The Real Interpretation of Jitte

The kata Jitte (Jit -Te / Jutte) was created by sensei Matsumora Kosaku (1829-1898) and is a very special kata and is very unique to the 26 Shotokan kata. It is a kata that students find difficult to master and understand, as the movements contained within, are very complex and yet, very simple. The kata meaning “ten hands” is meant to make you feel like you have the power to fight against ten men, or it can also be referred to as only having ten set techniques within the kata.

Jitte is an awkward kata as some of the movements don’t make sense when performing them, teaching them or demonstrating its applications. The applications taught are always against wrist grabs, punches, and at one point how to disarm a Bo staff. So, how is this kata unique from other kata, as the applications in previous kata have defences against, wrist grabs, punches kicks etc.

To truly understand Jitte, we need to erase the meaning Karate (empty hand). The term empty hand simply does not apply here. This kata is unique because it is a kata that utilises both Kogeki (attack) and Bogyo (defence) against a 6ft Bo staff.

Once Jitte has been taught to a sufficient level, the first real interpretation of the kata can then be taught.

The Kogeki section of the kata teaches the student to defend the vast number of incoming Bo staff attacks whilst performing the kata with the Bo staff in their hands, from the start. Once this kata has become fluent, and the movements of the kata are understood, the student can then go on to learn the second interpretation of the kata. Bogyo.

The Bogyo section teaches the student how to parry, disarm and engage the Bo staff from an unarmed beginning. With this interpretation acknowledged and demonstrated to a satisfactory level, the applications of the kata without the use of any weapons, will become much more clear in the future.

When performing kata it always helps to learn the old traditional ways, as this will enhance your training when demonstrating Bunkai, the movements that you do will become clearer.