Karate first kata step by step

A key kata in the practise of Shotokan karate is Taikyoku Shodan. It provides a really strong foundation for karateka and develops an understanding of some of the key fundamentals of Shotokan karate.

The taikyoku shodan steps are very basic, but do not underestimate the importance of this basic kata, it holds the secret to the core fundamentals that if mastered early on, will make progression through the karate ranks much faster.

Some Shotokan Dojo have Heian Shodan as the first kata. Here we will cover the Taikyoku Shodan steps which only consists of two techniques and one stance.

Oi zuki (stepping punch) and gedan barai (down block) are the two techniques, with zenkutsu dachi (front stance) being the only stance used.

There are two body positions within the kata. They are Shomen (square facing) and Hanmi (side facing).

The body should be in the shomen position for all of the oi zuki and in the hanmi position for all of the gedan barai.

Once the first move has been executed, the kata is then performed at the same height throughout the twenty moves. Try not to come up and down throughout the kata.

Try not to stamp, make all of the taikyoku shodan steps smooth.

Work on zenkutsu dachi so every stance is the same height and same length.

Breathe naturally and try not to show when breathing in or out.

Karate first kata step by step

Taikyoku Shodan History

Yasutsune Itosu, a renowned karate master who was instrumental in the popularisation and systematisation of karate on Okinawa, is responsible for the establishment of Taikyoku Shodan as a kata. Due to his tremendous contributions to the technique, Itosu is frequently referred to as the “Father of Modern Karate”.

Itosu understood the value of incorporating karate into the Okinawan school curriculum to encourage young pupils’ character development and physical condition. However, he was aware that novice martial artists would find it challenging to acquire the intricate and sophisticated kata used by veteran practitioners. Itosu developed the Taikyoku series, which includes Taikyoku Shodan, as a set of kata that were made simpler to remedy this issue. With Taikyoku Shodan being the Karate first kata step by step that was taught.

Taikyoku Shodan was developed further and became well-known thanks in large part to Gichin Funakoshi, one of the most notable individuals in karate history.

The founder of the Taikyoku series, Yasutsune Itosu, who also created Taikyoku Shodan, was Funakoshi’s teacher. Funakoshi is the founder of Shotokan karate and was instrumental in bringing karate to mainland Japan.

Itosu taught Funakoshi the Taikyoku series, and he later realised its significance in imparting to newcomers the fundamentals of karate. When asked to conduct a demonstration in 1922, Funakoshi took these kata, including Taikyoku Shodan, to mainland Japan. This presentation was a turning point in the development of karate because it made the martial art more widely known outside of Okinawa.

The Japan Karate Association (JKA), which went on to become one of the most prominent organisations in the growth and standardisation of karate, was founded in 1949 as a result of Funakoshi’s attempts to promote karate throughout Japan. The JKA was founded on the principles and philosophy of Funakoshi, who also emphasised the value of the Taikyoku series, particularly Taikyoku Shodan, in the instruction of novices.

Funakoshi thought that the Taikyoku series gave students a great foundation on which to learn the fundamentals of Shotokan karate, such as good stances, proper body alignment, and basic techniques. He believed that mastering Takyoku Shodan was crucial to establishing a solid foundation and gaining a thorough understanding of Shotokan karate’s fundamental concepts.

In order to bring the original Taikyoku Shodan in line with the tenets of Shotokan karate, Funakoshi also made alterations to it. He emphasised the idea of “kime” or focus, which describes the explosive concentration of energy at the moment of impact. The methods used in Taikyoku Shodan were modified by Funakoshi to improve them and make them more dynamic and potent.

The influence of Gichin Funakoshi went beyond the specifics of Taikyoku Shodan’s technique. He also emphasised the value of character growth and the karate’s philosophical elements. He thought karate should develop a strong character, respect, and discipline.

Not only in Okinawa and Japan but also throughout the world, Funakoshi’s teachings and philosophy had a significant impact on how karate was practised and perceived.

In conclusion, Gichin Funakoshi had a big impact on the growth and acceptance of Taikyoku Shodan. He brought the Taikyoku series, including Taikyoku Shodan, to mainland Japan as Itosu’s student and made them more widely known. Funakoshi helped the Taikyoku Shodan steps develop into an essential Shotokan kata in the practise of karate through his teachings, changes, and emphasis on character development.

I hope this Karate first kata step by step tutorial helps. Oss!


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Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle