The History of Jitte

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013 Under: 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 was carried by police on Okinawa during the 19th century.

Like its sister kata Jion and Ji’in, Jitte begins with the kamae of the left hand covering the right fist which may suggest roots in ancient Kung Fu. It was taught as a part of the Tomari-te Okinawan karate style and has elements of Gyaku-te grappling techniques. Its main function however is to teach defence against weapons, in particular the Bo Staff and helps the karateka develop pliable bones and muscles.

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