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Karate 1er Kata: Taikyoku Shodan or the root cause


Kata: Taïkyoku Shodan

Here is our first approach to Kata. We will discuss in this article what a Kata and then we'll see the first kata Series Taikyoku.

But before talking about Kata TaikyokuI will try to give a simple definition of Kata:

Here's what Wikipedia tells us:

The word kata has three main meanings in Japanese. Each meaning corresponds to a kanji that can be used to write this word:

Way : . This character has the meanings of "way", "orientation", "direction". It can also mean "person" in supported style (kata is more polite than hito)
Form : Shape etymologically "draw with the brush an exact resemblance"
Mold : etymologically "original form made of earth". This ideogram also has the meaning of trace left, ideal form, law, habit.

In its last two spellings, the word kata thus evokes both the image of a ideal shape to reproduce as well as fixation and the transmission of knowledge based on a codified gesture.

So we can translate the kata by "The model form". Kata are therefore used to learn the techniques Karate, but also to transmit them from generation to generation.

Karate would probably not exist nowadays without the Kata. Indeed, kata are the archives of karate. They allowed to transmit, without writing, the knowledge of master to pupils for centuries. They are mostly of Chinese origin and have been taken over by Okinawa Karate styles.

Externally, one might think that the Kata are imaginary battles and that is very often how they are perceived by people who do not practice karate. In reality The Kata is a real fight against imaginary opponents. And this is how you will have to practice them. Your heart and mind must be mobilized in the same way as for a fight with real opponents. You must really feel this "fighting" aspect in the kata.

Each kata is different and brings new teaching for the practitioner. The Kata form the soul and heart of karateka over the years of practice. Each kata makes it possible to progressively climb the steps of knowledge.

We will, for this first article on kata, study the kata Taïkyoku Shodan.

It exists 6 Kata Taikyokus.

The first three Taikyokus are the best known, they have been created by Master Funakoshiat first glance for educational purposes. However the mark of his son Yoshitaka Funakoshi is so present that these kata could be his work. In fact, he sought to reduce physical karate to its simplest expression, retaining only the principal, the strength, the speed, the precision, and the unity of action of the body and the mind.

The last 3 Taïkyokus were created by Henry Plée

Kata Taikyoku or The first cause :

Taikyoku could therefore be translated as " the big everything". Some will also say " The first cause«

For beginners, Taikyokus are training kata whose main objectives are body attitude and learning to travel. These kata are the easiest to learn and consist of simple blocking and attack combinations.

For the experts, the Taikyokus are a reminder of simplicity and a return to the sources. It will be very useful to come back regularly to question his practice of karate.

In this first part, we will detail the very first Taikyoku,

Taïkyoku Shodan:

Taïkyoku Shodan is very simple because it consists only of technical 2: Gedan Barai et Oizuki Chudan, all in position Zenkutsu-Dashi

These techniques will be repeated in several directions describing a large I, it's'Kata embusen :

Kata Taikyoku Embusen

This diagram or embusen, will be the same for all Taikyoku.

What are the difficulties of Taiyoku Katas?

In general, beginners, have no trouble performing techniques Gedan Barai et Oizuki Chudan. Where they have difficulties is in changes of direction. I'm going to give you mnemonic means to no longer deceive you in these rotations.

Before turning (Just after Oizuki), you have to ask yourself a question:

Am I at the end of a small side (small lower or upper bar of I) or am I at the end of a long straight line?

And following the answer we will detail how to do:

1 - I am at the end of a small side :

I watch over the shoulder of my outstretched arm, and I'm taking my arm and my front leg in the new direction by swiveling on the heel of the back leg (Ushiro Mawari Ashi)

2 - I am at the end of a long straight line:

I have to go to the right, but turning to the left ;-). I'm going to take this time my leg and my back arm (the left) to the right side, but turning on my front heel (Mawari Ashi) to the left looking at the whole room behind me. I am doing so 3 / 4 of a turn no vacancy.

Once you understand these two principles, the rest will flow by itself and it will be easy for you to learn Taikyoku Shodan and the following Taikyoku.

Good as it is easier to show than to explain, I propose you to join me on the video of Kata Taïkyoku Shodan.

I show you the kata front and back. Then we'll go into a little more detail and we'll do exercises to work the rotations so that you are not mistaken anymore.

(Do not forget to warm up before, thanks to the advice I give you in the ABCs of warming up , my book to download for free ;-))

See you soon !!!

>>> Download the video

Here I hope that training on the Kata Taïkyoku Shodan you were pleased

I invite you now before going to the shower

See you soon,

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  1. Trackback: Heian Shodan: The first for the black belt - Karate Course

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  4. Thank you, Master Bruno, starting karate a week ago.
    I also know Hyan shodan grace in part to you and my masters. Taikiku I did not know at all yet I had done some karate with a friend who never teach me.
    Luckily it was invented because it comes perfectly that paste al before kata.
    A white belt 4 course to his credit.

  5. I am very happy Me of this very little course that I just took from you. I finally understand my position of karateka Me well to you

  6. Good evening. I thank you for this site.tres impressive.i just started karate, and looking on the web I fell on your and I just saw the video kata taikyoku shodan and c'edt very I apologize for my french.

  7. Hello,
    I am a beginner in karate shotokan and watching your video I noticed that during gedan barai performed (especially during rotations) your leg was placed before the end of the sweep on the gold floor, in my school, we learned to ask both at the same time.

    Could I have an explanation because I'm lost. ?
    Why us?

  8. Good evening Bruno,

    Clear and concise explanations that ask for more :).
    Having just started in the Shotokan style, this video will give me more assurance for learning this kata especially at the level of displacement.
    Thank you again for the quality work you do.

    Good continuation.


  9. Hello, first of all your site super respect, but I have a blem at the level of kata, I started to learn with my karate club my first kaata heian shodan and his first and you, you said in your video that taykutu shodan and the first, I'm not all lol, especially that the sequences are not the same

  10. Hello, Bruno! My Comentar Mali: The kata practice is the foundation. It's a fight with an imaginary opponent. Pre-known lines of activity, sequence shots, blocks and situation. Linked to the set of better results.

  11. Posted by Bruno BandelierHello Yann,
    In the "official" performance of the kata, it is done at the speed I showed, but after the training you can vary the speed of execution.

    thank you ^ ^ (by the way, you say it in another video that we see later-proof that I draw too quickly my keyboard)

    Good continuation and a +

  12. Hello,

    very good video (exemplary pedagogy)!

    I just have a quick question about the times.
    As explained above there is a tempo in the kata (1..23) to respect. But is the unity of the tempo fixed? Basically, is it possible to perform the kata faster / slower (respecting the correct tempo) or do you have to respect the same durations between two actions as in video?

  13. In fact, this is what we do as a basic exercise when we learn Heian Shodan .... But it's like Mr Jourdain who speaks prose without knowing that it's so called ... There are really plenty of discoveries on this blog!

  14. Hello Bruno,
    I just registered with my son 12 years to a karate class here in Montreal Canada ... We are great beginners ... We greatly appreciate your blog for its rating and progressive learning ... My question is: the karate class we follow is related to Kyokushin ... Is this different from what is shown on your blog? I think of Katas in particular?
    Thank you for your answer.
    David & Robin

    • Bonjour David,
      I was hoping that a Kyokushin Karateka would answer you ...
      I do not know the Kyokushin well, but from what I know, the kata are from the Shotokan, so quite close but sometimes a little modified.
      I think the best thing is that you ask the question directly to your teacher. But maybe someone will answer you here.

  15. Hello Bruno.

    We also speak of Taikyoku Yodan, Taikyoku Godan and Taikyoku Rokudan. But it seems to me that these basic kata are very little taught in clubs. Could I have your opinion? Thank you. Willy.

    • Hello Willy,
      Yes there are other 3 Taikyoku that were created by Henry Plée.
      I have not put them here yet, but in the meantime you can find them on my club's website:

      What do I think of it? The taikyokus are very good kata learning and training of the body.
      They should all be taught in clubs because being very easy to remember, it allows very early personal work at home and thus a faster progression.

  16. Hello Bruno,
    I introduce myself quickly: I am super great beginner (only one training to my credit, the second one next week!). But before participating in this training, I was interested in karate for a long time, without daring to take the step (I am 42 years). And I came across your site, very very well done.
    One thing, however, I attended the first class at the club (the session revolved around the kata Heian Shodan), and there the teacher insisted on the look in this real fight against imaginary opponents. When I say "look", I mean that little head movement during the fight that allows the audience (the jury, for example) to understand that the karateka sees (with eyes!) Where the opponent comes from . And reviewing your video after these tips of the teacher, I can not find these movements head. Can you say more?
    Thank you for your great site, and your advice.

    • Hello Eric,
      First of all, I wish you welcome on this Blog.
      In fact, I do not agree with turning my head first, even if some do like that.
      For me the first thing that we mobilize in any technique is the belly. The head does not turn right away. On the other hand, the gaze changes direction, our attention also changes direction. You visualize your opponent on the side even if it is vague because our eyes are able to see on the side (at first, we do not need the vision is clear to understand the intention of the opponent).
      Turning your head first is bad for many reasons:
      1 - Cervicals are not going to like this sudden rotation at all.
      2 - If you do not move all this time, you lose 1 / 2 seconds, which seems to me suicidal in a real fight.

      Well I probably did not do that friends, but for me no head rotation before the technique.

      Good continuation on the path of karate

  17. Hello Bruno, I am a beginner and your classes are a great help to me. It is thanks to your videos that I have been able to progress well. The explanations are very clear. Thank you and see you soon

  18. It is very well explained, but it would take sequences a little slow to assimilate the movements. But the video pleased me a lot. Thank you !

    • Hello Zahya,
      Thank you for your compliments. Regarding the slow motion, you must be able to download my videos on Youtube or Daylimotion and then watch them at the speed you want on your computer.

  19. Good evening Bruno,

    Well I revised this basic Kata, I did not know the origins of all "Taikyoku".
    About the tempo of the three "Oi Zuki" preceding the "Ki-Ai" is it the same as in the "Heian", ie 1 ... .23.

    Good luck, see you soon.


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