Itosu Anko
(1831-11 March 1915)

Researched by Shu Nakamae

Started karate at the age of 20. Was physically very weak and originally was not accepted by Matsumura Sokon of the Shuri-tei style and so learned Naha-tei styles. However as he progressed through great effort Matsumura accepted him into the Shuri-tei style, and Itosu eventually became known as a great representative of Shuri-tei.

Itosu was greatly interested in structuring the teaching of Karate for greater efficiency as well as organizing karate as part of the Okinawa School Curriculum.

When Okinawa officially integrated karate as part of the primary school physical education, Itosu developed the 5 Pinan 平安 (Heian) style Kata to teach the young generation.

Other Kata such as the 2nd and 3rd Naihanchi Kata are also attributed to him.

Besides Shuri-tei, Itosu was also known as a user of Jigen Ryu, a sword style typical of Southern Kyushu.

Late in life he wrote the “10 Lessons for Karate” , which are accepted as the “10 Commandments” of Karate.
He is also known as being on of the teachers of Funakoshi Gichin, founder of Shotokan Style Karate.

Note of interest : Pinan Kata 平安 are pronounced Heian in Standard Japanese is hyojyungo (標準語). and Pinan in the Okinawan Dialect. They were formalized in the first part of the 1900’s. (Some people believe between 1905 and 1910)

For further reading, see Ankō Itosu – Wikipedia