Chris Norman wrote:

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The integration of kata with the indigenious Okinawan Te meant that the Kata were in fact Okinawan and not Chinese creations. They may very well have been based on original Chinese Forms, many of which have been lost in history, but they are not necessarily preserved in their original form. The integration of Okinawan Te into these kata meant change of the original form not only in terms of their composition but also their dynamics.

I have found the historical documentation on this subject to be so lacking that it is very difficult to make firm conclusions. There are some references to kata being of Chinese origin.

I noted the Nagamine quote above regarding the Chinese origins of Okinawan kata. There are others. In Bishop's text Okinawan Karate, Chozo Nakama is quoted as stating:

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Many of the karate katas taught today are simplified versions of the Chinese forms and consist of block-and-then-strike techniques in two separate movements, as opposed to the original Chinese block/strike-in-one-movement techniques.

In an interview, Keigo Abe is quoted as saying "the origin of many Kata and techniques were Chinese." Abe began training in 1953 under an Okinawan student of Toyama.

Several kata are also connected specifically with Chinese in Okinawa including Kusanku, Wanshu and Chinto. I recognize there are variations of these kata, and there is no doubt they likely have evolved over the years. It is possible that the Chinese taught variations of forms during their residence in Okinawa.

You also wrote: "Nagamine may very well have been translated as having wrote..."

I may be misreading your statement, but it appears you may doubt the accuracy of the translation. In his preface, Nagamine lists a team of 10 people responsible for the translation work for his text. I would find it highly unlikely that they erred in the translation of the following sentence: "... the secret performances of Chinese masters in the art of self-defense came to be known and their kata integrated with te."

I believe we would all benefit if the existing historical documents regarding the origins of Okinawan kata were more publicly available on the web. I would be grateful if you could provide sources in support of your statement: "Kata were in fact Okinawan and not Chinese creations."

Many thanks for your taking the time to explore this issue further.

-Mike Eschenbrenner
Cayuga Karate
Ithaca, New York