Gojushiho Sho - Fifty Four Steps
Gojushiho-Sho is one of two katas in this series, the other being Gojushiho Dai. What can be somewhat confusing is that it is not uncommon for some Shotokan dojos to reverse the names of these two katas. How and why this came to be is not certain, but certainly Gojushiho-Sho is a favourite kata amongst many senior students. This is the second kata that Master Funakoshi wanted Master Masatoshi Nakayama to learn from Master Kenwa Mabuni, Founder of Shito-ryu. The other was Nijushiho which is how these two katas came into the Shotokan system. This kata makes extensive use of migi (right), and hidari (left) shihon nukite (middle level spear hand), shuto-uchi/shuto-uke (sword hand strike), chudan-shuto-osae/shuto-gedan-barai (middle level pressing sword hand block, and a lower level sword hand strike), and a chudan-ryo-sho-bo-uke (middle level double handed stick block).
This kata contains 65 movements and should take the student approximately 60 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is required in order to advance from San Dan (3rd Dan) to Yon Dan (4th Dan).
There are two kiai points in Gojushiho-Sho. The first one takes place at the chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch) at the top of the embusen (line of attack) three quarters of the way through the kata. The second one occurs on the second to last movement of the kata, chudan-ryo-te-seiryuto-uchi (middle level double handed ox jaw strike).
To return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your right foot in place and withdraw your left foot so as to stand up once again facing forward in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). You must now formally end the kata. You do this by bringing your left foot half way in towards your right foot and your right foot half way in towards your left foot so that you are now standing with your feet together. At the same time as you bring your feet together also bring your hands to your sides so you are again standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance). Now rei (bow). After bowing, step out with your left foot and then your right foot and once again stand in hachiji-dachi (natural stance) while at the same time bringing your hands from your sides and hold them in a ready position in front of you with your fists closed.