We are now onto the kata Gojushiho Sho (五十四歩小). The name of this kata is similar to the one we just completed, Nijushiho. Gojushiho means “Fifty-four Steps.” Sho, “small” (or here, “the lesser”) distinguishes this kata from its companion Gojushiho Dai (or “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. The names were switched in the JKA several decades ago.
Gojushiho Sho begins with combinations of familiar blocking, punching, and kicking techniques but quickly moves into the variety of open-hand strikes and other techniques that make up most of the kata. It emphasizes large, dynamic movements to generate power, and the contrast between fast and slow techniques — all delivered from a solid base.
You can see good examples of Gojushiho Sho by Ueki Sensei here and by Osaka Sensei 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