Embusen (also Enbusen, 演武線) describe the route or line of movement of a kata. Every Shotokan kata has a unique flow of techniques and sequences. They also have unique lines of movement. Like a fingerprint every kata can be recognized in this regard. An embusen can be depicted as a diagram. While their a very simple embusen, others can have a high degree of complexity.

Embusen of the Shotokan karate kata heian shodan.
Embusen for the kata heian shodan.

The embusen defines from which starting point the karateka has to begin to execute a certain kata. In addition, the starting point defines also the ending point in every kata – they are similar. Therefore, the karateka can immediately check whether he or she executed the kata in a right way. If so he or she must arrived at the same spot where they departed.

Embusen of the Shotokan Karate kata Kanku dai.
The embusen of the kata kanku dai – of the longest katas.

List of Authors:

Dr. Christian Tribowski