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StuartA's picture
One for the Kata historians amongst us!

If I told you that in 1938 (to around1940), in Japan, over a couple of years, a man had learnt the following kata - what style would you say he was practicing?

The kata are: Heian (5 of them), Bassai, Empi, Rohai, Kushanku, Tekki (3 of them), Jitte, Hangetsu & Jion

I`m just working on a theory, but wanted to know what you folks think/feel before I shed a bit more light on it



ky0han's picture

Hi Stuart,

where in Japan did he learned these Kata?

In Tokyo he could have learned them at the universities or directly under Funakoshi. Motobu also tought in Tokyo but I would consider that he tought not that amount of Kata. Toyama Kanken would be possible but he would have called the Heian-Gata like his teacher Itosu called them, that is to say Pinan.

In Osaka he could have been a student of Mabuni but again his Heian-Gata would be refered to as Pinan-Gata.

So with no more aditional information and the hint that he learned Heian 1-5 I put my money on the surroundings of Funakoshi and the universities. In terms of style I am not sure. Nowadays it is generally refered to as Shotokan, but due to the fact that funakoshi was used as an observer only who visited the different university clubs once a month and that every club had its own teaching doctrine towards karate that is difficult to say. I am not sure if he learned a formalized style (which was recognized by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai) at that time.

Regards Holger

Edit: Funakoshi commited to the style name Shotokan Ryu in May 1940.

When I go through the kata names then I recognized something strange. Funakoshi changed the names of the kata prior to 1936. Tekki-Gata was after the renaming known as Kiba-Dachi no Kata. Rohai and Kushanku were renamed to Meikyo and Kanku. Maybe your guy learend these Kata somewhere else?

Mhhh... Whats that theory? blush

StuartA's picture

Hi Holger,

Thanks for your reply. I don't want expand on my theory just yet, as it may corrupt other answers.

I can answer your questions however, it was learnt at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.

But yes, its the kata names that are a mystery (a small hint there) :-)



peterbu27's picture

I am wondering if it was ahat we now call Shito-ryu taught by Miyagi sensei.


StuartA's picture

Could it be from a school that was Wado-Ryu in its infancy.. as in part of the time it developed from Shotokan, but had quite reverted all the kata back to the old names?