List of Shotokan Kata

Today there are twenty six Shotokan kata in existence, along with five Taikyoku forms. Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan (pictured left performing the first move of Heian Yodan), originally only had about fifteen as part of the Shotokan repertoire. Although very identical to Shotokan forms of today, Funakoshi’s were slightly different in their timing and their higher stances. In the early days of Shotokan, Funakoshi’s third son and student Gigō Funakoshi (along with other notable students) added deeper stances, different dynamics, faster timing, and more kata to the style. Most changes were in an effort to improve upon the technique and power behind the moves.

Some schools under the JKA established that there are twenty seven Shotokan kata including Taikyoku Shodan. Today, most Shotokan schools you walk in do not teach any  Taikyoku forms. The main reason being is it is very basic and similar to Heian Shodan. However, I feel the first Taikyoku should be taught. Mainly because many beginners, especially kids, struggle greatly with the shuto block and back stances at the end of the Heian Shodan.


The origin of the Shotokan kata can be traced back to the styles of karate that Funakoshi learned throughout his life and formed Shotokan from, primarily Shōrei-ryū and Shōrin-ryū.  Most can be found in many other styles of karate including non-Japanese styles. These include Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do. The patterns are similar but you will see variations in stances, reaction arm, and other key parts of the styles.

Taikyoku Kihon (beginner) Kata

Twenty Six Shotokan Kata

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *