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Karate Kata: the 30 Katas from Shotokan


Karate Kata by Roland Habersetzer

Karate Kata: the 30 Katas from Shotokan

Many of you ask me for documents about katas and I understand you.

Indeed, it's so convenient to have an educational support to refine the details of a Kata or remember a sequence that we would have forgotten ...

I hear you already say to me: - But for that we have : )

Thank you, but it's not always easy to take videos to the Dojo. No?

While a book is ideal, and for Katas, I urge you:

Karate Kata - The 30 Katas from Shotokan
from Roland Habersetzer

Personally I own it for quite a few years and frankly I could not live without it. I use it almost daily, it is very well done, each kata is detailed with care and precision. It's really the top.

Sensei Roland Habersetzer:

I think everyone knows Roland Habersetzer which was one of the first French black belt (1961) and which created in 1974 an international organization gathering many Budokas, the "Budo Research Center" (CRB).

Sensei Habersetzer is 9ème dan of Karate in Japan and the author of the most important work in the world with no less than 70 works devoted to the martial arts. He is also a teacher of Taiji Quan and since 2005 founder of the Budo school "Tengu-no-michi".

Karate Kata - The 30 Katas from Shotokan:

I invite you now to go through with me this very complete book on the Shotokan Katas. You will see, you too, you will eventually not be able to do without.

In his Foreword, Sensei Habersetzer wishes to recall that " the Kata is the soul of a martial art, its essence, what must remain when all the rest will have been forgotten [...] The Kata is first of all a fight, against the others, who attack, then against oneself, then ... against nothing. "

« the essential is elsewhere than in the more or less aesthetic or more or less powerful interpretation of a simulacrum of combat«

30 Katas already detailed in Karate Kata, Roland Habersetzer wanted to add 3 Kata "origins" (Ten-no-kata, Tensho and Happoren) for us " to encourage one to search always, deeply, and to go back to the roots of "the art of the empty hand", far beyond styles.«

Kata, in the heart of Karate-do:

Shu-Ha-Ri: Three steps for a progression-understanding of KataIn this first chapter, through different paragraphs all more enriching and exciting than the other, Roland Habersetzer, really explains what is a kata:

  • Kata, transmission of the Tradition,
  • Kata, key of knowledge,
  • The classical Kata: different levels of reading,
  • A long history between China and Japan,
  • Shu-Ha-Ri: three steps for progression-understanding
  • Hito-kata-san-nen: a kata in three years
  • Tokui-kata
  • Bunkai
  • The ten key points of a Kata
  • Panorama of Karate Kata

Practical advice :

Here, Sensei Habersetzer, gives us a lot of details and practical advice on the execution of a Kata by addressing various essential notions: (I will reveal only a few sentences, gleaned here and there)


Respect the outer form of each movement [...] Do not allow yourself to deviate from the style or design of the Kata, transmitted by generations of experts and masters.

Breath and rhythm:

Master teaches us 6 basic ways to breathe (Jusoku, Taisoku, Ubuki, Nogare breaths ...)

"Harmonize breath and movement. Poor coordination quickly leads to increased, unnecessary fatigue, decreased power and speed ... "

Control of displacements:

"A kata takes place according to a plan (Embusen), a diagram of displacements with respect to a central point (Kiten) [...] if one really wanted to respect the tradition, [...] it would be necessary to start and to conclude a Kata facing north. "

The inner feeling:

"Move from the belly. Move fast but without jostling. Act body and mind in unity: constantly live your fight, visualize situations, seek to understand. "

Then to finish this chapter on the execution of Katas, you will learn how to correctly present a Kata and especially how to run your Kata to "do body" with him.

Study of 30 Katas from Shotokan:

Karate Kata then decomposes into 4 Chapters

Basic 1-Kata

Advanced 2-Kata

Superior 3-Kata

4-Kata of origins

Taikyoku Shodan
Taykyoku Nidan
Taykyoku Sandan
Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan
Bassai Dai
Bassai Sho
Kanku Dai
Kanku Sho
Tekki Shodan
Tekki Nidan
Tekki San
Gojushiho Dai
Gojushiho Sho

All this on more than 430 pages.

Karate Kata so it's about fifteen pages on average by Kata. Imagine the amount of information that this represents: Embusen, complete description of each kata, drawing boards (very well made elsewhere), some bunkaï (a pity there is not any more!) ... In short, a mine of information.

I'm not going to detail here what is for each Kata, it would be too long.

But for you give an idea of ​​the quality of these studies, I will put you some pictures taken at random in my own book.

Here, I hope that this quick overview made you want to buy Karate Kata, this essential work to succeed your Katas.

You will not regret it, promised!

And if you go through the links of this page, I will touch a modest commission. To your good heart

And of course, I'm waiting for your comments below !!!

See you soon,

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  1. Hello to you,
    I discovered your blog, a bit by chance (effectiveness of "links" ...), with this very nice presentation of my book "Karate Kata: 30 kata Shotokan" (which was a huge and exciting work, there is a moment already!). And also, suddenly, this comment of a person who had attended my great international internship in Moscow 1991, where I had been given the map of this huge country with the indication of the cities from which all these enthusiastic trainees to discover karate (and, indeed, since the distant Kamtschatka,!) ... This map, impressive, is still in my library.
    So ... thank you for this reminder of a memory of a beautiful pioneering era ....! And good after you!

  2. Sensei Bruno, I often receive your lessons about karate; there are some questions that I ask you to know more but I can not find an answer.

    • Hello Amissi,

      Yes indeed I received your messages by email, but unfortunately I can not answer everyone because you are too many. You invited me to come to your club in Burundi and I thank you, but sorry for now it is not expected that I come.

      And for your preparation for the 2ème dan, I will not be able to help you more than by inviting you to follow my videos and the advice that I send you. I do not have the opportunity to do individualized follow-ups.
      Good luck for your 2ème dan and soon by mail.


  3. Zakhia EL HAGE at

    in shotokan JKA there is 26 katas, from which you have discovered 4 additional katas, unless you practice a style other than the JKA of origin and base.
    Good to you

  4. Bonjour!
    Having practiced Karate Do in my childhood I was trying to find a few notions to forget that I was not far away (yellow belt barrette blue I think) this book interests me a lot I hope it is still on sale because I look cowardly soon I thank you in advance.

  5. I am young karate practitioner shotokan, I really appreciated your comments on karate and I would like to be part of yours .I am determined from deepened my knowledge in this practice of martial arts but above all I would like to know how much this book on karate Good evening sensei

  6. Hello, I am a great sportsman, karate is one of my passions most contournables.I have long dreamed met a great SENSEI like you, I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity. wait for your support sensei.Thank you and have a good day.

  7. Hello,

    This is my bedside book. I bought it in October when I started shotokan karate.
    A precious and complete tool.
    A reference of choice and well known karatekas high levels.
    Do not hesitate to buy it.

  8. Hello Bruno,
    I allow myself to return to the Katas of the origins, here in this book, Sensei Habersetzer, tells us 4, have you already heard other kata, which brings us back to the origins and the transmission of naha-te and its Chinese origins ?

    Thanks to you

  9. hello to you Bruno! very happy to see how much you take time for us and I am very grateful, I am also a karate practitioner, Cameroonian origin, the goal is to learn more and I think I can do it thanks to you

  10. Zilvinas "Samurai" Andrikonis at

    Dear Bruno,
    I'm in the Sensei R. Haberzetster in the Moscow in 1990 very big seminar! Members of this seminar from Soviet Union, where show for sensei Haberzetstser map where from seminars member he very imprest, because members were fro Soviet European side and last from the Vladivostok (from Far East!). I'm remember this seminar, because this is the last seminar in the Soviet Union, when Lithuania been!
    Best Regards,
    Zilvinas Andrikonis

    • Hello Zilvinas,
      Thank you for this memory.
      Personally I have never done an internship with Sensei Habersetzer, but it must be impressive.

      Hello Zilvinas,
      Thank you for this memory.
      Personally I've never done internship with Sensei Habersetzer, but it must be awesome.

  11. Hello Mr. Bruno, I find everything you do is very interesting, either for beginners or advanced grades, anyway we are all beginners, whatever our level, and the path on which we are committed is a No bounds and no one is perfect and it is good to look at the sky but focusing on the feet that should not leave the earth., not to mention that modesty is the key to success.
    Regarding the book of kata you are talking about, I have not yet I have to tell you that R.Harbertsetzer is the first karateka that has always impressed me since my childhood, with his postures, his techniques, his sequences, his impressive kata ... And I have all his books so far in my library: His encyclopedia of martiuax arts: Tome 1, 2 and 3, on which I have always worked, especially Tome 3, also this book of Shotokan Karate-Do Top Katas, which begins with Maturity Time, Key Kata of Knowledge, Kata Do or Jitsu, and Chinté, Empi, Gankaku, and other well-detailed and well-presented kata with drawings that facilitate learning. and beneficial.
    Mr. Bruno, I encourage you for everything and believe me to tell you that it is not easy at all to proceed in such a way that you do with great courage and great confidence. Why others do not dare to do the same thing is that they are afraid of being criticized by those who do nothing but criticism; is not it?.
    Thank you Mr. Bruno again and see you soon. To you

  12. Hello;
    Indeed it is an excellent work that I own for some years. I also use at the same time the book of Emmanuel AKERMANN:
    "KATATE Bunkais-katas" Shotokan katas fighting apps also published by AMPHORA sports.

    Best regards.

  13. Hello Bruno,
    I already have it, it's the club that recommended it to me, and I bought it right away. I read it a lot to improve the first kata we learn at the club: Heian Shodan (especially rotations). The great thing about this book is that it sometimes illustrates the meaning of certain gestures. That's what I'm looking for as a beginner, understand what I do in the kata ...
    Very good book, and very good article. Thank you.

  14. Hello Bruno,

    That's it, I ordered it on Amazon. What made me decide, although Wado-Ryu and not Shotokan, are the passages you mention where he talks about breathing and rhythm, tradition, inner feeling (see your lesson on letting go), different reading levels, etc ...
    Exactly, I had the intention among other ideas to ask you , not to give you the idea of ​​a course on breathing, the latter being in my opinion very important.
    Thank you for this article.

    • Hello Frederick,
      Thank you for your order, I hope you like the book.
      For breathing, I also thought about it and I began to study how I could do a video lesson to help understand breathing. It's not easy, but it should do it anyway.

      • I read an article about a review (Korean Martial Arts or something similar) that spoke about the extension of the respiratory volume of some Korean practices (medically noted). Maybe we find this in ancient yoga (the current becomes a spectacular gymnastic activity) or chikong-hard?
        Some Koreans teach some kind of curious kiai: breathe by bringing the air down to the belly before the expulsion. The idea can be taken as a visulaition to lower the ki in the donjeon (equivalent of tantien or hara)
        (in 2: 53)
        .PAr countered in a "pneumatic" sense if you compress the air by lowering the ribs before screaming, releasing the compressed air that "explodes". I do not know if it's good for the bronchi.
        The last point, which interests me in breathing, is that the air volume decreases with age, probably with a tendency to curl up. My idea is that aging is a reality but also a "construction" with a whole set of ideas and behavior that should be discarded (which does not mean that trotinette and coloring is the outcome) .
        This is a subject that I intend to address later: Karate and aging.
        Maybe the katas would be the ideal gymnastics, practiced as Master Funakoshi (high as the Korean poomsés).

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