ones.  A feature of this kata is use of ko (top of wrist) at the end of the kata.  This last movement (morote ko uke in Shikodachi) is an often misunderstood movement with an array of close-in applications.

Sepai   Circular, Chantal Dai-Sempai perfoming Sepai whipping movements and body evasion (taisabaki), dropping your body to rise up and push your opponent off balance and faints are all found within this kata.  There are, as in ALL the other kata, many hidden techniques and movements.  Certain hand techniques require a unique use of certain part of the hand eg, performing the gedan furi uchi after swiveling 90 degrees requires the hand to be shaped like it would when one knocks on a door.  

Kururunfa   Again the use of taisabaki, joint locking and breaking techniques are prominent within this quick and fast kata.  Many open handed techniques could either be interpreted as a joint lock or a block, and depending on the circumstances could be used as both.  The use of the hips to aid some hand techniques enhances both the power and effect of the technique.

Sesan The opening three Sanchin dachi steps with the morote chudan uke (double middle level block) and chudan gyaku tsuki (reverse stomach punch) appears to be similar to that as in Sanseru kata, BUT, in performance and application they are NOT!  This is a powerful, fighting kata with many superb close-in fighting techniques.

Suparinpei   The longest of all the Goju Ryu kata, Suparinpei is said to contain all the techniques from all the Goju Ryu kata.  Quick blocking and simultaneous striking are found all over this kata.  Just like in a fight, you have to pace yourself and your breathing to end off this kata strongly.  This kata is also known by it's original name, Pichurin.  The photo on the right shows Buddy Govender Sensei performing Suparinpei Kata in Osaka Japan (1997).  

Sanchin Click here to be transported to a virtual Sanchin Kata Encyclopedia  

Tensho  Tensho kata was created by Miyagi Chojun O'Sensei.  Tensho literally means 'turning hands'.  This is the 'JU' (softness) of Goju and Miyagi O'Sensei developed this kata from the 'Rokkishu' kata of the Fukian White Crane System.  The hand movements and breathing require a high level of co-ordination.