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Original Kata

This is a story.

A Karate instructor was alone in his dojo, practicing the Pinan kata, when all of a sudden, poof! Anko Itosu appeared.

"Hello," said Itosu Sensei. "I was watching you practicing the Pinan kata back at my home in Okinawa in 1903. Well, since I have a time machine, I thought I would visit you."

"Thank you, Itosu Sensei," exclaimed the instructor. "I practice Shorin-Ryu and we have preserved your Pinan kata unchanged from the time you created them!"

"Well, not quite," replied Itosu Sensei. "Here, let me show you how they are supposed to be done." With that, Itosu Sensei performed each of the five Pinan kata. He then explained the body dynamics for each movement and the applications.

The instructor was beside himself. He could not believe what he had just witnessed. His eyes filled with tears and he sobbed in gratitude.

Itosu Sensei smiled and said, "Well, I have to return to the past. I am just glad that you will now correct your kata and you can teach your students the proper movements, body dynamics and applications."

"There must be some confusion," said the instructor. "I cannot correct the kata. I would get in trouble with my own Sensei if I changed the movements. And I cannot teach your body dynamics for the same reason. People would think I changed styles. We have a fixed set for applications as well. I have to follow them. Otherwise, I would be kicked out of my association and I could lose my dan ranking and titles. Plus, for all these years I have assured my students that I was teaching the authentic Pinan kata. We perform them in tournaments. If I changed them now, they would call me a fraud. I hope you understand."

Itosu Sensei shook his head and poof! He vanished.

The moral of the story is this. Even if Itosu Sensei were to appear and teach his true Pinan, there are people who would not accept it because they are too invested/trapped in a structure or system that prevents them correcting their poor techniques. They would have too much to lose.



Charles C. Goodin