In Jitte (translated:
“ten hands”) is understood the idea that its mastery will
permit one to face ten adversaries. (1) Its origin is from the Tomari-te
school. Some claim that the name, Jitte, is derived from the position
of the raised fists, resembling a type of sai known as a jitte, which
occurs a number of times in the kata. This rather short kata of only
24 movements contains a number of defenses against the bo. This kata
is also known in some styles as Sip Soo.
There is very little in the way of written materials concerning the
last two kata on the list, namely Jitte and Jion. The earliest reference
we see to Jitte is in the 1914 article penned by Funakoshi (under his
nom de plume Shoto. He here demonstrates a move from this kata in his
1935 book) in the January 17-19 editions of the Ryukyu Shinpo newspaper,
where it is mentioned twice. In the section on the "kinds"
of karate (i.e. the kata), it is stated that Jitte is a kata that clearly
distinguishes the upper, middle and lower levels of technique (Shoto,
As already seen in the Chinto section of this article, Jitte is said
to have been taught by a Chinese castaway in the Tomari (the small seaport
town nearest Shuri, the capital of Okinawa) region. Chinto is said by
many to be related to Jion and Jiin kata (Iwai, 1992, Sakagami, 1978).
It is not known where Funakoshi may have learned the kata, but Anko
Itosu seems to be the best bet. In fact, Sakagami(the karate historian)
states that although Itosu modified many kata to fit his physical education
tradition, he seems to have left the Tomari kata of Jitte, Jion and
Jiin pretty much alone, thus hinting that Itosu did indeed teach versions
of these kata (Sakagami, 1978).
Although many of the applications of Jitte in the modern Shotokan world
seem to rely upon empty hand defenses against a stave-wielding attacker,
some believe that Jitte may actually be descended from a bojutsu kata
(Iwai, 1992). Unfortunately, neither can be proved with any satisfying
certainty. It is also interesting to note that in the book "Kenpo
Gaisetsu," there is a unique interpretation of this kata called
Itokazu no Jitte (Miki et al, 1930).