History of Ananku Kata

Ananku is an original Okinawan kata, one of the few that has its’ beginning in this part of Asia.  Its basis developed from techniques of Taiwan Gung fu around the turn of the last century.  One of the first stories I heard about the history of this kata came from a Marine Crop Sergeant Major Edwards, who was a Godan in Shobayashi Shorin ryu.  He was very much the “historian” type martial artist which was rare for an American karateka at that time.  A well-known figure in the Shorin lineage, Maeda Peichin, visited Taiwan in the late 1800’s and again in the early 1900’s. Learning fighting styles from Gung fu instructors throughout various areas of Taiwan.  Upon his return composed a kata and taught it to his student Chotoku Kyan who also went to Taiwan in the 1920’s to study.  Now one story has Master Peichin creating the form and Master Kyan giving it a name, the other stories say Master Kyan created the kata from the training received from his teacher, Peichin, along with what he learned on his trip to Taiwan.  Whatever the truth, excepted history has Master Kyan as giving it the name as well as introducing the kata into the Shorin system.

The rough translation of the name Ananku “light from the South,” was translated to mean “light.” This idea of “light” derives from “the light of wisdom” and how the constant exposure of this light during day from the south will give you energy, think Feng Shui for a moment.  The other translation tends to relate to my understanding of this kata as it was shown by my instructors, “peace from the South.”  The action of “peace,” claiming a fluidity of slipping movements as found in street fighting or actual combat.  No preparatory moves such as chambering of punches or kicks, just attacking two or three vital points at one time, allowing the results of these pressure point attacks to finish the battle.  Mentally digest this thought “unbroken fluidity.”  I remember hearing this used to describe Ananku, so asking for an explanation it was then explained and demonstrated saying: “A concentration of your physical and mental being so they run together as one.  So the student no longer relies on the techniques in the kata, but the student becomes in tune with their natural reflexes.”  Basically this breaks down as one sequential movement to another while at the same time defending or attacking two or three times at once.  As the instructor moved through the kata he explained and demonstrated this point, which I hope to have passed on to my students giving them a clear picture of the real purpose of katas.

Hanshi Jerry Partain

Edited by Sensei Nathan Brown

Wake Forest Christian Karate & Kobudo

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