Translation:  “Flight of the Swallow”

# Moves: 37

Belt Level: brown  

the light, dynamic variation

the power-focused variation



This kata is a very dynamic one, with unique movements and changing rhythms. Empi calls on on fast, snapping movements, strong hips and sharp techniques – and yet it should have a light and dynamic feel to it. As such, it can be a daunting kata to master with the rushing in and out, up and down and seemingly hectic pace. As the name suggests, this kata mimics a swallow, jutting in and out and changing directions as if you were engaged in an aerial fight. It will teach the karateka how to be agile when moving, making good use of distance and movements that will confuse an attacker.

Empi is probably most noted for the spinning jump (kaiten-tobi) ocurring at the end of the kata, making it attractive to younger karateka, and a favourite for competition.


Some of the Key Moves are:

Zenkustsu dachi (front stance)

Kosa dachi (Crossed stance)

Hiza-dachi (one-knee stance)

Gedan-barai (down block)

Age-tsuki (rising punch)

Tekubi-uchi (wrist strike)

Teisho-oshiage/osae – uke (Palm heel rising/pressing block)

Kaiten-tobi (spinning jump)



Additional Info:

  • Empi has Chinese roots and many of the movement patterns from age-old Kung fu are still found in this Kata,
  • In terms of kata dynamics and rhythm, Empi is said to be the polar opposite of Hangetsu
  • Some say this kata is best performed by light students that are of slight build due to the flamboyant and dynamic movements are best. However many larger students pull off a nice Kata that shows a different more powerful side to the kata.

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