Monday, March 31, 2008

Finding the origins of the Yantsu kata

Yantsu kata being performed by Sempai Cliff Van Tilburg from Sutani Dojo Belgium

Ever since I've made it a point to know where each kata originates, and the background behind it, I've been frustrated by the lack of revelation available on some of the kata. In many cases, I've been having to work with speculations, assumptions, and the memories of various higher level Sensei. Take the kata, Yantsu (Translated as "Safe Three", "To maintain purity", or "8th light"), for example, in all of the various places that I've researched, I have yet to find a conclusive "creator" of this kata.

There are some facts that are put forwards:

a) Some people have mentioned that they have only seen this kata in the Kyokushin syllabus. There are some kata that seem to be only found in Kyokushin like Tsuki No Kata, Garyu, Sakugi Taikyoku Sono Ichi/Ni/San/Yon.

Although, I have noticed an Isshin ryu website with the Yantsu Kata being demonstrated picture by picture for Shodan level, most of the Isshin ryu kata list that I've seen have only 8 traditional kata which do not include Yantsu. Since Isshin ryu comes from a Goju ryu/Shorin ryu background, their list does not include Yantsu either.

I've also stumbled across a website which teaches Kami-Do Karate that announces that Yantsu is a Tomarit-te kata. I've got to shake my head with confusion on the concept of Yantsu being Tomari-te. I looked up on the history of that style, and found this paragraph:

"Hokama passed on katas that he said be taught by the Oyadomaris: Naifanchi I & II, Passai, Wanshu, Wankan, Rohai, and Kusanku Dai & Sho, but, according Kojo Kafu the Naifanchi II and the two Kusanku came from Itosu. Another tradition, the purest, counts the katas Naifanchi, Passai, Chinto, Jitte, Jiin, Jion, Chintei, Wanshu, Rohai and Wandun as the original Tomarite. It is also said that the katas Chinpe, Chinsu, Juma, and Uenibu are of the lineage of Tomari, however, they were probably introduced in the 20th from Taiwan. There is also a kata known as Ananku or Ananko that was probably an old kata of Tomari restored by Chotoku Kyan around 1895. The Chinto passed on by Kyan is now known as Tomari-no-Chinto, however, the original Tomari Chinto was very similar to the Itosu’s. Wanduan is also considered a Tomari kata, together the version of Seisan passed on by Oshiro. Most of these kata belongs to the Fujian Monk Fist and Crane Fist systems." History of Tomari-te

Yantsu isn't even mentioned as a possibility of being Tomari-te by Sensei Camara in his article ( unless I didn't read it right).

Now, Sosai Masutatsu Oyama DID create the kata Garyu (Reclining Dragon)

Perhaps Sosai created Yantsu also? But if he did, why is it not well known that he has done so? You'd expect a definite statement of "the founder of Kyokushin created this kata that is visible mainly in the Kyokushin syllabus."

I looked at the Seido Karate Kata (founded by Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura) kata and found Yantsu listed there. Yet, the Garyu Kata is not on the list, neither are the Sokugi Taikyoku kata known to be created by Sosai Masutatsu Oyama in the 1980's. What could this point to?

It's a wild guess, but I'm thinking that maybe it was Kaicho Nakamura that created Yantsu, and Tsuki No kata... just because of the confusion, and silence concerning their origin. Please do not think for one second that this is a fact. I have nothing to base this assumption on.. it's just a wild reach in the dark.


OSMKKF said...

Yansu (original name for Yantsu kata) comes from the village of Yansu in Fukien (Fujian). The kata was brought to Japan by Gokenki who rarely taught this kata. Indeed there are a few groups outside Kyokushin that do use Yansu kata but probably with a more Chinese flavor than the version used in Kyokushinkai.
Garyu kata was indeed created by Sosai Mas Oyama.
Tsuki-no-kata was indeed devised by Nakamura sensei.

supergroup7 said...

OSU osmkkf, Thank you for the information. Thank you very much.

May I ask, which Martial art styles were influenced by Sensei Gokenki? I am now interested, and curious about him. Would you please point me to some information? I will attempt to learn more about him on my own, but I'd be grateful for your guidance.

DAVID said...

Alas, I too enjoy researching the origins of kata and have encountered the same road block of no/little information concerning Yantsu.

To further the frustration, I have yet to find the version that I was taught.(??) I study Shito ryu. The versions that I have found on the web are only half of the version that I was taught.(??) Frustrating, but fun.

Gokenki taught White Crane in Fukien, China.


Kuntao Matjan UK said...

OSMKKF, your comment on Yansu's origins being Yansu village, near Fuzhou, are exceptionally interesting. I have seen two nominally non-Kyokushinkai-originated versions of Yansu, one via Hawaii and the other via Central Java.

I would be very deeply grateful if you were willing to contact me or post here and indicate the source of your account of Yansu's origins -- it is an account that would be of considerable value to folk from a number of other systems!

Best regards,


John said...

I was about to say that looked like white crane Kung Fu! Gokenki makes much sense.

Robin Whale said...

I originally learned Yantsu in the mid 1970s while training in Wado. I did it for my Shodan in 1978. I still teach it my seniors though it isn't part of our syllabus.

My original sensei never told us anything about the names, history and background of the kata - he probably didn't know. I was asked last week what Yantsu meant, and had to admit that I had no idea.

This is an interesting thread which has (eventually) expanded my karate knowledge.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Kihon tsuki no kata is also taught in Seigokan Goju-ryu, as taught by Hanshi Seigo Tada.

supergroup7 said...

Osu Anonymous,

Thank you for alerting me to this information, in fact, I have just recently found out that the Seigokan Ryu Karate also has the Kihon Tsuki No Kata, and Kihon Uke No Kata.

There is an ongoing discussion of this happening at this Kyokushin Forum:

Sensei Richard Marsh said...

Hello, a little late but I have some further information.
kihon tsuki no kata is adapted from the first kata in Seigokan.
I am the chief instructor of Seigokan England, prior to this I trained in a style that had the kyokushinkai version at blue belt. Kihon tuski was created by Seigo Tada and is unique to Seigokan.

Mir said...

Osu Sensei Marsh,

Thank you for your contribution. In my opinion there is never the concept of "too late" on the internet as someone can always come back and learn more from a topic.

I checked youtube for a video of the Seigokan Tsuki No kata, and found this:

There it is! Thank you for your guidance.

According to Wikipedia:

"Master Seigo Tada was a pupil of Chojun Miyagi and the head of the Karate Club at Ritsumeikan University. In the 1960s, Seigokan was considered the most important Goju-Ryu Association (Kai-Ha) in Japan, with more than 200,000 members.

Seigokan includes two unique kata created by Seigo Tada — Kihon-Tsuki-no kata and Kihon-Uke-no kata "

Nestor Cubas said...

Dear all.

Recently, the WKF published the kata competition rules for 2015 and is confusing the fact that in their "official" list there is... GARYU...???

Is there a completely different kata in other style also called "Garyu"??
Or is this some kind of trick by the WKF to "include" Kyokushin in their organization?

If you know something about a different kata called the same please let me know.

Mir said...

I would encourage you Mr. Cubas to post your question on an active Martial Arts Forum where there might be more responses than this thread.

I would suggest