top of page
Shotokan Karate Academy


There is a belief that this Kata was of Chinese origin because of the word “Jion”, a Buddhist term found in the ancient books of China. There are claims that the name comes from a temple named Jion-Ji, which literally means “Jion Temple” where martial arts were practiced. Afterwards, it reached Tomari in Okinawa.


There are many different ways to write the word Jion. Some of them are presented here for consideration as possibilities.


1- 慈恩: “Mercy of Love”

  • Ji : Universal love, tender, gentle and loving

  • On: Mercy, grace, favor, benevolence, or kindness

Some try to use this to tie Jion back to China. But, there are a bunch of temples in Japan named Jion. Many of them use the same kanji spelling for their names. Jion as a temple name is very common and because the name is so common, even if Jion were named after a temple, we would never be able to figure out which one.


2- 寺音: “Temple Sound”

  • Ji : Temple

  • On: Sound

The meaning could be the sound of the temple bell ringing


3- 寺恩: “Mercy of the Temple”

  • Ji : Temple

  • On: Mercy, grace, favor, benevolence or kindness

Showing perhaps the historical concept of seeking sanctuary within the walls of a temple as Musashi did at Kanchi’in in Kyoto.


Jion is a simple kata. There are generally only single technique/step combinations, and the pattern that the entire kata follows is actually quite simple.If one has mastered the Heian and the Tekki, performing Jion is not very difficult.


Jion is one of the Big Four Kata in Shotokan. The Big Four are Bassai-Dai, Kanku-Dai, Jion, and Enpi. These four kata are considered the standard Shotokan kata.


Jion, Ji’in, and Jitte are often grouped together. The reason for this is that Jion, Jitte, and Ji’in begin with the same characteristic (kamae) of the left hand covering the right, which apparently has roots in ancient Chinese boxing and is called "Ming salutation" posture (palm over fist).  In Karate we call this posture “Jiai no Kamae”.


Jion is unique among the kata and is one of the few kata in karate in which block/counter combinations are executed while advancing forward also the movements in this kata hide a strong fighting spirit.


Jion is a compulsory kata in the Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organizations and practiced in Shotokan and Wado-Ryu only.



  • Jion has 2 parts:

    • “Ji” : Temple, Love, universal love

    • “On” : Sound, kindness, mercy

  • Jion means:  “Mercy of Love”, “Temple Sound”“Mercy of the Temple”

  • Jion root: “Tomari-Te” school of kata in Okinawa

  • Level: Intermediate

Jion (慈恩)

Embusen of Jion
Number of movements : 46
bottom of page