Why Doesn’t Kata Look Like Fighting?

This question comes up, often, with new karateka, disillusioned karateka, and people who practice (or at least closely follow) combat sports, and they have a fair point–kata does not look much like what most people consider “fighting.” Really, it doesn’t even look like what most karateka consider fighting, which is competition-style kumite (sparring). Kata teach you to use strong, rooted […]

nagamine kusanku


How to Bunkai

Bunkai (lit. “take apart, analyze”), in the context of karate, is the practice of breaking down kata and working on developing applications for their movements, but sometimes it can be hard for karateka to figure out how to apply kata movements on their own. This is compounded by the fact that many instructors still only teach basic “block-punch-kick” applications for […]

Interview with Chris Denwood

Chris Denwood is a karateka, fitness expert, researcher, and the author of “Respecting the Old, Creating the New,” and “Naihanchi (Tekki): The Seed of Shuri Karate Vol. 1.” The latter is easily the most comprehensive book on Naihanchi Shodan fundamentals that I have ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who practices Naihanchi kata that can be traced back […]


Performing Seiyunchin in the desert

The Purpose of Kata

The practice and purpose of kata is something that is often debated, and can be a serious point of contention between martial artists. Many people believe that kata are outdated and useless, and should no longer be practiced. Others believe that kata are exercises for fitness, balance, and coordination, but nothing more. There are also those who believe that kata […]

2015 Karate Day Challenges

  Some of you may remember that, last year, our dojo participated in a new tradition to celebrate Karate no Hi (Karate Day)–the 100 Kata Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar, Karate Day was designated by the Okinawan Prefectural Government in 2005, as a way to celebrate the importance of karate in Okinawan culture. The date of October 25th was […]

Participants of the first ever 100 Kata Challenge on Okinawa


Opposing Forces

Karate kata contain many movements that travel in opposite directions. Although it is quite simple, this concept of opposing forces is one of the signature methods of Okinawan karate. It can be seen in kihon practice, as well as in advanced kata, because it is extremely versatile. In application, this concept can defend, attack, clear obstructions, dislocate joints, and increase […]

Hidden Techniques in Kata

There is some disagreement in the karate community about whether hidden techniques in kata actually exist or not, but that disagreement largely stems from differing views on what the definition of “hidden” is. In the sense of karate techniques, “hidden” could be used to refer to things that are purposely concealed or obscured, or even completely removed. It could also […]

Mawashi-Uke - Higaonna Morio

The double arm shoulder throw, as demonstrated by Itoman Morinobu

The Shoulder Throws of Karate

When martial artists think of throws, they often think of judo, and if you say “shoulder throw,” they will generally think of judo’s ippon seoi nage (single point carry-on-the-back throw) and morote seoi nage (double carry-on-the-back throw), which are often called single/double “shoulder throws.” While classical karate does contain a throw similar to seoi otoshi (carry-on-the-back drop), which is a […]