Current Kata for Saturday Kata Class: Gojushiho Dai

GojushihodaiOur kata-of-the-month is now Gojushiho Dai (五十四歩大), the companion to Gojushiho Sho, which we just completed. Gojushiho means “Fifty-four Steps.” Gojushiho Dai is  “Gojushiho the Greater.” In Shotokan karate we typically practice these two variants of the older Gojushiho kata. If it looks like the movements in Gojushiho Sho are in fact bigger than those in Gojushiho Dai there’s a reason. It seems the names were switched in the JKA several decades ago. If you have not already heard the story behind this, please ask at the dojo.

The embusen and the timing of techniques and combinations in the two kata are very similar — but not identical. And Gojushiho Dai introduces more open-hand techniques and features neko-ashi dachi (cat stance) quite prominently. The contrast between fast, explosive techniques and slow, stately techniques is similar to Gojushiho Sho, but many of the movements are smaller, requiring more power generation from within.

You can see good examples of Gojushiho Sho by Ogura Sensei here. by Ohta Sensei here and by JKA All-Japan female kata winner Ayano Takagi here.

The Gojushiho kata are advanced black belt kata, but we encourage students of all grades to come to the Saturday kata classes. Even if you won’t practice advanced kata regularly yet, it’s great to begin to learn how techniques can be combined, and the practice in applying techniques is indispensable.

See you Saturday!

At SVSK our Saturday morning kata classes focus on one kata at a time. We typically spend four Saturdays on each kata:

Week 1: Overview/review of the kata
Week 2: Fine points of the techniques and the kata
Week 3: Hands-on practice to understand applications (bunkai)
Week 4: Variations in the kata