Friday, January 11, 2019

As opposed to 3 years on one kata, there are other possiblities

In 1934 Itoman Seijin (Morinobu’s) book Toudi-jutsu no Kenkyu was published. In it he presenged a description of Toudi Kempo, apparently the older Okinawan traditions which became karate. For such an early martial work when it was published, it is most amazing how few consider what it shared. Perhaps it was based solely on earlier traditions, perhaps it was influenced by the developing karate. Reading alone cannot answer that question.


But it presents enough material to be worth listening to.


In particular I find the section about kata interesting.


“That said there would be little point for a writer like myself to hope to convey the 600 techniques that comprise Toudi. Instead, I will try to explain the main techniques of the 600 and give a sense of their contents. Also, Toudi training is incomplete if it does not include the practice of kata. However, today there are approximately 60 kata in Toudi and if it takes about three minutes to perform one kata, then you would need three hours to practice them all.”


Kata Name Romanized
Kata Name Kana or Kanji
1. Sesan
2. Iha-shi Sesan (Iha’s Sesan)
3. Kyan-shi Sesan (Kyan’s Sesan)
4. Sepai
5. Niseshi (Nijushiho)
6. Sanseru
7. Kyan-shi Useshi (Gojushiho) (Kyan’s Useshi)
8. Itosu-shi Useshi (Gojushiho) (Itosu’s Useshi)
9. Suparenpe dai & sho 
一百零八歩 大 小
10. Toma-shi Ryuho (Toma’s Ryuho)
11. Rokishu 
12. Unshu dai & sho 
雲手 大 小
13. Ryushu dai & sho 
龍手 大 小
14. Nanshu dai & sho 
南手 大 小
15. Pinan shodan, nidan, sandan, yondan, godan 
平安 初段 二段 三段 四段 五段
16. Kusanku dai & sho
 公相君 大 小
17. Wanshu 
18. Naifanchi shodan, nidan, sandan
 ナイファンチ 初段 二段 三段
19. Passai dai & sho
 パッサイ 大 小
20. Tawada-shi Passai (Tawada’s Passai) 
21. Jitte 
22. Chinto
23. Tomari no Chinto
24. Chinte 
25. Niwon 
26. Unuibu 
27. Nuichue 
28. Jin 
29. Juumu 
30. Kokan
31. Yoshimura-shi Channan (Yoshimura’s Channan) 
32. Seyanchin 
34. Jion 
35. Wandau
36. Rohai 
37. Motobu-shi Sochin (Motobu’s Sochin)
38. Aragaki-shi Sochin (Aragaki’s Sochin)
39. Pichurin
40. Hanashiro-shi Kururunfa (Kururunfa) 
41. Wankuwan 
42. Seshun 


Even more interesting is there is not a suggestion that only 3 kata should be studied.


From other books there they suggest that the older traditions were in 5 lines of service or Okinawan samurat traditions. I have found nothing about what exactly was studied for each of those traditions. But it does suggest things.


1. that the martial traditions were shaped by the familits obligation of service. Not all of which was for military purposes. I infer that meant the martial practices were an adjunct capability for the services to be rendered. Then in all cases the martial tradition was to be able to be used. It was not studied to teach the general population. It was not studied to become an instructor.


One might infer the families would want someone who survived a long time to be the one to train their family youth, in those traditions. First proven by their service and their experiences. Very different from what todays karate instructor often represents.


It just as the more we look toward the past, there is a different possibility that emerges.


I don’t doubt that Funakoshi Ginchin was taught that 3 years on one kata. And passed that concept forward. It’s just that I have no idea if that was the general standard of the Okinawan past. So many things changed when Toudi became karate, and karate was opened to the public and the young.


It is something to consider when attemping to know what the true past may have been.





Myquotes from  1934 Itoman Seijin (Morinobu’s) book Toudi-jutsu no Kenkyu came from the Mario McKenna translation of that work, It is available through Lulu press.

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