In simple terms, the SKKIF grading syllabus involves Kihon (Basic movements) Kata (Formal patterns of linked techniques) and Kumite (Sparring in various formats)
Kihon involves punches, blocks, kicks and stances and the transitions of combinations of all these elements to develop power and a strong body from which to deliver attacks and execute an effective defence.
Kata are sequences of structured movements which combine kihon in an imaginary battle. There are many katas within Shotokan and the 5 basic katas are relatively easy to learn as they contain all the kihon, executed in different combinations and directions.
Kumite is the most effective way of bringing the vocabulary of techniques into a fighting style which suits the individual. These are also structured from basic attack/defence and complex scenarios to foster confidence and flexibility of mind.