Announcing the SKKSA Summer Course 2015

We’re excited to announce our year-end events, starting with the Sumer Course 2015.

Continuing our tradition of successful gasshukus, our 2015 edition promises fun, learning and the chance for karateka from across our South African dojos to meet each other and share their knowledge and passion for the art.

Karateka will get the opportunity to train under our senior instructors from the north to south coast of KZN – instructors who have trained internationally under Rikuta Koga Hanshi of the SKISF Swiss Federation – and learn the latest developments in the Shotokan style under our leadership from Switzerland.

Summer Course 2015 will run from 4 – 6 December 2015.

For the first time, we will be conducting Shodan (1st Dan) examinations, alongside our final kyu examinations and Brown Belt Kyu Gradings.

Details on the examinations will follow soon. In the meantime, we encourage our karateka to be regular at dojo training to be prepared for final exams. You may also access the kyu exam programme from our Karateka Portal (syllabus available for yellow to purple belt categories).

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Welcome to SKKSA Online

Welcome to the SKKSA website. Here, you can read the latest news, learn more about us, and go beyond the dojo. Regular features such as our Kata Series allow you to explore the history and theory behind the katas we practice, and our Karateka portal gives our students access to course material and information to help them train better.

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Kata Series: Gankaku

Gankaku, or “crane on the rock” for its distinct pose that evokes the image of a crane defending against its enemies whilst standing on one leg, was originally called Chintō, a name that belongs to the Shorei style. It is one of the most ancient kata belonging to the tradition, and as such its origins are unknown.

It has been perfected over the years by various masters, and the most recent form was developed by Ankō Itosu. It is a kata that has balance and power at its core. The ability for a karateka to encompass the kime required for the simultaneous yokogeri-uraken whilst standing on one leg is paramount to delivering a good rendition of Gankaku.

The Tale of Chintō

One legend of the kata’s origin relates the tale of a Chinese sailor named Chintō. When his ship crashed on the coast of Okinawa, Chintō was stranded. To survive, he stole crops from a nearby village. Matsumura Sōkon, a master of karate and the chief bodyguard of Ryukyuan king, was dispatched to confront Chintō. In the ensuing fight, Sōkon realized he was equally matched with Chintō, and decided to learn the style and techniques of the stranded sailor. Thus, Sōkon developed what is today Gankaku. Chintō translates to “fighter to the east”, perhaps alluding to its origins of the confrontation between Chintō and Sōkon on the Okinawan coast. It is sometimes said that this kata should be practiced whilst facing eastwards.


Gankaku has many advanced techniques: its opening is dynamic, with the exponent pulling his attacker’s hand towards his hip, then pivoting to dislocate the attacker’s shoulder. Its enbusen, or movement pattern, was adapted by Gichin Funakoshi. It consists of a single vertical line, which belies the kata’s incredible dynamism and inherent power.


Italian Team: Gankaku at the Final of the 21st WKF Championships

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Kata Series: Chinte


We practiced Chinte recently during our senior Saturday class. This kata series serves to extend karateka knowledge about this kata, including its history and development.

Chinte is an interesting kata in the overall Shotokan grouping of katas. Its circular techniques, extensive use of shoulders, and various open-hand movements are uncommon in traditional Shotokan kihon practice. Yet Chinte remains a powerful, varied and interesting kata that, whilst often overlooked at competition level, contains a strong blend of unconventional kihon movements and intricate details in its technique and execution.

The kata is designed for self defense at close proximity. Its origins lie in ancient China, one of a few katas imported to Okinawa from that country. This perhaps explains its inclusion of such unconventional movements as the two-finger strike to the eyes, various displays of ippon-ken striking, and wide, circular movements.

Chinte is just as poetic as it is potent. An interpretation of its final closing movements, a series of hops that return the practitioner to the starting position and believed to be included to facilitate competition, is to evoke the image of waves being absorbed by the sand, a symbol of tranquility after the violent storm that is the kata’s torrent of powerful techniques.

The name, loosely translated, means “rare hand” or “unusual hand”, perhaps alluding to the finger-strikes, ippon-ken and round, open-hand circular movements.

Chinte’s blend of traditional techniques with these rare, ancient variations make it an appealing  and dynamic choice if one wishes to break the traditional mould at competition level.

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