There are conflicting stories concerning the origins of Ten no Kata. With its repeated use of the Fudo Dachi it was probably defined in whole from a play on various drills by Yoshitaka Funakoshi. There is evidence to suggest that Yoshitaka was almost expelled from the dojo for formulating his own pattern. Apparently in his father’s opinion this was very disrespectful. However at some point Master Funakoshi must have endorsed its inclusion within the original Shotokan syllabus as it was fully detailed in the 1943 publication ‘Karate Nyumon’ (entering the gate of karate) and listed in the first English translated publication of Karate Do Kyohan in 1958 . Within these publications it specifies that Ten no Kata was the product of many years of research and when practised regularly, results in the even development of the body correctly.

It is clear to most karate-ka today that Ten no Kata is seldom practised. Its decline in popularity undoubtedly stemmed from the JKA’s stance of disassociating themselves and Master Funakoshi from the Kata. However with its sequencing of punches stepping forward and blocking techniques stepping backwards with counter attacks visually it’s the strongest direct link between kata and kumite and allows the practitioner to fundamentally establish the correct breathing sequences. Partner work of the pattern is known as Hachi Ho Kumite (8 blocks). Counter attacks predominantly (but not exclusively) rely on the bread and butter technique of gyaku tzuki to either jodan or chudan levels.