The fukyugata, or “promotional kata,” were developed in 1940 by Shoshin Nagamine of Shorin-ryu (Fukyugata 1) and Chojun Miyagi of Goju-ryu (Fukyugata 2) upon the request of Okinawa Governor Hayakawa. Their purpose was to make karate accessible to rank beginners, discarding – as much as possible – the classical nuances of various styles.
Fukyugata 1 consists of four basic techniques executed in six directions; despite the seeming simplicity of its choreography, its challenge lies in the acquisition and understanding of karate’s basic principles.
The five “Pinan” kata were developed by Anko Itosu (1831-1915) of Gibo Village, Shuri, Okinawa, in the early 1900s. It is widely posited that Itosu drew from longer, classical kata in the creation of this series to make them more manageable to schoolchildren; a then teacher at the First Prefectural Junior High School, he systematized Shuri-te (a predecessor of today’s Shorin-ryu) into a modern context for greater accessibility to the masses, and was instrumental in karate’s introduction into the Okinawan school system. For this, Anko Itosu is largely credited as “The Father of Modern Karate.”
This is the first kata in a series of five. In many mainland Japanese karate styles, Pinan 1 is known as Heian 2.
Ananku is one of eight “specialized” kata in Matsubayashi-ryu, outside of the Fukyugata, Pinan, and Naihanchi series. The composer of this kata is unknown. The character of this kata is noted by the lunging stances for defensive and offensive movements.
Tsuken Shitahaku no Sai
This kata is believed to date back to a 17th century government official known as “Shitahaku,” who was a native of Kume Village and an expert in Ryukyu kobujutsu.
Kobayashi Sensei, Sai Demonstration
Kobayashi sensei, a native of Kyoto and Goju-ryu student of the late Masafumi Suzuki, lived in the Little Tokyo community of Los Angeles and was a frequent guest instructor at Ishii sensei’s Matsubayashi-ryu dojo. In this 1999 demonstration at Centenary UMC’s annual Arigato Bazaar, he demonstrates sai application and kata (Tsuken Shitahaku no Sai).
Centenary Bazaar Karate Demo Practice
Ishii sensei and Ravenswood Dojo instructor Erik Matsunaga preparing a karate demonstration for Centenary UMC’s annual Arigato Bazaar in 1999.