Translation: “Compulsory Form”
Movements in Kata: 52
Kiai Points: #6 (gyaku zuki) & #37 (empi uchi)
Origin/Creator: Hidetaka Nishiyama
Okinawan Name: n/a
Kitei was developed in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s by Hidetaka Nishiyama as a compulsory (similar to figure skating or other Olympic sports) for use in the international competition category of Fuku-go (also created by Nishiyama). First introduced to ITKF (now WTKF) competition in 1994, Fuku-go features alternating kata/kumite performance and was created to encourage a more rounded approach to competition training. Kitei also served as a vehicle to implement the judging criteria Nishiyama had developed which was applicable to all styles, regardless of the movement.
While the ITKF/WTKF is typically associated with the Shotokan style, the organization was intended to be a multi-style platform representing all styles of traditional karate. Kitei was designed in collaboration with masters from other styles and includes techniques and stances from Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu. It features a total of 7 stances including Zenjutsu Dachi (front stance), Kokutsu Dachi (back stance), Kiba Dachi (horse stance), Sanchin Dachi (hourglass stance), Hangetsu Dachi (long hourglass stance), Neko-Ashi Dachi (cat stance) and Shiko Dachi (boat stance) as well as several double-hand techniques not typically found in Shotokan katas.
It was specified in the ITKF Competition Rules that the Kitei form would be re-created yearly and a new iteration would be presented by its Technical Committee after each World Championship. Athletes would then compete with the new form the next year. However, the original Kitei has never been changed and remains the same to this day.
It is sometimes said that Kitei is not a kata. Semantically, it isn’t… the word simply means “compulsory form.” However, each iteration of Kitei is definitely a kata. It was simply never given a name and was only intended to be the first iteration of the compulsory category. From a practical perspective, because the Kitei form was never changed, saying “Kitei” definitely means only one thing and one kata.
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