Other names Useishi, Sushiho, Hotaku, O Sip Sa Bo
Martial art Karate, Tang Soo Do

Gojūshiho (五十四歩 lit. 54 steps) is a kata practiced in karate. Gojushiho was developed by one of the Okinawan karate master, "Sokon Matsumura" and named it as "Uesheishi" under the fluency of chinese Kungfu. In some styles of karate, there are two versions of this kata - Gojūshiho Shō and Gojūshiho Dai. An advantage of the two versions of the kata is to better master the difficult techniques presented therein, but not without facing some confusion, for many sequences are the same and others only slightly different. The embusen of both Gojūshiho Shō and Gojūshiho Dai are nearly identical. Gojūshiho Shō begins straight off with a wide variety of advanced techniques and, as such, is highly recommended for study. Gojūshiho Dai consists of many advanced open-handed techniques and attacks to the collar-bone.

Gojushiho movement is quite similar with Aikido grappling technique in terms of flowing knife hand or "tate-shuto-uke" or vertical knife hand block. "Tate-shuto-uke" does not resemble other shuto uke which resemble as "block technique". Rather it was throwing technique in "aiki-jujutsu". Another "shuto" technique as "shuto-nagashi-uke" or "knife-hand-flowing-block" has become the unique characteristic of Gojushiho because of flowing movement which is not merely interpreted as "block", but "throw".

Gojūshiho Shō and Gojūshiho Dai are two versions in Shotokan of the same, single Shōrin-ryū kata called Useishi (54) or Gojūshiho. Originally, the names were reversed so that Dai was called Shō, and Shō was called Dai. The name change seems to have happened sometime in the 1960s or 1970s when a high-ranking JKA instructor announced 'Gojūshiho Dai' and then performed Gojūshiho Shō at the All-Japan Karate Championships. Due to his high rank, nobody dared question him about this hence why all Shotokan Karate Schools who Originate from the JKA use the reversed names.

Within the Shotokan Karate-dō International Federation of Kanazawa Hirokazu, the "Dai" and "Shō" forms are kept to their original names to coincide with 'Dai' meaning 'Major' and 'Sho' meaning Minor. This is also because master Kanazawa is a higher ranked instructor and refuses to change the original names. This kata is also practiced in Tang Soo Do and is called O Sip Sa Bo in Korean. Due to its difficulty, this kata is often reserved for advanced students, usually for those who are 6th degree black belts and above.[1]


  1. Pak, Ho Sik; Escher, Ursula (2005). Complete Tang Soo Do Manual Vol. 2: From 2nd Dan to 6th Dan. High Mountain Publishing. p. 297. ISBN 0-9718609-1-2.

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