A day with another Hakutsuru Kata

Posted by: Victor Smith

A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/21/08 04:28 AM

Matsumura Shorin Ryu karate -Hakutsuru ton kata.
A version of the 5 okinawan white crane imported from cinese GoKenki.
Matsumura Shorin Ryu karate -Hakutsuru so kata
Matsumura Shorin Ryu karate Rohai (jo) Kata
Matsumura Shorin Ryu karate Naihanchi ShoDan
Matsumura Shorin Ryu karate Naihanchi NiDan
Posted by: duanew

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/21/08 07:52 AM

The Rohai kata is suppose to be Matsumura Kenpo......doesn't look like what I was taught by Kuda Shinshi.......
Posted by: shoshinkan

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/21/08 07:19 PM

interesting find Victor, the kata (with the exception of the 2 hakutsuru kata) certianly have a very similair 'shape' to ours, a different feel perhaps.
Posted by: Barad

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/22/08 05:17 AM

Thanks Victor, the Rohai was particularly interesting to me as it is not too far from Shotokan Rohai/Meikyo and because it shows how (what I assume were) earlier movements were reinterpreted in the Shotokan version.

I seem to remember seeing a translation of Rohai as something like "vision of a white crane" but I had never made a connection directly with crane kungfu, assuming that it referred to the one legged stance (altered in the Shotokan version), just as our Gankaku (Chinto) refers to this stance not the origin of the kata. Do you know if Rohai was ever practiced in Chinese styles?

Posted by: Shonuff

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/22/08 06:58 PM

Meikyo is one of those Shotokan kata that I just cannot see any value in.
Posted by: Victor Smith

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 04:27 AM

Hi Barad,

Unfortunately I know of no Chinese equivalent for Rohai, of course there a likely a thousand Southern Chinese systems, any of which might be candidates for Okinawan sources. Thus there may be a source.
Posted by: Barad

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 04:51 AM


You are probably right-there is nothing uniquely useful from a fighting perspective (unless you like triangular jumping elbow strikes and bo disarms) but I quite like practicing it all the same. Some Japanese instructors I came across used to teach that the jump was performed as if you had your back to a cliff and you jumped off and back in mid air to surprise and counter against your opponent! In other words they had no idea what it meant...

It is also interesting to see the opening movements of Heian Nidan in the sequence towards the end. It was actually an old film of Harada Sensei of the Shotokai years ago performing Rohai and that movement in particular with the lead fist pointing a bit more forward instead of up, so more like a punch, that gave me a first clue as to a better interpretation of the opening of Heian Nidan.

Some of the stories relating to the kata and the alternative Shotokan name of Meikyo (silver/shiny mirror I think) are also quite interesting, relating to the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu ("Shining Heaven"), supposedly the ancestor of the Imperial dynasty, coming out of cave and looking at herself in a mirror. Of course it is probably Funakoshi grafting a Japanese story onto an Okinawan kata...


Posted by: Barad

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 05:58 AM

The "Meikyo/silver mirror" connection by the way is with the opening movement where you are briefly looking at your palms, as I you were looking in a mirror I suppose. No connection to likely applications though...

Posted by: Barad

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 08:32 AM


By the wonders of Google, I found this comment by Joe swift from 2001:

"Joe Swift
() Posts: n/a

Rohai no Kata


Although this kata is often described as a "crane" or a "heron" form, the etymology may reveal a different origin.

Accroding to both Tokashiki Iken (Gohakukai) and Kinjo Akio (Genbukan), the term Luohan as in Luohan Quanfa (Arhat Boxing) is actually pronounced Lohai in Fujian,,, pronounce this in Ryukyuan/Japanese and you get Rohai!

The signature posture (one leg up, open hand in front of forehead, open hand down), looks crane-ish, but if you close the fists, it is a signature Arhat Boxing posture, according to Kinjo...

Anyway, just my two yen worth!"

I can kind of see what he means about the one-legged posture.

Posted by: shoshinkan

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 11:10 AM

nice find.
Posted by: Barad

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/23/08 11:31 AM

Hi Jim,

Thanks-is there anything on Youtube with your style's version of Rohai for comparison?

Posted by: shoshinkan

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/24/08 04:58 AM

nah, our stuff is top secret and deadley...............

on a more serious enough technically it's very minor differences really, and we tend to be a litlle more dynamic in working the kata.

e-mail me and I will send you a couple of versions.
Posted by: underdog

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/29/08 11:24 AM

Thanks. I am not a history person. When I was looking for a Hakatsuru that was similar to what I was learning, I could find none. I got a DVD from George Alexander but that was a completely different kata. What I learned was recognizable from your first one. I got mine from Pantazi and Kline. Just goes to show, Victor, that this wealth of knowledge you have about history could be valuable.
Posted by: Victor Smith

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/29/08 06:02 PM

Hi Rosanne,

Among the many mysteries, with the exception of Matayoshi Shimpo's crane forms, and the old movie of Soken Hohen doing something crane (whether that was Hakutsuru or not ?) there is little of other Okinwans' doing Crane.

About 20 years ago there started being a long series of articles in several magazines building up Hakutsuru mystique (most of them written by George Alexander) and over the years Crane kata started appearing such as George Alexander then John Sells, and onward, to today where almsot every week somebody's posting a new one, and some instructors teach dozens of them, and none of them are Chinese Crane stylists (that I'm able to ascertain).

I don't care what others do, and if you can drop someone with what you do, great, it's just there is little historical validation to any of those crane kata that I can find.

Just one of the MA's little secrets perhaps?

Btw, as I undesrtand it, Matayoshi Shimpo, felt the real value to his Crane forms was for health, not fighting.

I keep looking, who knows what is next?
Posted by: Victor Smith

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 10/29/08 08:54 PM

The complete current youtube collection - It grows almost day by day.

Matt Brown, owner of Penacook School Karate and 8th Degree Black Belt under Dillman Karate International demonstrates a knockout from Hakutsuru Kata
1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?=eQGp4GbD38k&feature=related
2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIX2vSQ8iyY
3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKZXpxQrdJY&feature=related
4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOk4OeQADcA

Shito Ryu Kata Hakkaku
Hakutsuru of Kume Village
Hakutsuru Ichi Odo Sensei
Hakutsuru No Kata
Hakutsuru Tony Sandoval
Soken Hakutsuru Chandler
Hakutsuru Mei Chandler
Hakutsuru ton kata Matsumura Shorin Ryu
Hakutsuro so kata Matsumura Shorin Ryu

Hakutsuru Castro Soke

Hakutsuru Kata ???
Hakutsuru Paiho
Hakutsuru White Crane Ron Goninan

Hakutsuru Renshi Edgardo Martinez

Kusano Hakucho Kata
Hakkucho Ichi Matayoshi Shimpo
Okaku Matayoshi Shimpo
Kinga Ryu Matayoshi Shimpo

Hakutsuru aka Golden Butterfly (Kempo)

HakuCho Kata Ron Lindsey

Nipaipo Kata Shito Ryu
Happoren 8 linked steps (Karate Chinese MingHe Babulien)
Papuren Jose Alberto Cruz
Posted by: imperial_crane

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 02/05/09 01:04 PM

Hi Victor,

Sorry I am late on this thread. As someone who studies and teaches Shorin Ryu Matsumura I had to comment. The kata that Soken sensei is doing in the "Life of a Grandmaster" video is our version of Hakutsuru or white crane.

Yes there seems to be many White Crane people popping out of the woodwork every day. Most can be traced back to China somehow and even less can be directly linked to Soken sensei's art. Actually there are a lot of white crane concepts in many of our kata by way of Soken sensei.
Posted by: Victor Smith

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 02/05/09 10:05 PM

Hi Paul,

So you do Crane in the home of the Crabs (Bad joke but I'm originally as Southern Penna boy <GRIN>.

The advent of Crane/Hakutsuru has been a minor martial phenomena and I've enjoyed tracking it. I've actually studied one of the above forms, shared by a friend, but have never included it in my students studies.

Partially because an Isshirnyu stylist is that of a Dragon, and I do teach my brown belts a from from my friend Ernest Rothrock (Lung Le Kune - supple dragon). The reasons are complex but it recently struck me it was appropriate for an Isshinryu stylist to study Dragon after all.

And of course do you want to bring a 'crane' to a 'dragon fight'. Spoken with gentle gest of course.

It's great you're able to participte in your systems Crane studies, but it remains mystifying how Crane is continuing to be revealed.

the wonders of the modern era.
Posted by: chusauli

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 07/22/09 01:52 PM

As for "Luohan" being pronounced "Lohai" or "Rohai" in uchinachu, that might be a possibility, however, one simply looks at the kanji as the ultimate source.

Personally, to think there is one Chinese source for kata, I do not think so. The Okinawans were able to get a good understanding of essential quan fa and make up their own inspired kata. Okinawan kata are made up and took a smattering of Fujian based Quan Fa and combined it with their native "Di" or "Te". They weren't Chinese and didn't have to have all the Chinese baggage of mastering an art with all the requirements passed down.

As for Luohan Quan, there are hundreds of fist forms referred to as "Luohan Quan".

A look at Rohai, and you know its Shuri Te or Tomari Te...not LuoHan Quan. Pinan Godan, Passai look more like Luohan Quan, even the Jion, Jitte, Jiin kata.
Posted by: Tuigwaachan

Re: A day with another Hakutsuru Kata - 07/29/13 10:47 AM

I am interested in these links but all were unavailable via Youtube (looks like they were removed?). If anyone knows of other sources to view them or similar videos, that would be helpful. Nifee debiru.