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.