The Rōhai kata are a family of kata practiced in some styles of karate. The name translates approximately to "vision of a Crane" or "vision of a heron". The kata originated from the Tomari-te school of Okinawan martial arts. It was called Matsumora Rōhai, after Kosaku Matsumora, who was presumably its inventor. Ankō Itosu later took this kata and developed three kata from it: Rōhai shodan, Rōhai nidan, and Rōhai sandan. In Shorin-ryū/ Matsubayashi-ryū this Kata introduces Gedan Shotei Ate (Lower/Downward Palm Heel Smash) and Ippon Ashi Dachi. (One Leg Stance) It contains a sequence of Tomoe Zuki (Circular Punch) exactly the same as the one in Bassai, although the ending of the sequence chains into Hangetsu Geri/Uke (Half Moon Kick/Block)
In modern Karate, some styles teach all three kata (such as Shito ryu). However, other styles employ only one of them as a kata (such as Wadō-ryū, which teaches Rōhai shodan as Rōhai). Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, redeveloped and renamed Rōhai as Meikyo (明鏡), literally "bright mirror", often translated as "mirror of the soul." Meikyo is a combination of all three different Rōhai kata, containing elements of each. In Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do, practitioners have added a board (or brick) breaking element to the form, which can be performed using either a downward punch or palm strike.
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|Family / Origin||Forms|
|Basic beginner forms developed by Hwang Kee in 1947.|
|Later variants of the beginner forms, developed by the World Tang Soo Do Association; these emphasize earlier training in kicking.|
|Pyung Ahn forms, also called Pinan and Heian forms. From Shotokan Karate, developed approx. 1870 as beginner forms. Symbol: The Tortoise|
|Naihanchi forms, from Shotokan Karate. Also called Chul-Gi, Keema, and Tekki. Symbol: The Horse|
|Bassai forms, Escaping the Fortress, also called Pal-Sek. Adapted into Shotokan Karate but originally from Kung Fu. Symbol: The Cobra||
|Adapted from Shotokan Karate. Symbol: The Crane||
|From the karate form Kūsankū. Symbol: The Eagle||Kong-Sang-Koon|
|From the karate form Enpi. Symbol: The Bird||Wang Shu (also called Empi)|
|From the karate form Seisan. Symbol: The Preying Mantis||Sei-Shan|
|Ji-On forms, adapted from Shotokan Karate.|
|From the karate form Gojūshiho. Symbol: The Tiger|
|Adapted by Hwang Kee from Kung Fu and T'ai Chi.|
|Chil Sung, the Seven Stars developed by Hwang Kee in approx. 1952|
|Yook Ro, the Six-Fold Path developed by Hwang Kee in approx. 1958, inspired by the Muye Dobo Tongji.|
See Taekwondo Forms for additional information.