Kihon Kata (Basic Kata)
Original name: Taikyoku Shodan (first cause, first level)

Kihon Kata is the most basic kata in Shotokan, taught to familiarise the student with the idea of kata with just three basic techniques - zenkutsu dachi, gedan barai and oi zuki. It is also a good kata for more advanced students to keep an eye on their technique - there's nowhere to hide in Kihon Kata!

gedan barai
oi zuki

History

Taikyoku Shodan was created by Gichin Funakoshi in the 1930s or 40s. He also created Taikyoku Nidan and Sandan, and the pioneer of French karate, Henri Plée, included (and probably created) Taikyoku Yondan, Godan and Rokudan in his 1967 book Karate Beginner to Black Belt.

Taikyoku Nidan is the same as Shodan, except the chudan punches are replaced with jodan, while in Taikyoku Sandan uchi uke in kokutsu dachi is introduced.

Several other styles use the idea of a Taikyoku set of kata and introduced them into their styles, eg. Goju Ryu, Shito Ryu, and Kyokushinkai. ~ GE