Welcome to the Vernon Valley Karate Academy your center for Family Fitness and Family Fun. Here at the Vernon Valley Karate we pride ourselves on our commitment to the families of our local communities.We believe whole heartedly that
"The Family that Kick's Together, Stick's Together".
We teach a form of karate respected through out the world as one of the best. Shorin-Ryu Karate is one of the original forms developed in Okinawa, Japan. We continue to present this traditional style in accordance with the skills and goals developed years ago by its founder father, Sensei Chosin Chibana (1885-1969) who systemized Itosu's style of Karate-Jutsu and officially changed it's name from Shutri-Te-Do-Karate-Jutsu to Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Jutsu.
Our focus is the positive development of all aspects of life. We stress friendship and harmony with others as our most important goal. At the same time, however, we learn a martial art that empowers us with the competence and assurance that we need to confront aggression and deal with dangerous situations should they arise. We understand that, "There is a great difference between being gentle because you want to be, and being gentle because you are not strong enough to be otherwise".
"We seek to be as soft as the world will let us be, yet as strong as it demands us to be"
The most popular image associated with kata is that of a karate practitioner performing a series of punches and kicks in the air. The kata are executed as a specified series of approximately 20 to 70 moves, generally with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. There are perhaps 100 kata across the various forms of karate, each with many minor variations. The number of moves in a kata may be referred to in the name of the kata, e.g., Gojūshiho, which means "54 steps." The number of moves may also have links with Buddhist spirituality. The number 108 is significant in Buddhism & Hinduism, signifying the 108 ways the mind can behave (Upanishads) and kata with 54, 36, or 27 moves (divisors of 108) are common. The practitioner is generally counselled to visualize the enemy attacks, and his responses, as actually occurring, and karateka are often told to "read" a kata, to explain the imagined events. The study of the meaning of the movements is referred to as the bunkai, meaning analysis, of the kata.
One explanation of the use of kata is as a reference guide for a set of moves. Not to be used following that "set" pattern but to keep the movements "filed". After learning these kata, this set of learned skills can then be used in a sparring scenario (particularly without points).
The main objective here is to try out different combinations of techniques in a safe, practice environment to ultimately find out how to defeat your opponent.
In kata the blocking movements are often performed while moving forward, which wouldn't be practical during the 'Bunkai'. These blocking movements would be performed during a Tai sabaki (体捌き), stepping-back action, where the opponent's attack would be avoided and the block would be a mere cover.
These kata are commonly referred to as "nifonchin", Tekki(Shotokan), Nihanchin or Diapochin(chinese) and are common in many of the Shorin groups. Naihanchi Shodan and Nidan are thought to have come from Matsumura while the third kata was created by Itosu. Chibana Chosin taught only the latter out of the three in his final years out of respect to Itosu. There have been many explanations given about the intent of the kata from "fighting on rice paddies" to fighting with one's back against a wall. "The author's teacher believes that although the kata is performed in side to side fashion, it is meant to be performed to the front with angular application. The applicability of this is more reasonable then trying to execute the kata's bunkai with one's back against a wall.
The problem with this kata and many others is that too many practitioners are caught in the belief that ti chi ki or bunkai is supposed to work in the same way that the kata is performed, which is ridiculous. If that were so than the kata would be counter-productive-isolating a student in a restrictive set of movements without the understanding of angles and free-movement in a defensive/offensive situation.
The Pinan kata were created by Itosu Ankoh Yasutsune after the channan or Chiang Nan(Chinese) forms although some believe that they are taken from Kusanku Dai, however, many postures in Tai Chi and Hsing-I are found in the Pinan forms. One theory is that Itosu developed these forms because they were easier to learn and dangerous techniques could be removed from them so that the kata could be taught to youth.
There are geographic and stylistic versions of Passai or Patsai which was thought to be originally introduced to Okinawa by Matsumura. There exists many versions of this kata but all resemble a similar pattern. They are recognized by the following: Koryu Passai; Matsumura no Passai(Passai Dai); Itosu no Passai(Passai Sho); Ishimine no Passai; Chibana no Passai; Oyadomari No Passai; Tawada no Passai. Translated as
"to penetrate a fortress", the originator of the kata is thought to be Matsumura
although it most likely existed in China before the latter introduced it to Okinawa.
There is much debate on the actual creators of the shuri kata that is practiced today, although we do know that some of the forms actually existed in China and were brought to Okinawa. One of the most common kata in Shorin-Ryu is Kusanku, said to have been created by Sakugawa Satunushi based on the teachings of the Chinese military envoy who lived in Okinawa around 1715. There exists many versions of the form although they resemble the same pattern in performance. Kusanku Dai/Kushanku Dai is most associated most with the lineage of Sakugawa and Matsumura and is called Kanku Dai in Shotokan. In the Kyan-ha shorin styles, the kata Chatan Yara Kusanku is practiced which utilize the influences or techniques of that teacher. Kusanku Sho is very similar in pattern to Kusanku Dai and is believed to be created by Itosu Ankoh. A great educator, it possible that Itosu chose to modify Kusanku Dai and adding the Sho version for people with different learning styles. There exists another version, Shiho Kusanku, which Itosu is also credited in developing that is practiced by some Shito-Ryu groups.
There are many versions of Chinto that exist in Shorin-groups as well as Isshin-Ryu. Some of the kata follow a straight line pattern while some move at 45 degree angle. It is said to be named after a Chinese sailor who became shipwrecked on Okinawa and according to legend, began to steal chickens and supplies in order to survive. Bushi Matsumura was sent ,as the king's greatest warrior, to hunt down Chinto and arrest him. He eventually found him and learn martial techniques from the sailor. Versions of the kata include Matsumura no Chinto, Itosu No Chinto, Yabu no Chinto, Kyan No Chinto.
Although this kata has many versions, it is difficult to place the exact Chinese origin or it's Okinawan founder. The form can be traced back to China, as with many Shuri-Te and Naha-Te kata, and contains many movements similar to White Crane technique. There is also some thought of the kata having been developed resembling Okinawan Dance movements. Translated in English as "fifty-four steps", this kata is referred to by names of various teachers in regards to their personal mark on the form. It was also referred to as Useishi and there exists gojushiho sho and gojushiho dai in Shotokan
and Shito-Ryu groups.
Bibliography and thanks for some of the research to Sensei John R. Spence.
from Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate of Williamsburg
Kanga Sakugawa (commonly known as Todi Sakugawa) - (1762 - 1843)