The Channan debate is a long and windy one... Researchers should read all of the info and come to their own conclusions.
My opinion is that Itosu created a basic set of kata...a kihon (basic) set , if you will, that he first called "Channan". This kata, as it was created by a master of karate, contains most basic postures that one would need to have the foundation to truly master karate. He then, at some point, changed the name to Pinan. The number of kata that were originally taught, then refined, and then set in stone are irrelevant. Itosu could have put techniques not found in the Kusanku kata into a Pinan kata if he felt they were fundamental. Most of the techniques people speak of that are not found in Kusanku that MUST be attributed to a mystery kata are in fact in several other kata taught in ITosu's curriculum including Passai, Naihanchi, Chinto, and others. For example, our kata currilculum does not have a "dropping elbow" like technique. However, we do have a basic elbow set, that was creating well after the fact, to include this technique as it is fundamental.
Of course, the predominant arguement for Channan is the reference by Motobu Choki:
The important thing to note here is he is referring to Pinan AND Channan both as a singular kata...we know that he is actually referring to a SET of kata called CHANNAN, which he later changed the name to PINAN. I don't think there is one Channan kata.I visited him one day at his home near the school, where we sat talking about the martial arts and current affairs. While I was there, 2-3 students also dropped by and sat talking with us. Itosu Sensei turned to the students and said 'show us a kata.' The kata that they performed was very similar to the Channan kata that I knew, but there were some differences also. Upon asking the student what the kata was, he replied 'It is Pinan no Kata.' The students left shortly after that, upon which I turned to Itosu Sensei and said 'I learned a kata called Channan, but the kata that those students just performed now was different. What is going on?' Itosu Sensei replied 'Yes, the kata is slightly different, but the kata that you just saw is the kata that I have decided upon. The students all told me that the name Pinan is better, so I went along with the opinions of the young people.' These kata, which were developed by Itosu Sensei, underwent change even during his own lifetime." (Murakami, 1991; 120)
I asked Motobu Chosei Soke about this and the impression I received is just as I explained. There is also discussion that Motobu Choki learned the kata "Channan" but now calls it "Shirokuma". I don't think this is true as Shirokuma is only one kata, not a series of kata and the movements in Pinan that are not in Kusanku are certainly not in Shirokuma ( I do know Shirokuma). Shirokuma serves as the fundamental kata of Motobu Ryu.
If you take only four of the core kata taught by Itosu before he created the Pinan; Kusanku (dai), Passai (Dai), Naihanchi Shodan, and Chinto you will be able to find every technique that make up the Pinan set.
Upnorth...excellent answers to the questions by the way. On question 5, consider that you never "look" elsewhere to see the opponent. He is almost always in front of you. One of the videos will show this visually. You may already be able to see it (in fact, when you do your throws...you are actually demonstrating it...) so I don't want to beat a dead horse. Once you watch it you will be able to then start applying it to everything.
Fun Fun Fun
Talk to you all later