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Shotokan Karate Academy

Meikyo (Rohai)

The Rōhai (明鏡) 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.


"Rohai" has four different versions, one from Matsumura, the other three from Itosu, all four of which are reasonably popular in other styles of karate. One of the Itosu's versions is the one that "Meikyo" is thought to come from. The Matsumura version is the most commonly seen among Shito-Ryu groups.


Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, redeveloped and renamed Rōhai as “Meikyo” literally "bright mirror", often translated as "mirror of the soul." The name is probably taken from the opening technique where the performer pulls both palms up to his face and looks in them as if he is holding a mirror. "Meikyo" is a combination of all three different Rōhai kata, containing elements of each.


There is one major difference between Nakayama and Kanazawa sensei in demonstration of this kata. The Best Karate-Volume 11 (by Masatoshi Nakayama) shows "Meikyo" as having three sets of blocking and stepping punch (Oi Zuki) combinations. The first two sets contain down blocks (Gedan Barai) and the third set contains inside blocks (Uchi Uke). However, if we look in Kanazawa's book, there are three different sets (Gedan Barai, Uchi Uke and Jodan Age Uke).



  • Rohai means: "Vision of a Crane"

  • Original creator of Rohai is  "Kosaku Matsumora" a well-known Tomari-te master of Okinawa

  • Rohai root: "Tomari-te" school of kata in Okinawa

  • Meikyo means "bright mirror"

  • "Anko Itosu" developed three katas from Rohai (Rōhai shodan, Rōhai nidan, and Rōhai sandan)

  • Meikyo root: "Shuri-te" school of kata in Okinawa

Meikyo (明鏡)

Embusen of Meikyo
Number of movements : 34
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