Yesterday, we received a question by one of our readers, Brian. He asked:
I wonder why the two Gojushiho kata names seem to be reversed. Gojushiho Dai looks like a Sho and vise versa. Have you any information on this?
As the most of you know, “Dai” stands for big and “Sho” stands for small. You find this distinction in Gojushiho, Bassai and Kanku Katas. The Dai version usually tends to be longer and more difficult. That is why it is called the “big one”. “Sho” Katas are mostly shorter and less difficult.
However, we want to stress the word “mostly”! Brians refers to the fact that Gojushiho Katas show a slightly opposite pattern. According to Albrecht Pflügers 27 Shotokan Kata system – we guess, that the most of you know his drawings of Shotokan Katas -, Gojushiho Dai has 62 and Gojushiho Sho has 65 movements. How come?
We already talked to some Kata experts. But nobody had a theory. Thus, we wanted to ask you and utilize the wisdom of the community.
What explains the switch of Dai and Sho by the Gojushiho Katas?
If you have an answer we will be delight about a comment. If you have a longer explanation we will love to receive an email. We would publish the explanation then.
To give you some food for thought we have two videos from Ayano Nakamura, the new queen of Kata, attached. In the first she performs Gojushiho Dai and in the second Gojushiho Sho.