Training classes are good in that they help one to work out and learn something new – left to our own devices, most of us would probably not spend an hour or two stretching and exercising our minds in this way. There are, however, some alternative things one can do to further one’s understanding of Karate-Do that don’t involve punching and kicking. Fortunately, there’s a lot of information out on the internet that can help flesh out and deepen one’s appreciation for what we often do by rote.
Since I’ve been talking about kata recently, I thought it appropriate to share a decent article regarding theories on the origins and evolution of the basic katas that you all know and practice – the Heian katas…previously named the Pinana katas…possibly before that, named the Channan katas. A couple of old photos in the article show the very recognizable opening moves in Heian Nidan (performed by the Founder), along with a fairly recognizable photo of the “morote-uke” from the same kata (performed by Choki Motobu).
Generally, the Heian katas are said to be the creation of Anko Itosu, one of Funakoshi’s senseis, for application in the Okinawan school system. The article goes into better detail about what is currently known about the origins of what all of us practice today. I don’t expect you folks to read the whole article, but even a brief glance should give everyone a better perspective on how even the most basic katas are thought to have made their way to us. And you’ll have learned one or two new things about the art, and didn’t need to put on your gi to have gained this insight.