This is the second post listing the kata in the Shito Ryu curriculum and it covers the following 19 kata:
- Bassai kata
- Naihanchi kata
- Jion, Ji’in and Jitte kata
- Kosokun kata
- Rohai kata
Bassai means “to storm a fortress”.
Bassai kata is of Chinese origin and was brought to Okinawa by Sokon Matsumura and Okan Oyadomari.
Many karate masters later brought their own interpretations of the kata and developed different versions of the kata.
Some sources suggest that there are over thirty different versions of the kata. There are four different versions of the Bassai kata practiced in the Shito Ryu style:
- Bassai Dai
- Bassai Sho
- Matsumura Bassai
- Tomari Bassai.
Bassai is a very popular kata and is practiced in many karate styles.
Below are a few demonstrations of each of the four versions of the Bassai kata.
1. Bassai Dai
2. Bassai Sho
3. Matsumura Bassai
4. Tomari Bassai
Naihanchi or Naifanchi means “sideways fighting”.
Naihanchi is known as Tekki (meaning “iron horse”) in the Shotokan style.
Naihanchi was probably brought to Okinawa by Sokon Matsumura who learned it from a Chinese martial artist.
Anko Itosu, who was Sokon Matsumura’s student, later on created the Naihanchi Nidan and Sandan versions of the kata.
All three Naihanchi kata (Naihanchi Sodan, Naihanchi Nidan, and Naihanchi Sandan) practiced in the Shito Ryu style has some common distinctive features.
The kata’s embusen is a straight line and they are performed almost entirely in kiba dachi stance.
Due to the emphasis on the kiba dachi stance, practicing Naihanchin kata can help improve the lower body’s strength and the ability to generate power from the core or the dantien.
There is an argument that the kata’s techniques are specifically for fighting in narrow paths such as on a small road by the side of a mountain, on a boat, in a corridor, on raised lands between paddy fields, etc.
However, this is not true. Once mastered, these techniques can be applied in many different fighting conditions.
The fact that the embusen of Naihanchi is a straight line simply means the techniques can be used when fighting opponents who have moved off your center line. However, they can be used to fend off attacks from any angle.
Choki Motobu, who has been called one of the most deadly karate fighters ever lived, reportedly practiced and favored only Naihanchin, although he did know other kata.
Naihanchi was also a favorite kata of Hironori Otsuka sensei, the founder of Wado Ryu style.
I personally favour Naihanchi. It is not interesting to the eye, but it is extremely difficult to use. Naihanchi increases in difficulty with more time spent practicing it, however, there is something “deep” about it. It is fundamental to any movement that requires reaction, I believe. Some people may call me foolish for my belief. I, however, prefer this over all else and hence I incorporate it into my movement.Hironori Otsuka
1. Naihanchi Shodan
2. Naihanchi Nidan
3. Naihanchi Sandan
Jion, Ji’in and Jitte kata
Jion, Jiin and Jitte belong to a group of kata practiced in Shotokan, Shito Ryu and other karate styles.
They are thought to have originated from Tomari-te school with Chinese boxing roots, but some suggest that they may have been devised in the Jion temple where martial arts were once practiced.
Jion means “temple sound” but sometimes is also translated as “temple of love and goodness”.
This is a long and very physically demanding kata which can help karateka develop a strong body.
It contains techniques from Pinan series and Naihanchi kata and includes striking, throwing and locking moves and also methods of trapping the opponent’s limbs.
Ji’in means “temple ground” but is also sometimes translated as “inverted mercy”.
Ji’in has many techniques that are the same or similar to the Jion and Jitte kata.
Jitte means “ten hands” implying the mastery of this kata allows one to fight against ten opponents.
Jitte has 24 movements and contains both unarmed techniques and techniques to fight off armed opponents with a bo staff.
Kosokun, also known as Kushanku (meaning “viewing the sky”) in other karate styles, is a kata from the Shuri-te style.
There are three different versions of this kata practiced in the Shito Ryu style: Kosokun Sho, Kosokun Dai, and Shiho Kosokun.
The kata is named after Kusanku, a Chinese diplomat, who traveled to Okinawa and taught Chinese martial arts to the locals there.
Kosokun Dai is believed to be the original version.
Kosokun Sho was created by Anko Itosu based on Kosokun Dai. It is a smaller but more advanced version of Kosokun Dai.
Shiho Kosokun was probably created by Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of the Shito Ryu style.
There is also a version of Kosokun believed to have been created by Master Yara from the village of Chatan called “Chatan Yara Kushanku”.
1. Kosokun Sho
2. Kosokun Dai
There are a lot of similarities between Kosokun Sho and Kosokun Dai.
Kosokun Dai is the original version and is practiced in many karate styles.
3. Shiho Kosokun
Shiho means four directions and Shiho Kosokun means four directional kosokun.
Shiho Kosokun looks like it has been derived from Kosokun Dai, however, there isn’t much information about its origin and who has created it.
Some attribute this kata to Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito Ryu who created this kata for educational reasons around 200 years after the original version was brought to Okinawa.
This seems to make sense as Shiho Kosokun is only practiced in the Shito Ryu style.
4. Chatan Yara Kusanku
Gojushiho (also called Useishi) means “54 steps” but sometimes is translated as “54 moves” or “54 techniques” indicating that the original version may have that many techniques in it.
Some sources credit Gojushiho kata to Sokon Matsumura but it was Anko Itosu who helped spread the kata and created the two variants, sho and dai practiced in the Shotokan style.
It consists of many advanced open-handed techniques and many defensive techniques.
Gojushiho is an advanced and challenging kata and it is reserved for black belt students only.
Rohai means “image of a heron” or “sign of a heron”.
There are four versions of the Rohai kata.
The original Rohai kata is called Matsumora Rohai which was named after Kosaku Matsumora who was the creator of the kata.
Anko Itosu later created three Rohai kata from this original kata and named them Rohai Shodan, Rohai Nidan and Rohai Sandan.
The Shito Ryu style teaches all three Itosu Rohai kata as well as Matsumora Rohai.
In the Shotokan style, Rohan kata is named Meikyo however there are some major differences between the Shotokan version of Rohai and the Shito Ryu versions of Rohai.
1. Rohai Shodan
2. Rohai Nidan
3. Rohai Sandan
4. Matsumora Rohai
Please check out other posts in the Shito Ryu kata series below:
Other posts you may be interested in:
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