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ANWAR's picture
Taikyoku Kata

Hi everyone

I would firstly like to say that I am very impressed by Iain Abernethy's book 'BUNKAI JUTSU'.I only read it recently. I come from a style of Karate that does not teach bunkai for the Kata's in the system.After reading 'Four Shades of Black' and 'Bunkai Jutsu' I've become very interested in this aspect of Karate.

I would like to know about the Taikyoko Kata. Are there any real Bunkai for this set of Kata? I know this must seem like a very silly question because this is the very first set of  kata taught in many systems,but I'm a total beginner when it comes to Kata Bunkai.I would really appreciate your guys help.Thanks



JWT's picture

Hi Anwar

The Taikyoku Kata is a stripped down version of the Heian Kata.  They contain movements found in that Kata set.  As such they contain a large number of effective applications.

ky0han's picture


as far as I know the Kata is pretty modern. If I remember correctly it was developed and formulated by Funakoshi Gichin and his son Funakoshi Yoshitaka. They formulated a few other Kata. The Ten no Kata is the one that is for example described in Funakoshis Book "Karate Do Nyumon".

I don't think that the Taikyoku Kata were developed with Bunkai in mind. They were a mere training tool to get the students used to the likes of Kata. You can see it as a kind of introduction to Kata. There were originaly three Taikyoku Kata (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan). The french Karate pioneer Henry Plee formulated three more Taikyoku Kata (Yondan, Godan, Rokudan). I am pretty sure, that Funakoshi or his son never tought any bunkai to those Kata.

When you look at the Ten no Kata and the belonging Kumite, then you see what is often sold as "Bunkai". But that contradicts Iains approach in a lot of ways.

Nonetheless there are movements in the Kata. So you can analyse these movements and so you can create certain applications for those movements.

I use the Taikyoku Kata only to teach the pattern to beginners (with all the turnings 90°, 180°, 270°). So I make my own Taikyoku Katas while randomly change the movements. I use all Kihon techniques the beginner should know after a while. I don't teach Taikyoku Bunkai.

Hope that helps.

Regards Holger

Cruithneach Comhrag
Cruithneach Comhrag's picture

Hi Anwar

If you go onto ebay type in John Burke as he sells quite a number of bunkai dvds including Taikyoku / Kihon or you can go on to his web site thebunkaiguy.com There is more Practical Bunkai to this kata than meets the eye including grappling and locks attacks from being grappling from behind (not turning to block the attack that you cannot see which is not practical)

I Highly recommend this series of DVDs as well as Iains DVDs as both series goes hand in hand with each other



Harald's picture

Dear all,

if I might add a comment: I think the comments on Anwar´s question do not contradict each other.

If we take taikyoku shodan (wado or shotokan) it makes you acquainted with the kata training method.

It´s a very good idea what Holger makes with it. Change orientation and directions, change kihon techniques, then you get the essence of it, I think. Change perhaps stances as well. oi-zuki/junzuki performed with zenkutsu-dachi/junzuki-dachi is not always applicable, gyaku-zuki in moto-dachi or seisan-dachi might work better (esp. in a lift ;)

Technically,  it is a great exercise to work on moving your body centre, rotate and change direction. Even blackbelts can improve on performing this (seeminly ). simple kata. The beginner will notice that karate techniques will work only when you move. And you use the whole body when performing a technique...If you compare shotocan and wado ryu, you will notice important differences when performing this kata. The different principles become disclosed..

When it comes to application: Perhaps they were not designed to be applied for self-defense situations. I agree.

It doesn´t matter. You defend and then attack. That´s a basic picture. If you have fantasy, you can develop lots of applications for beginners up to masters. Of course, they are not explicitly shown in the kata! You have to add stuff, move differently, change stance etc. Kata is an open source ...

The warrior mustn´t   become arrogant. Even from primitive looking stuff things can be learned and these should be taught.

Sorry for writing with a German ´accent´,