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Monthly Black Belt Training was held in IKIF Headquarters

Black Belt Training at IKIF Headquarters

Black Belt Training is held once in every month in IKIF Headquarters

On September 23rd 2018, Itosu-kai Japan Kanto district members held a monthly black belt practice. This time, we practiced Itosu-ryu Official Basic Katas #1 - #10, Naha-te Katas: Shisochin and Seipai, and JKF Official Heian Katas.

Itosu-kai Official Basic Katas on a book

In over 75 years’ Itosu-kai history, the number of basic katas changed a few times.

Before and after WWII, we practiced 12 katas in Itosu-kai, but those were modified and turned into 4 katas (Yon no Kata). In the middle of 1960`s, the series was again modified and tuned into 20 katas. However, in the beginning of 1970’s, 10 katas were officially created, and we have practiced those for nearly 50 years. Nowadays, many students try to do more advanced katas and they tend to neglect basics. Therefore, all black belt holders reviewed those 10 katas in this training session at first.

Secondly, Soke Sakagami conducted a class and he taught Naha-te katas.

Soke Sakagami says “Our style’s name is `Itosu-ryu` and our focus is Shuri-te Itosu-ha katas, but our style also preserves Naha-te katas and advanced students are supposed to practice them. It is however true that many people just imitate Naha-te katas and they are missing details.” We practiced Seipai and Shisochin this time. We “thought” we knew those katas, but it was not good enough according to Soke Sakagami. He spent a lot of time and fixed the details of Seipai and Shisochin.

JKF Kihon Katas

In the end, we practiced JKF Kihon Kata “Heian Series” (Japan Karatedo Federation Designated Basic Katas: Heian Series.) Japan Karatedo Federation (JKF) created basic katas for junior competitors. They are Five Heian series from Shito-ryu, Five Heian series from Shoto-kan-ryu, Five Pinan series from Wado-ryu and Two Gekisai series from Goju-ryu. Those katas will be mandatory for all junior competitors in Japan from 2019.

Most of Japanese karate groups are under umbrella of JKF. So, we have to know those katas. It means, we need to study Itosu-kai’s Pinan series plus JKF Heian series. In regards to this matter, it is a little controversial because while it is fair for judging competitors in a tournament, it destroys each style and their tradition. Anyway, in current situation, members of Itosu-kai Japan also need to practice JKF Heian series no matter what.

Sensei Hino (8th dan) conducted the class for it and he explained the details of JKF Heian Katas. It looks similar to Itosu-kai’s katas but details are quite different, and many people are confused about it. It might take a little while for both instructors and students to be able to distinguish the difference of those katas.

In terms of Itosu-ryu Official 10 Basic Katas, it looks like some oversea branches practice them but some don’t. Also, some international dojos are missing to practice Official Yakusoku Kumite (Pre-arranged Sparring), Official Tanren Kumite, Taisabaki practice and some other official training methods. Considering this situation, Soke Sakagami is currently planning on producing “Itosu-ryu Basic Practice” DVD in near future to solve the problem.

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