Kata & Bunkai notes & videos

Karate Kata & Bunkai Video Courses for Download 
free video streaming for selected kata & bunkai

Based on training in Japan 

A quote re kata from Mabuni Kenwa's (the founder of shito-ryu karate) 1934 textbook "Karate Kenpo: The Art of Self Defense":

"Simply knowing a kata does not make one strong, knowing a few kata is better...If you specialize and study only a few kata, then you will be a serious Karate-jutsu student".

Styles & Kata? The founders of the modern styles (Funakoshi founder of Shotokan, Mabuni of Shito-ryu and Miyagi of Goju) all practiced together as late as the 1920s and shared the same sensei from which they learnt the kata. 

Therefore, as most modern, and past Karate masters preach - there is no true "style" difference between kata bunkai (kata applications). Each style may have a slight stylistic pattern difference for a given move but the underlying function and key points are the same regardless of the superficial differences. 


Unsu & Unshu: The Shotokan version is called "Unsu" while the Shito-ryu versions uses the kata's original name "Unsu". Translation of kanji is "Cloud Hands". Three versions of the Kata are presented in this video online including the Mabuni family line style of Shito-ryu (Seito Shito-ryu), the tournament style shito-ryu version (popularized by Hatahi-ha) and the Shotokan pattern. Selected bunkai are also shown.

1hr Video Unshu History, Kata & Bunkai 
            note: the download provides the best video resolution                                                    

gojushiho kata kanji
The meaning of Gojushiho is most often directly translated from the kanji (pictured left), and literally this means 54 steps, but is often cited as 54 "moves/techniques". It's name stems from a couple of possibilities tied to its history...

To access the full 52 minute Gojushiho video on kata, history & bunkai click here to purchase a file download 

Note: Gojushiho is not part of the 16 kata video set below.

The Heian kata are derived from the more original versions of the kata, the Pinan kata. Mabuni sensei (founder of Shito-ryu) introduced the Pinan kata to mainland Japan and it was there that Funakoshi sensei learnt them from Mabuni and modified for the Shotokan system (references for this see the textbook: Street Fight Statistics, Karate Technique Selection & Medical Outcomes (ISBN 978-1-4475-2651-3). 
The primary instructor for the online kata video downloads, Jason Armstrong, PhD (7th Dan) has lived and trained with a master in Japan and has more than 30 years experience teaching karate in Japan, the USA and Australia. He also worked at CEO level in Corporate Japan. These 14 shorter videos differ from our longer videos in that they do not provide a backbone of  classical bunkai assessed against street statistics for practicality & probability, our longer videos (30min-1hr on the selected kata listed above) do this and provide more history on each kata. The longer 30min-1hr videos are also hi-res HD versus the 14 kata product is only 640x480. resolution.

Pinan Nidan & Heian Shodan
   (8 mins)
Shito-ryu version as practiced by the Tani or Shukukai line. Shito-ryu version by Jason Armstrong 7th dan. Shotokan version performed by Sensei Shawn Danahur of Camarillo Shotokan. Shotokan & Shito-ryu versions are presented. Kata video on the pattern plus selected bunkai. Kata is performed fast, and at a slow walk through pace. The kanji for the Pinan (Heian) kata represent "peace and tranquility".  These kata were created by Sensei Itosu in Okinawa. The passage of the kata to Japan occurred via Mabuni sensei (founder of Shito-ryu) who took them first to the Kansai region of Japan. The kata also emerged in Tokyo via Funakoshi sensei (who renamed them "Heian" - a Japanese pronounciation). From a number of researchers it appears that Funaksohi sensei learnt the kata from interactions with Mabuni sensei. Pinan 

Pinan video and article page is here... 

(approx. 10min)
Translation of the kanji is "Wind in the Pines". This kata was created by Matsumura and passed to Mabuni Kenwa, the founder of Shito-ryu. The Kata video provides the pattern plus all bunkai.

           Matsukaze (Wankan) is a separate video & article.   click here... 

(approx. 18min)
Translation of kanji is "Calm in the storm".  The Kata is performed fast and slow at different angles and includes a slow walk through of the pattern. Selected bunkai are also included with a partner. Kata video download of Seienchin.

Seienchin (Seiunchin, Seienshin) is a separate video & article.   click here... 

annanko kata
(approx. 46 min) -  is a separate 46 min download.   click here... 

Translation of kanji is "Light from the South". The Kata is performed fast and slow at different angles and includes a slow walk through of the pattern. Bunkai is performed for the entire kata with an evidence based practice related to street assault & medical emergency department reports of violence. The Kata has at least 2 stories around its origins - both Taiwan related. One is that it was a fighting from native Taiwan and moved to Japan/Okinawa from there. The other, by historian John Sells (8th Dan), is that Kyan Chotoku (a Okinawan karate practitioner who lead to the founding of the Shorin styles) went for a time to Taiwan and upon returning to Okinawa, he began to teach a new kata called Ananku. This historical note suggest Chotoku had created it as a basic kata from techniques developed from or inspired by his Taiwan adventures.

Bassai Dai kata bunkai video for karate

Bassai Dai
  (approx. 36 min) -  download or DVD exists in a 36 min video as a separate product on this website on its own for $15 - see our Bassai Dai page...

Video includes Shotokan and Shito-ryu versions with bunkai. The Kata is performed fast and slow at different angles and includes a slow walk through of the pattern. Selected classical bunkai are referenced to an evidence based approach related to street, emergency, police & UFC data/statistcs. 

seipai kata
(approx. 50 min) -  A Seipai kata download or DVD exists in a 50min video as a separate product on this website.

Translation of kanji is "18 Hands". The Kata is performed fast and slow at different angles and includes a slow walk through of the pattern. 
Selected classical bunkai are referenced to an evidence based approach related to street, emergency, police & UFC data/statistcs. 

unshu kata bunkai
Unshu (Unsu) (approx. 1hr) 
Like most karate kata, Unshu's origins are likely traceable back to China, and in particular for this kata, White Crane martial arts (Sells, Unante; ISBN 0910704961). The most common of today's Unshu versions are often stated to be derived from Aragaki (Arakaki) Seisho who lived in Okinawa from the mid-1800s, to the early 1800s Interestingly, beyond the Shotokan and Shito-ryu versions, there is radically different kata under the same name. This version is practiced by Okinawan practitioners and is always termed "Aragaki Unshu" rather than just "Unshu". The "Aragaki Unshu" version is significantly different and clearly not a direct map to the Shotokan or Shito-ryu versions. The history is unclear, but the Shotokan version is likely a derivative of the Shito-ryu version, in a similar manner to the heaian kata having been passed to Funakoshi by Mabuni...

Chinto (Gankaku) Kata & Bunkai 

  The kata is performed by Jason Armstrong, 7th dan, Greg Story Shihan (6th Dan), Nick Lukich Sensei (4th Dab) with bunkai performed by Renshi Jason Griffiths (5th Chinto (Gankaku).  approx 50min video.  

It appears the kata was most likely spread to shito ryu, and other lineages via Sokon Matsumura (1809—circa 1902). In particular the historical notes point to him having learnt this from a  Chinese sailor who was possibly shipwrecked on Okinawa. But it has been pointed out to me that this Chinese figure, who is referred to Chinto or Anan (with both names of course linked to 2 differing kata) likely taught a small number of other karate masters of the 1800s and its spread through Okinawa may in fact be via more than one just Matsumura. Some Okinawan research that emerged in the last few years.... Click here for the full Chinto Video & Article...

gassho kata


The shito-yu practiced Gassho kata stems from the Himeji dojo(s) in the Kansai region of Japan. This video talks about its little known heritage and demonstrates the kata full power, walk through andbunkai. The kata is practiced by such dojos(s) as the shito-ryu clubs of the The Traditional Japanese Karate Network and Renbukan.

The kanji naming the
 kata match the zen monk greeting posture which open the kata and this position is seen in a few places across the martial arts. The kata is typically taught and practiced at nidan level and is a particularly wide variety of techniques relative to many other shito-ryu kata (e.g. kicking & stance variety).


Jion Seminar video  - not included in this 16 kata download - the Jion video is a separate detailed 1 hour kata analysis also exists on this website (Go to the Jion download page...). Naifanchin is included in the 16 kata download package.

The content on this site focuses on Kata patterns & bunkai. The patterns are performed with Shotokan and Shito-ryu lineage (e.g. Shukokai, Shitokai, Renbukan & other Shito-ryu styles) and  bunkai are explained which include Shito-Ryu, Goju-ryu and Shotokan.

Seipai kata DVD download video karate bunkai


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Unsolicited download comments:

"An enlightening look into kata and alternate bunkai. 
The download process was easy and the content information rich"...

Johnathon S., U.K.

Great videos! I will get hours of  tuition and ideas from them. Worth every penny.Once again Thank you.

Phil Coates - USA, 2nd Dan Shukokai

& "Zen"    

bassai dai bunkai


We guarantee our download process. If you cannot donwload we send you a CD-ROM with the files!