The Meaning and History of Kata
To continue with the definitions of Kata names, I have researched and am
including some history that is available if you search. This will probably be
sufficient information for most of you. If you find more I would pleased if you
would share it with the rest of us. Thank you.
The Pinan (平安?) kata are a series of five empty hand forms taught in many karate styles. The Pinan kata originated in Okinawa and were adapted by Anko Itosu, Anko Azato and Nabe Matsumura from older kata such as Kusanku and Channan into forms suitable for teaching karate to young students. When Gichin Funakoshi brought karate to Japan, he renamed the kata to Heian, which is translated as “peaceful and calm”. Pinan is the Pinyn notation of 平安, which means also “peaceful and calm”. Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate) systems also practice these kata; they are termed, “Pyong-an” or “Pyung Ahn”, which is a Korean pronunciation of the term “pin-an”.
The Pinan kata were introduced into the school systems on Okinawa in the early 1900s, and were subsequently adopted by many teachers and schools. Thus, they are present today in the curriculum of Shitō-ryū, Wadō-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Kobayashi-ryū, Kyokushin, Shōrei-ryū, Shotokan, Matsubayashi-ryū, Shukokai, Shindo Jinen Ryu, Kosho-ryū Kempo, and several other styles.
One of the stories surrounding the history of the Pinan kata claims that Itosu learned a kata from a Chinese man living in Okinawa. This kata was called “Chiang Nan” by the Chinese man. The form became known as “Channan”, an Okinawan/Japanese approximation of the Chinese pronunciation. The original form of the Channan kata is lost. Itosu formed 5 katas from the long Channan Kata which he thought would be easier to learn. The 5 kata were Pinans Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, and Godan.
Ananku (安南空?) is a kata from Okinawan karate. Its history in Okinawan martial arts is relatively short in comparison to other kata as it was composed by Chotoku Kyan. Its meaning is “Light from the South” or “Peace from the South”, as it is thought to originate when Kyan returned from a trip to Taiwan.
What makes this kata special is its techniques of offense and defense while in zenkutsu dachi and Naname Zenkutsu Dachi (otherwise known as front leg bent stance or bow stance and Slanted Front Stance) This kata also introduces the aforementioned Naname Zenkutsu Dachi in Shōrin-ryū and Matsubayashi-ryū. It is also the first Shōrin/Matsubayashi-ryū kata to start with a centered movement blocking to both sides of the body. One could argue that this kata introduces Double Downward/Lower Forearm Block.
In the way, JWA