Matsubayashi-Ryu Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do uses 18 unarmed kata, pre-arranged series of movements, to teach the philosophy, strategy and techniques of karate-do. The following, from the WMKA (World Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do Association) web site, of which this dojo is a member, provides a brief outline of these 18 kata.
Fukyugata ("Promotional Kata"):
Fukyugata I was created by Master Shoshin Nagamine in 1941 and Fukyugata II by the Master of Goju-Ryu, Chojun Miyagi. These two introductory kata were originally requested to be created by a special committee of all the Okinawan Karate-Do Association organized and summoned by the governor of Okinawa at that time, Mr. Gen Hayakawa. The reason for the inception of these two introductory kata was to allow beginners and school children to approach Karate practice in the most lenient way possible.
Naihanchi: ("Horse Riding Kata")
The composer of Naihanchi Shodan through Sandan is unknown. These ancient kata were the introductory ones to Karate for beginners before the Fukyugata and Pinan kata were composed.
Wankan (Okan) ("King's Crown"):
The composer of this kata is unknown also, but it has a long history. This kata was practiced mostly in Tomari Village. The characteristics of this kata are its elegance combined with powerful movements of attack and defense sequences.
The composer of this kata is also unknown, but it has a long history as well. This kata also was mostly practiced in the village of Tomari. The characteristic of this kata is the one-foot stances where the other foot is drawn to deliver a quick snap-kick. It is a short kata but is very elegant looking.
It is believed that this kata was brought to Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy named Wanshu; but later, this kata was reformed and developed by Karate men of Tomari Village. The characteristic of this kata is the execution of hidden fist punches.
Gojushiho (literally "54 Steps"):
The composer of this kata is also unknown. Goju-Shi-Ho literally means 54 steps. The characteristics of this kata are the spear-hand thrust and the resemblance of a drunken man's movements.
This kata was adopted and developed by Okinawan Karate men after it was brought to Okinawa in 1761 by a Chinese Martial Artist named Kusanku. This kata is the most magnificent and advanced kata of all Matsubayashi Ryu Karate. It is also the longest and most difficult kata, requiring painstaking practice for more than a decade for mastery.
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