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Taikyoku Kata

The name Taikyoku (太極) refers to the Chinese philosophical concept of Taiji (Tai Chi). The Taikyoku kata were developed by Yoshitaka "Gigō" Funakoshi and introduced by his father Gichin Funakoshi (the founder of Shotokan Karate) as a way to simplify the principles of the already simplified Pinan/Heian series of Kata. In his book "Karate-do Kyohan" Funakoshi explains the development of the kata and why he named them Taikyoku, which translates as First Cause.

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 kata.

Page 42, 'Karate-Do Kyohan'
(a side note: The Chinese symbols used for the name Taikyoku (太極) are pronounced as "Tai Chi" in Chinese, which translates as "Grand Ultimate" or "Supreme Ultimate")


A walk through demonstration of the Taikyoku Kata


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