ITOSU, Yasutsune “Ankoh”


In 1901, he was instrumental in getting karate introduced into Okinawa’s schools. In 1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of To-te at Okinawa’s First Junior Prefectural High School. It was here that he developed the systematic method of teaching karate techniques that are still in practice today. He created and introduced the Pinan forms (Heian in Japanese) as learning steps for students, because he felt the older kata was too difficult for schoolchildren to learn. The five Pinan forms were created by drawing from two older forms: kusanku and chiang nan. Itosu is also credited with taking the large Naihanchi form and breaking it into the three well know modern forms Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan and Naihanchi Sandan. In 1908, Itosu wrote the influential “Ten Precepts of Karate” reaching beyond Okinawa to Japan. Itosu’s style of karate, Shorin-ryu, came to be known as Itosu-ryu in recognition of his skill, mastery and role as teacher to many. While Itosu did not invent karate himself, he modified the kata he learned from his master, Matsumura and taught many karate masters.