Taikyoku Shodan

First Cause, First Level. This is a Shotokan Kata, but also common in many other styles. Also spelt Taigyoku Shodan.

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Moves

The kata has 20 moves, uses Zenkutsu Dachi, Gedan Barai Uke, and Chudan Oi Tzuki, and simple 90, 180 and 270 degree turns.

Discussion

Because of its simplicity, the kata is easily learned by beginners. Nevertheless, as its name implies, this form is of the most profound character and one to which, upon mastery of the art of karate, an expert will return to select it as the ultimate training kata1.

Taikyoku (太教育) means first cause, or great education. The Taikyoku kata series (six in total) was developed by Funakoshi Gichin2 as a way to simplify the principles of the already simplified Pinan/Heian series. The Embusen (pattern of the kata's movements), is a simplified version of that in Heian Shodan.

Taikyoku Shodan is a very common first kata used in systems to introduce students to the kata concept. For example, Goju Ryu developed five of its own Taikyoku katas, based on the Shotokan katas and retaining the I-shaped Embusen.

Variations

• Double head-turns on the turns, to sight the foot placement before the turn ([Go Kan Ryu).
• The three strikes forward are performed to two counts (one, one-two). The middle strike is performed in Han Zenkutsu Dachi (GoSoku Ryu), or Heiko Dachi.

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