History of the creator of pinan kata?

In shotokan it is always told the Azato Itosu Sensei created the pinan kata series
but in shito ryu it is told that Kenwa Mabuni Sensei created the pinan kata series

which one would you think is more right?

BTW for those that dont know Mabuni sensei contributed a lot of kata to shotokan.
Funakoshi sensei would send his senior instructors to Mabuni sensei to learn additional kata that was latter include in the shotokan syllabus, there kata there were about 8 kata add.
so its not far fetch about the pinan kata comming from Mabuni sensei
My shotokan books say Itosu and the shito ryu says mabuni. ya they dont help much.

piana kata series from my understanding came from several advance kata such as passia and kusanku. the other theory i have see is the the came from the chinese form of chiang nan.
Soken Matsumura? i haven’t heard that theory.
I your theory Sensei Scandal that they both collaborated on it. it makes sense.

OC Bujinkan thansk i have read that one though, its a good article

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9 Responses to History of the creator of pinan kata?

  1. PBJ says:

    The lack of written history makes this rather difficult. Of course, the pinan kata series used to be a single kata. It’s possible, of course, to have the kata actually predate the people who are credited with it (in fact, I think it’s more likely).

    The Japanese Wikipedia articles I looked at credits Anko Itosu as the author of the Pinan kata. But I’m not sure what the source for it is. I also have a book that I can’t look at right now about Choki Motobu and the history of karate. I may have to take a look at that later.

    But the fact remains that there is so little written history at that time or the time prior concerning karate that it will remain a mystery. So many of those great masters of the time had so much contact and cooperation with one another that it’s difficult to pinpoint a single person for having done something.

  2. Sensei Scandal says:

    I also heard that it was Itosu Sensei who developed them, however, I’m inclined to believe that he may have headed the task but that other Masters had some input in their development. I think this is why both Itosu and Mabuni are named. This is my opinion based on what I have heard and read, though I have not done extensive research on these kata.

    They were supposedly developed to introduce karate as an activity for youth in the school system.

    This is also said to be the reason Miyagi created the Gekisai kata.

    And as you said, they were put together by extracting technique from advanced kata. This is obvious to me as I can see the technique.

    Now the Chiang Nan theory sounds interesting to me when I read about it. I heard that these kata were originally called Chanan, or Channan. This is quite interesting to me as I would really like to know that connection.

    Either they were all Channan or were fusions of Chinese kata Chanan and Kusanku or were developed from Kusanku exclusively. These are the three theories.

    Oh, the wonders of our Vast Art!


    Excellent input by callsign. I had heard about the kata being called “channan” from my research into Matsumura Seito, which has a direct line to Sokon Matsumura.

    I do have to say though, Itosu did teach a few members of the Motobu family – Choki included, who was one of Nagamine’s teachers. That still does not prove anything either way. Also, I said above that “other masters” were probably involved and that is probably how Mabuni’s name fell into the mix.

  3. OC Bujinkan says:

    I don’t know if this helps, but sometimes referencing the dates of quoted texts and backtracking can be a way to find a “first claim”, which is usually how I start when I’m researching.


  4. curious1 says:

    From what I had researched years ago, it was Soken Matsumura that created the katas and Anko Itosu that introduced them to the school systems. Of course, everything is word of mouth, so there is no CLEAR knowledge as to who created them. However, it IS known that Mabuni studied under Anko Itosu…so I would be inclined to believe THAT is where Mabuni picked them up. Just a thought.

  5. SKJ says:

    I’ve discussed this quite extensively in the past and have the archives saved somewhere. I’ll try and dig around to provide you with the information I gathered. If I remember correctly, I believe that the consensus was Mabuni Sensei being the main influence of the kata. However, that is still speculation as well, but based on timelines that’s what we reached…

    I also agree with Sensei Scandal’s theories as well as they make sense, and the technique is quite evident. That and the fact that they worked more or less along side one another…

    I’m quite busy at the moment, so if I don’t get back on here, I’ll email you.

  6. callsignfuzzy says:

    In his book “The Heian Flow System” Dr. John Titchen, a Doctor of History who’s writing style reflects his academic background, four brief but rather thorough pages to the history of the Heian/Pinan kata. He suggest that Sokon Matsumura may be the creator of the Pinan series based on the fact that karate ryu with no direct connection to Itosu, such as Matsubayashi Ryu and Ryukyu Shorin Ryu, include the Pinan series in their syllabi. He also suggest that, based on the prevalence of techniques not included in Kusanku/Kanku Dai like Morote Uchi Uke and Age Uke that at the very least, there was a source besides Kusanko that contributed to the creation of the Pinan series; he brings up the elusive Channan as a possible source and explains how it would most likely have been collected by the well-travelled Matsumura instead of Itosu.

    Finally, my understanding is that it’s commonly accepted that the Pinan series was being taught in the Okinawan school system as early as 1901, though possibly later (I’ve heard 1907 cited as the latest possible date). However, Mabuni was born only a few scant years earlier, in 1889 or 1893 depending upon your source. It seems unlikely that, even if Mabuni’s earliest birth date and the latest date for the inception of the Pinan series are true, that an 18 year old boy could have created them.

    Mabuni was the kind of karate scholar we can all aspire to be, but none of the sources I have seem to indicate that he was the creator of the Pinan series. Would you mind citing your source so I can research it later?

  7. jurena says:

    I think Callsign nailed it .

    Any history book says that Heian ( Pinan) were introduced to Okinawa public around 1902 ( some says 1905 ) .
    Mabuni sensei started study of karate with Itosu sensei in 1902 he was 13 year old .And Itosu was like 89 years young . Mabuni and Funakoshi were buddies , but that we already knew .

    Go figure .

    Lets give respect where its due . Itosu was the MAN . Nobody is disputing Mabuni sensei contributions to karate .

  8. freegive9 says:

    As a practitioner of Shitoryu Itosukai karate (now just Itosukai) for over 19 years, I believe that Itosu Sensei created them. I believe Mabuni Sensei refined the originals and that these are the ones we use today.

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