The Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū

“The Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū” was published as an appendix to the 1986 book by Gima Shinkin und Fujiwara Ryōzō (Taidan – Kindai Karate-dō no Rekishi wo Kataru. Bēsubōru Magajin-sha, Tōkyō 1986).

Gima Shinkin (1896-1989) was born in Okinawa and studied under Itosu Ankō and Yabu Kentsū. After graduation he went to Tōkyō and studied at Tōkyō Shōka Daigaku. Later he met Funakoshi Gichin and became one of his most original mainland students.

When Funakoshi came to Tōkyō in 1922, Gima Shinkin was already a black belt in jūdō. In fact, Funakoshi’s notorious “nine lost throws” might well have been derivations of jūdō or jūjutsu throws, like in case of Byōbu-daoshi (= Ō-soto-gari), Ude-wa (= Morote-gari), or Yari-dama (= Kakae-nage). Moreover, these throws were actually never “lost,” but handed down in Gima’s Shōtōkan-ryū.

When Kanō Jigorō invited Funakoshi to present Karate at the Kōdōkan in 1922, Gima acted as Funakoshi’s partner. Gima, a black belt in jūdō, had a jūdō uniform and a black belt, but Funakoshi did not have either. Instead, Funakoshi had tailored a uniform for himself AND for Gima the night before, so this is what they wore on that day. Funakoshi also was given a black belt on Kanō’s order. This should be sufficient to show how close Gima was to Funakoshi.

Gima peforming "lost" throws in 1967.

Gima peforming “lost” throws in 1967.

Gima was also active in the postwar revival of Karate well into the 1960s in major associations. But he never became mainstream and in fact all seniors one by one left the mainstream “Karate movement” of the time; those who not only “lost” Funakoshi’s nine throws but also added kata as they wished, created, dropped, and added whatever they liked or needed for more medals and fame, even confused Dai and Sho all the time and to this day are failing to offer an explanation, leaving millions of interested Western Karateka in a limbo of nescience while swaggering around like peacocks.

Well, Gima’s description of his “Technical System of Shōtōkan-ryū” allows a simple comparison. For example, the following are the 15 solo Kata described by Gima & Fujiwara in 1986. There should be no doubt that these were the Kata taught by Funakoshi, and nothing more. So next time you can ask your master about the origin of Unsu, or Gojushiho (Dai and Sho), Passai Sho, Wankan… Good luck.

Solo Kata (15 types)

  1. Heian Shodan 平安初段.
  2. Heian Nidan 平安二段.
  3. Heian Sandan 平安三段.
  4. Heian Yondan 平安四段.
  5. Heian Godan 平安五段.
  6. Bassai (Passai Dai) 抜寒(パッサイ・大).
  7. Kankū (Kūsankū) 観空(クーサンクー).
  8. Enpi (Wanshū) 燕飛(ワンシュウ).
  9. Gankaku (Chintō) 岩鶴(チントウ).
  10. Jitte 十手(ジッテ).
  11. Hangetsu (Sēshan) 半月(セーシャン).
  12. Tekki Shodan (Naihanchi) 鉄騎初段(ナイハンチ).
  13. Tekki Nidan 鉄騎二段
  14. Tekki Sandan 鉄騎三段.
  15. Jion 慈恩 (ジオン).

Besides these, there are 6 stances, 14 hand techniques, 15 foot techniques, 33 types of basic kumite, 6 types of iaidori, the 9 “lost” throws, 5 dagger-capturings, 3 long sword-capturings, 6 long staff-capturings, 14 types of self-defense for girls, and 40 vital points.

P.S. Yes, I think we deserve an explanation.

© 2016, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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