Call to schedule your introductory class today!
(313) 312-5180

Chinto (汪楫)

brown belt 2nd stripe
  • Chinto has been translated as "fighting to the East"
  • Chinto has also been translated as "Eastward fighter"
Run Time:
55 seconds
Chinto kata consists of approximately 56 movements
Techniques Learned:
Chinto kata consists of approximately 56 movements

Chinto (汪楫) Kata Tree

Master Chinto -- Matsumora -- Kyan -- Tatsuo Shimabuku


The exact date Chinto was formed is unknown, however, it is considered to be approximately in the early 19th century. Chinto is believed to be the name of a Chinese sailor who was shipwrecked on Okinawa by a devastating typhoon. Chinto was believed to have studied Chinese Chuan fa (Kempo), which was popular on the southeastern coast of China. Without any food or money he hid out in a distant cave among the beaches. In order to survive and save himself from being caught by the Okinawans he would steal food and supplies from small villages during the evenings.

Eventually the regional lord heard of the thefts and sent his most promising samurai, Matsumora, to find this thief. Matsumora came upon his enemy in no time. Attacking constantly only to be sidestepped and counterattacked. Chinto eventually escaped and hid in a nearby graveyard. Matsumora was very impressed with this thief's skill. He returned and told the regional lord that he had disposed of the thief, only to return and become friends with him.

Chinto began to teach Matsumora a system of defenses in exchange for food and refuge. Matsumora eventually named these series of defenses after his instructor, CHINTO.

Master Matsumora taught this kata to Master Kyan who incorporated it into his style of Shorinryu karate. Master Kyan became Tatsuo Shimabuku's first instructor and taught this kata to him. Master Shimabuku revised it and then incorporated it into his own style of Isshinryu.

About Chinto (汪楫)

Chinto kata is the 5th kata to be taught in Isshinryu karate and is required for 2nd brown. It is unique in that the entire kata is performed on an oblique line. It contains hundreds of conscious and unconscious movements performed at different levels of performance. When performing Chinto kata, your weight is constantly changing in order to obtain the best results and the most power from each technique. Its Japanese counterpart is Gankaku.

Its floor pattern is a straight line at a 45-degree angle from the starting point. The main principles are pivoting and sidestepping. The main strategy is an evasionary sidestepping followed by immediate multiple or single strikes to the attacker. Chinto consists of constant spinning motion with double hand protection by moving them up and down, which makes penetration of its defenses almost impossible. Chinto is devastating on the counterattack. The counters come very fast and one right after the other.

Chinto makes use of many different stances. The very first 6 movements in Chinto consist of 6 different stances: opened toed stance, natural stance, back stance, cat stance, Seisan, stance, and seiuchin stance.

Chinto introduces the flying front kick and a spinning block. It is the first kata to introduce a counterattack from a posture other than a solid stance, such as a flying kick and a punch off one knee (the last technique of the kata).

Chinto consists of middle open cross blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, downward closed blocks, double blocks; double groin blocks, double high blocks, open middle blocks, grabs, middle level tates (vertical punches), elbow strikes, breaking techniques, double shuto strikes, ridge hand strikes, flying front kicks and front snap kicks.

Chinto has 2 kias. The 1st one is done on the 1st front snap kick and the last one is done on the last technique, a kneeling punch to the groin.

About Chinto (汪楫):
By: Joe Swift

This kata is said to have been taught to Matsumura Sokon by a Chinese named Chinto, but this legend cannot be corroborated. According to a 1914 newspaper article by Funakoshi Gichin (1867-1957, founder of Shotokan karatedo), based upon the talks of his teacher Asato Anko (1827-1906), student of Matsumura Sokon):

"Those who received instruction from a castaway from Annan in Fuzhou, include: Gusukuma and Kanagusuku (Chinto), Matsumura and Oyadomari (Chinte), Yamasato (Jiin) and Nakasato (Jitte) all of Tomari, who learned the kata separately. The reason being that their teacher was in a hurry to return to his home country." (sic, Shoto, 1914).

It is believed by this author that the "Matsumura" in the above excerpt is a misspelling of Matsumora Kosaku, of Tomari. The fact that Matsumora Kosaku, is evidence that Matsumora may have also been taught this kata as well (Kinjo, 1999).

Now, what exactly is Chinto? There appears a form called Chen Tou in Mandarin Chinese (Jpn. Chinto, lit. Sinking the Head) in Wu Zho Quan (a.k.a. Ngo Cho Kuen, Five Ancestors Fist), which was a style popular in the Quanzhou and Shamen (Amoy) districts of Fujian (Kinjo, 1999). Chen Tou refers to sinking the boy and protecting the head. In the Okinawan Chinto kata, this is the first technique, but in the Five Ancestors Fist it is the last (Kinjo, 1999). However, this being said, this author has yet to see the Chen Tou form to make a comparative analysis. It is, however, worthy of further investigation.

There are 3 distinct "families" of Chinto in modern Okinawan karate: Matsumura/Itosu lineage (performed front to back), Matsumora Kosaku lineage (performed side to side), and Kyan Chotoku lineage (performed on a 45 degree angle). Looking at technical content, we can see that the Matsumora and Kyan versions are nearly identical, which is only natural since Kyan learned this from Matsumora.