Matsumora Rohai Kata

The Matsumora Rohai form originated in and around the village of Tomari, Okinawa.  The originator of this form is not known. The form is known by several other names including:

  • Matsumora no Rohai
  • Matsumura Rohai (note the spelling difference)
  • Matsumura no Rohai
  • Meikyo

Gichin Funakoshi derived the Meikyo form from the Matsumora Rohai form. Many of the elements of Matsumora Rohai can be found in the Meikyo Kata, but the Meikyo form has a decidedly harder Karate look and many of the movements differ from the original Matsumora Rohai form. This is not intended as a slight of the Meikyo form, but if you examine both forms you will notice a great many differences in both the sequences and the style of movement.

The Matsumora vs. Matsumura name difference is largely attributed to naming the form for past masters. Kosaku Matsumora was a prominent and legendary instructor in Tomari. He became legendary when he disarmed a Samurai with the aid of only a wet towel. Matsumura Sokon was the instructor and bodyguard for the last two Okinawan kings. Most modern Karate styles can be traced back to Matsumura Sokon, so it should come as no surprise that many credit this form to him. So this really is simply a case of ‘You say Matsumura, I say Matsumora.’

The various martial art styles that practice Matsumora Rohai vs Matsumura Rohai have little if any difference in the way they perform this Kata. We utilize the name Matsumora Rohai for this form, but you can find many examples of this form when searching for Matsumura Rohai.

The form makes use of crane stances quite frequently. It also employs what may appear to be many cross-center punches. Like all forms you explore you should not settle for the most obvious explanation for a movement. Always seek out multiple Bunkai and tie these actions back to fundamental Tensoku Ryu concepts. You ultimately want the application of these concepts to be second nature. Always break down the form to find useful Bunkai, but then subsequently seek to understand the underlying Tensoku Ryu concepts that make the Bunkai effective.

This form is relatively short, perhaps with a length similar to the Pinan forms. It is often thought to contain many close-quarters applications. Pay particular attention to Bunkai that deals with an opponent who is quite near. This is in many ways a precursor to future training.

Matsumora Rohai Kata Procedure

StepStanceTransitionMovementNotes
IchiHeisoku DachiPerform the opening salutation, then adopt Musubi Dachi F1. Your arms should be fully extended so that the palms of your open hands should rest naturally on your thighs.
NiMusubi DachiExtend both open hands forward along your center line at Gedan level.The left hand should be on top of the right hand.
SanHeiko DachiStep R4 to from Heiko Dachi F1.Separate your hands so that, a) both hands remain at Gedan level, b) the hands are each in line with the adjacent hip, and c) the palms face one another.
YonHeiko DachiBend both elbows until the hands raise to Chudan Level.Both hands remain separated with palms facing one another. The hands are essentially in a stylized parallel guard position.
GoKiba DachiLook T4 then step R4 to establish a deep Kiba Dachi F1.Strike with a Migi Gedan Shuto Uchi T4.The left hand should move to a comfortable guard position.
RokuHidari Neko Ashi Dachi F3.Shift your weight onto your right leg and rotate CCW until you establish Hidari Neko Ashi Dachi F3.As you rotate deliver a Migi Chudan Uke - Hidari Ura Chudan Uke blocking combination T3. Pull the right hand to guard position and leave the left hand extended with the hand open.Both blocks are open hand blocks. Many styles do these two blocks as two Shuto Uchi.
NanaHidari Sochin Dachi F3.Invert the left hand and close it slightly, then step forward L8 to establish a deep Hidari Sochin Dachi F3.Strike with Migi Ken Tsuki T3 as you briskly pull the left hand to set position.This is a short range punch so it does not extend beyond your center line. Notice that the left hand does not move to guard position.
HachiWalkingStep L5R7L5 in an erect yet natural walking posture Traditionally the hands are both in set position. You may want to experiment with other hand positioning.The final step is tentative and you will not put much if any weight on the left leg. This sequence is as though you were walking and suddenly surprised by someone coming at you from A7.
KuHidari Ippon Dachi F7.Look T7 then step back L8 and raise the right knee to form Hidari Ippon Dachi F7.Simultaneously deliver left and right blocking combinations as follows: Migi Chudan Uke followed by Migi Gedan Barai, Hidari Gedan Barai followed by Hidari Age Uke.Both hands move continuously and do not focus on the first block. The second block with both hands is focused. Both hands are open for the final blocks. The raised knee is usually positioned to form a guard against a strike coming from A7.
JuMigi Zenkutsu Dachi F7.Step R4 to establish Migi Zenkutsu Dachi F7.Deliver Morote Ura Chudan Uke T7.The block is a reinforced open hand Ura Chudan Uke.
Ju IchiHidari Sochin Dachi F7.Invert the right hand then close it slightly and step L1 to from Hidari Sochin Dachi F7.Strike with Hidari Chudan Ken Tsuki followed by Migi Ken Tsuki.The left hand is extended outside your center. The right hand extends only to your center line. The two strikes are issued consecutively and focused T7.
Ju NiHidari Ippon Dachi F5.Rotate CCW and step L2, then raise your right knee to form Hidari Ippon Dachi F5.As you rotate deliver simultaneous left and right blocking combinations as follows: Migi Chudan Uke followed by Migi Gedan Barai, Hidari Gedan Barai followed by Hidari Age Uke. Both hands move continuously and do not focus on the first block. The second block with both hands is focused. Both hands are open for the final blocks. The raised knee is usually positioned to form a guard against a strike coming from A5.
Ju SanMigi Sochin Dachi F5.Step R1 to establish Migi Sochin Dachi F5.Deliver Morote Ura Chudan Uke T5.This is a reinforced block with both hands open.
Ju YonHidari Sochin Dachi F5.Invert the right hand then close it slightly and step L3 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F5.Strike with Hidari Chudan Ken Tsuki followed by Migi Ken Tsuki.The left hand is extended outside your center. The right hand extends only to your center line. The two strikes are issued consecutively and focused T5.
Ju GoDeep Kiba Dachi F1.Step or rotate as necessary to establish a deep Kiba Dachi F1.Move the open left hand in the direction of your right shoulder then deliver Migi Gedan Barai T1. Following this movement strike with Otoshi Ken Tsuki T1.The block is done with an open hand. The punch should complete its movement mere inches from the floor. This will normally require some amount of forward lean. The left hand moves up and near the right shoulder as the punch is delivered.
Ju RokuHidari Ippon Dachi F1.Step L2 then raise the right knee form Hidari Ippon Dachi F1.As you rotate deliver simultaneous left and right blocking combinations as follows: Migi Chudan Uke followed by Migi Gedan Barai, Hidari Gedan Barai followed by Hidari Age Uke. Both hands move continuously and do not focus on the first block. The second block with both hands is focused. Both hands are open for the final blocks. The raised knee is usually positioned to form a guard against a strike coming from A5.
Ju NanaMigi Sochin Dachi F1.Step R7 to establish Migi Sochin Dachi F1.Deliver Morote Ura Chudan Uke T1.This is a reinforced block with both hands open.
Ju HachiHidari Sochin Dachi F1.Invert the right hand then close it slightly and step L5 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F1.Strike with Hidari Chudan Ken Tsuki followed by Migi Ken Tsuki.The left hand is extended outside your center. The right hand extends only to your center line. The two strikes are issued consecutively and focused T1.
Ju KuMigi Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Step R7 to establish Migi Zenkutsu Dachi F1.As you move forward deliver left and right Shotei Uchi strikes.The two strikes are on either side of your center line and at roughly hip level. The fingers point downward.
Ni Ju IchiMusubi Dachi F1.Pull the right leg back to bring your structure erect and establish Musubi Dachi F1.Set both hands on your right side.
Ni Ju NiHidari Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Step L5 to establish Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Strike with Morote Ken Tsuki T1.The right hand strikes high and the left hand strikes low.
Ni Ju SanMusubi Dachi F1.Pull the left leg back to bring your structure erect and establish Musubi Dachi F1.Set both hands on your left side.
Ni Ju YonMigi Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Step forward L7 to establish Migi Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Strike with Morote Ken Tsuki T1.The left hand strikes high and the right hand strikes low.
Ni Ju GoMusubi Dachi F1.Pull the right leg back to bring your structure erect and establish Musubi Dachi F1.Set both hands on your right side.
Ni Ju RokuHidari Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Step L5 to establish Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi F1.Strike with Morote Ken Tsuki T1.The right hand strikes high and the left hand strikes low.
Ni Ju NanaHidari Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Shuffle back R2L2 and pull the left leg back to establish Hidari Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Strike with Hidari Shuto Uchi T1.Traditionally the left hand moves to set position, but consider alternate hand positions.
Ni Ju HachiMigi Ippon Dachi F1.Shift your weight onto your right leg.Deliver Migi Mikazuki Geri T1. Do not return the kick.Commonly the kick strikes into the palm of your open and extended left hand.
Ni Ju KuMigi Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Allow the kick to continue past your right hand and step R2L8 then pull your right leg back to establish Migi Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Strike with Migi Shuto Uchi T1.Traditionally the left hand moves to set position, but consider alternate hand positions.
San KuHidari Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Step back R2 and the pull the left leg inward to establish Hidari Neko Ashi Dachi F1.Strike with Hidari Shuto Uchi T1.Traditionally the left hand moves to set position, but consider alternate hand positions.
Musubi Dachi F1.Step back L2 to establish Musubi Dachi F1.Bring open hands together at face level such that both hands touch with palms facing you. After a few seconds lower both hands along your center line to Gedan level.The right hand should be closest to your face. Both hands will turn over and should remain in constant contact as the descend downward.
Heiko Dachi F1.Perform the closing salutation. Yoi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.