A recent discussion on the ChitoNet List:

Chito Ryu Kata Terms and Definitions

*Richard Kennet wrote:
Rick Rowell wrote lets talk about Kata Names As it happens I just found a copy of meanings and discriptions of our Kihon's and Kata's. This list was copied from a poster that was at a tournament.I would appreciate any corrections to it.

1) NI-JU-HICHI-KO or TE-WAZA (27 Hand techniques)

2) KIHON-DOSA-ICHI (Basic movements I)
Basic Chito-Ryu techniques. Seisan and shiko-dachi, jodan & chudan oi-zuki, shiko-zuki, and soto-uke. Proper posture, balance and focus. Kiai - fourth oi-zuki (3)

3) KIHON-DOSA-NI (Basic movements II)
Basic Chito-Ryu blocking technique. Jodan-age-uke, uchi-uke, and gedan-barai Kiai - fourth oi-zuki (4)

4) SEIKEN-NO-MIGI/HIDARI Punches to the right & then left.
Kiai - Hidari-mae-te-zuki (2) & Migi-mae-te-zuki (2)

5) KIHON-DOSA-SAN - (Basic movements III)
Gyaku-zuki practice with four basic blocks. speed drill Kiai - Last Gyaku-zuki (1)

6) KIHON-DOSA-YON - (Basic movements IV)
Footwork and Gyaku-zuki practice,Jodan-age-uke, Soto-uke and Gedan-barai. three direction speed drill. Kiai - Last Gyaku-zuki (1)

7) EMPI-NO-KATA or EMPI-KIHON-DOSA - (Elbow strike form)
Left and right side elbow strike training. Teaches six basic elbow strikes. Kiai - Otoshi-empi (2)

8) SHI-HO-WARI - (Four corners)
Kosa-ashi-dachi practice, shiko-zuki and Ren-zuki development. Kiai - Shiko-zuki (4) & last zuki (1)

9) KIHON-KATA-ICHI - (Basic form I)
Stance transition practice. Shiko-zuki and Ren-zuki development. Kiai - Each shiko-zuki (2)

10)KIHON-KATA-NI - (Basic fform II)
Combination kicking techniques, open hand blocking. Kiai - Each shiko-zuki (2) & last Zuki (1)

11)KIHON-KATA-SAN - (Basic form III)
Spinning punch and knife hand techniques, open hand blocking and combination counterattacks. Kiai - Chudan-nukite (2) & Hiza-geri (1) & last Nukite (1)

12)SHIME-NO-KATA or SHIME-NO-DOSA - (Tension form)
Preparation for NISEISHI KATA. Proper breathing and body tension. Solid stances. No Kiai.

13)ZEN-SHIN-KOTAI - (Advance in turn)
Straight line three directional fighting. Basic footwork and Yoko-geri counterattackes. Kiai - last Zuki (1)

14)SHI-HO-HAI - (Four directions)
Defending while surrounded. Kata was originally performed at Okinawan ceremonies. Kiai - First four zuki (4) & Uraken-uchi (2)

15)RO-HAI (SHO & DAI) - (Vision of white Heron)
Continuous rythm in technique, stability & accuracy. Accute concentration and a positive determination to overcome the adversary. Agile motions of turning from attacks. Kiai - SHO: last zuki (1); DAI: Nukite (1) shiko-dachi Nukite (1)

16)NISEISHI (SHO & DAI) - (Twenty four movements)
Basic form to prepare for SANSHIN. Also known as "NIJUSHI-HO. Breathing and posture promote a healthy body. Uses diagonal and circular body motions to create openings for attack. Kiai - SHO: Oi-zuki; DAI: Oi-zuki and Uraken

17)SEISAN - (Crescent moon)
Brought from China by "Bushi" Matsumura. Also known as "NIJUSAN TE" (Thirteen hands). Teaches how to get inside opponents attack while developing strong foundation. When surrounded, attack by moving ahead. Kiai - Jodan zuki, jodan uraken (2) & Ura-tetsui.

18)BASSAI - (to penetrate a fortress)
Chinese form, a favorite of Chotoku Kyan. Teaches grappling and how to shift quickly between positions. Angular defense against multiple opponents. Kiai - Shuto-uchi & mae geri.

19)CHINTO - (Fighting to the East)
Name of a Chinese sailor. Teaches how to use natural environment to conquer opponent. Night fightihg and grappling skills. Straight line movements. Counterattack agility. Kiai - Mae-tobi-geri

20)SOCHIN - (The grand prize)
Teaches a diagonal straddle leg stance. One assumes a posture of attack and defence.Powerful hand techniques and immovable body positions. Kiai - First uraken (1) & all gedan-barai (3)

21)TENSHIN - (Body turning)
Dodging the opponent's attack by turning one's body and then countering. The form features turning in all directions. Kiai - Moroto gedan shuto uke (2)

22)RYUSAN - (Three dragons)
Kata depicts a dragon climbing a mountian and into the sky. This kata has a strong Chinese influence and teaches eye attacks and defences. Kiai - Jodan nukite and last nukite.

23)SANSHIRYU - (Thirty six hands)
Advanced form of defensive skills, fighting rythm and nukite counters. Kiai - Nukite from okutsu-dachi (2)

24)KUSANKU - (Chinese Military Attache)
Envoy to Okinawa in 1756. Form teaches the ability to adopt to changing situations spontaneously. First part is daytime fighting, the second part is nightime fighting. Kiai - Sukui-uke.

25)SANCHIN - ( Three conflicts)
Taught by master Ryu Rysshito to Higaonna Sensei. The ability to absorb shock and deliver unstoppable power. Kata developes the internal organs and ki. Conflicts between mind, body and spirit.

Richard Kennett
Duncan, B.C.

*To which Rick Rowell replies:
Richard you have a good start here but there are some inaccuracies in the names of the Kata. I am updating your list and including the meaning of the names. This is a good way to eliminate some of the confusion I have seen with regards to the names of Kata. It will also give an insight into the kata. If you look closely at the names and their origins you can start asking some interesting questions.

Before we get too far, once again I want to distinguish between the two ways of writing the word KATA:

There are two ways in which to write the word Kata in Kanji and each one is important in the study of Kata. One character implies an ingot or mold. When one looks at what an ingot is, a piece of metal that has a standard weight, size and shape. This is the form of the Kata that is passed down from generation to generation. The second form for Kata is missing the part of the character that relates to the ingot. Instead it now emphasizes the character for water. This form of Kata means a much more fluid form. This is when the Kata becomes a part of the person that is studying it. The first may be thought of a a standard "form" while the second may be thought of as a "shape". An analogy might present the case further. If everyone had a table that was exactly the same in their house they would all have a standard "form". But we know that there are many kinds of tables. Some are round some are square or triangular, some have one support, some have four legs. But there is something about all of them that makes them a table. This is like the second character for Kata.

In our Kihon, when you see the word Kata it is written using the first way described- a standard form. In our Kata it is written in the second way.

Here is the list of Kihon and Kata and the meanings of their names.


1) NIJUHICHI-TE-WAZA or NI-JU-HICHI-KO (Literally = 27 Hand techniques)

2) KIHON-DOSA-ICHI (Literally = Basic or Standard movements hence: Basic movements I)

3) KIHON-DOSA-NI (Basic movements II)

4) SEIKEN-NO-MIGI/HIDARI (Seiken is an old term for punch = Punches to the right & then left).

5) KIHON-DOSA-SAN (Basic movements III)

6) KIHON-DOSA-YON - (Basic movements IV)

7) EMPI-NO-KATA (Elbow strike form)

8) SHI-HO-WARE - (Literally = SHI-four, HO-to turn, WARE-to divide or split hence: To turn in four directions )

9) KIHON-KATA-ICHI - (Basic form I)

10)KIHON-KATA-NI - (Basic fform II)

11)KIHON-KATA-SAN - (Basic form III)

12)SHIME-NO-KATA - (Tension form)

13)ZEN-SHIN-KOTAI - (Zenshin-'to proceed forward, Kotai -' to move backward' hence: To Move forward and Backward)


1) SHI-HO-HAI - (SHI- Four, HO-To turn, Hai-To pay tribute to hence: To pay tribute to the four directions)

2) RO-HAI - (RO[SAGI]- Heron, HAI Label or signboard hence: Heron Sign)

3) NISEISHI - (Twenty four )

4) SEISAN - (Seisan used to mean simply 'thirteen'. O Sensei changed the characters. The sound is the same but the new characters mean Correct Posture.)

5) BASSAI - (Ba-to shoot through, Sai-to shut close) Although this Kata refers to a fortress there are two major meanings to this kata. Sounds like a good discussion thread to me!

6) CHINTO - (Chin- 'Calm',To- 'East')

7) SOCHIN - (SO- a villa or house, CHIN- Calm)

8) TENSHIN - (Body turning)

9) RYUSAN - (Ryu- 'Dragon', San-'Mountain')

10) SANSHIRYU - (Thrity six)

11) KUSANKU - (Ku-Public official, San- Minister of state, Kun- Family)

12) SANCHIN - ( Three conflicts or wars)

Okay I did not want to get into too much detail or I would be sitting in front of this computer for ever. But in order to get a few more individuals besides Richard and myself involved in what I think is a very interesting topic, I'm going to throw out some bait and see if I can't catch a few more chitonet lurkers to come forward with their input. Here are few questions.

Lets take NISEISHI first.

Twenty Four Movements? I hardly think so! When we look at Kata there are several ways to look at and study them. One, their symbolic meaning, Two, the principles these kata emphasize and three, the millons of Bunkai we can glean from each one.

Twenty four.... Hmmmm

Well there are twenty four hours in the day. Maybe there is some relationship with Kyusho (human weak points) and time? Cool!!!

Maybe thats the number of Kamae in the Kata? Scintillating eh?

Maybe the name is related to the number of striking points against the body? Could this be related to other Kata like Seisan(thirteen) Sanshiryu (thirty six) Gojushiho(fifty four). Okay I'm interested?


Dragon Mountain... Hmmmm

What is different about this kata that is completely different from all the other Chito Ryu kata?


Three wars or conflicts..... Hmmmmmm

Shin Ki Tai (Mind, spirit and body) Mine seem to be in conflict all the time. Is this relationship worth looking into?

I'm just working myself up and now I'll have to go grab one of my students and start sweating on that old dojo floor again while I explore and ponder these questions.

Seriously, I'm not just throwing these questions out to you chito net lurkers to tantalize or piss you off. Its because these are a few of the questions I've been asking myself. And beleive me when I say I have lots of questions. I figure if there are a few more of you out there that are as hopelessly lost as I am, that maybe we can compare notes. Anyone interested?

PS. Ah what the hell one more question. Up to date I have found about 12 different Bassai. Why did O Sensei pick the one he learned from Chotoku Kiyan as the one we study today? I have some ideas, what about you guys?

If I keep typing on the chito net this much I'm never going to get volume two of Budo Theory finished :-).

Ganbatte Kudasai