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Chinto Kata Meaning

Chinto (In Shotokan, Gankaku is an advanced kata practiced in many styles of karate. According to legend, it is named after a Chinese sailor whose ship crashed on the Okinawan coast. To survive, Chinto stole from the crops of the local people. Sokon, a Karate master, was sent to stop Chinto. In the ensuing fight, however, Matsumura found himself equally matched by the stranger, and consequently sought to learn his techniques.

It is known that the kata chinto was well known to the early Tomari-te and Shuri-te schools of Karate. Sokon Matsumura was an early practitioner of the Shuri-te style. When Gichen Funakoshi brought Karate to Japan, he renamed chinto (meaning approximately "fighter to the east") to Gankaku (meaning "crane of a rock"), possibly to avoid anti-Chinese sentiment of the time. He also modified the actual pattern of movement, or embusen, to a more linear layout, similar to other Shotokan kata.

The kata is very dynamic, employing a diverse number of stances (including the uncommon crane stance), unusual strikes of rapidly varying height, and a rare one-footed pivot. Bunkai generally describes this kata as being useful on uneven, hilly terrain.

Today, chinto is practiced in Wado-ryu, Shukokai, Isshin-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Shotokan.

A legend tells of a Chinese sailor named Chinto, shipwrecked on Okinawa by a terrible storm 150 to 200 years ago.(2) He hid in caves near the beach and stole food at night to survive. Villagers complained and a famous Samurai Sokun (Bushi) Matsumura was sent to take care of the problem. Matsumura was determined to capture the sailor. When confronted, Chinto blocked or eluded all of Matsumura’s techniques, then ran away. Later, Matsumura found him hiding in a cemetery and befriended him. Matsumura helped the sailor by providing him with food and concealing him in exchange for the sailor teaching him his techniques. Whether the legend of a shipwrecked sailor is true or not, facts seem to bear out the Sokun Matsumura formulated the moves of the modern kata known as Chinto. Also, legend states Annan taught 'Chinto' to Gusukuma and Kanagusuku in Tomari

Chinto techniques are thought to be from a Chinese system called Chunan Fa (Kempo). It was a popular system taught along the southeastern coast of China at the time. The exact meaning of this name is unknown. One rendering of the kanji for Chinto translates as: “fighting to the East” while another means, “fighting in a city”. Both Shuri-te and Tomari-te has their own version of the KATA. Most notable version disparities consist of Shuri-te having a verticle/horizontal approach versus Tomari-te having a diagonal approach. This kata introduces many new concepts to the student. Chinto’s trademark is the Chinto pivot. This technique is used throughout the kata and offers a distinct advantage. With one quick snapping move your body is rotated one hundred eighty degrees. This takes away the target from your opponent and simultaneously protects the lower extremities by closing the legs on the groin area and bracing one leg against the other to reinforce the knees.

It’s obvious to see why Matsumura had such a difficult time fighting the sailor named Chinto. Chinto introduces a double flying straightforward kick. This technique is designed to cover distance while striking your opponent with two kicking techniques. The student is introduced to rapid changes of stance, which require excellent footwork and balance. The Chinto pivot is used to close the distance to your opponent or to create space between you and your opponent depending on whether the pivot is done forward or backward. Each Chinto pivot is followed by rapid and varied counter-attacks. There is a unique three hundred sixty degree turn and double strike done simultaneously like the fourteenth exercise (morate o’uchi). Chinto is performed on a straight line. This line is forty-five degrees to the left of the starting position. The entire kata is performed moving forward and backward on this line. The student gains speed, mobility, and balance along with superior technique while working on Chinto. The kata is rich in Tuite and Kyusho-Jutsu techniques and even contains a punch from a position on one knee.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinto_(martial_arts)
2) http://www.isshinryu.com/chinto1.htm