Article by Emanuel Giordano
At the beginning of this year I started a research for the writing of an article in collaboration with Matteo Muratori. While consulting the texts in my collection, I came across a strange version of the Passai kata, called Passai shodan. This particular version of the Passai kata is presented in the 1955 book Zukai setsumei Karate-do nyumon hyakuman nin no goshinjutsu. This book was written by Nippon Karate Kenkyukai and, in particular, by Reikichi Oya. The name of the kata is already noteworthy in itself, as it is written パッサイ初段, Passai first degree. At the time the book was written, the spelling 拔塞 (Bassai/Passai) introduced by Funakoshi sensei was already in use in mainland Japan. This form is known in some styles (e.g. Shotokan, Shotokai, Shito-ryu, etc.) as 拔塞 大 / バッサイ 大 Bassai Dai, and in others (Chibana sensei lineage) as パッサイ 小 Passai Sho or 糸州のパッサイ Itosu no Passai, but the spelling used in the book is not reflected elsewhere. The kata is described in the chapter called "explanation of the basic kata", where you find the description of the three Naihanchi kata (written Naifanchi ナイファンチ) before, and of Kusanku Dai (written simply Kushanku クーシャンクー) after. Note the use of Okinawan names for all five kata.