Karate Katas are a choreographed pattern of moves and techniques performed by a student against an imaginary opponent or opponents. Other martial arts disciplines have their equivalents of Katas, such as patterns in Tae Kwondo and forms in Kung Fu.

Although all Katas have their feet in tradition even the oldest are open to interpretation by different Karate styles, associations and even individual instructors. This can lead to a great deal of variation in how Katas are taught and performed. It is unfair to brand any of these interpretations as right or wrong however for the sake of consistency Stour Karate students should practice their Katas as directed by their instructor and use the example videos available on this site for reference.    

The practical application of the components that make up a Kata is called Bunkai. As with the Katas themselves Bunkai is open to individual interpretation.

Students perform Katas of increasing complexity as they progress through the grades. The first Kata Stour Karate students are taught is Ten-No. Although considered a training drill rather than a Kata in the strictest sense Ten-No forms a solid introduction to the 5 Pinan Katas that follow it in the Stour Karate syllabus. After the Pinan Katas comes the advanced Katas Kashanku, Naifanchi, Chinto, Passai, Niseishi, Seishan, Seipai and Unsu.    

Katas can be performed in competition either individually, in pairs or as a team. Pairs or team Kata involves more than one student performing a Kata in synchronisation. The assessment criteria for Kata in competition is laid out by the WKF competition rules. Students should strive to meet this criteria whenever they perform their Kata whether in training, gradings or competitions.

1. Conformance to the form and the standards of the applicable school

2. Technical performance

3. Athletic performance

4. Technical difficulty of the Kata