Jitte finally explained?


Do you know why Jitte is the second stupidest kata in the world? Because it is so stupid it coudln't even place as first. Ha ha hrmmf.

Seriously, Jitte is horrible. It is a kata that contains so stiff techniques that it lead certain people to theoretize that it is in fact bo-kata done with empty hands.

(But that didn't stop Shotokan people from creating 'bunkai' upon these stiff techniques. These folks would probably create bunkai for hopscotch. And twerking.

As a kata, Jitte fails. These big, repetitive movements cannot hide any sensible fighting techniques. Now, Okinawan Jitte
is a bit better than Shotokan Jitte:
but not by much. (God, I hate those 'shotokan style stomps' - Okinawan version has none.Neither do Wadoryu and Shitoryu versions).

However, let me give you an alternative hypothesis. While Jitte sucks as kata, it might not be so bad as half-kata. What do I call half-kata?

It is the kind of 'energy issuing' form beloved by Chinese White Crane style. Unlike karate kata, the movements of these forms are not mean to be coded techniques, but to teach you how to issue different kinds of 'Jing' - crane martial power. (see The Essence of Shaolin White Crane--Martial Power and Qigong By Yang Jwing-Ming ) After you trained the Jings, you can use them in any technique you wish.

A popular kata of this type is Sanchin.

In other hands, Jitte is a power training form.

Jitte, viewed like this, actually makes a lot of more sense. (Please, let us look at the Okinawan version and forget the monstrosity that is Shotokan Jitte).
The postures are not supposed to be fighting techniques, but to facilitate power training:
The 'hands up' posture, done in the Okinawan style, trains expanding energy.
The 'hand in' posture, instead of being some stupid 'teisho uchi', trains closing energy.

(Of course, for this to work, Jitte must NOT be done in the stiff, Shotokan style! But in the shaking, Okinawan style.)

Jitte as a power training method is actually pretty good; generating strong expanding energy in those Y postures is hard etc. Even these 'still postures' in the middle of Jitte make sense - they are resting points.

Therefore, it is quite plausible that Jitte belongs to the same league as Sanchin - a power training form. (With some actual techniques thrown in near the end for good measure - this is common in Chinese Sanzhans btw). Note also that conveniently, all techniques are repeated 3 times in Jitte! This is something I missed until I compared it with Sanchin. Even the two-armed power emission is very common in Chinese Sanzhans.

Let us sum it up:

1)3x spliting energy
2)3x closing energy
return back
3)3x expanding energy
4)3x tora guchi
5)2x rising block
6)two assorted fighting sequences


Excursus I:

The theory that Jitte is a bo-kata sounds very suspicious to me; to put it mildly. I am no staff fighting expert; yet I must wonder - does holding bo over your head while advancing three steps forward teach you any practical fighting skill? The theory becomes even less plausible when we move away from the muddy pool of Shotokan; in the Okinawan Jitte (ie. the sensible Jitte), the 'closed positions' do not resemble bo grip at all.

Therefore, my conclusion is that Jitte is NOT a bo-fighting kata. What is it, then? Look above, I just wrote an article about it.


Excursus II.

In my opinion, this is one of the occassions where missing context makes people come up with stupidities. In western context, this kind of strength training exercises - which are very common in southern kung-fu -  are practically not known at all. This makes people coming up with 'bunkai' for them; or even techniques with a staff.

It is as if some martian, ignorant of western calisthenics, would try to come up with fighting, or religious explanation for push-ups and bodyweight squats.


Excursus III.

For Razor+Wire enthusiast, the postures of Jitte make even more sense. Because they are chosen exactly so that they train the 4 cardinal scapula postures:

1)closing energy - scapula forward and down
2)expanding energy - scapula backward and down
3)tora guchi push - scapula forward and up
4)rising block - scapular backward and up

That would be too many coincidences, woudln't it?!?