- TAIKYOKU SHODAN – “First Cause”
- The first of three kata in the Taikyoku series, Taikyoku Shodan is the most basic kata taught in the Shotokan syllabus. This kata is primarily to teach beginners some of the fundamental aspects of kata. Due to it’s similarity to Heian Shodan a kata found in the next series many Shotokan dojos today do not even bother teaching this kata to their students. Personally I consider this to be a good kata for beginners to learn first, since this kata permits the beginner to develop a basic understanding of kata, while only having to concentrate on learning one basic stance zenkutsu-dachi (front stance), and two basic hand techniques, chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) and gedan-barai (lower level down block). Only after having first trained for some student then move on and learn the more complex hand techniques, stances, and combination movements, that will be taught in the up coming when a student has finally become proficient in Heian series of katas. It has been said that after spending many decades of training, and having finally mastered all of the katas found within the Shotokan karate system, a karate-ka should return once again to this kata and in the words of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, use it “as the ultimate training kata”.