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The Body of SA JKA

SA JKA Karate aims at good technique. It uses the body and limbs as instruments to execute effective self-defence and life-enhancing movements and techniques. The physical performance of SA JKA Karate is characterised by three interdependent elements:


(A) KIHON-The Basic Techniques

In SA JKA Karate these comprise an all-encompassing arsenal of blocks, punches, kicks, strikes, throws and grappling techniques.

(B) Kata

Kata are formalised sets of defence and attack movements in all directions (forward, backwards, sideways, upwards and downwards) by means of which the Karate-ka defends himself against a number of imaginary opponents. He uses a combination of basic and other unique techniques that characterise the particular kata he is executing. Because Karate was practiced in secret in Okinawa, very few written records are available from that time. The Kata are a living record developed and handed down personally by the teacher to his students.

The two traditional schools of karate in Okinawa developed separately and secretly because of the oppressive rulers of that time. The kata of SHORIN school emphasised light, flexible movements, while those of SHOREI school used strong, powerful movements.

These kata practised today by SA JKA Shotokan practitioners are as follows:

Shorei Kata
The five Heian (Peace and Tranquillity) Kata
  • Heian Shodan
  • Heian Nidan
  • Heian Sandan
  • Heian Yondan
  • Heian Godan

They are based on the kata KANKU-DAI (see below) . They were developed by Anko Itosu in the early 1900's and were introduced by him into the physical education curriculum of the Okinawan school system. His intent was that the Kata serve the dual purpose of physical education and self defence.

  • KANKU-DAI (to observe the universe)
  • EMPI (flight of the swallow)
  • GANKAKU (crane on a rock)
  • GOJUSHIHO-SHO (fifty four steps)
  • UNSU (hands like clouds)
  • WANKAN (king's crown)
  • NIJUSHI-HO (twenty four steps)
  • CHINTE (unusual hands)
Shorei Kata
  • TEKKI SHO-DAN (iron horse)
  • HANGETSU (half moon)
  • JUTTE (ten hands)
  • SOCHIN (preservation of peace among men)
Other Kata
  • Meikyo (light mirror)
  • Jien

(C) Kumite

In JKA Shotokan, the term Kumite refers to a variety of Karate training drills used to give the Karate-ka experience against one opponent and finally against more than one attacker. These drills range from: simple, five-step sparring with one opponent to:free-sparring vigorously with one opponent to: competing against one opponent in tournaments to: sparring against more than one opponent who attack bare-handed or with various weapons.