Favorite Kata of Famous Sensei

TimoS

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Interesting, I had not heard that before. Where did you hear/read that?

I can't remember right now, but I'll try to remember dig up some references. From what I remember, there isn't any direct evidence on Channan being just the working title of Pinan, but if I remember correctly, there is some indirect evidence.
 
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dancingalone

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Depends on the account you believe I suppose. Patrick McCarthy Hanshi says in his book Ancient Okinawan Arts, Vol 2 Koryu Uchinadi, that Channan may have been the name of a Chinese monk or exiled court official who brought 2 root kata to Okinawa that became named for him: Channan Dai and Sho. Itosu supposedly used this two kata as much of the inspiration for Pinan 1-4 and then came up with Pinan Godan himself.
 

Flying Crane

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I He obviously added content, since it's hard to believe that a single kata contained 5 Heian forms within.

I'm not familiar with these kata, but I'll just say that it is certainly possible that one Chinese form could have been cut into five shorter forms. One of our beginner level forms in my system is really really long. If I race thru the form as fast as I can and don't bother with quality, it takes about two minutes to complete, like running sprints. If I do the form properly and pay attention to details and work to get everything right, it can take 3-4 minutes. That form is often broken in half and taught as two, and even then they are really long. Depending on how long one might wish forms for public school children to be, one could definitely get five separate forms out of this one.
 

Black Belt Jedi

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:-offtopic but IMHO the Pinan/Heian kata are partially formed from Kusanku kata, but there are elements from other kata also. If I remember correctly the Pinan and Kusanku correctly, elements from e.g. Jion and (maybe) Chinto are included in them also.

I agree with you. Iain Abernethy claimed that the Pinan/Heian system which Anko Itosu created and introduced into the elementary school system are based off of templates taken from Kushanku, Chinto, and Passai to name a few.
 

chinto

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I agree with you. Iain Abernethy claimed that the Pinan/Heian system which Anko Itosu created and introduced into the elementary school system are based off of templates taken from Kushanku, Chinto, and Passai to name a few.

yes and if you know the katas you can see the techniques from each, Kusanku, Chinto, and Passai, Depending on which version of the Pinan kata you are looking at and which one of them.
 

TimoS

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About this Channan vs. Pinan "controversy", here are some points to consider:
- According to Motobu, Itosu himself said that Channan was just a "working title", see e.g. here http://seinenkai.com/articles/swift/swift-motobu1.html
- If Itosu knew Channan and saw it as an important kata, why didn't any of his students learn it? And if he based Pinan kata on it, it must've been pretty important
- If there ever was a Channan kata, it must've contained many of the same techniques as the other kata (Kusanku, Chinto, Jion, etc.), so it must not have been that important, which then raises the question why would Itosu then base the Pinan kata on it?
 

TimoS

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Also, why is that all these Channan versions around there seem to have only one thing in common between them: no Okinawan teacher is teaching them, not even any Japanese teacher. Where did they learn it from? Chinese? The versions I've seen (on youtube) don't look very Chinese to me.
All who claim to teach it seem to be westerners and all the versions seem to look totally different from each other. One would assume that IF (and that's a pretty big if) there really was this kata called Channan, that these versions would resemble each other.
 
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dancingalone

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Also, why is that all these Channan versions around there seem to have only one thing in common between them: no Okinawan teacher is teaching them, not even any Japanese teacher. Where did they learn it from? Chinese? The versions I've seen (on youtube) don't look very Chinese to me.
All who claim to teach it seem to be westerners and all the versions seem to look totally different from each other. One would assume that IF (and that's a pretty big if) there really was this kata called Channan, that these versions would resemble each other.

As I read the accounts, Channan was the name apocryphally given to the form after it arrived in Okinawa. It would not have been called Channan in China.

<shrugs> Who knows ultimately?
 

OldKarateGuy

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I'm with dancing alone. No one really has a clue about how these forms evolved, since Itosu and his students present varying versions of the story. In the end, how important is it really? I know at least one well known Shotokan instructor has written a a book about the origins of the Pinan forms, and attemps to reconstruct a Channan (Chai Nang, whatever) one and two in the book, but he's really just guessing.
Like I said, it makes for interesting reading.
 

punisher73

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I posted this on another thread, but it is useful here on the discussion of pinan vs. channan. This was an interview conducted with Sensei Pat Nakata, who was a longtime student of Chibana Sensei, who was a direct student of Itosu Sensei.

Ok, here are the bits of the interview with Sensei Pat Nakata. The interview is taken from Classifcal Fighting Arts #21.

CFA: Where did Chibana learn from Itosu? Where was Itosu teacing at that time?
Nakata: Chibana sensei started learning from Itosu Sensei about the time Itosu Sensei was introducing karate into public schools. Since Chibana had dropped out of school to learn karate from Itosu (notice, while Nakata is speaking formal titles are used, for brevity in typing I will use last name only), his training was at the residence of Itosu.

CFA: How many days each week did Chibana train with Itosu
Nakata: The training was 7 days a week.
CFA: How long would he train each day?
Nakata: Training was 8 to 10 hours a day.
CFA: How many years did Chibana train with Itosu?
Nakata: Chibana trained with Itosu until Itosu passed away, which was about 15 to 16 years.
CFA: Who were some of Itosu's other students?
Nakata: Itosu's two most senior students were Kentsu Yabu and Chomo Hanashiro. Funakoshi could also be counted as one of Itosu's students, but he seemed to have been busy with other school activities. There were about 10 others who trained with Itosu.

CFA: What kata did Itosu teach to his students
Nakata: Itosu taught numerous kata, but his core kata were: Naihanchi Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Pinan Shodan thru Godan, Patsai, Kusanku Sho and Dai, Chinto etc. I believe that Itosu taught about 25 kata.

CFA: We all know that Itosu created the Pinan Shodan kata. you have previously said that he created Pinan Shodan kata the first year that karate was taught in the okinawan school system. The next year, since students already knew the first kata, he created Pinan nidan. this went on until he created 5 kata.
Nakata: Yes, that is correct.

CFA: Do you know what the source material was for the Pinan kata? Did Itosu draw from other kata?
Nakata: Itosu meant to create only one Pinan with the source being Kusanku (Dai) from Tudi Sakugawa and Sokon Matsumura. The first kata was simply called Pinan, not Pinan Shodan.
CFA: Do the various Pinan kata draw from the same sources or do they differ?
Nakata: The various Pinan do draw from different sources. It is my understanding that Itosu incorporated many old techniques from his early ti training in Shuri.
CFA: Did Itosu have different goals or objectives for the various Pinan kata? For example, was he trying to teach different things in Pinan Shodan than Pinan Godan?
Nakata: As I understand it, after Itosu realized that he needed to make more Pinan kata, he tried to make the Pinan kata series into a complete fighting system.
CFA: I have always been struck by how difficult the Pinan kata are. I cannot see how a school student who had not previously learned any kata, could start out with the Pinan. Do you know if Itosu tuaght a curriculum of kihon first?
Nakata: Naihanchi Sho/Ni/Sandan were taught as kihon kata. After the Naihanchi kata, they were taught Kusanku, which was too long and too difficult for the young students. He created Pinan (Shodan) which was shorter, so it would be easier to learn.

CFA: When Itosu (and his senior students)began to teach in the okinawan school system, they were already training together privately. How did the two forms of karate-the private training and the public school training differ?
Nakata: The kata performance in appearance did not seem to differ privately or publicly, but the application publicly was less dangerous, yet effective. Privately, the application was for more deadly.

CFA: Can you please describe the three different application levels of each karate technique?
Nakata: There are three levels of application that were taught. Level one was for beginners and the very young students, which was punch, strike, kick, block, and cocking-pulling the hand back to the side in the chambered position for the transitional moves. Level two was for the intermediate and older students and emphasized body mechanics for more powerful punching, striking, kicking and blocking. What originally appeared to be cocking, now became throws and/or locking techniques. Level three as mentioned earlier was viscious and deadly. The punch, strike, kick and block were now executed to destroy the opponent with a single technique. The throws and locks were fatal if applied correctly. Level three was only taught to trusted senior students.

There is alot more, but that is what is relevant to this discussion about the kata and applications. The spaces between items designate break in the interview where other questions were being asked. The interview itself was conducted by Mr. Walter Goodin.
 
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