The History of Chinte

Posted by on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 Under: Video

Chinte (Strange Hands) (performed by Master Masataka Mori above) is a very old kata that probably has its origins in China, though it has been suggested it is actually derived from an Okinawan folk dance. Favoured more by women than men, unlike most Shotokan kata it consists of predominantly circular movements instead of the more common linear ones.

If it did derive from a dance, some suggest that it symbolizes all the things a woman should know about life according to the culture at the time. This included child rearing and being subservient to her husband. While this makes for a good story, it is purely speculation and seems a little unlikely.

That said, the kata does appear to favour a female fighting style as the unusual movements often target vulnerable areas such as the eyes where much less brute force is needed to be effective. Chinte has some rarely seen moves such as the eye poke and the final three movements which is a series of three backward hops, apparently unique within world martial arts.

These hops may have been introduced to get the karateka back to his starting/finishing mark for competition purposes as they are absent in versions of the kata practised outside of Shotokan. However it could also be the case that they were in fact dropped by other styles as interpretation of them is problematic.

Sensei Gichin Funakoshi attempted to rename Chinte as ‘Shoin’ but the name did not stick. Why some of the name changes brought in by the great master were adopted and others, like Shoin, were rejected is unknown but appears to be purely down to chance.

More Kata History

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Tags: "shotokan kata"  "karate video"  karate  chinte  shoin  "masataka mori"  japan   
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