Training students in the kata of Goju Ryu Karate is suitable for promoting the development of the mind and body. The Japan Karatedo Federation (Goju Kai) outlines a number of features about these kata:
1. Kata training helps improve concentration by focussing on hard practice. Kata training also helps exercise self-control and moderation to become a master of your own heart. By concentrating on movements, kata training helps to concentrate spiritual strength and deliver that strength as concentrated energy.
2. Specific warming up exercises are required early on in order to improve flexibility in joints,tendons and muscles. The secret of Goju Ryu Karate is said to be in the ways of inhaling and exhaling in the basic kata sanchin. The objective is to properly learn through breathing techniques the rising and falling body movements, agility, endurance and explosiveness in offensive and defensive techniques. As the open-hand technique focuses on close combat, it is necessary to use auxiliary equipment (eg. chi-shi training and makiwara) to strengthen the entire body to improve destructive in direct attacking. Kata training is to improve the mind and body, in accordance with individual fighting abilities, aiming to achieve a strong and balanced body, with the additional use of warming up exercises and auxiliary equipment.
3. Kata training aims to improve your health. Goju Ryu Karate specifically develops abdominal breathing. The basic kata sanchin and tensho are designed to improve energy, breathing and body strength.
4. Kata training assists learning self-defense. If it becomes necessary to protect yourself, athletic ability, agility and mental calm will be of tremendous help. The mentality developed through kata training is also aimed to help protect you.
5. Kata training is for all people, whether young or old or female or male. Kata training can be tailored to suit all individuals, with the aim of improving physical strength and inner strength. Kata training may be undertaken alone, in a small space and at any time.
|Sanchin||Chojun Miyagi sensei taught "coordinate the muscles as you inhale and exhale to help you in your quest for mastery of offensive and defensive techniques and in achieving sound mind and body".
The ultimate objectives are to refine fighting skills, exercise self-control and create strong mind and body. To this end, one must improve, through training that is appropriate for individual physical strength, defensive moves from proper footwork, concentration from proper punching and defense, and endurance from total muscle control.
"When struck, strike back" and "when striking, strike to destroy" - the basic, ironclad rules of Goju Ryu Karate that can be found in sanchin kata.
|Gekisai Dai Ichi||This kata was created in 1941 by Chojun Miyagi sensei for beginners, to promote the spread of Goju Ryu Karate. At the time, the Okinawan Karatedo Expert Committee defined a basic kata 1 and basic kata 2. Gekisai ichi was the basic kata 1.
Gekisai ichi incorporates the basic stance and offensive and defensive techniques of Goju Ryu Karate and allows students to learn beginners techniques as well as more advanced skills.
|Gekisai Dai Ni||This kata was created in 1941 by Chojun Miyagi sensei for beginners, to promote the spread of Goju Ryu Karate. At the time, the Okinawan Karatedo Expert Committee defined a basic kata 1 and basic kata 2. Gekisai ni was the basic kata 2.
A major feature of Gekisai ni is that it adds neko ashi dachi to the basic tachi and also incorporates kake uke, mawashi uke and ryo shotie ate, which are representative techniques of Goju Ryu Karate.
|Saifa||Although it involves relatively few hand movements and a short enbu time, it is by no means an easy kata.
Saifa is a difficult kata that requires a high degree of proficiency in attacks to different parts of the body. The kata requires a continuous flow of movements from hane hazushi in irimi position to the surprise of the opponent, through to shotei otoshi or ura ken uchi, and a kick from hiza ate in sagi ashi dachi.
|Seiyunchin||This is the only kata in Goju Ryu Karate without a kick. As it contains many shiko dachi, as well as many basic stances like neko ashi dachi and sanchin dachi, it has an important significance for training.
The hazushi that is executed when the attacker grabs your arm or one that is executed when the attackers holds your body from the back are designed to accommodate various scenarios, with techniques incorporating the hard and soft. The kata also features a kuri uke that is unique to Goju Ryu Karate - the directly confronting force is swept away, without countering the force, by gently drawing an arc with the elbow as though to gorge the kick. Seiyunchin is an exquisite kata that combines techniques that are at times powerful as to break and arm or leg and at other times tenacious, soft and flowing.
|Sanseru||The kata teaches a series of practical techniques, such as brushing off the attacker's arm holding your wrist by suri otoshi and immediately executing ashi tori and oi geri on the attacker who is now on the ground attempting to escape. The range of practical techniques are designed to be nimble, fast and bold.
The kata also proves the opportunity to acquire techniques from tenchi to tsuki hanashi with both hands in irimi and ko uke.
|Shisochin||This kata is practiced primarily with open hands. The kata is a sequence of techniques with a focus on twisting the hips. It requires students to be thoroughly familiar with the distribution of power in open hand techniques and the angles and distance of techniques.
This kata is said to be one of Chojun Miyagi sensei's favourites.
|Seipai||It is said that in ancient times in China, there were student warriors considered to be technique thieves, moving from master to master. To deceive such unscrupulous people, it is said that masters intentionally created and taught difficult kata. Seipai includes many such techniques that take the opponent by surprise.
This kata features a series of combination offensive and defensive techniques that mix slow and fast moves to attack after escaping from being seized in various ways and moving inside an opponent. The kata also includes throwing technique.
|Seisan||This kata requires accurate offensive and defensive techniques and flowing body movements. The kata is characterised by a series of complex and varied techniques from continuous movement. It is considered one of the most characteristic of Naha-te style karate.
|Kururunfa||Open hand offense and defense are a major feature of this kata, which begins by moving away from an opponent's attack without resistance.
The centre of gravity remains relatively constant through the large enbusen as the techniques occur quickly from soft movement. Combined with a series of short quick movements, the kata produces an effect of larger movements.
|Suparinpei||Chojun Miyagi sensei said this kata is called "pechurin or suparinpei". It is said that Chogi, the second son of Lord Yoshimura, who supported Kanryo Higanonna sensei and financed sensei's trip to Fukien, was trained by Kanryo Higaonna sensei and acquired pechurin based on sanchin.
It is believed that in ancient times, this kata was a longer kata, made up of three individual kata - jyo, chu and ge. It is believed that the kata taught today is only jyo. The kata is a combination of tenshin in four directions and requires accurate basic techniques. Suparinpei incorporates various techniques including an extremely difficult harai osae technique called "noon", which is executed from awase-tsuki.
|Tensho||This kata was devised by Miyagi Chojun sensei, based on researching Rokkishu, a white crane kata practiced by southern Shorin Ryu, when he visited Fuchou, Fukken Province to study chinese martial art techniques in 1915. Unlike the Chinese kata, tensho is now executed with some closed hands. As with sanchin. power is focussed in the seika tanden, to train energy, breathing and body strength. Various open hand techniques are learned with correct posture and breath control.