No matter how much time you devote to practice, no matter how many months and years pass, if your practice consists of no more than moving your arms and legs, you might as well be studying dance. You will never come to know the true meaning of karate.
— Funakoshi Gichin Sensei, Karate-Do Nyumon
Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in Karate is useless.
— Gichin Funakoshi
Kata (型 or 形)
A kata or form is a sequence of physical movements which are today taught by martial arts masters to students in order to transmit the knowledge of the art. Historically though they would probably have only been taught after learning all of the applications they contain, purely as mnemonic devices. The purpose was to practice the skills taught in a concise fashion and very often to allow solo as opposed to paired practise.
Information about how kata work
Information about what kata are has historically been very scarce, particularly in the west. There are now descriptions of how kata were constructed, and concurrent with that understanding, rules of thumb which can be used to help decode the meanings of the movements within katas.
Karate (空手, previously 唐手) katas
The basic premise is that you already know the katas presented here and can already perform them, this isn't the best resource to learn how to perform the kata itself, it's just an explanation of what the movements within the kata mean.
|Pinan Shodan / Heian Nidan||Pinan Nidan / Heian Shodan||Pinan Sandan / Heian Sandan||Pinan Yondan / Heian Yondan||Pinan Godan / Heian Godan|
|Naihanchi Shodan / Tekki Shodan||Naihanchi Nidan / Tekki Nidan||Naihanchi Sandan / Tekki Sandan|
Kata applications are educated guesses at the real intent behind the movements we find within katas. The simple truth is that historically, relatively few people could read and write and so often there is little or no physical documentation written about what the real meaning behind the movements within katas are. Some organisations claim to have the lineage of "real" knowledge about the intent behind the movements, and while this can't be discounted, it seems unlikely that the information could be kept secret for long periods of time.
There are a number of criteria to use when including an application as an example of oyo bunkai for a kata in katapedia. They are subjective but the aim is to get as close to a credible original meaning of the kata as created by the originator(s) as is reasonably possible. We will never know for certain unless some original documentation can be found on kata or sequences in kata or indeed in Chinese forms, but looking at body mechanics, the reality of unarmed combat and probabilities we can begin to make educated guesses at the original intent.
This is a wiki and you are free to include your own content. Please take note of the inclusion criteria if you are considering adding entries.
List of all 48 applications
All applications in the wiki should be visible under Category:Application, there are currently 48 but you may need an account to see them all.
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