Kata is often described as a pre-arranged set of  moves envisioned as a fight against imaginary opponents.  Kata consists of kicks, punches, elbows, sweeps, blocks, and throws. all whilst stepping, twisting, and jumping. Kata is not an empty performance but a full scale individual practice  —with every technique intended to be executed as you would upon a real opponent (while paying particular attention to form and timing)

Each kata has varying emphasis on fast or slow and controlled and powerful movements. Almost all of the katas taught today in Shotokan have two kiai points.

The kiai or “spirit cry” as it could be referred to, are executed at pre-determined moments in each kata. It is at these pre-determined moments that the karate-ka is required to demonstrate total commitment of body and spirit to channel their energy and apply it to the required technique.

It is important for every student to remember that as they progress through the various kyu levels and Dan ranks, that continued; regular practice of all of previous katas that they have learned is vital to their future progress.

The following is a list of katas required to attain 1st Dan.

Taikyoku Shodan (Kihon)

Heian Shodan

Heian Nidan

Heian Sandan

Heian Yondan

Heian Godan

Tekki Shodan

Bassai Dai