The Taikyoku Kata
Gichin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka “Gigo” Funakoshi, are said to be the creator of the Taikyoku Katas around 1940. Some claim that Shigeru Egami and Hironishi Genshin also were involved in the creation.
Taikyoku can translate into
- Great culmination
- Great education
- First Cause or First Course
- Basic Ultimate
- Taiji; in the Chinese language
Personally, I prefer to use the word “Universal” for the translation of Taikyoku.
So far, I have seen six different Taikyoku Kata, but Gichin Funakoshi mentions only three of them in the book Karate-do Kyohan. These are Taikyoku Shodan, Nidan and Sandan. Even others claim that there were ten Katas from the beginning!
Why create new simple Katas?
Itosu has already done the job by creating the Heian/Pinan Katas for introduction in the Okinawan School around 1900. Those Katas were already simplified.
Therefore, the big question is!
Are the Taikyoku Katas necessary?
In my opinion, yes, the basic idea with the Kata is useful, if the basic meaning was to have Kata with variable techniques! Kind of Kihon Kata, or even more simplified Kata for Children.
My way of using the Kata may be different from others. First of all, I use the Kata to teach the pattern to beginners, which makes it easier to learn the Heian/Pinan Kata later on. I also use Taikyoku to teach new students the basic techniques, e.g. Age-uke, Ushi-uke, Gedan-uke, Mae-geri … The basic Kata is also good for practicing combinations of techniques. This, in my opinion, is the way the Taikyoku Kata should be used. The Taikyoku are experimental Katas! You can change the techniques just as you wish.
Of course, it is always a good idea to have basic Taikyoku Kata with predetermined techniques.
Other Kihon Kata used by Shorin-Ryu Denmark is Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni.
Our five basic Taikyoku Kata and Gekisai Kata can be seen here.
Do you have an opinion about the Taikyoku Kata? Let me hear it!