Monday, November 12, 2012

Isshinryu and Naihanchi Kata - Consider Motobu's Influence

Naifanchi Kata is somewhat a question to understand for its source  in Isshinryu Karate,  its historical origins. Exactly where did Shimabuku Tatso come up with his version?

The kata does not seem to have been taught by Kyan Chotoku. I believe the principle instructor of Shinabuku Tatsuo. However, today, many of Kyan’s students student’s branches use the form, but, as I understand it, their versions of Nihanchi Kata all came from different sources. Obviously those that adopted it felt it is important

Perhaps this is a proof that Motobu Choki was an instructor of Isshinyyu’s founder and the source behind Isshinryu;s version of Nihanchi Kata.

One of the more perplexing issues with this theory  is Motobu Choki, in his early book on Karate, was against the idea of the inward toed stance writing that it was too weak.  Some Isshinryu lineages use this stance,. Just because of those writings its not to say in time his opinion changed. as time passed

That makes it difficult to accept Motobu is the source. I just found this on Youtube and am linking you to it. It is Motobu no  Naihanchi Shodan - Motobu, the son of Motovu Choki.  Note how similar to how Isshinryu Nihanchi Kata begins. I note that on the Japanese video of his father’s art Motobu Chōsei also shows a class with Naihanchi Kata beginning on the right.

I suggest it implies that the direction didn't matter in the Motobu Choki tradition, just the practice of the kata. So perhaps this is sort of proof for Motobu. Sort of makes sense for the kata is covers the same ground no matter which way you start.

So perhaps he was inspired by Motobu's training, and then Shimabutu Tatsuo used his own ideas to re-craft the form.


Noah said...

I really love Naihanchi! It is a very interesting and deep kata, and while most versions of it are very similar I have seen variations lately that have very unique differences. I can perform two versions of Naihanchi--the Shuri-Ryu version, as taught by Robert Trias, and the Shorin-Ryu version, as taught by Chosin Chibana. Both use different stances from each other, though the stances accomplish essentially the same thing, and both have similar te-waza, but those are different enough to considerably alter the applications.

I believe you are correct when you say that the direction did not matter to Motobu--I have found multiple sources over time that lead me to that same conclusion. As I understand it, the stancing in Naihanchi kata varied from instructor to instructor because the stance itself didn't matter, so long as it was stable, dropped your center of gravity and provided an effective platform for torquing your body.

Cody Stephens said...

Excellent article; thanks Mr. Smith. Have read your writing since '00 on . Always helps with the study of my Isshinryu.

Thank you.