This page is a more recent addition to my kata page and is a first attempt to add more information on kata rarely done or seen in Chito-ryu but still practiced in some dojo. The first kata that I've included is Rochin, the Chito-ryu family kata. Surprisingly enough, this kata was quite difficult to track down, and I finally found answers by contacting the Hombu dojo and Tanaka Sensei there who was more than happy to answer my questions.
In the (hopefully) near future, I will include notes on the following kata: Gung-fu no kata, Ananko, Wansu, Unsu, Pinan, Nihanshi and any others that I discover were taught in Chito-ryu dojo.
Roh/Ru - to grind, to sharpen, to mill (i.e. mill rice or grain).
Chin - to calm or quell
Rochin (or Rohchin) is the Chito Ryu family kata, practiced only by members of the founding family. O-Sensei created this kata after many years of study and practice and its motions and techniques are for defending against an opponent weilding a staff. Sometimes Soke Sensei performs the kata at special events. He performed Rochin at the 1998 Soke Cup in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The kata was relatively short and resembled several of the more standard Chito Ryu kata, including Sanchin, Chinto and Sanshiru. There were also techniques in the kata that were unlike any of the other Chito Ryu kata. From several discussions, I get the impression that the Rochin kata is actually longer than the demonstration at the 1998 Soke Cup, and that the kata is only done in pieces like Gung-fu no Kata. I don't know if this is true or not.
Despite many rumors to the contrary (outside of Japan it seems), Rochin is not the same as "Gung-fu no kata", the latter being a completely different kata with a different history.
The "Ro" kanji in Rochin is a very difficult one and I could not find it in any Japanese Kanji dictionaries that I searched in ("Nelson", "Spahn and Hadamitsky" and "Halpern", the difinitive sources for the English speaking world didn't contain the kanji). The image that I have on this page, I constructed with 2 separate pieces from Jeffery's online Kanji Lookup. I obtained the definition from several Chinese kanji dictionaries and I'm unsure if this is the correct Japanese meaning of that kanji.
Some points to note: The "ro" kanji is very similar to the kanji for "Ryu" from Ryusan, meaning "dragon" or "Imperial". In China, this "dragon" kanji is also associated with rain and flooding. The piece added to the bottom of the kanji is the symbol for "stone". How this came to mean "grind, sharpen, mill" is unknown. Perhaps an images of a mill wheel turning or a whetstone sharpening a knife is close to the mark. A separate Chinese dictionary gave "To hull grain" or "The equipment to hull grain" as a translation. None of this seems to point to the definition of "bo counterattack" given to me by Tanaka Sensei in Japan.
Also, none of the Chinese references gave "ro" as a pronunciation for this kanji. The pinyin reading given was "lung2" (the sound "lung" with the 2nd of 5 types of standard inflections), a 2nd dictionary gave "lurng" as the pronunciation.
Added later: The "Ro" character can be found in the Japanese kanji dictionary called the Morohashi (a sort of Oxford English dictionary except in Japanese, 28 volumes of kanji and compounds, literary examples etc...). The character is Morohashi #24586 (volume 8, p 412) and can be pronounced alternatively "roh" or "ru" and means to polish, specifically to polish rice or grain (my thanks to Brian McCarthy and his Nihongo instructor for supplying that bit of information).Send comments to me concerning Rochin.
ReferencesKata Kanji obtained from:
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Don't hesitate to e-mail me by clicking below.Travis Cottreau