Kata as the heart and soul of Karate


We all have our own reasons for taking up karate as martial art, a sport or hobby but what should become clear very early on is that for the dedicated student it becomes a way of life. Just take a look at some of the Instructors here at Ruach Karate who have been training together since the 1970’s and are still going strong today. I guess the reason for this is the challenge in this journey to unlock secretes in karate kata and improve our techniques to be the best we can be, or at least better than we were the day before!

So, there are twenty-six kata on the journey to mastery of self-defence but you don’t need to know all of them for your 1st Dan Black Belt. You will learn one kata for each belt grading and will be expected to continue to practice all the kata you learn. This will make it easier for your Black Belt grading but also allow you to take part in competitions if you wanted.

Below are the katas we practice, along with the grading for which they are required; they are practiced for the duration of the previous belt in preparation.  For example, when you pass your red belt grading, you will start learning Heian Nidan in your lessons, and you’ll need to be able to know this kata when you take your yellow belt grading.

Please note that when you take a grading you are expected to know the kata for the belt you’re grading for, and all previous katas.  For example, if you are taking your purple belt grading, you will be expected to know Heian Yondan in particular, but also Heian Sandan, Heian Nidan, Heian Shodan and Kihon.

Please use the videos as a guide, but note that there are often minor differences in some movements between different karate schools; your sensei will be able to show you the ‘definitive’ version of the kata you are expected to know for your grading.


Basic Kata

Kihon 9th Kyu Orange

Heian Kata (Peaceful Mind)

Heian Shodan(for 8th Kyu Red)

Heian Nidan(for 7th Kyu Yellow)

Heian Sandan(for 6th Kyu Green)

Heian Yondan(for 5th Kyu Purple)

Heian Godan(for 4th Kyu Purple & White)

Tekki Shodan(for 3rd Kyu Brown)

Black and Brown Belt Kata

Bassai Dai (for 2nd Kyu Ho Brown & White and 2nd Kyu Brown & Double White)

Kanku Dai (for 1st Kyu Ho Brown & Black and 1st Kyu Black & White)

Enpi/Jion/Hangets/Basai Dai/Kanku Dai

Tekki Nidan/Bassai Sho/Kanhu Sho/ Nijushiho

Sochin/Jitte/Gankaku/Tekki Sandan

Jiin/Chinte/Meikyo/Unsu/Gojushiho Dai/ Gojushiho Sho


Why Practice Kata

If you have reviewed this website I am sure you have read about out trips to Japan to train at the Japan Karate Association (JKA) Headquarters in Tokyo, their view on kata Practice is very succinctly stated


“After mastering the kihon, you move on to the kata, the core of all karate skills. In kata, there is no wasted or meaningless movement. We emphasize repeating them over and over again. Through constant repetition, your body learns to move automatically, effortlessly and efficiently. Over time, the techniques become unconscious, rather than deliberate mechanical movements. You can do them without thinking, which frees your mind to be still and experience the dynamics of that moment”.

For this reason kata is an important part of all of our sessions helping to build discipline in the student and mindfulness. The benefits of this in self-defence are clear to see with daily practice.

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