Showing Tag: "okinawa" (Show all posts)

The History of the Heian Kata

Posted by on Friday, January 30, 2015, In : Video 


The Heian (peaceful mind) kata are derived from the older Okinawan Pinan kata (which also means peaceful or calm mind). Sensei Gichin Funakoshi changed the name of these and many other Shotokan kata when he took karate to Japan in the early 1920s in a bid to make them more accessible to a Japanese consumer base. An interesting karate history fact is that the kata we know today as Heian Nidan was originally the first of the Heian kata until in the 1930s, Funakoshi switched Nidan with Shodan. ...
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The History of the Tekki Kata

Posted by on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, In : Video 
The Tekki (Iron Horse) kata originally came from the Okinawan style of karate known as Shuri-te and were derived from one longer form called Naihanchi (Internal Divided Conflict) that was revised and split into three through  Anko Itosu’s teachings.


Gichin Funakoshi performing Tekki Shodan

Some scholars believe he actually invented Tekki Nidan and Sandan, but as only Tekki Shodan has a formal opening, they were probably derived from one kata. It is believed that Itosu learned Naihanchi from ...
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The History of the Bassai Kata

Posted by on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : Video 

The Bassai (To Penetrate a Fortress) kata are believed to have been designed to complement each other as the first, Bassai Dai, (Dai means major/large) represents getting into a fortress and the second, Bassai Sho, (Sho means minor/small) represents getting out again.There are many versions of these kata practiced in various styles and while the origins within martial arts history are obscure, there is a 400 year old silk drawing which supposedly depicts an early version of Bassai Dai. 

Some h...

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A Poem by Tei Junsoku

Posted by on Sunday, April 6, 2014, In : Proverbs & Quotes 



No matter how you may excel in the art of te,
And in your scholastic endeavors,
Nothing is more important than your behavior
And your humanity as observed in daily life.

A poem by the seventeenth century Okinawan scholar Tei Junsoku
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The History of Empi

Posted by on Friday, March 14, 2014, In : Video 


The origins of the kata Empi (Flight of the Swallow) are unclear though there are three main theories on how it came into being;
  1. Empi was, according to some sources, originally brought to Okinawa from China in 1683 by an envoy named Wang Ji, an expert in Shaolin Fujian White Crane.
  2. Others suggest it was brought to the island with the arrival of a group of Chinese immigrants known as the Thirty-Six Families. Their appearance in the late 14th century changed the history of fighting on Okinaw...

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The History of Wankan

Posted by on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, In : Video 

Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda performing Wankan.

Wankan (Kings Crown) is also known as Ohkan (which means the same thing in Japanese). The history of all the Shotokan kata is hazy at best and this applies doubly for Wankan as not much at all is known about its origins. 

In some styles there is another kata practiced that shares the name but has totally different moves to the Wankan of Shotokan, which may suggest that they are both only a portion of a longer, lost original kata. If this is the case, ...
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The History of Jion

Posted by on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, In : Video 

Hirokazu Kanazawa performing Jion


The origins of the kata Jion (Mercy) is highly debated by scholars of world martial arts. It starts with the left hand covering the right fist, kamae that probably has its roots in Chinese boxing. It is thought to have come through the Tomari-te style of Okinawan karate, however according to the legendary Hirokazu Kanazawa (above), the kata originated in the Chinese Buddhist Jion Temple (where the monks were accomplished martial artists) and then spread to the...
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Eisuke Akamine and Taira Shinken

Posted by on Sunday, July 14, 2013, In : Photography 


Master Eisuke Akamine (left) and Master Taira Shinken training with traditional Okinawan
karate weapons, the bo staff and the tonfa respectively.

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The History of Jitte

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013, In : Video 

Jitte, performed by sensei Imura Takenori with application from Masatoshi Nakayama

Jitte literally means Ten Hands and the name may imply that one must have the strength of ten men, which is how Masatoshi Nakayama interpreted it in his book, Best Karate, Volume 7, (seen by many as a definitive guide to Shotokan kata). An alternative theory is that the name may derive from the raised fists hand position from within the kata, which is said to looks similar to a type of Sai known as a Jitte that ...
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Sensei Chojun Miyagi Teaching Goju Ryu Students

Posted by on Thursday, May 30, 2013, In : Photography 


Sensei Chojun Miyagi (far right) teaching his students Goju Ryu karate c.1929 in Okinawa.
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Chasing Rabbits

Posted by on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, In : Proverbs & Quotes 


(Image - Women hunting rabbits with a ferret. From the Queen Mary Psalterc.1316)
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Anko Itosu - 1908

Posted by on Sunday, September 9, 2012, In : Photography 


Anko Itosu (just left of centre sporting a big white moustache), at a martial arts exhibition in 1908.

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Sensei Anko Itosu with Kenwa Mabuni & Gichin Funakoshi

Posted by on Saturday, August 25, 2012, In : Photography 


Sensei Anko Itosu (with the glasses), pictured with some of his students including
Kenwa Mabuni (standing) & Gichin Funakoshi (to Itosu's left).

Date: c.1880.

Update - Having recently read an article on dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com it has come to my attention that Kenwa Mabuni can not be in this picture as he was not born until 1889, 21 years after Gichin Funakoshi. It seems likely that the boy seated is in fact Funakoshi though there is some doubt as to weather or not it is Anko Itosu sat be...
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Training at Shuri Castle

Posted by on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, In : Photography 



Training at Shuri Castle c.1938. Photographed by Nakasone Genwa

The History of Okinawan Karate
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Chojun Miyagi Training (1929)

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2012, In : Photography 


Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953), Founder of Goju-ryu teaching in Okinawa
Picture taken in 1929

Karate Home

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Kanga Tode Sakugawa

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2012, In : Photography 


Photograph of Okinawan karate master Kanga 'Tode' Sakugawa (1733 - 1815).

(Update, although several sources around the web clam this to be a photograph of the great master, as he died in 1815 and photography had not been invented yet, this is not possible).

Karate History Articles

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