Monday, May 25, 2009

Chibana Chosin's Kata Curriculum

Chibana Sensei consulted with Itosu Sensei about which kata he should use for his teaching curriculum. Chibana Sensei was concerned that a limited amount of kata would limit one's versatility, while a large amount of kata would not allow one to work on refinement. Itosu Sensei told him to use the core Shorin kata, listed below. After watching Chibana Sensei perform the Matsumura Patsai, Itosu Sensei instructed him to retain this kata as "Patsai Dai", while the Itosu Patsai would be taught as "Patsai Sho". In addition to the three kihon kata developed later by Chibana Sensei, the Chibana core curriculum became as follows:

Kihon Shodan, Kihon Nidan, Kihon Sandan
Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, Naihanchi Sandan
Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan
Patsai Sho, Patsai Dai
Kusanku Sho, Kusanku Dai

When discussing Chibana Shorin Ryu karate, questions about the Gojushiho kata sometimes arise. If a student wished to learn Gojushiho, Chibana Sensei would normally refer them to Nakazato Sensei, although Nakata Sensei was able to learn the Itosu Gojushiho from Chibana Sensei. However, this was not considered a core Shorin kata and thus not part of the standard curriculum.

The Patsai Gwa kata (gwa being the Okinawan equivalent of sho, the "lesser" kata), is said to have been created by Itosu Sensei and popularized by Tokuda Anbun Sensei. Chibana Sensei did maintain that there were no Sho and Dai versions of the Patsai until Itosu Sensei instructed him to retain the Matsumura Patsai as Patsai Dai and the Itosu Patsai as Patsai Sho. Patsai Gwa was left out.

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